#6 How to Become a Magician of Self-Leadership - Step 3.
There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
Often times we quit too early. When the crap hits the fan, we get emotional and stop ourselves from taking another step forward. It’s always easier to quit, isn’t it? I truly believe if we learn the 4 stages of development, we start making better decisions. Believe me, I know. It has taken me 28 years to get most of the emotions away from my decision-making process.
Where to begin?
Start by asking two questions:
First, what is your level of competence?
Competence means you have the knowledge and skills to accomplish the goal. You can’t expect to be competent on a task you’ve never done and have no idea how to do.
Second, what is your level of commitment?
Commitment is measured by your motivation and confidence about the goal. That’s exactly what happens as you move through the learning continuum.
The Learning Continuum.
It’s simply a model of 4 stages people usually experience when they are learning to master something. It captures what you typically experience, so you can be better prepared to handle what will probably happen. It helps you to recognise how competence and commitment change as you learn something new or pursue a goal.
It helps you to put some conscious acceptance in the world of subconscious thinking and making an emotional decision. Sometimes you give up without conscious choice, so it feels like a failure.
The 4 stages of Development.
D1 - Enthusiastic Beginner and False Confidence stage.
You have the low competence and high commitment. When you first begin to learn something or take on a goal, you have this naive enthusiasm that overshadows your lack of competence. Once you get into the goal and realise you don’t have the competence, your expectations are shattered.
When I first met Aleksander and Olari - the CEO and COO of Shipitwise to talk about the possibility of me joining the team, it took me only about 15 minutes to sell myself the idea that this is the place I belong and need to be. I got the vision, I got the passion, I was in. All the unicorns and rainbows overshadowed the simple fact that I didn't know anything about logistics and how to make things happen. The only thing I asked myself was, where do I sign?
In this stage, you need specific guidelines how to gain knowledge and learn your business as long as your enthusiasm level is up. You need attention and somebody to "hold your hand".
D2 - Disillusioned Learner stage.
You have the low competence and low commitment. This is the stage where you realise that the "honeymoon is over". There are no unicorns. No beautiful rainbows after rain. Your enthusiasm has worn off.
I was about one month in when I realised that what the hell did I do? What did I get myself into? My perceptions of the whole business were nuked. I had a great job in Mercedes, I had a good salary. I was highly valued, I had everything I needed. I started questioning absolutely everything. I had about 3 mental breakdowns in the next 3 months.
If it weren't for Olari, the COO, I think I would have left a long time ago. It was the 1-on-1's we had, where Olari taught me the different emotional stages and I became more aware of what was going on with me.
You need performance feedback and praises about the small baby steps of progress.
D3 - Capable but Cautious Learner and Conditional Confidence stage.
You have high competence and low commitment. In this stage, we attach our self-worth to all the ups and downs we have. If things go well we feel confident and on top of the world. If not, we feel unconfident and in the rock bottom. If we complete our tasks successfully we have a sense of feeling that we are the masters of our job, but since we don't have that much experience, we haven't had much time to gain confidence in our abilities.
After being aware of those different stages, I started to enjoy my job a little bit. I started to see the extra value I bring to people and getting my confidence level up. But every time I stumbled upon some naysayer it went south again. It was a true rollercoaster. I attached my confidence to the outside world and it didn't come from me.
In this stage, you need somebody with you, who constantly reminds you the vision and helps you control the things you can control. You need clear and positive recognition.
D4 - High Achiever and Unconditional Confidence stage.
You have high competence and high commitment. You are master Yoda. You have become a self-leader. This is the most important stage. It separates top producers from the average. You have charisma, swagger and mojo and it's based on your beliefs and habits. You need to know that you have all the skills to be the best and your momentum comes from your habits. Focus on what you can control.
I feel that 8,5 months after joining Shipitwise I'm in a midst of the transition phase between D3 and D4. I believe in my set of skills. I've let go swimming against the stream. I believe I have found my way and all the decisions I have made in my life have led me here. I'm happy to be here and taking this amazing ride with this rollercoaster.
“[Luke:] I can’t believe it.
[Yoda:] That is why you fail.”
Quitting is just your way of feeling some sense of control in a frightening situation. There is something magical in diagnosing your development level and getting the right direction and support you need to achieve your goal.
"Things get harder before they get easier. "
- Italian proverb
This article is based on Ken Blanchard's "One minute manager".