Raise Your Competence Level

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If our competence level today is the same as our competence level three years ago, we need to do something different today. You and I need to increase our competence level.

In his book The Charge, Brendon Burchard, a world-renowned high performance coach, shared about the ten human drives that make people feel alive. The second base drive is the drive for competence.

Why is this important? Burchard cites what educational psychologists and human performance coaches know about competence – that your competence level determines what you will give attention to, your choice of tasks and activities, your effort level, how adaptable and resilient you will be, and whether you will lead or follow.

From personal experience, I concur with what he cited. For instance, the more I grow in competence level in public speaking, the more I give attention to this topic, the more I choose and seek activities related to it, and the more effort I exert when I prepare for talks and presentations. I also observed I became for flexible in my approaches and how I positively handle negative feedbacks. I also tend to take the lead in areas I am more familiar with; otherwise, I would wait and follow.

It follows then that if we want to improve our performance and enhance our engagement and enthusiasm in a certain area, we need to activate our drive for competence in that area.

Adapting the three activators he discussed, allow me to give you three elements that will help you spark and sustain the drive for competence: intention, initiation, and integration.

  1. INTENTION. You need to set your intention to learn. Set off your desire to learn.

Our desire to gain more competence in a certain area when we say YES to these questions:

–       Is this competency relevant to my future self?
–       Do I find meaningful connection in it?
–       Will I get something useful from pursuing this goal?
–       Will I miss something (big) if I won’t pursue this?
–       Will I get an immediate return from this?
–       Do I feel that the efforts I put in will pay off?
–       Will people support me in this endeavor?
–       Will I have enough time and focus to do a good job in this activity?
–       Do I have the resources need to take on this new goal?
–       Will I be given the trust and decision-making authority I need to feel as though I’m in control and be able to make things happen?

  1. INITIATION. You need to initiate the challenge to yourself. For the challenge to be effective, it has to be real (a stretch goal – not so easy to accomplish), observable (can be seen/observed by another person), time-bound (with definite start and end points), and personal (self-defined and self-driven).

Set up, say,  60-Day Challenges to learn new things. Push yourself! For example, in the next 60 days, I shall go live on Facebook for 5-10 minutes to speak about public speaking and leadership. This challenge is intended to train myself to be more spontaneous, to ‘ship or deliver’ as needed, and to start reaching more audiences online.

  1. INTEGRATION. You need to integrate your success into your identity to sustain the drive for competence. One mistake that achievers make is that they do not take time to celebrate and give themselves credit for what they have finished, acquired, or learned. If we do the same, then we will never feel as though we have progressed.

When you finish a learning endeavor, take time to celebrate, give yourself credit, and congratulate yourself. What you can also do is to remind yourself of your previous wins. Take the time to sit down and write out every accomplishment and achievement you have made in the past 10 years. Reminisce them and reflect upon them. Remind yourself that you have been progressing all those years, and you continue to do so until today and the years to come.

When you get to integrate this in your identity, you will continue to strive forward and enjoy the growth process.

The drive for competence is so fundamental. Let us activate this drive by setting our intention and desire, initiate the challenge and act on it, and integrate success in identity. This will improve our performance and enhance our engagement and enthusiasm in areas we choose to excel on.

(Chris Dao-anis, CPA, DTM is a leadership trainer, presentations coach, and an author of 4 books including ‘SPEAK: How to Craft and Deliver a Speech or Presentation with Competence and Confidence’. Get his book for free by attending the SPEAK 2.0 Intensive Public Speaking Workshop on May 25. Register now at http://bit.ly/SpeakBaguio. Set off your drive for competence and growth at the Growth Summit 2019; sign up now at http://bit.ly/growthsummitph.)

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