I’ll always remember Bishop Eddie Long saying, “Tell your neighbor, ‘I know I just borrowed a dollar, but do you know who you just loaned a dollar to?’ ”
He was saying where you are right now says nothing about where God is taking you. You might suck at public speaking. You might show up to your house showing in a hoopty. You might not have the appropriate attire for your new position. But, you still got favor, baby! You might feel a little embarrassed and unqualified, but don’t you stop moving your feet.
There was a time where I didn’t know how to braid and I didn’t lose any sleep at night. Then, I had a sweet little girl with a head full of hair. And, again, not losing any sleep. Until, we moved to Guam and she was swimming everyday and I was tired of washing, de-tangling, and styling hair every evening. So, one day, I said to myself I am going to learn how to braid. It took me forever to make one braid and it looked horrific. But, I wanted to get better so I kept braiding. And, I kept braiding. Fast forward a few years later, I’m on a family vacay at the beach and I’m fresh out of rubberbands. So, I decided to give my 2 year old two braids. I was finished in 2 minutes.
I went through the 4 stages of competence.
I didn’t know how to braid and it didn’t affect my life one bit. Unconscious incompetence.
I didn’t know how to braid, but realized mornings and swimming lessons would be so much easier if my daughter’s hair was braided. Conscious incompetence.
I began to teach myself. Every finger movement required serious concentration. I messed up a lot. But, give me about 10 minutes and I could create one braid…a mess braid, but it was a braid. Conscious competence.
At the beach, I was able to braid my daughter’s hair quickly with little thought of finger movement, which strand goes next, etc. Unconscious competence.
Where do you usually fall?
Do you keep your head in the sand unable to recognize the limiting beliefs, choices, and people that are preventing you from becoming who God created you to be?
Do you recognize where you’ve fallen short and refuse to take action?
Are you trying to take action, but every step forward is grueling?
Or, do you usually stick to the task until it becomes 2nd nature?
I have so many objections with this quote. But… But… But… Buuuutttt, if I’m honest, I can’t deny the sting of truth. We really are habitual creatures. Insert Jay-Z laugh. Don’t ask. Now I’m sitting here practicing my Jay-Z laugh which sounds nothing like Jay-Z…guess it was a 1-and-done thing.
If you’re not arriving at unconscious competence it could be:
- Information overload – We are bombarded with information. I’ve gotten 3 FB messages, 1 email and watched 3 Jay-Z videos (trying to perfect that laugh) since I started writing this blog post. When you’re an adult, there’s no teacher (or parent) around to make sure you’re doing what’s needed to master the knowledge and skills required to fulfill your calling. Spend less time on what’s nice to know and more time on the need to know.
- Negative filtering – The conscious competence stage is full of mistakes. You’re painfully aware that you stink at something you’d like to be good at. This is a great time to way “Peace out,” and go back to not caring. Except, you know you’re a quitter. You know you never gave it your best. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ll never run into this roadblock again. It’ll show up when you least expect it…bullying you to stay small. This is the step that requires a new mindset…casting those old thoughts aside and creating new ones that serve who you were born to be.
- Lack of follow-up – What did your pastor preach about this past Sunday? Chances are if you didn’t re-read your notes & take action, you’ve already forgotten the title of his/her sermon. Follow-up on your goals. Follow-up with your mentor. Follow-up with that potential client. Summarize each chapter of that book. One-time isn’t enough to know anything. You must continue to learn until it spills out of you.
- Learned dishonesty – You’re not honest about where you are right now. You make excuses for your situation. And, your dishonesty keeps you from recognizing answers when they appear. You’re probably even praying for the wrong things.
- Dismissing allies – There are people rooting so incredibly hard for you! They see your gifts and anointing and they are beyond themselves when you allow God to use you. Sometimes, they see you more clearly than you see you. This is possibly a mixture of mentors, coaches, supervisors, friends, and family. Be willing to say where you’re falling short and what your goals are. Allow them to make suggestions (that you may not like) and hold you accountable to who you want to be.
How did I get from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence?
There are only a couple things I’ve mastered and they both involve chicken. But, I am keenly aware of my deficits and I mainly attribute that awareness to exposure. You can’t clearly see what’s missing in your life until you know what’s possible.
Then, you have to make room for that thing in your own life. For example, Travis and I have some amazing financial goals but we have to put down poor financial habits and pick up new thoughts and behaviors to get there. It’s an exchange. Nothing’s free.
And, lastly…discipline. We can read every financial book there is. But, transforming our finances is a guaranteed struggle. There’s no way around it. The only thing to do is keep practicing until it becomes as impulsive as our carefree spending once was.
It won’t be easy (and you already know that) but it will so be worth it (and you already know that, too.)
See you at the top, my friend!