Have you been training and found that suddenly you can’t seem to break through a barrier. Sometimes this is called a plateau which can be a physical leveling of progress – perhaps the body reseting, repairing, and preparing for the next phase of change. Sometimes it is psychological manifesting as physical.
I’ve seen this many times in my past business with employees and colleagues. Thereis great capacity to improve, but they have limiting beliefs and so they self-sabbotage often without realizing. An example is taking a course that could grossly expand their skills and they have all intention of implementing. A few months later, the skill has not been implemented and the knowledge application and skill expansion is lost. The same thing happens in dance.
Why do we do this to ourselves? There is a concept called the ceiling of complexity and it relates to our comfort zone. A common example is those who win the lottery. When they are followed up with a few years after the win, the money is gone, nothing has changed in their life, and they are back to their original earning potential. It is an interesting phenomenon which boils down to aversion to change and how we perceive ourselves.
Let’s put it in dance terms. We get to a point where we are satisfied with ourselves – on the social floor, the stage, in our teaching. We have resources around us that can take us to a new level, past this comfortable plateau. We tap into these resources, maybe invest some money in our training. Check in a year later, not much has changed. We went above the comfort zone by acquiring new skills then allowed ourselves to slip back into it by not putting it to use.
The reverse happens as well. We get comfortable and we start slipping in our skills. We see others around us who we had surpassed starting to be more skillful. This lights a fire in us to up our skills so that we maintain our ranking within the community in whatever capacity. We have brought ourselves back to that comfort zone after slipping below it.
So how can we push ourselves to continually increase that ceiling of complexity and move that comfort zone up to a higher level? Awareness is usually the key. Start off by setting some goals for the next time period. I like to work in quarters – 90 day chunks – as it puts a time limit allowing for reasonable change in myself while keeping me on a short time leash so that I can’t procrastinate. At the end of that 90 days, I look at what my goals were, what I achieved, what I didn’t achieve and why. Then I set the next 90. I do look ahead as well for 6, 9, and 12 month chunks also because often there are steps that need to be taken in the short-term to achieve those longer term goals. If you are feeling like you have hit that plateau, put ten minutes aside and look at where you want to be in the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 month periods and outlay the steps to get there. The awareness alone will help you move that zone up a notch easily.