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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0056| June 4, 2002
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Embrace the Plateau

 Positive efforts to improve group functioning don't always yield immediate observable results.

The Point

The path of mastery, directed at improving yourself as a facilitator, or toward any other capacity, does not unceasingly produce visible results. As we grow as facilitators, or as we support groups to grow in their capacity to relate and function in higher, healthier ways, we are bound to reach "plateaus" where forward progress may appear to stall.

When we reach such a plateua, it is tempting to either try something else, or to become frustrated that we're not making progress and simply quit all together. In actuality, when progress seems to elude you or your groups, it may be time to try something else, but it also may be time to just stay the course.

The idea of mastery is elusive to the majority of Americans. According to George Leonard, author of a book entitled "Mastery," he suggests that American society is engaged in an all out war against mastery. This is brought on primarily by the demands of a consumer-oriented economy requiring unchecked growth. This growth requires the cultivation and maintenance of a belief and value system that says a quick fix for any and everything is as close as your next purchase. He suggests clearly that the heart of mastery is practice and that mastery itself is staying on the path.

If you are discouraged for lack of forward motion despite your best efforts, take heart in the possibility that integration and grounding may be occurring that may form a foundation for the next forward leap in your growth.


Leonard characterizes three different personality types that avoid mastery. We may fall into one or more of these types from time to time in our various pursuits.

There's the "Dabbler" who will try a little bit of everything. Quickly tiring when the initial excitement of a new pursuit begins to dull, off he goes to try the next new thing.

The "Hacker" will get fairly proficient at a skill but will typically stop when he reaches a plateau, never quite achieving mastery.

The "Obsessive" enjoys the act and the tools that go with the skill she is about to undertake. She will buy all the best gear, books, tutors, etc. on the subject, almost enjoying the furnishings more than the undertaking itself. Once she's got all the tools, her interest wears thin.

Leonard tells us that embracing the plateau is the key to mastery. Where are you with respect to your plateaus this week?


This week, look at your own approach to dealing with plateaus in general and around faciltation in particular. Anything you'd like to do differently the next time you're on one? I'd love to hear you're perspectives on this. Please email them to me.

Skill Related Resource 
Mastery, The Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment, by George Leonard

This book is an easy read where you will learn that todays business focus of "bottom-line" thinking and activity is really destructive and is non-value added in the long-term. In order to get to mastery, whether it's your golf game or family relationships--you must be continuously practicing (learning). When using "bottom-line" thinking--you learn only enough to solve your current problem--and you believe your successful. However, how many times do we have to go back and re-fix or address the problem. If we master the problem (thoroughly understanding it)--we can fix the problem right the first time, completely understanding all the connections.

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

About the Author: 
Steve Davis is a Business and Life Coach facilitating others to reach  their full potential in their business and personal lives. Please email your stories, comments, suggestions, and ideas. Or call me at 800-216-3854. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading! 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on June 11, 2002.

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