The Builder’s Journey to “Conscious Competence”…

…is the DREAM STATE for whatever your OPUS is, i.e. your labor of love.  There are two continuums on this journey, and they are dynamic, not static.

The first is your level of competence.  There are levels of being competent and not competent.   When you’re around a mentor who has put in 20,000 hours of lifetime mastery, and you’re at 10,000 hours, you recognize what getting to the next level looks like.    And with a strong core, it’s energizing to you.    But for someone at 0 hours, all levels 10,000 and above may seem indistinguishable in the same way the peaks of the Rockies look mostly alike when they first appear on the horizon driving west from Kansas (feeling the love, Toto?).

The second continuum is your level of consciousness (i.e. awareness) about your level of competence.   There are many areas of life in which we are oblivious about our level of non-competence.   We don’t become conscious about our obliviousness until our eyes are opened by observing someone else.

Masters in the art of living build competence in the areas of life they love, and embrace becoming more conscious of their current level of mastery with all its nuances — as well as the next level which awaits them.

They embrace this cognitive dissonance with the curiousity of a 3-year old, always seeking to learn not just the how & what but the why & the why not.   Like Leonardo D’Avinci, they value not just what they know but even more, what they still have yet to learn.   This is why masters love training with and shadowing other masters.   In his book, Peak, it’s what Ericsson calls ‘deliberate practice.’

Here’s a go-to drill.

Take a minute and write about a specific competence you want to further master and why.  Next to it, put the name of someone you know in whom you’ve observed it.   Get a few minutes on their calendar, and then practice 7 good minutes of questions to have them walk you through not only what you’ve observed but the thinking and the mindset behind it.   Chances are, this will not be obvious to themselves at first, because we’re not conscious of our own competence until we have to think about how to explain it.   I observed this with the head of a system in Practice #58 last week, when a young apprentice financial advisor had the courage to ask his leader how he answers client questions so simply without unloading a dump truck of industry knowledge.    The leader had to stop and think and it wasn’t until the third or fourth explanation before clarity arrived.   When I asked the team who learned the most in practice today, some said the young apprentice, but then the leader’s partner jumped in with a smile and said “no, I think our leader did.”

With a strong core, you will rinse + repeat this growth cycle over and over, and it’s why elite leaders embrace BUILT TO LEAD practice for themselves and their teams.

Together We Improve.

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