The 3 Levels of Confidence

I was recently leaving town on a business trip and was in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport. I caught the tram inside the airport in route to my concourse. I had several things on my mind, I was also checking emails, flight information — multi-tasking, as many of us attempt to do, when I realized I was about to miss my concourse! As I thought about this I realized I had worked through the 3 Levels of Confidence in my traveling experience.

Level 1–Inexperienced & Insecure: This experience made me aware of how comfortable I had become in my travels. When I first started my business and had the pleasure and honor of traveling again to meet with clients, it was very new to me. I was insecure in my knowledge of what to do, where to go and how to get there without looking like a rookie. My senses and awareness were at Def Con 5 levels! I checked and double checked everything to make sure I did not make a mistake. I was Consciously Incompetent. My mistakes were from a lack of knowledge and not from a lack of ability or focus.

Level 2–Uncomfortable & Still Learning: I am now growing in confidence but am still uncomfortable enough to keep my senses heightened and antennas raised because I know I don’t know it all yet. I am focused on my current task, still working on getting knowledge and a better understanding. I am asking questions of airport employees, seasoned travelers and seeking to be better. I am also starting to develop my own systems and processes to be more efficient. Because these are new systems and processes there are still learning curves. This may be my best area of competency.

Level 3–Knowledgeable & Too Confident: This is the stage where I was so comfortable that I lost focus and almost missed my Concourse and possibly my flight. I was confident, maybe too confident, and comfortable with my surroundings. I lost focus on the task at hand because “I know what I’m doing” and became sloppy in my execution.

Have you experienced these stages before? If so, where and what were your circumstances?

We are all in one of the above stages in a multitude of different areas of our lives. This story may not apply to you, but if it has we would love to hear from you.