“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Will Durant.
I’ve been writing blogs on this website now for six years. I can remember when I first started out that I would put aside a whole day every month to write one or two blogs. It would take me a WHOLE day! I was so earnest and wanted to produce something meaningful for anyone who might be reading. Over time, I realised that the purpose of doing this was so that if anyone was reading, they would simply get to know me a little more. And of course I’ve practiced, a lot, during the intervening years.
So here I am today. I’ve allowed a couple of hours and I’ll probably write and store two or three blogs to publish in future. I’m not saying I’m excellent at it, but with habit formation, I’ve grown in confidence and am happy to sit here and tap away.
This subject is one of the most commonly occuring themes with clients. Learning a new skill or behaviour. And with the corporate work I do, it most often presents when there’s been a role change and a new or enhanced skill is required. Have a quick look at the picture at the bottom, it’s called the Comptence Ladder. Do you remember when you learned to drive? How clunky it was….kangaroo petrol, crunching gears, stalling etc? But at some point, you were driving without thinking about how to do it? You’d reached Unconscious Competence.
It’s the same for any new skill or behaviour we learn. We keep practicing it, habitually, until we reach the top step of the ladder. Habit is crucial to development. And if continually we focus on what we are getting right as well as practicing (as opposed to what we get wrong), then we’ll reach the state of Unconscious Competence with an embedded habit far more quickly.
And we might even be Excellent 😉