You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know

Any time you begin to explore creating a life you truly love, you experience four stages of learning and doing that everybody who has undergone change has experienced. So that’s anybody alive! The good news is, you have gone through these stages many many times in life, although, you may not have been aware of them.

Identifying what stage you are at in each area of your life can help you remain patient with yourself about where you’re at in development and also propel you forward to the next stage-knowing what awaits you!

In my work with clients and students so many start out in the first stage which is Unconscious Incompetence. This is where the term “ignorance is bliss” comes from. You don’t know what you don’t know. You’re going about life, and then something happens, things shift just a tiny bit. Perhaps you meet a person with a different perspective. You enroll in a course to learn about something you haven’t learned before. Or you simply have a feeling that something is off in your life, and you’re just not sure what it is. Something stirs in you to seek out new information and/or new ways of doing things. As this process begins, you quickly become aware of how much you didn’t know and as you continue to learn you move into the next stage.

The next stage for me is the most exciting, yet frustrating stage of learning-Conscious Incompetence. In this stage you become aware of what you didn’t know or the things you can’t yet do. You start to see all of the different ways you can continue to learn about what you didn’t know and how to step into doing things differently. It’s at this point where you become motivated to make changes in your life. This stage is the drive stage…moving you towards your goal. The only way through this stage is trial and error. It’s in this stage where you will learn all you can about what you want to do, and start experimenting with doing it.

As you continue to learn and try things in a different way, you start to become competent and are moving closer to achieving your goals. The key thing to remember during this stage is that failure doesn’t exist. But rather, when you “fail” at things-you also learn the biggest lessons and grow tremendously. These lessons provide you with opportunities to become competent so it’s not a failure at all. Just another opportunity to learn. So perseverance is key!

Reframing how we think about failure is truly the key to our success. What we perceive as failures are actually opportunities for us to learn and grow in meaningful ways.

Reframing how we think about failure is truly the key to our success.

After you have experimented with different thoughts and behaviors to get you closer to your goal, you move into Conscious Competence. You see that you are becoming better at thinking and doing the things that at one time you were completely unaware were even possible! You still think about your thinking and how you’re doing things, but you are more sure of yourself and know that you have the understanding and ability to do the things you love to do. After time, sometimes many many years you reach the final step of competence-Unconscious Competence.

Unconscious Competence-you are the expert! You have experimented, practiced, and been successful repeatedly in what you’re doing. You are now able to do it successfully without thought and are regularly meeting your life goals. You forget all of the initial steps that went into you getting to this stage and regularly engage in the thinking and behavior without even thinking about it. Your persistence has paid off!

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