Farrar's Faucet: A psychologist’s candid, productive and often humorous take on principled business behavior and better business outcomes.

Because 26.3 would be crazy!

This weekend I ran my 10th or 11th marathon, the third since my open heart surgery last year.  (If you don't know how I came to be on the operating table you can see the story here.)  

The distance you run in a marathon is 26.2 miles, or around 42 kilometers.  That's once around the Twin Cities from the Metrodome to the Cathedral via Nokomis and the Mississippi.

(For my Australian friends, that's the equivalent of from Flinders St to Frankston)

It's a long way! 

Running has helped me with my health and fitness, and I think it keeps me sane.  It also helps me with my clients.  When I start the run I know that, barring unforeseen or extreme circumstances, I'm going to finish strong.  That's how I work with my clients:  when we start together they know that, all things being equal, we're going to get over the finish line and it's going to be good.

It's called being "consciously competent". 

When I started running I was all over the place.  Sometimes I would put on the wrong socks and get a blister.  Sometimes I would have the wrong shoes.  Sometimes I would have a great run but because I didn't know what made it great I would be surprised when my next run was terrible.

Over time I became better.  As I became better I started to understand how I was becoming better.  I started "incompetent", I became "unconsciously competent" and eventually I've ended up "consciously competent".

I was quite deliberate above when I said I know I'm going to finish barring "unforeseen or extreme circumstances".  I purposefully plan my run so that if I start to dehydrate I know where I can get water, if I run out of energy I know what I can eat, and if I fall and break a finger, (like a friend of mine did), I know how to get medical aid and keep going.

A lot of my clients are really good at what they do but sometimes they're "unconsciously competent".  By getting them to be more self-aware and more planful about what they do they become better able to repeat their successes, better able to handle set backs, and more confident about their ability to take risks…like setting out on a 26.2 mile run and knowing they'll be able to finish well.

Once you're consciously competent you just go out and get it done.  You don't have to prove anything to anyone.  And 26.2 is enough, because 26.3 would be crazy!


Robyn Betts said...

Being consciously competent - being aware of the journey and the building blocks - being able to mindfully do what is presenting - rather than letting information get too far ahead of what needs to be done now - and using resources, experiences and lessons learned - Thats how I farm - so one can be an executive, a non-executive or a farmer - the processes are similar - similar thinking and the same excitement of achievement

David Farrar said...

Excellent comment Robyn. It sounds very Zen when you describe it the way you do...I like your thoughts! I'd like to see more from you on the farming aspect: perhaps a guest article one day?