When you’re pushing hard on your growth and making your ambitions real, you will experience the three stages at any given moment —peaks, plateaus and valleys.
Whether these come in the micro of your day to day as you put the final touches on a project or bringing a vision to life —these are undeniable.
And yet, no one teaches us how to handle them emotionally.
Worst of all, we believe we should always be on a peak —creating endless while we put the champagne on ice.
That’s not how it works —because growth requires the three stages of peaks, plateaus and valleys:
- Peaks. The peaks are the highs of the ride. Full of clarity, momentum and progress, the peak is what we love. We’re growing from the inside out and we have the results, trophies and hardware to prove it.
- Plateaus. The plateau is the long stretch of barren desert. We don’t even know if we’re growing. Everything looks the same; today and yesterday are blended into one another. Things can seem dull, boring, mundane.
- Valleys. The valley is the temporary abyss of a lack of clarity, emotional struggle and questioning. Imposter syndrome and the comment your relative made about “who are you to start that business?” now feel like truth.
Each of these stages are normal and required parts of growth.
I emphasize required because we tend to associate plateaus and valleys with false notions that what we’re doing isn’t working.
We obsess over the peaks and quit in the plateau or the valley. Each stage requires specific mindset, framework and tools to navigate correctly.
- Peaks require energy management. Because they are intoxicating, the dopamine can lead us to terrible decisions or getting high on our own supply.
- Plateaus require patience. They are a normal part of any endeavor where the high of starting has worn off, less breakthroughs are occurring, and one is deep in the process.
- Valleys require perspective. They are the toughest on us emotionally; they are the moments that test our commitment. Are we really who we say we want to be? The ego is being thrashed here; quitting is easy.
So, which is the best stage to be in?
Conventional wisdom says peaks of course —they’re tantalizing.
However, peaks and valleys have more in common that we may think.
- They both lead to massive growth.
- They both make us feel deeply alive.
- They both can be leveraged for momentum.
And therein lies the lesson: the valley is a breeding ground to gather the key insights for your next peak.
Are you currently in a peak, plateau or valley?