As much as we love to think of ourselves as infinitely adaptable, sometimes we reach the end of certain kinds of growth. We see this all the time with relationships that fall apart because, eventually, you’ve told all the stories, shared all the experiences you care to, and want to start fresh. Why should we be surprised when this happens with a skill?
It often gets labelled as burn out, which is perhaps a misnomer in this case. Reaching your absolute peak in a skill, say it’s cooking, doesn’t diminish you as a person, but it should be an indicator that you need to re-evaluate your goals and actions, and then act on those evaluations. Like reaching the end of any other given path, don’t give up, just take the crossroads and keep moving. Accelerate if you feel it’s appropriate. But don’t keep going the same direction at a dead end.
It’s possible to apply old knowledge to new skills, after all. A brilliant writer or speaker will be an excellent salesperson, even if it’s not always the other way around. An excellent chef could make a great accountant if what makes them a great chef is their attention to proceedure and detail.
It’s all about finding out what made you successful within the parameters of your existing tasks – figuring out the components that make up your skills – and shuffling the deck to apply those existing micro-skills to something different. Uncritical self-examination is a wonderful tool to use for this, even if it’s one of the most difficult skills to master at the outset. Practice it more.
Never get discouraged when you’re told you’ve done the best you could. Instead, figure out what made it the best, and use that next time.