There are four recognised levels of learning.

1. The Whatever
2. The WTF
3. Go You Good Thing
4. The Let Me Show You How.

1. Unconscious Incompetence – Whatever!

Where you don’t know how to do something, yet ignorance is bliss and you don’t really care. You continue to be happy doing what you have been doing and may or may not challenge yourself to change. You may have an idea and think of doing something different but this is all it is, an idea.

This stage remains the if “I win tattslotto” conversation, or one day…. maybe…. if…. or the one day words we tell ourselves that give us hope but not enough to enforce change.

The time you spend in this stage really depends on the need and passion you have to make change. How much your willing to pay, determines your ability to pass GO.


2. Conscious incompetence – WTF!

This is when you wake up in the morning and say “Is this it?”

It’s when you acknowledge that the current way is probably shit or at best OK. Step 2 is when you realise, this is no longer enough. At this stage you realise life is not about surviving, living in the grey and accepting the future road map as belonging to you. This stage is all about not enough skill and not enough future. If you have a few grey hairs this is what some may call the “Panic Now People Moment”, or nicely termed, one’s mid life crisis.

You can’t pass this stage until you have had a long hard look at yourself and decided you are no longer happy, or life has given you a kick in the teeth and it’s enough to convince you things have to change. Sudden death of those close to you, broken relationships, illness and surviving teenagers often go before WTF stages.

Once you have the “Road to Damascus” moment, you are now inspired enough that you start to learn the skills needed to achieve the desired payload at the end.

For those who have this moment already, you will recall that first night when you lay in bed unable to sleep, feeling hot and restless because you know from this night forward your life will never be the same. A screaming rage from deep down has birthed and will not return to whence it came.

Some people never experience this stage in their lives and for them this is OK.


3. Conscious Competence – Go You Good Thing!

This is the exciting stage of learning. It’s the stage where you make the effort to find your Mo Jo and do what you have to.

This is the “hard graft” phase of the learning curve. The WTF moment has passed and now you are actually doing whatever it is that is required. You are redefining “You” by learning the necessary skills needed for change in your life. This is the stage when you acknowledge how much you need to do BUT are taking the necessary steps to take control of your narrow life and let it flourish and grow.

Yet it isn’t easy. The “skill” requires a number of factors. Usually great concentration and a desire to execute your new challenge. You have to devote time, energy and money, to acquire what it is that took your sleep in stage two.

Experts call it conscious competence because not much is easy at this point. Think of a toddler learning how to walk, their face earnest and intent, they keep falling, but they keep getting up because they know where it is they want to go. This is the stage of mistakes and learning as you progress.

This is the stage were your mother, friends and neighbours shake their heads, tut tut their tongues and say “Oh she used to be such a sensible girl” Then they shake their heads some more.

What the text books don’t tell you at this stage is how wonderful you will feel at this point.

You will be happy.

The joy of change is starting to seep out into your every day, you can’t stop smiling as you are finally living a life for you, regardless of the cost.

This is the stage of ownership.

Note to You. Many fail at this point because often the cost is too high, or external factors can bear too much on the ability to move on. This too is OK.


4. Unconscious Competence – Let Me Show You

Miss Smarty Pants could have been another name for this final stage. You are a guru of whatever it is you have decided to put your name to. Second nature, easy, you can do and think about other things at the same time. Think driving your car for 5 kms down the highway, not remembering how you got there, as your mind was on auto pilot whilst it concentrated on far more important matters.

This stage is defined by the fact that you can now teach a new skill to another and do it easily.

This is the generous stage. This is the stage where you find you will be delighted to share, show and reveal the shortcuts to another. You will become the teacher.

There are few mistakes in this stage because lets face it, at this stage you’re pretty impressive. Think older teenage boy with a six pack, who likes to take his shirt off at every opportunity because he owns those abs and he’s keen to share!

Think a brown skinned sailor who knows when to follow the ducks, which sail is perfect, or when to pull or release the sheets as he steers with his toes and lets the wind blow through his hair.

This is the stage of belonging, knowing and comfort.


Stage 2.5 Oh My Ever Loving Mother Father Am I Ever Going To Be Able To?

I the Miss, think the experts should add a new stage.

A stage 2.5 is needed. The Holy Crap Stage

This is the stage you realise just how much you DON’T know and acknowledge how much is in front of you. This is the daunting, scary, questioning self doubt stage. The stage when you are just beginning to realise how far away you are from the end point, the first steps to learning stage. This is the Holy Crap stage.

I the Miss am well and truly in stage 2.5.

I have now had four occasions of sailing in twilight or day races. My profound lack of knowledge is so loud it is actually deafening as I share space with those who are operating in stage 4. When I have been asked if one day I would like to own a boat and I say matter of factly that we have already purchased our girl, I am not sure if shock, disbelief or raw humour leaves the crew speechless for the proceeding moment.

Last week I began my RYA Day Skippers Course. I have entered the world of Portland Plotters, Buoyage, Charts and Collision Regulations, also understanding Weather. My kitchen table certainly looks like business, yet being in stage 2.5 I am still shaking my head in unison with my mother but for different reasons.

This week I am finalising the last details for our journey, I’m also paying some big dollars for marine gear. I am making decisions that have long lasting impact, I rely on those in the zone of four, because, quite frankly I haven’t got a clue. I am in the zone of trust and believe.

This week our girl was born. As all new parents know, there is no going back from this point.

This is a painful stage.

I have this week held my daughter and thought how scary it will be to let her go. I have had a reality check of what it is like not being there for her in a physical sense.

I have had my first teary moment of understanding just how hard it will be to say goodbye to those I love. I am now beginning to understand the cost required.

This week, each time I pick up my phone to call my Sisters or Mum, or step into a shower for the long hot bliss that it is, I know I will soon be leaving all this behind.

Stage 2.5 Holy Crap is the first step of paying the piper in both learning and understanding.

A little teary, but for the most part I’m blaming that Portland Plotter.


the Miss


PS The boat we are crewing on happens to be called Miss Conductor, a 33 ft North Shore.

How Fabulous – One Miss to Teach Another!







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