You’ve done well academically and throughout your career to date, but you’re worried that you may have hit a plateau and might take quite a while to navigate back to uphill terrain.

This happens to most talented people at some point and it’s nothing to be afraid of as long as you are prepared to adapt a little to a new paradigm.  I say “a little” here, very deliberately.  You don’t have to change who you are, and you don’t have to go back to the drawing board to figure out what your new career path needs to now look like.


Growth Mindset

The shift needed, is to think more about a “Growth Mindset”*.  Talented people often have quite a fixed mindset approach.  In their minds they are successful primarily because of their talent and if something isn’t going well, it must because this is an area which doesn’t play to their strengths.

At best, this can mean getting bored with the task in hand and finding other things which suit our abilities better. (How many of us gave up Piano lessons or similar as a kid?)  At worst, it can lead to something of an existential crisis, questioning our very core beliefs.  Have we been deluded all these years thinking we were good at stuff?

This is not a helpful way of thinking.  With a Growth Mindset on the other hand, we can worry less about our absolute performance and think more about whether we are learning, developing and growing.  If we make mistakes or even if we simply struggle to excel, that’s an opportunity to learn more and get better at what we do. It’s like caring less about what your current position is in the league and refocusing on whether your are moving up table or not.  Our careers are a long season after all.



Talent is clearly positively related to success, but the reality is, hard work and grit are more important factors.  If you’ve reached a plateau, then perhaps now is a good time to examine what lessons you can learn and think through how you can build on your existing talent and apply it in slightly new ways.

The implications of this can be difficult to swallow at times.  You might have to change and even abandon tried and tested ways of doing things.  Ways which have worked for previous roles, but just won’t cut it at this level.

You may have to re-evaluate cherished self-beliefs.  You may well have a great memory, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you (or anyone else in your shoes) can keep everything in their head without a better way of organizing yourself and your priorities.


Click here to consider a different approach to prioritization


You may have got the best out of people through energy and the force of your personality, but that doesn’t necessarily work at every level.


Click here to consider a simple yet powerful approach to people management


I could go on with different examples, but you get the point I’m sure.  Talent alone is not enough.  You are lucky to have it, but you will have to start thinking in new ways to keep using it effectively.


*  Dr. Carol Dweck, Mindset