Do you feel as though your professional growth has stalled lately? Perhaps it’s been a while since you last earned a raise or promotion in your career if you have a job, or your profits have taken a hit if you’re in business. Or maybe you’re frustrated that the results you’ve been hoping and praying for haven’t been happening fast enough…
As driven and ambitious women, it’s in our nature to want to manifest our dreams and desires into reality as quickly as we can, and to keep growing as we go. But the reality is, both at work and in business, our achievements rarely follow a linear pattern. There are bound to be good months and slow months, as well as plateau points where you’re stuck waiting for something to happen.
Here’s how you can nurture yourself and keep your energy high…
Firstly, stop resisting this season, and start embracing it instead.
We always have a choice between resisting our reality or allowing it to unfold naturally. But I know from experience how difficult it can be to accept the fact that our performance is plateauing, and do nothing about it.
As a self-confessed achievement-driven workaholic, this topic hits close to home. Over the years, I haven’t found it easy to detach my self-worth from my work performance. Like so many of us, I grew up hearing (and believing) that hard work equated to success—and although that pushed me to go after my goals at full speed and reach the 7-figure mark within my first 18 months of business, it also resulted in some pretty unhealthy habits (like working with 27 private coaching clients at the same time at one point—yup, I still can’t believe I did that).
I’ve been running I Heart My Life for over seven years, and time and experience have proved to me that growth is cyclical, not linear. Slow seasons happen—it’s simply the way it goes. But at the beginning of my career as a coach, I took a completely different approach to the one I do now. I was very quick to blame myself for every single shortcoming, and spend sleepless nights staring at the ceiling, wondering why the results I was working so hard for hadn’t shown up for me yet. I would immediately rush to switch up my strategy at the slightest sign that things were slowing down for me or for the business…
…but the truth is, none of those things helped me reach the goals I had set for myself. In fact, they made it more difficult for me to grow, because I was constantly in a state of resistance. As author Greg McKeown puts it in his bestselling book, Essentialism, “the pursuit of success can be a catalyst for failure. Put another way, success can distract us from focusing on the essential things that produce success in the first place.” That’s why he firmly believes that “relaxing is a responsibility.”
If you’re always in a state of resistance, it’s much harder to let the light in than it would be if you simply surrendered. You might be missing very obvious solutions to your problems that are right in front of you, simply because you’re so set on what you’d planned. That’s why these days, I try to treat slow seasons as a gift—because they enable me to turn inward, engage in self-reflection, and allow clarity to come through. And once I do that, the growth and change I’m craving happens almost effortlessly.
Next, reframe your mindset around achievement.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a slow season at work reflects on your abilities and capabilities (especially when the social media highlight reel is showing you everybody else’s wins and milestones at the tap of a button). The truth is, though, progress has no set pace—none of us are playing on the same field. So in order to get to grips with your hangups around performance, you’ve got to start by looking inward. Then, and only then, you can take action and move forward.
The first thing I urge you to do is to examine the thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that come up for you around performance-based achievement. These beliefs may be hidden deep down within you, dating right back to your childhood. Ask yourself:
- What did your relationship with your grades look like in school?
- How did you (and the people around you) react when your results rose to expectations? What about the times that they didn’t?
- Do you still judge yourself based on similar standards?
- How much of your self-worth and self-esteem is dictated by how well you’re doing at work?
- Do you find yourself comparing your performance to others in your industry? Are you jealous of their success? (Remember, there’s no shame in admitting it!)
- Whenever you experience a win or check off a big goal, do you feel satisfied with yourself, or rush to the next thing?
Whatever comes up for you, I want you to take each negative thought and belief, and practice replacing it with a new, more positive one. When you allow yourself to recognize (and heal) your beliefs around achievement, you’ll find it easier to achieve, trust me. I know, wild.
Finally, take empowered action.
This is where the typical career and business advice comes in—but I’m betting you already know everything you could be doing to make progress during this season. It goes without saying that investing in your personal development as well as your professional skills is a fantastic use of your time, as it will open up doors down the line. The same goes for growing your network, and connecting with mentors who understand where you are right now on your career journey, and will guide you on the path to your next level.
It doesn’t matter whether you invest in a course, a coach or a rebrand—as long as you have the mindset piece in check, every action you take during a slow period will come from a place of empowerment rather than desperation, and propel you further in the direction of your dreams.
Remember, this slow season won’t last forever. Punishing yourself won’t make it pass by faster—but nurturing yourself, allowing yourself to rest and reflect, and letting the light in will equip you with the resilience you need to navigate all the ups and downs along your journey.
I believe in you, Lovely. You’ve got big dreams, and I have no doubts that you’ll reach them. And while it may not feel like you’re on track, I promise that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now.