Blocking The Noise

Finally, last week our family excitedly drove our son back to college at “The” Indiana University in beautiful Bloomington, IN. We were thrilled that he got the opportunity to return to some piece of normalcy to hopefully enjoy his final year. 

To move him back in, we decided to load up his Jeep and rent a large U-Haul for the journey. As we hooked up the trailer, I was thinking about the power of mastering something to the degree of unconscious competence. Unconscious competence is the idea that an individual has enough experience with the skill that he/she can perform it so easily they do it unconsciously. This is the phase following conscious competency, where he/she may need additional practice to master the task at hand. We frequently teach about this principle with our customers and I got the opportunity to live it through the experience of pulling a U-Haul.  

To be 100% honest, I’m not unconsciously competent at pulling a U-Haul. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some experience pulling equipment, but I was trying to convince my son that I was completely capable of accomplishing this task without incident. Isn’t that what Dads do? I suddenly had to process new information that I didn’t have to think about just moments before. If you have ever pulled a trailer, you know what I’m talking about. The checklist is as follows:

  • Secure the trailer
  • Allow ample time and room for breaking
  • Increase the frequency of looking out each mirror
  • Make wider turns, so the trailer clears the curb
  • Plan out your parking spots

As we were pulling out of the driveway, I decided my best course of action was to dial-up my attention,  attempt to filter out unneeded noise, and keep both hands at the proper 10 and 2 positions. What struck me was that I could process this “new information” because I was so unconsciously competent at all other aspects of driving. Once my environment was secure, and we were safely driving down the road, I decided to re-listened to one of our Driving Change Podcasts.

The episode was The Alter Ego Effect with Jeff Bloomfield and our guest Todd Herman. As the podcast played, and the U-Haul was bouncing behind me, the conversation between Jeff and Todd challenged me. Here was the question that crossed my mind: 

How can we more fully step into our purpose while handling all the NOISE around ourselves to more  fully master the mental game of life?

Todd’s interview reinforced that talent alone is great, but hard work is what helps you block out noise and attain unconscious competence. In the hundreds of people that I am fortunate to coach and serve every year, I’m consistently trying to reinforce that performance comes through hard work. There are no shortcuts. If you want to be a peak performer and attain unconscious competence, all the while being able to block out noise… you must master your “Field of Play.” 

In the podcast, (click HERE to listen) Todd’s additional tips hit me:

  • Own your story, your identity, and master your field of play
  • Step into a “Performance Identity” & drive towards excellence regardless of context
  • Develop your mental game, excel to be your best, and capture your wins
  • Find the best person at whatever you want to do and tuck yourself under their wing

Peak performers can filter out the noise because of the hard work put into mastering their field of play. If this message can resonate with me as I’m driving a U-Haul, think of what it can do for you as a parent, co-worker, professional, leader, or coach. When you are working through the daily noise of life, are you unconsciously competent at the core levels of what you do?

Take a moment today and list out the 3-5 things that you must do within your learning agenda to move toward a level of unconscious competence. It will not only help you filter noise, but it will also boost your mastery to reach peak performance.

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