I talk to many guys who tell me their lives or careers have plateaued. No matter how successful they’ve become, things feel small and flat or boring.

When I dig a little deeper I find that many of these guys are avoiding some form of tension or discomfort. Resisting this tension causes exhaustion.

If we consider that everything we want is on the other side of our comfort zone, that means that if we’re going to grow then we’re going to be inviting tension into our lives.

Here are just (3) types of tension — or information — that I deal with personally and with my coaching clients:

Tension Number 1: You’re Pregnant

Not literally. But there’s a tension that shows up when there’s a business idea, a book, a product, an offering, a service, a gift, you-name-it to be birthed or expressed.

It’s dynamic tension. It’s creative, generative force trying to get out. It’s uncomfortable but it’s not bad or wrong. It’s part of the creative process.

It’s similar to that excitement we feel when we’re turned on. But instead of racing to “blow it out” like a horny teenager, learn how to let it energize you.

How do you find relief? Stick your neck out there. Create. Express this thing. Give birth. Bring it to the world. Then do it again.

Tension Number 2: Push Without Recovery

Many times we’ll be creating and generating and then feel like something is off.

“I’m doing the thing I love to do but something’s missing.”

Imagine the performer on stage without applause. The stand up comedian without the laughs. Sure those guys are doing what they love, but there’s no exchange with the audience. It’s only going one way — outward.

Look around at basically everything in nature — waves, tides, orbits. Systems work best when energy goes out and energy comes back. Many times there’s tension because the energetic exchange is uneven or missing.

It may be in the form of money, acknowledgement, meaning, impact, love, security, or fun. Bottom line: without that return we get depleted.

How do you find relief? Most of the time the person who is feeling this tension is afraid to ask for what they want in return for what they’re providing. Speak up. Take a risk. Ask for what you want and allow yourself to receive it.

Tension Number 3: Not Enough ______

There’s a gap between where we are and where we want to be personally or professionally. That’s not so bad.

But the shadow side to this is believing that who we are as a person is not enough, that we are not acceptable as we are.

The shadow side says that only when we’ve achieved/become/acquired more status, money, love, significance, etc. then we’ll be relieved of this tension. Then we’ll be acceptable.

That may be true for a little while. But then that “not enough” voice starts back up and the pattern just keeps repeating itself.

How do you find relief? Understand that believing your peace of mind is attached to some achievement is a trap. Go for what you want, absolutely, but don’t attach your sense of self worth to it.

Moving Forward

Pay attention to the tension. It’s valuable information. Instead of trying to ignore it, let it inform you about where to go next. That’s the path to break out of the boring, exhausting, plateau you may be experiencing.


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