What are some reasons people hit a career plateau? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that a career plateau is a problem, something to take personally. Contrary to how it can feel at the moment, most plateaus are a product of one's success -- you have succeeded in the previous role and are ready for the next even greater growth, meaning and impact.
You'll know you're at a plateau if you feel restless, bored, antsy, avoiding your to-do list, and not feeling excited about goals or milestones. If you don't take action on these initial feelings of restlessness, they often manifest in the body as getting sick more often, headaches at work, etc.
More specific reasons for a career plateau can include you growing in a new way and outgrowing your role, company or even industry. Following "shoulds" or others' expectations and waking up to see that they aren't aligned with your own, experiencing something new and exciting outside of your core job and for the first time seeing a gap between where you are and where you'd like to end up. Shifting organization or role priorities that have you working more from your "areas for development" than strengths, fear of financial consequences of making a move that you know is best for you, being in a culture that's not a fit for your values and spirit, etc. The list is as unique as all of you here reading!
The most important thing is not to take your plateau personally--celebrate it as a sign of success, and ask yourself what does excite you most moving forward, particularly in the coming year. Don't worry about solving that one-year vision yet - just give yourself permission to paint the picture, and eventually one or two clear next steps will help you research what next moves would be most exciting to pursue.
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