I have discovered a debate. A what comes first – the chicken or the egg kind of debate….and it’s to do with confidence and competence.
My premise has long been that confidence is a state of mind. So I can be confident that I can do something before I know that I am competent at it. I think that is why I have often thrown myself in the deep end with things. I can see myself achieving at new things, before I am proved to be competent at them. I see confidence as the first step to achievement and what follows on the path to becoming competent or capable is learning.
For me there is a difference between being able to say – ‘I know I can do that ‘(confidence) to saying ‘I understand how to do that and I have the experience that proves it’ (competence). There is a balance needed and to succeed at something there’s no doubt we need both, confidence and competence.
Last month I wrote about confidence and explored the development of trust – personal trust – that can overcome fear. Confidence is something that is drawn out and encouraged into being, tricks of trade can be learnt, however authentic confidence is found through personal development.
With competence, I believe the learning happens on a more cognitive and practical level – with acts of perceiving, knowing, experiencing and remembering. This enables us to move from understanding, to knowing, to embodying processes, actions and ways of doing.
Competence requires flexibility, emotional intelligence, self awareness and resilience. It is wholly experiential. I can study ‘how’ to play basketball, but until I get on a court and practise, then I can be as confident as I like, but I will not know that I am competent. Experience brings the theoretical into reality. I have observed this sitting beside my 17 year old as he learns to drive.
So building BOTH confidence and competence is a key for success, however I believe it helps to start with confidence. It’s the chicken and the egg thing again. I do think that having a confident attitude to start with enables a whole lot more opportunity for development of competencies. Take someone like Richard Branson – here is someone who is the epitome of confidence, someone who only develops competencies after her has chucked himself in. I like his four top competencies in business:
In my life I can translate these into:
Fine competencies for a balanced life I would say.
Building core competencies in presentation skills and public speaking is the focus of the second ‘C’ , COMPETENCE : The Art of Effective Speaking.
In this one day seminar we extend your competencies in;
"You’ve been criticising yourself for years. Try approving of yourself and see what happens." Louise Hay.
How does behavioural change really happen? We are so conditioned to believe that to make adjustments and grow ourselves we have to find the things that we are ‘bad’ at, or that are not working for us and do less of them…easy isn’t it? We spend such a lot of our lives being down on ourselves, and criticising our every little action. How’s that working out for you? Not so great? Are you still down on yourself, still doing those things? What if we started focusing somewhere else?
Our attention is one of our most valuable assets. Did you get that? Attention is one of our most valuable assets. Whatever we give our attention to is what will grow and flourish. So if we are focussing on what we are doing wrong, then chances are we will see more and do more of that. Hang on…wasn’t that supposed to help us do less?? I suggest not. If, on the other hand, we choose to give our attention to what is already working for us and focus on that, then chances are we will find ourselves doing more of that…and maybe even enjoying ourselves in the process!
We are all motivated to be competent and to become more competent. A feeling of competence contributes to our well being. But how is this best developed?
In corporatesville, there is a thing called the Pareto principle. This basically says that 80% of my income is coming from 20% of my customers; So – If you focus your very valuable attention on the 80% of your customers that is giving you only 20% of your income and try and grow them, there is a real possibility that the 20% that are your loyal clients or customers and your real bread and butter are going to lose out. So spending less time on focussing on what is not working, and more time on making the 20% more prosperous, could that take less effort, be more profitable and perhaps be a good strategy?…yes?
The same goes for personal development. Let’s look at this from a public speaking perspective. I am wanting to be a great public speaker. If my valuable attention is where I perceive my downfalls are – counting how many times I say Ummmm, focussing on how nervous I am, the stain on my shirt from lunch etc, then I will no doubt finish the presentation knowing that I said Ummm 12 times, that my hands shook and that the stain is still there. I will walk away with that as a focus and as the relationship that I have just built with my audience; all of that attention that I could have been giving to them, not me.
How about I change that around? The feedback is that I know I am good at some things, like building rapport, eye contact, and storytelling. So if I can change where I put my attention and start focussing on more of what is already working for me, then I can start to build my relationship with myself and my audience from a positive perspective.
Constructive criticism is often ‘back handed’ compliments, designed to undermine our self value. Think about everything that happens in a sentence before a ‘but’. I loved your presentation, but I think…..Did I really love the presentation? What happens after the ‘but’ is going to be the thing we listen to the most. We love to hear negative things – we have heard them all our lives and that is what we are used to. It comes down to self-esteem. We all seek to verify our own perceptions of ourselves, so if we have low self-esteem we will look for the criticism and be comfortable/comforted with that. We will often not believe a compliment when it is paid; not even receive it, let alone believe it! Negative events have a greater impact on your brain than positive events do. This is because negative events pose a chance of danger and we become hypersensitive to them at the level of instinct, the spiral is that we then have a hard time seeing, hearing or feeling positive.
We tend to focus more on what they think went wrong or what we did badly. We are very quick to criticise ourselves and need to be encouraged to see the positives first. If we focus on the negatives first, we will have a really hard time giving ANY attention to the positives.
Powerful change can be achieved when we focus on identifying what is already working. What are your good and great attributes? Celebrate them and then apply them and grow them.
Once again…in corporatesville… the phrase for this is called Appreciative Inquiry. It is about building on the strengths to transform an organisation. According to Peter Drucker of the Drucker School of Management, change comes from an alignment of attention on strengths that makes a systems’ weaknesses irrelevant. I believe this applies in a similar way to personal change. Elevate your strengths and your perceived weaknesses become irrelevant. Enquire of yourself – what is already working for you? Now work to amplify that.
Your ATTENTION is POWERFUL. Choose what part of your experience you want to see more of, focus on that, and more of it will flow into your life. Guaranteed!
It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats. −Russian proverb
http://youtu.be/QzW22wwh1J4 for a cute look at Appreciative Inquiry
The Happiness Wheel
I used to believe the adage: if you need something done give it to a busy person. Actually I have changed my mind. I want to change that to: if you want something done give it to a happy person.
I know it’s a cliché, but I do have to say that leaving my ‘real’ job and designing my own life has been a boon. Not that I want to encourage anyone else to throw themselves off the fiscal cliff, I know it’s not for everyone. However, there is something to be said about taking risks – and making happiness choices. Knowing, that I want to look back on my life proud of the risks that I took and happy to own the choices that I made.
So what is the key then? There are a heap of ‘happiness tests’ online that you can take just to make sure you are as happy as you feel (or as sad as you suspect!). I’ve done a few and have not really gained much insight to be honest. There are also plenty of stats to let us know that most people rate family and relationships as the key element in their happiness levels – above everything else. For me that is not the whole story and there has to be a balance. I have one of the best and happiest relationships and family situations that I know of – well, in my social circle. Yet, when I was unhappy in my work, I was gut wrenchingly unhappy and that affected every aspect of my life. So I don’t really go for the idea that if I’m happy at home I will be happy in my whole life. Being unhappy in one thing most definitely influences happiness levels in everything, and can colour every aspect to the point where unhappiness reigns. Unhappiness can sneak up on us unexpectedly and in any aspect of our complex lives. Awareness is key. Self awareness and constant assessment.
A tool called the wheel of life is a useful thing to take a look at and can help with the assessment of the balance: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_93.htm . It’s basically a tool that is useful to measure the elements of your life and how you feel about them. Things like family, relationships, career, money, health, exercise. You can map them out and take a look at how you see yourself right now and then look at how you would like to be – you at your happiest. It’s good to see if there are niggling, bordering on unhappy aspects – and then jump on them and turn them around. Sometimes that means doing something radical like leaving a job or a relationship, other times it might just mean taking a walk around the block, writing that letter or getting that hair cut. Whatever it is, sometimes making the small adjustments can make all the difference. Sometimes the bigger the unhappiness is the harder it is to see, bring to light and begin to change. How are things with your health, your relationship, your friendships, your work. What are the aspects of your life that you value enough to be part of the wheel? Add them in and give them a thoroughly good looking at.
One of the best tools I have found to bring real happiness in and to help move through to happiness decisions is just being present in my life. What if nothing changed? The grass is not always greener. The point is that that grass is someone else’s lawn and will never be mine. Can I feel happy to love my life right here and right now, being totally present with where and who I am right now? When I can say yes to that, then I am able to hospice what I want to let go of and midwife what I want to birth.
So fresh from an Essentially Speaking weekend, I thought we could take a bit of a look at why Mind Mapping works so well as a tool for content creation.
I’m a big fan. I do love thinking in a non-linear way. I use it in so many ways where some clearer thinking can help overcome all sorts of issues or perceived obstacles.
It is certainly invaluable when creating content for a presentation, a book, an article or even a blog.
A couple of questions came up on the weekend about the why’s of certain pointers that Tony Buzan, the creator of Mind Mapping.
A good resource is here…straight from the horse’s mouth. The why’s of using colour, using curvy lines and thick to thinner lines all comes down to keeping your brain engaged. Using images is a good stimulator as well. Given Buzan designed this concept in the 60’s it is wonderful to find that he has brought the tool into the 21st Century with a new book – Modern Mind Mapping for Smarter Thinking Amanda Fleming in her book I Can Speak Clearly Now the Pain Has Gone also describes using sticky notes as a ‘data dumping’ tool. Writing one idea on each note and then they can be moved around later. She says: “Let the silliest, really really unworthy ideas come forth. You never know when they will come in handy even as an example of how silly the ideas can be when it comes to unleashing creative energy! There simply are no rules when it comes to creativity – that’s the whole point so let yourself fly a little when you data dump.”
Practise using Mind Mapping and sticky note data dumping every day on any topic to stimulate your imagination and creativity.