Challenge accepted! Let unconscious incompetence begin!

Last week, I said I was with you if you’d decided to set yourself a new challenge.  I have set my own challenge, and will be reporting back with what works, so you can try out the suggestions too.  In return, please share your ideas in the comments box below; mutual help and support is queen!

What I’ve been reminded of in week 1 of my challenge, is the bliss of ignorance! Or, as Noel Burch, the creator of the 4 Stages of Competence model would term it, unconscious incompetence.

Just to put you in the picture, my challenge will be completed on Sunday 29 April, so I have 5 more weeks to go through the other 3 stages!  My guess is that by that date, I may not quite be at unconscious competence, but hopefully, I’ll be a good way towards it.

But back to blissful ignorance.  As a reasonably physically fit person, I thought up my challenge where so many have been thought up: in my local pub!  The rugby was on, and, yes, a glass or two had been taken.  But the thing was, I’d confided my intention to a friend.  To me, that meant one thing: I had now committed to doing it.  I was reasonably confident I could do it, but as it was something I hadn’t practised seriously for some years, I had forgotten quite how it felt physically to do this thing. (I’m deliberately not saying what it is yet; you’ll have to wait until week 4 for that!)

No matter, I launched myself into it on Monday morning.  And it hurt a bit.  But by this time, I’d also told my husband what I was going to do.  Further commitment, you see.  For me, this made the goal even more serious. And during the week, I had a few more goes at it.  It still hurt, but I could see progress.  I also devised a training plan for the next few weeks.  By the end of the week, I’d told a few more people, including the CEO of the charity I’ll be raising money for.  She was thrilled and impressed.  I’d now progressed to a serious commitment.  No pressure then.

So this is what I’ve learnt in my state of unconscious incompetence:

  • For me personally, commitment and accountability makes the goal much more purposeful, and I’m more determined to go through with it if those are in place.  Telling people made that accountability and commitment happen.
  • I chose a goal that I felt was challenging but achievable.
  • I spoke to a trainer at the gym where I’d be training, and they confirmed no. 2 above.   They also gave me some useful tips, and pledged their support. This gave me more confidence.
  • I devised a plan comprising gradual steps, each one achievable and not too demanding, plus a couple of slightly more challenging ones, with the idea that I could scale them down if necessary.  This gave me something to compete against.  I’m a bit competitive by nature, so I knew this would work for me.
  • I started with manageable expectations.
  • I stopped each training session before I became too tired, but when I felt I could still do a bit more. This kept me motivated for the next session.
  • I played good music to keep myself going.
  • I used positive self-talk when it started to hurt, specifically, that what I was feeling was minor, in comparison to the people I’d be supporting from sponsorship to the charity.  (More about that specific charity next week).  Other positive self-talk was around the fact that I’d gone further, time- and distance-wise each time.
  • I’ve received many positive comments from friends and family so far, which is very important to me.

That’s it.  Week 1 done.  Onwards and upwards and I’ll report back next week.  In the meantime, could you use any of my tips for your own challenges?  And do you have some of your own useful tips for me?

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About Marianna Beckwith