One of my favorite lessons I’ve ever learned from my ventures in seminars was the one that talked about consciously competent. It also was so much information in 2 hours that I walked away with a migraine. So I’ll try to spare you the headache, literally. But the lesson forever changed how I felt about myself – which is more important than we realize. Often times, we compare our 1st step to other people’s 20th and beat ourselves up over it. Hopefully this helps.
In life, we start being UNCONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT
We’ve all heard the saying, you don’t know what you don’t know.
When we are born we only have our instincts. We are carried around. We have no idea how to walk or talk and don’t even know there’s such a thing. We are unconsciously incompetent. We don’t know, what we don’t know.
While the world moves around us we’re at a stand still.
Then, as we grow, we begin to observe the world around us and we start to notice that the world is moving. People are … walking. Then, all of a sudden, we want to walk too. But, do we just get up and start walking? No. We don’t. But for some reason, as adults, we expect these sort of results and get frustrated when we don’t get there. As babies, we know better – sometimes.
We begin to roll, get on our hands and knees, we move in ways that will get us to the walking stage. We are CONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT. We know what we want, we’re aware of what we aren’t doing, and we are working on getting there. Most of all, we’re seeking out help. When we learn to walk don’t we hold the hands of our parents? Our family?
We fall a lot. A LOT. We even cry. But we don’t give up. We can’t! It’s not in our nature. And quickly, we move on to the third stage and that’s CONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT. It’s the moment every parent remembers. Their babies first steps. I remember it like it just happened and my joy consumed me. My son bounded down the hallway with heavy, clumsy steps. His arms flailed in the air and his chubby thighs jiggled with each step all the while he giggled with so much joy he gasped for air. I screamed with delight and the tears were flowing. It was a moment of absolute pure bliss.
My son had taken his first steps on his own. But, he had to think about each step. He had to consciously think about walking. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. When we walk now, do we think about it? Does a marathon runner think with each step of how to take the next one? No, because we’re UNCONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT.
Often times, we drive to work and when we get there we don’t even remember how. All of a sudden, we’re at work. We take the turns, the route, put the car in drive, merge, and do everything without even a second thought.
Everything we go through in life we go through with these 4 steps. But when it comes to some of the biggest journeys in life we question our path when we reach the 2nd and 3rd step. We become frustrated and want to give up. We look at the person in step 4 or even step 3 and get frustrated that we’re not there yet. But that person went through steps 2 and 3 as well. You can not get to step 4 without first going through the first 3 steps.
UNSCONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT > CONSCIOUSLY INCOMPETENT > CONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT > UNCONSCIOUSLY COMPETENT
Stop beating yourself up. Be kind to yourself and remember, we have to fall and sometimes we have to cry – but it’s not in our nature to give up. That is a learned behavior. We learned the behavior of giving up when sometime during our childhood, we gave up for the first time and were rewarded when the pain ended.
But as adults, we are also aware that sometimes on the other side of pain and heartache are the greatest rewards.
Can you think of other examples in your own life where you went through these 4 stages? What were they? Let me know in the comments!