It’s As Simple As Riding a Bike

Like many of you, I have taught my kids how to do a number of things when they were growing up. Teaching starts first at home. From tic-tac-toe, swimming, basketball, to learning to speak english; pick any sport or skill. We all start at the bottom. When Evan was five years old, it was time to teach him to ride a bike. He was chomping at the bit to ride the two wheel big boy bike. I took him to a park with a field of grass that had a gradual slope. We went over the fundamentals. I held on to the back of the bike and ran along side him until I transferred the skill and belief. He graduated to the track at the high school once his competence increased. We rode together around that track. It was special.

Did you know there are Five Levels of Competence? Choose any skill you wish to master. Let’s take perhaps the most important skill in business and life. LISTENING.

LEVEL ONE – Unconscious Incompetence

LEVEL TWO – Conscious Incompetence

LEVEL THREE – Conscious Competence

LEVEL FOUR – Unconscious Competence

LEVEL FIVE – Conscious Unconscious Competence

Unconscious Incompetence. This first level, I don’t know that I don’t know. When I was a kid, I had no idea I was doing all the talking, all the time. My brother used to bet me at age ten, “If you don’t talk for twenty minutes, I will give you a quarter!” Never did get the money. That led me to…

Conscious Incompetence. One day I knew I didn’t know. In junior high it hit me like a brick up side my head. A girl I liked said to me, “Man, you talk a lot.” It wasn’t a compliment. That really hurt. I started to pay attention to how much I was talking. I began to study the subject. Everyone in my family talked a lot. I was just trying to get a word in sideways. I was aware I wasn’t very good, at listening. That led me to…

Conscious Competence. It came when I was high school. The basketball coach was talking and I was listening. If I was going to play a lot, I had to know what he wanted me to do. If I made a conscious effort, I could overcome bad habits of not listening. Most of the time I was still waiting to talk. However, I was making progress. I began to read about communication in business classes. I watched the kids who earned good grades. THEY really listened. That led me to…

Unconscious Competence. This came to me in my mid-twenties. I began earning money selling. I habitually asked questions and listened. Practice took me to this level. It was profitable to listen. One day, because I truly listened for over an hour, I sold more in that hour than I had earned in a week with my hands. THAT got my attention. I set goals around listening after that. “I love to dominate the listening and people enjoy being around me,” on a 3×5 card. That led me to…

Conscious Unconscious Competence. The highest level of competence is the ability to do something without thinking about it, yet retain a level of awareness of how you do it. This level enables you to teach the skill to someone else. Most people who are very good at something cannot explain it to someone less skilled. They are so unconsciously competent, they don’t know how they do it. They just do it.

What if you picked a skill that would make the biggest difference in your personal or professional life? What if you set a goal to get the fifth level of competence? Ask yourself WHAT one thing, that if I mastered it, would increase my income or value to the organization? Then ask WHY? What are your reasons? What if you made yourself indispensable to your organization with that one skill? How would improve your life or income?

Most of us don’t have to think about riding a bike well. We are at level five. We could teach it someone else. In fact, that is the best part of getting to level five, giving it to someone else. It’s called dual plane learning. Evan has turned out to be a great teacher. He and his brother Colin will make great coaches. I have a hunch when they are done playing basketball professionally, they both will end up coaching. Why? They do it now part time and are way better at it than their old man. Who knew that day at the park, Evan would go on to master so many other things than riding a bike. Seeing the joy on his face when the skills were transferred made it all worth it. It’s a magic moment when skills are transferred. I guess that’s why I do what I do. Psychic Pay, the Helper’s High. Now where is my helmet?

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