Podcast 9: Fear…Failure…and Getting Unstuck

podcast 9

Often fear of failure leads to being stuck in our current state. Our perspective on failure is clearly related to whether we move into new opportunities in our life or remain stuck in situations where we are frustrated with our circumstances. In this podcast, Andee and Rhonda explore the brain process of moving from stuck to higher levels of competence, as well as how our perspective on failure impacts our ability to get unstuck.

The Conscious Competence Learning model was developed in the 1970’s by Noel Burch at the Gordon Training Institute. And this is what our brain tells us. There is a process we go through as we develop a new skill/knowledge/thinking process. This is how it goes:

1. Unconscious Incompetence – we are merrily going along our way. We have no idea there is anything we need to know/see/do in an area of our life so we are unconscious of the fact that we are incompetent in whatever it is we don’t see.

2. Conscious Incompetence – we become aware we are lacking the skill/knowledge/thinking process we need now. We are consciously aware of the fact that we are incompetent IN THIS AREA. At this point, we have a choice to make. Do I move through this uncomfortable place of not knowing so I can become competent? Even if I may embarrass myself in the process? Or do I stay in this incompetent state?

3. Conscious Competence – I am developing my skills. In this place I’m very conscious of each move I make in the process of practicing my skill. I’m very aware of the fact that I’m getting better and my skills/knowledge and thinking are moving into a place of being competent. I am very aware (conscious) of the fact that I am LEARNING how to be competent.

For many who are stuck in their role, this is the place they fear. They know if they admit their conscious incompetence, they’re going to need assistance in some way to learn the new thing that will get them unstuck. And so they stay stuck, frustrated with where they are; knowing that there must be something better, but unable to find a way to the place they need to go. That’s the time and place where a coach, a counselor or a mentor could be so valuable in helping them see a different option, a way of moving from conscious incompetence to conscious competence.

4. Unconscious Competence – in this space, the new skill/knowledge/thought process becomes second nature. The mastery you sought is now part of your being, your identity. You do the new thing with ease, not having to think through it each time, but “just knowing”. Your process is smooth and automatic.

The Conscious Competence Learning Model is a cycle that repeats over and over in our lives. We become competent in one area and find another where we desire to develop our skill, a new area of competence that will add to our repertoire of tools for success.

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