16 Dec 2012

What’s Your Level of Consciousness?

“I don’t need training.  I’ve been doing this for years.”

“They can’t tell me anything I don’t already know.”

“Real estate is easy!  Anybody can do that!  Are you kidding?”

“How hard can it be?  Hey…you want this house?  Yeah?  Ok.  Let’s go.”

I hear these words on a regular basis from other people in and out of the business.  The fact of the matter is, no matter if you are in the real estate industry or out of it, there are levels of consciousness that we need to be aware of when you are trying to advance and be an expert in your field.  You are currently standing firm on one of the levels of consciousness but you may not know what it is.  Knowing is key.  When you know where you are and where you stand, then…you can move up to the next level.

Let’s take a look at these levels and then determine where you may fall on the scale.

When you’re evaluating yourself in a certain field to determine your level of consciousness and your expertise in that field, you have to look at these five levels.  It’s easier to illustrate them when you use the example of riding a bicycle.

The first level, Unconscious Incompetent, we begin to look around us at other people riding a bicycle.  They make it look easy!  You think, “I can do this! Too easy!” But you have no idea that you don’t know how to ride.  You get a bicycle and ride a foot and fall over.  What?  I thought this was easy.  You didn’t know…that you didn’t know.  But this knowledge propels you to the next level.

The second level, Conscious Incompetent, simply means, now that you’re sitting on the ground with a skinned knee and elbow, you simply know that you don’t know how to ride.  Now you know that you’ve got to put a good deal of work into this bike riding thing!  If you want to be like all the other kids zipping around on their bikes, you better get to work and put a plan together.  Working towards a goal shoots you up to the next level of consciousness.

Conscious Competent is the third level and after you’ve practiced a bit, you are now riding your bike slowly but surely on the neighborhood streets.  You have to pay attention to every little detail of what you’re doing; steering, pedaling, speed, braking and also driving defensively.  If you aren’t focused you’ll fall again.  You’re not proficient enough yet to ride with no hands or do tricks but you now know that you know how to ride.  You’ve come a long way but you still want to zip around the park without having to constantly pay attention to what you’re doing and think about it.  Your new goal of leisurely riding around without thinking so hard about it has boosted you up to the fourth level.

At the fourth level, Unconscious Competent, you’ve practiced so much that you can now ride, do tricks, and not have to even think about all the details while you’re riding.  You are a great bicycle rider and its fun!  It feels great to get on your bike, ride with your friends, laugh and talk and have a great time.  Now you’re going to the bike park and doing some tricks, wheelies and other new things that you’re practicing.  The more you enjoy this level, practice and it becomes natural to you, the closer you get to the last level of consciousness.

The last level is Conscious and Unconscious Competent.  This simply means that you’ve mastered this field enough to be considered an expert.  You have the knowledge that it takes to teach someone and to advise them in your field of bike riding.  You’re a professional.  The tricky part to this level is that if you don’t continue to practice and/or teach you can move back down to the fourth level.  We should all strive to be at this top level, but we should never be satisfied, and should always strive to do more and be more.

Change out the term “bike riding” for your field of expertise.  If you’re at the top level that’s great!  But what are you doing to stay there and continue to raise the bar?  There are people on the levels below you that are setting goals and scrapping and pushing every day to reach the same level as you.  Will they surpass you because you’re content with your current location?

I hope this starts a good discussion.  Please leave your comments.  If you were to assess yourself today, what level would you be on?  Where would your friends and co-workers assess you?