Climbing the mountain of progress also requires stopping to take in the view

Today I want to talk to you about success and the inherent frustration you’ll unfailingly encounter as you drive to achieve your dreams. You know that frustrated feeling I’m talking about — the one that comes from things taking you longer and requiring far more effort than you counted on to realize the results you’re looking for.

The frustration you feel comes from expectations you have not met. Whenever you set a goal, it’s going to come with a set of expectations you may not be consciously aware of. You have expectations about the amount of time it’s going to take, the effort it’s going to require, the investment of capital it’s going to need, and the size of the reward you’re going to enjoy. You have those expectations because you believe that achieving your goal is a straight, upward, unencumbered path.

That’s not realistic, no matter how much you’ve prepared. Achieving something you’ve never achieved before takes thoughts, decisions, and actions you’ve never had before. Think of your shop as a giant science lab where you’re diligently working on discovering what your “secret sauce” is. You’re going to create a theory about what you think you need to do, determine what experiment you can run to prove or disprove your theory, and then conduct your experiment to see your results. Once you’ve finished your testing, you’ll sit down and determine if your theory works for you or not. Depending on the result, you’ll walk away satisfied or determine what the next theory is going to be to test out.


Rather than a straight, upward, unencumbered path, a more accurate trajectory will include plateaus.

The fact is, you’re going to experience plateaus as you climb your mountain and they should be embraced, not shunned, because they are crucial to you ultimately succeeding.

Plateaus allow you to enjoy the view. You get to realize just how far you’ve come. You can celebrate what you’ve accomplished and feel a sense of pride.

Plateaus allow you to recharge. You recognize that goal achievement is a marathon and not a sprint. If you don’t pace your progress, you and your team are going to suffer unnecessary disappointments and burn out. You need this rest.

Plateaus allow you to review what got you there. Once you’re aware of the new skillsets and mindset you’ve created to reach this summit, you can reinforce them and make them a habit.

Plateaus allow you to resist. If goal achievement was one steady climb, it’d be easy for your group to slide back into old routines at different times. A plateau makes it harder for this to happen because your plateau becomes your new “normal.” You’ve got to get acclimated to the new surroundings.

Plateaus allow you to restock. Now that you’re all rested and recharged, it’s time to gather the supplies you’re going to need for the next part of your climb. You’re going to need different equipment to get you higher up this mountain than the equipment that’s gotten you to this point. You can trade out things that didn’t work or broke during your previous ascent so that you and your crew are the best prepared you can be.

The only time plateaus are dangerous to your goal achievement is when you spend too much time on one. You’ve got to remember that plateaus are a rest spot, not your destination. Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. And climb on.

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Rick White is President and Lead Coach for 180BIZ, a training and business coaching company proudly serving the independent auto and truck repair owner since 2006. Rick’s clients consider him to be a trusted advisor. Rick can be reached at 540-833-2014 ext. 11 and His website is

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.