Are You Plateauing?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about issues around plateau, growth and expansion in my own life. In May, I celebrated by 55th Birthday which was an exciting time for me. However, I came into this year without much excitement, flat, or blah… After several weeks of feeling this way, I took a serious evaluation of where I have been, where I am, and where I was going as I knew I was approaching age 60 in a few short years.

The year 2018 marked the 10th year anniversary of my graduation from the Regent University School of Divinity Doctor of Ministry Program and the 5th year anniversary of my completion of the Graduate Certificate Program at the Institute of Women’s Studies - University of Georgia. In fact, since returning to school at age 30, and the completion of my last academic program at age 50, I have earned 2 undergraduate degrees, 2 graduate degrees, 1 post-graduate degree and 3 professional certifications. These years represent a 20-year span of my life that was dedicated to growing both personally and professionally. Within this time-frame, I married, bore 3 children, treaded out a significant place in ministry alongside my husband, launched a non-profit organization focused on the development of women and girls, and have led several for-profit business ventures.

While all of the aforementioned accomplishments have yielded much success in my personal, business and ministry life, I came into 2018 feeling like I had plateaued. Plateau is defined as 1) a period or state of little or no growth or decline; 2) a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual’s learning marked by an inability to increase speed, reduce number of errors often indicated by a horizontal stretch in a learning curve or graph; 3) a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons.

Each of these definitions of plateau resonated with me as I came into the year 2018. It had been 5 years since I have challenged myself academically. I have been pastoring the same congregation for 25 years. I have been leading the same non-profit organization for 14 years and I realize that within these organizations, I had possibly reached the highest levels of leadership. Much like, “a land area having a relatively level surface” I had plateaued. I knew there were heights I had yet to attain and I had to resist the temptation to rest comfortably in the deep canyons of my own land mass otherwise, I would begin to decline.

So, what did I do? I began taking an inventory of my life. I began questioning everything about myself. I got a therapist. I began asking myself hard questions and answering those questions truthfully. I changed my devotional life and developed a new pattern for my morning prayer and worship. I faced my fears around growing and began putting myself in new and challenging settings. I changed my workout schedule and added yoga to my exercise regimen. I completed my book project on self-care. I started a travel business. I blew the dust off old plans and began re-visioning my future. I even seized the opportunity to fulfill a 36-year old dream, and on June 10, 2018, I proudly became a woman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated!

All of this I did in the first 6 months of 2018. Today, I no longer feel that I have plateaued. I am alive, refreshed and ready to explore new growth opportunities. Here's my encouragement to those who may feel like you have plateaued in your business, ministry, relationships, finances, marriage, family, physical, emotional or spiritual life:

  • Do Some Serious Reflection

  • Challenge Your Thinking

  • Commit to Being a Life-Long Learner

  • Explore New Possibilities

  • Raise Your Personal and Professional Ceiling

  • Change Your Exercise and Fitness Routines

  • Complete A New Academic Program or Professional Certification

  • Widen Your Circle of Associations and Friendships

  • Join A New Organization

  • Complete a Short-Term or Long-Term Goal

  • Fulfill a Long Awaited Dream

  • Travel to a City or Country You've Never Visited

  • Learn a New Skill

  • Develop A New Hobby

  • Cook a New Recipe

  • Do Something Different

It's insanity to do the same thing and expect different results. No matter how old you are, there is still more life in you. Decide today, that plateauing is not an option for you and keep growing.

See you on the next level,

Dr. Toni


Ebony Steiner