What to do when things feel hard

Have you heard of the Conscious Competence Ladder? 

It’s a model that highlights two contributing factors that affect our thinking as we learn a new skill, those being our awareness (consciousness) and skill level (competence).

According to the model, we move through 4 levels as we build proficiency in a new skill. 

1: Unconscious Incompetence: We don’t know how to do something, and also don’t realise we probably need to learn it.

2. Conscious Incompetence: We realise we don’t have a skill that we need.

3. Conscious Competence: We’ve developed the ability to perform a new skill, but it requires a lot of concentration (and we may lack confidence in our ability to do it well).

4. Unconscious Competence: The skill has become second nature and we do it without thinking about it.

The level on this ladder I want to draw your attention to is No.3 which in my opinion is the hardest! It’s often when you know you’re capable of something, and you’ve figured out/learnt how to do it, but it just feels harder than it should and you’re wondering if it will ever get easier!

Firstly, no matter the task it DOES get easier… and perseverance helps!

But you know what else helps?! Talking and sharing with people!

So often in business we’re scared to talk about how we do things because we feel like we’re just “winging it”. “Surely there’s got to be a better way than how I do it….”, we ponder. 

Have you ever considered that maybe we’re ALL “just winging it”??!! Sure, a few people might have paid big bucks to find the perfect way of doing something, but they’re the minority, not the majority. There’s a few wonderful things that happen when you share your process with someone else:

  • By articulating the steps you take you realise you actually DO know what you’re doing! (You couldn’t possibly tell another person if you didn’t!)

  • More often than not you’ll hear a reply like “That’s how I do it too!” which reaffirms your process and boosts your confidence.

  • And you might get a bonus response such as “You could also try…..which worked for me.”

Never be afraid to ask someone HOW. Chances are they’re just as eager to have the conversation as you are!



Tahnee Sanders