Being considered stupid or incompetent ruffles my feathers.  If I were to list the top things I don’t want to be, incompetent would be at the top of the list. It makes me cringe thinking anyone would think I am incompetent.  I think we all have a word like that, it could be greedy, weak, selfish, vain, this list goes on.  Let’s face it, most of us have more than one word that makes us cringe.  When my “incompetence fear” is in full swing I tell myself it is only a matter of time until I am found out. My fear will be confirmed, my fate as incompetent sealed.  My coach, Rachel Jayne Groover, has a novel approach to overcoming such fears.  She says you have to own it.

It makes sense when you think about it.  If I can admit I’m incompetent then it’s power to hold me back dissipates.  The practice isn’t about throwing in the towel and telling myself that I am completely incompetent in everything.  It’s about recognizing the things that I am incompetent at and realizing that the world did not stop spinning!  The reality is that I am incompetent in many things and in the spirit of owning my incompetence I thought I would share a few.

Here I go:

  • I am horrible at directions.  To me, any way I am facing is north.  
  • Math in my head.  A calculator is required for pretty basic stuff.
  • Search Engine Optimization.  I have a really good guy for that! Check him out.
  • Putting together IKEA furniture.  
  • Astrophysics.  I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, but completely incompetent here.

What I discovered in this practice is that often my fear of incompetence actually made me more incompetent.  How many times have I not asked a question out of fear of being viewed as incompetent? By not asking, I actually remained less competent than had I asked the question!  It’s a little ironic isn’t it? By avoiding what I don’t want, I get more of it. (I wouldn’t mind if my fear was dark chocolate.) The flip side of that irony is that by owning what I am most fearful of, I actually become less of it.  By owning my incompetence I let go of my fear of being seen as incompetent.  More importantly, without the blinders of fear, I recognize that I can become competent in things that are important to me.  Just for the record, that does not include putting together IKEA furniture.