Have you noticed how you’re always in a process of learning?
It could be a specific skill, a state of mind, or how you interact with people.
The learning process in your life is continuous and often you don’t know where you are in it. This fuzziness can lead to feeling bad. And, all along, there’s always been learning stages you’ve been moving through. Knowing where you are in these helps you patiently accept the process and move forward from your heart – with love.
The learning process is meant to be experiential and a process of trial and error. That’s what learning is. Yet, it’s easy to resist and judge yourself for mistakes which sabotages the whole process.
Making mistakes is actually vital to the process.
So, a helpful thing you can do is know how to move through any bad feelings that arise. Being clear on your learning path gives you this relief.
When I was working as a CFO in India, my bad feelings peaked. I drowned myself in them. I judged myself up and down. And, my performance suffered more and more the deeper I got into those bad feelings.
Had I known, I was only in the most challenging part of the learning process I could’ve lightened up. I would’ve known there were easier times coming and that I was doing things right. Making all those mistakes was helping me gain competency.
I’d love for you to lighten up on yourself and avoid the damaging self-judgment I exposed myself to. You’re already way smarter than I am because you’re reading this right now.
It took me forever to look and ask for help!
An Easy Way to Map Your Learning Process
1. Get Familiar with Learning Stages
Your learning process consists of four stages. Initially, you’re Unconsciously Incompetent. In a way, you’re blissfully ignorant that a learning need is there. For example, you may not realize that being confident is essential to learning. So, you never focus on the skill of putting yourself in that state of mind.
Then, a point comes where you realize your need.
And, this is the most frustrating and difficult stage there is – Conscious Incompetence. You judge yourself and may even give up. So say, you need to build your confident mindset. You know it but you’re making mistakes left and right. You don’t know how to love making these mistakes. And, you can’t go back to being blissfully ignorant.
If you can hang on, have faith, you’ll make it to the next stage – Conscious Competence. This stage is so much easier. You may still feel a bit uncomfortable but you know with concentration you can do what you aim to learn.
Then, hallelujah, the fourth stage eventually occurs – Unconscious Competence. I like to call this Mastery. You don’t even need to think about how you’re doing things anymore. It’s a natural part of how you do things.
2. Check in With Yourself
So, now you know the four stages of learning. You can think of them like steps up a ladder. This is where you must absolutely take a step back from yourself. You don’t need to be stuck in the process drowning like I did.
Get quiet. Listen carefully. What are you noticing about your internal experience? Scan your whole body almost like you’re taking an x-ray. Look at yourself and observe what’s happening.
3. Plot Where You’re At and Want to Go
Once, you’ve checked in with yourself you can really focus on where you’re at. Imagine you can look at those four steps going upward. Where would you realistically place yourself on that learning path?
I’m going to guess if you’re experiencing a high level of bad feelings you’re in Conscious Incompetence. Now you know. Take control here and layout where you want to go.
Do you want to jump off the ladder and give up? Do you want to move backwards into Conscious Incompetence and feel worse? Or, do you want to be patient, accept where you’re at, and move forward?
If you’re willing to give it a go, ask yourself where you’re aiming to make it in the path.
4. Visualize Your Desired Outcome
Have some fun here. Look at yourself being at the top of the learning ladder in Mastery. How do you show up when you decide to go pro like that?
Seriously. Look at yourself. What do you notice in how you’re carrying yourself, the way you look in your face, and who you’re surrounding yourself with? Get clear and create your rough sketch. The details will naturally fill themselves in.
Be aware of a very common mistake here. You don’t look at all out of fear or you create a bad mental image. Please stop that. Focus on the most wonderful image you can and move towards that.
Bonus: Once you become aware of this process in yourself, you can spot the same in others. And, then, your compassion will naturally come into play and you’ll support them in a better way.
Gaining familiarity with the learning stages and where you’re at leads to a lot of peace of mind. You can do this with anything you face and at any time. If you feel bad, know you can find relief by identifying where you’re at and being patient with yourself. Even better, surround yourself with teachers and people that support this way of thinking.
I encourage you to pick one challenge you’re facing right now. Check to see what it is you’re learning. Then, map where you’re at in the 4 learning stages and where you want to go. Please share in the comments which stage you found yourself in and how it feels to know that now.