Awareness, the first step to change

There are a number of steps to mastering anything and the stages are something along the lines of:

-Unconscious incompetence - you have a behaviour and are not aware of it

-Conscious incompetence - you are aware of a behaviour but are not able to change it

-Conscious competence - you have a behaviour and are starting to change it

-Unconscious competence - you have mastered the behaviour and do it naturally

When we are in the unconscious incompetence level of behaviour how are we supposed to make a shift? We need to bring awareness to the issue.

The interesting thing is that we have a lot of behaviour that we may not be conscious of. The issue can be that some of those behaviours have a positive effect on our lives and some of them may have a negative effect on our lives and the people we interact with. Once we become aware of the behaviour, wether good or bad, we can then effect a change or nurture it to unconscious competence.

For most of us it takes a nudge or even a shove from other people for us to realize that we have a behaviour that we are not aware of that is having a negative effect.

I always wondered how I was supposed to make changes when things seemed to be working for me. A lot of the time I was not aware that something was off, wrong or not working well because I was simply used to the way things were and it was my normal. It would take something big for me to become aware of a negative behaviour. Wether it was a partner breaking up with me; someone calling me out on my behaviour; getting feedback at a job or going to a workshop. Something had to bring awareness to the behaviour in order for me to change or even realize that I wanted to change.

So, how do we bring awareness to things that we need to change before they have a big impact on our lives?

-Ask friends and family if you have behaviour that seems off

-Ask a boss or coworker for feedback

-Take workshops on personal growth

-Join a men’s or women’s group that works on self improvement

-Look into something called “shadow work” and join a group

-Read self help books (this can be great if you are really aware, it is however, easy to have blind spot or be lying to ourselves so getting an outside opinion can be much more helpful)

-Learn to really listen to what you say. Some of us are not always aware of what we are saying, we are on autopilot a lot of the day and we don’t truly listen to all of the words that come out of our mouths. A great way to practice this is to read out loud and then stop and paraphrase what you said, start with a paragraph, work up to a page and then if you want to challenge yourself work up to a chapter.

Once you become aware of any behaviour that you are not happy with or negatively effects others you can then start on the journey of making positive change. There is always room for improvement and the more we bring awareness to our habits and behaviours the more we can consciously make changes.


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