Becoming an Unconscious Competent

When I began my business career, little did I know that over a span of thirty years plus would I find myself writing a how-to article on the power of becoming an Unconscious Competent, a powerful methodology that when applied to both professional AND personal lives has the ability to give you increases never before imagined.

Stop Over-Thinking & Start Over-DOING!

Time and time again in my professional or personal life I have found that becoming an Unconscious Competent in CORRECT ACTIVITIES has always allowed me to make up for any deficiencies that I had—whether it be education,  knowledge, or experience. I have also found that may people would “stall” themselves by over-thinking many business applications—thus reducing possible revenue increases and in their personal world many fabulous experiences. After observing this phenomenon in salespeople, business owners and C-Level Executives, I coined the phrase “Don’t over-think the think; Over DO THE DO!” As long as it is correct activity!

The definition of an Unconscious Competent is very simple:

You know what you know so well that you
no longer think about it—“it” is a discipline!

I had a long-time student ask me an interesting question:

“Out of all your sales students, business owner students, and C-Level Executives you have coached, what was the ONE commonality that they all shared that propelled them to success?”

I had to ponder that question for a few moments. In fact, it took many minutes of thought before I could give him an accurate answer. For years I have taught that across the board, high levels of discipline, tenacity, and implementation of correct activities were the deciding factors for mega success!  All other nouns describing ways to success always found themselves behind discipline, tenacity, and implementation. Besides, he asked for the #1 commonality, not a combination of the three.

A few moments of silence led me to the most accurate answer that I could provide this young salesperson. And that one answer was D-I-S-C-I-P-L-I-N-E! Without any doubts, DISCIPLINE is the #1 commonality shared by the top salespeople, business owners, and C-Level Executives.

A key ingredient in incorporating the discipline that will lead you to Extraordinary Success is understanding the pathway of developing discipline.  Doing the same daily discipline, day in and day out, eventually leads you to never think about it, and when you do it without thought, you are then an Unconscious Competent!

Success Pathway of Development That Leads to
Becoming an Unconscious Competent:

Discipline and the habits are closely related by definition. For years, people have claimed that habits are formed in 21 days of the same activity.  However, in-field experience taught me that it takes much longer to form a habit. Habits actually form in more like 210 days of disciplined recurrences and will eventually lead to you becoming an Unconscious Competent.

Become An Unconscious Competent - 201 Days to Success

Exact pathways implemented with correct activity lead to extraordinary success. So no matter whether you are developing a new discipline or replacing an old one with a new one, it applies—whether the behavior you are learning and mastering is professional, personal, emotional, physical, or even mental.

Stages in Competences:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence:
    You don’t know that you don’t know “it” (information, behavior, etc.)
  2. Conscious Incompetence:
    You know that you don’t know – you’re still uncomfortable about “it”
  3. Conscious Competence:
    You know that you know yet you still have to think about “it”
  4. Unconscious Competence:
    you know what you know so well that you no longer think about it—“it” is a discipline!

Learning a New Behavior—Forming A New Discipline

Discipline: an activity, exercise, or a regimen
that develops or improves a skill.

Once you experience the activity, over time you will do the discipline without thinking. Remember, we form a new discipline because it will serve us in some way. In other words, initially every discipline has a positive intention, whether or not we are conscious of it.

Here are the steps in forming a new discipline:

  1. Map of the Behavior:
    The first step for learning a new behavior (or anything else for that matter) is to have a mental map of it, to understand what you are learning and why. Once the mental map is started, you MUST write the discipline down as a formal goal.
  2. Practice the Discipline:
    Once you have a mental & written understanding of the behavior, you need to practice the action over and over again so it will become a discipline.
  3. Be Aware of the “Sales Trap”
    Your humanity will play tricks on you so be aware of the “Sales/Business Mouse Trap!” As in the old “Mouse Trap” game, you make a bad move, get trapped, and cannot escape! Some examples: “That won’t work in my industry!” “What I do is so unique!” “Yeah . . . but . . .” “The reason why I do it my way is . . .” “My customers would never . . .” I’m too cool for  . . .” “It takes too much time!” . . . You get the picture!
  4. Stop Thinking and DO! Watch Positive Feelings Happen After Successes!
    Initially, as you practice the new discipline, you will probably feel uncomfortable and awkward. As you continue to practice, you feel more and more comfortable. Doing becomes more important than thinking—the first sign that you are reaching Conscious Competence! The reason you practice over and over again is so that you can become more and more comfortable with the discipline. Then, as you start racking up successes, positive feelings abound and now you are on your way to unconscious competency!
  5. Behavior Becomes Automatic
    With consistent practice, emotional comfort increases. Professional and personal improvements happen. Eventually, the new actions become automatic and thus disciplines!

The Action Pyramid

We can discover from research how people react to new ideas, or, in my world, tactical sales approaches or high-level sales psychology.  Look at these steps to understand how we might process the new idea:

The Pyramid of Learned Behaviors

It doesn’t stop there either. You have to then realize that we all take different steps in making change and responding to change. Some of these steps are very time intensive while others are designed to lighten our load and allow us to focus on higher value targets. Regardless, try to reduce the number of steps you take to get to a successful discipline or becoming an unconscious competent.

Negative Responses To Change

  • Immobilization
  • Denial
  • Barriers
  • Opinions
  • Testing
  • Acceptance

Positive Responses to Change

  • Uninformed Optimism
  • Informed Pessimism
  • Hopeful Realism
  • Informed Optimism
  • Completion
  • Success!

Stages We Go Through
When We Change Our Behaviors

  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Systems
  • Automation
  • Delegation
  • Unconscious Competence

Today is the day you start becoming an Unconscious Competent. For everything that you have to think about—WRITE IT DOWN or record those thoughts electronically—so you don’t have to remember them! Put systems into place—automate and systematize things that you have to think about. For your 100% Unconscious Competencies—don’t give them another thought!

Right now, without thought, start!

Don’t over-think the think; Over-DO the DO!

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