Recreating the Basics

by Bill Gough, Allstate Hall of Fame Member

We are all creatures of habit. There is very little doubt about that.

If we get a choice of doing what we know versus something we must learn (especially if it includes any level of discomfort), we're likely to get back to our old habits very quickly.

The process of learning and changing goes through four different stages:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence. We always start out not knowing we need to change something. Others are aware that we should, but it is human nature to be extremely oblivious. Especially when it comes to our own self.

    The next two stages are the awkward ones.

  2. Conscious Incompetence (or we know that we don't know). This happens when we realize something isn't right, that something needs to change, but we feel totally unable to effect the change. 

    Let’s say… An agency owner realizes that their shyness is costing them potential referral opportunities. They are at a business event talking about their referral program and everything they say seems to get them nothing but strange looks. At this point, it is crucial to keep practicing, but many people quit trying to change because they hate the clumsiness and potential embarrassment.

    Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable part of the process.

  3. Conscious Competence. The next stage is when this person shows up at a business event, painfully recalls all the right things to say, still feels awkward but now people are responding more positively. The people the agent was talking to just needed to hear a little more or the agent is being more consistent/confident in his talking points.

    After a little more time of practice comes the last stage.

  4. Unconscious Competence. Now, this same person is at the business event, chats everyone up and can't understand why some shy person is sitting in the corner. The "basic habit" of this person has shifted completely; to the extent they don't consciously recollect that they were ever any different.

    This is the science behind why it is so important to learn new skills and practice them daily. It can make you and your team a champion … PLUS … separate you from your competition to dominate your market.

  5. I want to end on a powerful self-creation quote:

    “Reshape yourself through the power of your will; it is the only friend of the Self, and it is the only foe of the Self.” – Maharshi Veda Vyasa