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Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am starting my new company and I feel nervous, so here is something to help

I get a tingle down the spine when I move to a new start up, it's all about the unknown, and the new adventure ahead, the challenges. I was at the doctors again this morning with the auzzie leg infection, it seams to be taking an age to clear up, so more antibiotics and another week off my new delivery of Red wine.....but when I was there I was flipping through the national geographical and I saw a map of the Grand Teton's with the mountains detailed and being a climber of sorts myself in a past life it came to me that each of those peaks had a story to tell, and individuals who climbed them had there own memories good and bad, the events that had happened to produce the names, like Death Shelf, Battle mountain or Hurricane Pass, and I thought of all the peaks that I had climbed personally and professionally, Physically and figuratively, and these all have taught me lessons that can be used to help on the next adventure. I would suggest that as you step out on the next adventure and you feel nervous, think off all the peaks you have claimed, and how you felt, and get stuck into the next one ahead.

conscious competence learning model

I picked up this article from Pamela Slim's blog Escape from Cubicle Nation"it talks about a model or frame work of how we learn, a good read and would look good in any ones term paper, let me know what you think.

STAGE 1: UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE. You aren't aware of what you don't know. Otherwise known as blissful ignorance.
Example: If you are a full-time employee of a corporation and have never pondered becoming an entrepreneur, you have no real idea what is involved. The idea sounds dangerously romantic, and you spend hours in your cube, fantasizing about your carefree lifestyle.
What you need in this phase: A dose of reality.
STAGE 2: CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE You become painfully aware of what you don't know. This is the "hopeless klutz" phase. Example: You get excited about the possibility of working for yourself, so you poke around on the web and buy a few books. You find out there are a million things to take into consideration and everyone has a different opinion about what will make your business a success. You don't feel like you have a handle on things, and it feels both uncomfortable and overwhelming.
What you need in this phase: Sound guidance, support and information from trusted experts.
STAGE 3: CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE You are able to do the task with focus and mental effort. Think of how you felt as a kid when you were able to ride your bike without your Mom or Dad's hand on the back of the seat, and you didn't wipe out. Example: With careful planning, study and support, you are able to start your business. You develop your product or service and begin to sell it. You start to interact with customers and handle all aspects of running your business. You still need to use instruction manuals, get expert guidance and spend a lot of time preparing, but you are able to run your business with a decent level of comfort.
What you need in this phase: Practice, practice, practice. And feedback from a trusted source.
STAGE 4: UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE You do the task effortlessly without even thinking about it. Very smart Czech author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this flow. Example: You are in business for a few years and work very hard. You perfect your products and services, understand your market and develop real expertise in your field. You learn from your mistakes. You handle all aspects of running your business without a lot of stress. People look at you as an expert and think "man, he must have been born doing that, since he does it so well."
What you need in this phase: Not much, as you are comfortable and "at home" with your new skills. Pretty soon, however, you will need to challenge yourself with something new or focus on improving your performance, since if you stay in the "unconscious competence" stage for too long you can get bored.
The power of this model was really hammered home when I used to teach presentation skills around the country. Regardless of experience, most people were terrified of standing up in front of a camera and giving a presentation, especially when they were trying to change some ingrained habits, like inserting"ums and ahs" in every other sentence, rubbing their hands together nervously as if they were being interrogated by an IRS agent, or rocking back and forth like an ocean buoy. Many would get extremely frustrated with themselves when they were unable to expunge habits after one 3-minute practice run. After introducing the conscious competence model, however, they realized that they had to go through each stage of learning to successfully change habits, and they relaxed.
Over time, you will learn that you get stuck in stage 2 or 3 with certain tasks and it never gets better, no matter how much you practice. This is a good indication that a skill is not a natural strength, and it may be better to hire someone to do it for you.

PS I have been running a serious of question and answers on http://www.linkedin.com/ and have quoted from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi a few times, drop by and see what other folks think about it all.



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