Muriel took a measured breath. “I have an uneasy feeling, and I don’t know why,” she explained. “Things are going okay, but, as we ramp back up, I think things are going to change. And I am not sure I am prepared to adapt quick enough.”
“Things are going well, now?” I asked.
“Going okay, not great, but okay, kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“When did things start to go okay?”
Muriel laughed. “You are right, it’s been a tough few weeks. I don’t know if I just got used to it, or if I got better.”
“So, things got easier. New unknown problems became familiar, you knew what to do and how to do it.” I said.
Muriel nodded affirmative.
“And, we know things will change, again, because they always do. Change in your company, on your team and with yourself. And when things change, you are faced with your own incompetence.”
Muriel winced. Close to home, perhaps. I continued. “But you do adapt and you do change. But tell me, when you successfully perform something new, for the first time, does that make you competent?”
“No,” she responded. “Competence requires practice, doing it well over and over, until it becomes a habit.”
“So competence is not simply acquiring an occasional new skill, but acquiring a new habit.”