What are you in the process of learning?

I love learning.  Most of the time.  And then there are the times when learning sucks .... 

When you’re working on your management skills, and that feedback conversation didn’t go as planned

When you’re a new ED, and that whole board thing is turning out to be way harder than you imagined

When you’re trying to get better at something that’s really important to you, but you’re starting to doubt if you’ll ever be as good as you want to be

So, here’s my (first) question for you this week: 

What are you in the process of learning? 

Embedded in the question is a critical point: learning is a process.  It takes time.  And when you’re learning something that's challenging and complex (managing people, leading a team, sustaining an organization), it may take lots of time, and it absolutely will take practice, resilience, and hard work. 

This is all part of the (sometimes painful) process of learning.  When you’re learning any new skill, there are four steps in the learning process:

1.  Unconscious incompetence.  You don’t know what you don’t know. Ignorance is bliss

2.  Conscious incompetence.   You know what you don’t know. You’ve gotten feedback or seen yourself in a new light, and now you’re aware of a gap between your current abilities and your desired skills.  FAR FROM BLISS.  This is where the learning process can get uncomfortable.  You will doubt yourself.  You will make mistakes.  You will fall.  

The key for moving forward from here?  It's two-fold.  Be kind with yourself.  Accept where you are and know that it is an inevitable part of the learning process.  Allow the process to take the time it needs.  At the same time, stay fiercely determined to getting better.  When you make mistakes, find the strength you need to dust yourself off and keep practicing.

Because if you persist in your efforts, then you’ll graduate to the next phase …

3.  Conscious competence.  You know what you know.  Phew.  Your hard work is paying off and your abilities are improving.  As you’re entering this new phase, stay focused on learning.  Reflect on what’s working, what’s not, and how you can continue to improve your abilities.  Over time you will find more ease and eventually reach… 

4.  Unconscious competence.  You don’t know what you know.  You have mastered your new skill.  Mr. Miyagi, watch out.

So, over to you!  Tell me...

What are you in the process of learning, and where are you in the learning process?  

How can you approach the learning process with both acceptance of where you are and determination to move forward?

I hope you'll share some of the insights you discover in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Best, Jen

P.S. – My much more technically savvy Project Assistant McKenzie is on vacation this week, so we’re taking a week hiatus from the video.  I’ll be back in 3-D form next week!