You may believe that the path to your goal will look like this:

I really do wish it could be so, but it won’t.
It will look very much like this:

 

You will improve rapidly. The wind will be at your back. You’ve “got it.”

Then you’ll falter. Sometimes you’ll feel like your head is barely above water and that you “just can’t do it.” Then you’ll come out of your lull, most likely when you stop trying so hard, putting so much pressure on yourself, and worrying about your results rather than the process of improvement.

When you’ve had about enough, you’ll concentrate on improving your skills rather than feeling bad about your scores. You’ll remember why you play the game: for FUN! You’ll gain new insights, and then your game will be on the upswing again. People will tell you how wonderful and talented you are. Don’t listen! You know the truth: Your skills are a product of hard work, determination, struggle, grit, maybe some tears, and, yes, a little talent.

Then you’ll level out. Just when you feel like that will never happen again. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, your progress will stall. You’ll feel like you’re stuck in the mud with the wind in your face. You may come to a fork in the road and not know which way to turn. You may feel lost. You might feel like taking the easy way out, but you know that’s a pitfall!

You’re not lost. You’re right where you are! It’s just not where you want to be.

You’ve been through this cycle before. It’s inevitable. You’ll realize that you’re not stuck. Not really. You’re “verging.” You’re on the verge of a new skill level. You will know that just behind this temporary lull is another opportunity to gain more insights and learn more. And learn you will! Your game will improve and you’ll head closer to your goal. Maybe you’ll even reach it, but there are no guarantees and you’ll be fine with that because it’s the journey that matters.

In the back of your mind, or better yet in the front of it, remember that, as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, you will have ups and downs. As bleak as things look in the short term, if you continue to work hard and smart, your overall trend will be upward.

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