Ep 36: Make peace with the plateau


A little encouragement as you go into the weekend. Sometimes life seems to level out and it’s hard to see how far you’ve come. You might be on a plateau right now but your curve is getting ready to move up!

Have a great weekend!

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Full transcript 👇

Episode 36 Make peace with the plateau - Man on a long two lane road jumping in the air

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

“Why do you have to be world champion at everything?”

My husband asked me this question just a few years into our marriage. He noticed early on that I set the bar very high for myself in just about everything.

In those days, I latched on to something new like a little french bulldog with a bone.

I’ve never been an actual world champion at anything. Well, except maybe in the space between my two ears.

But I really like to try. My favorite place to be is at zero.

No skills, no history and everything to learn.

I love that steep learning curve.

But I’m not crazy about the plateau at the top of that curve.

There’s real work in the plateau.

And responsibility, too.

If you stay in something long enough, you’ll find the plateau.

  • New jobs plateau.
  • Relationships settle in.
  • Exciting new life adventures become regular routines.
  • Soft, fluffy, sweet-smelling puppies become dogs.

When you start something new, the gains are tremendous because you start with nothing. Any effort at all brings a change you can see. You’re moving up

There’s a lot of hope and excitement on the left side of that curve.

But you can’t escape the plateau. Without it there wouldn’t be a curve at all.

Who understands plateaus more than Olympic athletes?

We marvel at their dedication and commitment for the tiniest window of opportunity to achieve greatness.

What we see in their performance on the big day is the result of hard work and deliberate practice for an unbelievably long time.

What we don’t see is how these athletes have weathered those plateaus.

  • We don’t see how lowering a shoulder just a smidge changes the trajectory of a long jump. And how long it took to master that smidge.
  • Or how pushing through weeks of no real progress at all in a floor routine suddenly brings a breakthrough.

That stuff’s not Instagrammable.

The bigger story isn’t the 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

It’s the 9,000 plus hours spent on the plateau.

The plateau is where character is formed.

It’s where you decide how far you go with this thing. And it’s where the gains are realized.

As you enter this weekend, give yourself props for each small gain you made this week.

Nothing is too small to plot on that curve.

Sure, you may look back and not be able to see the line trending up at all from here.

But it will if you keep going.

Have a great weekend! 😀

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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