Consciously incompetent 

When were you last brave enough to be crap at doing something new? How often throughout your life have you not even tried to do something new because you were too worried about feeling/looking daft? It takes real courage to do new things. But there’s a real sense of achievement when you've done it that it's worth some initial discomfort. 
When you are embarking on something new if can often look like this: 
The Conscious Competence Learning Model 
Unconscious Incompetence – when you don’t know what you don’t know, ignorance is bliss kind of stage – the *thing* is not even on your radar. You are unaware of your lack of skill and proficiency. 
Conscious Incompetence – when you at the start of your learning and realise how crap you are, this is often when you feel discomfort, need to be brave and carry on. You are aware of the skill and recognise your lack of proficiency. 
Conscious Competence – you’ve got it! You know what it takes and as long as you focus you can achieve your desired results. You are able to use the skill but only with effort. 
Unconscious Competence – you’ve nailed it! You can do it without thinking. The skill is second nature and becomes automatic. 
Stage 2 is the most uncomfortable phase of learning something new. There is danger of stunting your personal growth and development by retreating to your comfort zone. It’s important at this stage to reflect and acknowledge how far you have come. Celebrate each stage of progress – this is something we often forget to do. I am fortunate to have a supportive circle around me who remind me to do this. 

Loss of identity at 50+ 

I’m writing about this as it has cropped up a couple of times recently. Once as a client was feeling despondent about not having their personal style nailed within a couple of weeks of starting working with me, and then earlier this week in the FAB Network community when someone started a conversation about travelling to go to a concert alone. This started a whole conversation about whether we enjoy being alone or whether we prefer being with other people. Which then led me to question how much harder it is, as you get older, to do new things. 
It’s also easy to feel a loss of identity when you get to middle age and even forget what you enjoyed doing before. For a long time, your kitchen calendar was possibly full of activities that were meeting other people’s needs. Being a taxi driver, ferrying the kids around to different clubs, giving them lifts etc. The kids have now left home and you've got a bit more freedom but realise that you've lost sight of who you are as an individual. I know for sure that since COVID times my world has got smaller. I blogged about it a couple of weeks ago. It’s kind of like the less I do, the less I want to do. I’ve noticed I'm turning down far more social occasions and so on. 

Yoga with a fused hip joint 

As a result, I’ve challenged myself to try something new each month, however small that is. This week I went to a yoga class. I first went to yoga about seven or eight years ago and really enjoyed it but at the time I couldn’t afford to keep up with the lessons so had to stop. It’s been on my ‘to do’ list ever since. 
I’ve tried several times to follow YouTube videos on my own in the living room. This proves to be quite difficult though because the dog wants to join in. She climbs all over me and thinks I’m playing. The other issue is that I have hypermobile joints and I tend to over stretch. I injure myself and then have to pack it in, quite frustrating. 
Back to the class - I couldn’t do all the moves, but I did my best. The teacher was great in as much as she helped me adapt the exercises. (Bearing in mind that I have got a fused hip joint and there are somethings that my leg just won’t move into.) 

Stretching beyond the conmfort zone 

At one time I would have been too self conscious to go to yoga or the Pilates class that I started a couple of months ago. If you remember I was quite nervous about that before I started. Thinking about things like where to park, what to wear, feeling self-conscious about my weight and so on. I did it though. I’ve been going there for a few weeks, and I can see an improvement in my movements. Also, it’s given me a little boost of confidence so that I didn’t have those same feelings this week when I went to yoga. 
Your comfort zone is a bit like when you blow a balloon up and then let it down and it goes a little bit saggy. It never goes back to being the same. Stretching yourself out of your comfort zone is away to develop yourself personally. You never go back once you've stretched yourself out of that zone. I think it's important to keep stretching and pushing those boundaries. I don't want to end up a pensioner sitting at home in my one big slipper waiting for Tipping Point to come on the telly. I’m definitely not ready to blend into the beige world of midlife mediocrity. 
Brain fog is real 
I’ve decided it’s important from a personal development point of view, to keep learning, try to combat brain fog and keep my mind sharp. I want to remember who I am at my core and challenge myself. With that in mind I have recently expanded my business to include a networking community. Not able to find somewhere that had the Goldilocks vibe of being *just right*, I decided to create my own space. 
That community is now two months old and is thriving with almost 300 members in the online Facebook group. One member described it as being a community that is ‘natural and enjoyable to engage with’. Another member said “I love the openness and support in this group holding each other from afar. Laughing, commiserating, crying and every other emotion. It’s a space to be happy, vulnerable and together.” To get these comments within an 8-week period of the group being open really made my day. I’d thought about it for a long time then just bit the bullet, decided to go ahead and follow my gut. I’m so pleased that I did because those comments confirm that I did the right thing. 
FAB Network : female authentic ballsy 
We have our first online meeting next Wednesday 11th May it will be on zoom 11:00am until 1:00pm. It's open to everyone -come along for just £10. There will be lots of informal networking, an opportunity to get to know other likeminded women and two personal development talks - one by myself ‘Are Your Pants Affecting Your Confidence’ a light-hearted look at a more serious topic. The second talk will be by Jenny Gordon which is about ‘Late Bloomers’. I’m very much looking forward to it. Perhaps it's time you were brave enough to try something new and join us? 
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