I remember when I was about 13 years of age. I was being a difficult child, and my mother, out of exasperation, gave me a book and said, “You need to read this!”. The book was called Putting It All Together and was authored by Dr Irene Kassorla. This book encouraged its readers to take personal responsibility in their lives. Despite being aimed at an older, more adult audience, I got the message that Mum intended; regardless of my expectations, the world did NOT revolve around me. It was a surprise…
Reading Dr Kassorla’s book sparked my interest and desire for self-awareness. Without realising it at the time, it was also the start of living by the concept of CANI.
CANI is an acronym for Constant And Never-ending Improvement.
The CANI concept is about identifying the small improvements that we can make to be always be getting better. Better at performing tasks.Better at being in our relationships. Better at being ‘us’.
During my journey, I have identified three principles that I needed to be in place for me to be successful in my quest for ‘Constant And Never-ending Improvement’.
1. BE COMFORTABLE WITH TEMPORARY INCOMPETENCE
I love to feel competent, to feel that I am good at what I do.
I found that my discomfort around feeling incompetent would steer me away from growth and learning new skills.
However, once I learned the skills and put in enough practice, the wonderful feelings of competence would return.
Constant improvement necessarily means that I have to face up to the truth that I am NOT competent in many areas; in fact, even more sobering, is the truth that my areas of incompetence far outweigh my areas of competence! Therefore, routinely feeling incompetent is a necessary part of the journey of life.
2. EMBRACE FEEDBACK
Growing up, I learned that receiving feedback can be emotionally painful. Shifting my belief around feedback to be something powerful in my path to improvement was important. I now seek out feedback from everyone around me and what I have found is that it is only the first couple of times that this is difficult. Like anything, the more practice I put into experiencing feedback, the more comfortable I feel.
Seeking out feedback from your colleagues, managers and employees can seem daunting but, I assure you from my own experiences, that the insights that you gain will make a powerful impact on your abilities and growth.
I used to be pretty good at berating myself – and others – when mistakes were made.
But what skills has anyone learned without making mistakes? There are none.
I considered all of the highly skilled and talented musicians, athletes and leaders of the world. Not one of them were born into their level of skill. Every one of them practised, made mistakes, modified actions and practised some more.
We all learn in the same way…through trying, making mistakes, and practising over and over again.
I shifted my belief around mistakes from something to try and avoid to a crucial, inevitable and welcomed step in my journey to constantly improve.
As a 13-year old, I wondered whether I could improve. With useful principles, beliefs and strategies in place, I know I can.