I think you are referring to ranking delays. Time is the only thing that can get you out of it. And it is not a penalty that you have to get out of, rather a time test to prove to Google that you are not a churn and burn site, because they only want established top quality websites to be at the top.
So the MAJORITY of websites out there go through this phase, especially for moderate to high difficulty keywords, where even if you do EVERYTHING right, you will still not rank for a particular period that tends to be about 4 to 6 months in a lot of cases. Some low difficulty keywords might rank much faster but if there are older websites that are trying to rank for the same keywords, they will get the benefit in those first few months, even if your SEO is better, just because they have been around longer. Once this phase is over, you're on equal ground.