Today, when I least expected it, I experienced a burst in my performance. Last night, riding with downer, my legs felt like toast as I limped my way home after a short and particularly slow roll. This morning, however, at the crack of dawn my legs felt surprisingly fresh and as we turned right on the Tom Wright Memorial Highway, I decided to stay seated when the road turned up. My cadence felt good and my little twigs warmed slightly. My breathing didn’t go defcon 4. My right knee didn’t flare up. And, my pace felt like it might when out of the saddle. Seated, I stayed. It felt good.
I smiled to myself as I realized I was witness to another performance truth. Growth from training does NOT follow a linear pattern. We train and train and train. Nothing. We can’t see or feel the increase. This is the mundane middle where so many give up. We plateau. The older we are, oftentimes, the longer we live on the plateau regardless the endeavor we’re after. The more we move toward mastery in anything, the longer the plateau.
However, if you and I stick to the disciplines, fall in love with the process, and develop patience while not settling on the plateau, suddenly the burst will simply show up. This is why, to gain mastery of anything in work/life you gotta love the aim you’re after, marry the mundane, and learn to laugh along the way. I mean lets get real here. My burst is still really, really slow and we’re talking about my hobby, not my life’s work. However, the system training dynamic is the same.
So, when it comes to your life’s work remember to embrace the pain of training, training, and training some mo. Marry the mundane middle and get comfortable on the plateau. And, learn to laugh at yourself and with others. Your work, your marriage, and your life will require lots of lonely work and suddenly, surprisingly – your burst.