Be a Work in ProgMESS

14th April 2023
Read time:  2 minute 20sec
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see i’ve been learning a new skill – skateboarding (or longboarding)

I’ve always wanted to try it, so I started.

While the first time I got on my board I hoped to look and feel like Tony Hawk, reality was that I crawled at 2 mph, and resembled the finesse of a new born calf entering the final of dancing on ice.

It was downright messy.

And so today’s theme, inspired by Ted Lasso (again), is all about being a work in progMESS.

About how the process of improving yourself, especially at the beginning, IS messy.

So whether you’re learning a new skill like me.

Or whether you’re fresh out of a relationship.

Or starting a new career.

Or in a new team.

If you’re trying to figure things out, this edition is for you.

Psychologists Fitts & Posner outlined three distinct stages of motor learning:

Cognitive Stage – Associative Stage – Autonomous Stage.

The cognitive stage is where everyone begins when learning something new. It’s clunky and requires lots of thinking. You’re very aware of every movement you’re making, which can lead to overthinking.

The associative stage is when you start to develop the skill more. You start to move from what to do into how to do it. Performing the skill starts to use less thinking at times, you’re able to correct errors, but as whole still requires thought and problem solving.

The autonomous stage is where the skill has become far more engrained as a process. It feels effortless. You’re barely conscious of the effort you’re putting in. Everything has become automatic.

Moving up through these stages requires practice.

It’s also possible to move back down (a whole other story) which requires more of our attention.

While these 3 stages explain the process of learning a new motor skill, you can apply it into any part of your life when going into something new.

Perhaps you’re trying a new skill, you’ve gone into a new team, a new job, a new relationship.

Maybe you’re in new circumstances and facing change.

Whatever your situation, to begin with, it’s going to be clunky, ugly, down right awful at times.

It will feel easy to give up, move on, care what others think, fear looking silly or disengage completely.

So what does it require?

First off, accept that it’s going to be this way.

Accept that you’re a work in progMESS.

Once you’ve accepted you’re a work progMESS, to get to that final stage where everything is much smoother and effortless, it takes practice.

Consistently putting in the effort to get better. Keep showing up.

Knowing that just by doing that, you’re heading towards a brighter future.

Whenever you're ready, there is a couple of ways I can help you:

MindStrong Sport App – Mental Skills Training for Athletes

Personal Mindset Coaching - Contact for more

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