Passing The Career Plateau: How To Get A Move On

Losing momentum is a common issue many experience when facing an obstacle or challenge. It can happen when battling for weight loss, struggling to find a job or even trying to collaborate on a team project—you can simply lose steam. A career plateau is difficult and will often leave us questioning our ability to succeed in the long term. In a recent article on, Minda Zetlin outlined six tips from career coach Kathleen Brady for getting yourself back in the game when you’ve hit the wall.

 Ask “how?”

When facing a difficult situation in which you’re certain it’s an impossibility to complete the task at hand, try to slow yourself down and reassess. If you find yourself listing excuses that outline why you can’t do something, reword the question to ask how you can achieve the goal. Shifting the perspective even slightly to have an optimistic approach could be the difference between success or assumed—and imminent—failure.

Don’t expect the past to repeat itself.

The assumption that past failures will repeat themselves continually is a surefire way to halt forward motion. Learn from your past failures in order to make your future endeavors more successful. If you catch yourself beginning down a path that has resulted in failure before, turn back. Life is like one of those choose your own adventure books you read as a kid. Choose differently.

Question all “shoulds.”

Take a look at your to-do list. If there’s a pesky item on there that you’ve been carefully sidestepping, Brady says you need to consider if it is really necessary. If it’s a skill you think you think you need to be successful, but don’t really need, re-prioritize. Place focus on honing the skills you have and excel in those, then assess deficiencies. The bottom line? Use your time and talent effectively to help you—and your business—be successful.

Be careful of your assumptions.

People are prone to assuming that something they believe is accurate because of a phenomenon called confirmation bias, in which the perception of information aligns with preexisting beliefs. This can prove dangerous because you can convince yourself you will fail and consequently avoid trying the very thing that could lead to success. Brady suggests in these situations that we see our obstacles, but learn to design strategies that will move us forward.

Inquire, don’t interpret.

Effective communication is crucial, especially in a small startup or business. Brady advises that you ask your team what they are thinking or the root of their motivation on a decision while attentively listening to their responses. Follow up and get answers instead of allowing assumptions take hold of a situation. By getting to know and valuing the input of your team, you’ll build a more unified front.

Own your choices.

Kipling said, “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.” We need to hold ourselves—and no one else—accountable for the success of our dreams and goals. If you are willing to make something happen, you’ll find the way to do so. The sacrifices won’t matter, so long as you achieve your end goal. Brady says, “Sometimes ‘I can’t’ really means ‘I choose not to.’” Don’t sit on the sidelines in your life and allow circumstances to dictate your success.

Which approach will you start using today?