In my book, Leadership Evo, I talk about the four steps that we work through in order to master any skill in life. These four stages take us from being unconsciously unskilled or not knowing that we don't know to unconsciously skilled which is the stage of mastery. Whether we are talking about developing the skills of a leader or the skills of a golfer, the stages remain the same.
Stage 1: Unconsciously Unskilled is the point where we might see something as an outside observer but we have not had experience with it to understand the challenges. For example, many people look at leadership and think, "I could do so much better than my boss." This thought is rooted in the idea that leading is easy and that the skills come naturally. We do not move from this stage until we experience the frustration that goes with the actual position.
Stage 2: Consciously Unskilled is the point where we experience being a leader and realize that people don't always play nice as followers. We realize that what we thought should be easy is actually fairly or even extremely difficult. This frustration is designed to push us into the development of self in order to overcome the challenges that we are facing. Jean Piaget was one of the first psychologists to evaluate the developmental stages of children as they related to cognitive development. His theories accounted for the idea that development preceded learning. He looked at the manner in which a person would try to correlate existing concepts to a new experience, would then be frustrated that it did not match up which would prompt them to create a new explanatory concepts. By adjusting their belief about a situation, they would be able to move to stage 3.
Stage 3: Consciously Skilled is the point in which we have the right understandings and information in place but maintaining the new direction would require deliberate and conscious thought. During this stage, we understand the new skill, new belief, new concept, and we can succeed at implementing this new skill as long as we focus on what is required of us. It is not who we are at this point, but rather it is who we are consciously being. With enough correct repetition of a skill (2500 correct repetitions on average), we can move into stage 4 of learning.
Stage 4: Unconsciously Skilled is the point in which we have learned something so completely and practiced it so thoroughly that it seems to become a natural extension of who the person is. For example, when a person is developing the skill of listening, they begin by focusing on the steps over and over and over again. After enough correct repetition, the person gradually does not have to think consciously about the act of listening. It simply begins to become who the person is and the manner in which they listen.
Each of these stages is a jump forward toward the success of the person related to that skill. Think about the skills in your life that you wish to master. By progressing forward in any skill, you continue to expand the possibilities of your success. Every new skill enhances you capacity for success. Every new skill helps you become more of who you have always been capable of being. Go out, get frustrated, learn a new skill, practice and master the skill, and grow your potential!
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Jody is a writer, motivational speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has been the keynote speaker at over 250 events around the world. Jody speaks more than 150 times per year at different programs, and he has given more than 10,000 speeches during his career.