There are times when people run into textbook scenarios in their field. I often hear folks complain about how boring these situations are– how they crave a challenge and think the only option is to leave because they are tired of the mundane. Textbook situations can actually be quite beneficial. Here’s why.
First, there’s just nothing like sharing space with others– even if that space is monotonous or difficult.
“You were overlooked because of an outside hire? Me too.”
“You’re tired of the hour-long weekly meetings that could have been an email? Me too.”
“You are afraid of returning to work after a health scare? Me too.”
There is a type of friendship that can only be forged through adversity; it is a worthwhile pursuit. Any friendship is one for which we can be thankful. So if you find yourself on a plateau, look around and see who else is there with you. Reach out to them.
The second reason plateaus are gifts is that they give us space to change the way we see things. The buttes of Monument Valley, Colorado are freestanding structures with steep cliffs on all four sides and a plateau at the top. Once you get to the plateau, you’ve seen all there is to see. This is the apex. The zenith. The highest you can go.
On the other hand, the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado offer a multitude of stepped plateaus. You can hike up to one, step out and survey a picturesque landscape, then turn and hike up to another plateau. Each plateau is an opportunity to rest and refuel. It’s a place to stop moving upward and begin moving outward. It is an opportunity to step away from the trail and explore your own path. It’s a place to notice, to discover, and to see things from different perspectives.
Plateaus can be great; it’s all a matter of how we choose to see them. Through mindfulness, we can choose to see that being in familiar territory allows us to shut down some of the decision-making energy and choose to direct that energy toward other worthwhile pursuits such as mentoring others, networking, learning more about new developments in our field, or resting and refueling for the next project. When we accept the fact that we are where we are, we can embrace our position and use it to our advantage.
And even if the path you thought was leading to a mountain-top experience actually resembles more of a butte, resist the urge to complain. Take a moment and look around. Everything you have been through to get to this height has provided you with a learning experience and a great vantage point from which to see where you want to go next.