Just when you felt like you were making good progress, everything comes to a grinding halt. It becomes clearly apparent that what's worked before is no longer what works today. So you push harder and struggle and yet somehow the added effort has little or no impact.
Don't panic. Rarely is achievement a steady surge. Whether you are trying to grow your company to the next level, crank up the marketing to new heights, or take that next rise up the corporate ladder, plateaus are a frustrating yet natural part of the growth process.
There's no need for anguish. Why surrender to unknown forces when you can work your way through the obstacles and clear a path to success? Here are three methods to help you break on through to the other side.
1. Brutally Assess Your Weaknesses
Most are taught early on to focus on personal strengths. Chances are the plateau you have reached is the result of exceeding your experience and current talents. Now is the time to identify clearly what's missing in your skill-set. Make an excruciatingly honest list of all the things you are not doing well. Ponder them one by one, and create a list of three actions steps you can take to resolve each weakness. Assign a time-frame to each of these action steps so you can calendar a resolution plan.
2. Consult a Team of Critics
This is not the time to look for encouragement. Put your ego in your wallet where it belongs. If you had all the answers, you probably would have removed the blockage by now. You need insight from outsiders. Reach out to those in your circle who you will know will be direct and truthful. Encourage them to question and challenge your actions and thinking. Resist the urge to defend your approach. Stay open, humble, and ready to learn. It may be painful, but they can help you abandon the thought process and fruitless procedures that keep you from moving forward.
3. Create an Objective Approach
When I find myself frustrated and unhappy with the progress of my company, I step back and take a new entrepreneurial approach. I decide to buy the company today from the incompetent dolt who was running the company yesterday. (Yes, the incompetent dolt is me, but at least I can buy it with zero money down.) Now I examine the company as a fresh investor who just purchased the corporation. I analyze the situation with none of the previous history, baggage, or legacy that was weighing down the previous owner. I freshly assess the company's assets, liabilities, market opportunities, and potential danger factors. I commit to discovering the path to success that my predecessor was too narrow sighted to determine. Find the objective path to success that's worthy of your newly committed time and effort.
The higher you set your sights for achievement the more complex the solutions to obstacles in your path. As the challenges get bigger, hard work and perseverance may not be enough to overcome and move forward. There's a reason the numbers of people diminish at higher levels of success. Your willingness and ability to attack the obstructive issues truthfully and diligently will determine whether a plateau is a permanent limit to your growth or just a temporary stall.
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