I have recently discovered working within the business sector that people have become complacent with their knowledge. In other words, ‘they don’t know what they don’t know’ and they only recognise this when they start to explore other options within their business. Research has shown that the people who are most resilient in life and able to roll with the punches are those who are comfortable and open to asking for help. Instead of the notion of ‘toughen up’ or ‘get on with it’ they are able to ask their networks for assistance and put up their hand and say “I’m having difficulty”. Too often in our personal and professional life and in our businesses, we’re too scared to own up and say “Yes, I need some help.”

Consciously Competent

I want you to try an activity. You need to draw a quadrant and we are going to map something out. In the top two quadrant you are going to write Competent and in the bottom two Incompetent, then in the two left quadrants write Conscious and the two right quadrants Unconscious. These are the states we find ourselves in professionally, within a team or in our business. We want to be Consciously Competent, a state where we are fully aware of the status and in our genius zone. But how can we keep being in that space?

Consciously Incompetent

If we have done a level of investigation and research, looking at what’s happening with us and our business, we will become Consciously Incompetent, that is, aware of our incompetence, our shortfalls. This helps us understand where we are going wrong in our business, what mistakes we are making and what we can improve on.

Unconsciously Competent

However, a quadrant we need to be careful of is the Unconsciously Competent quadrant, not paying attention to what is working in our business and letting our success and skills fall through the cracks. This leads to not expanding on that skill, knowledge, product or service.

Unconsciously InCompetent

Unconsciously Incompetent is the most dangerous state of all.

This is a state where we think “everything’s okay, I’m good” and that’s a dangerous place to be in. Remember ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’.

Shifting Quadrants

Right now, more than ever there are many people offering support and free services. Some of the free services may be aimed at selling to you down the line, however, it doesn’t hurt to explore some of the help that is being offered and raise your awareness of where you are at in your business. Keep your eye out for services such as strategy sessions or business health checks and take advantage of these. Yes, you will be sacrificing your time, which is precious right now, however, you could also gain a raised awareness around something that you didn’t know was happening within your business or personal life.

You can then address it immediately and save time in the future. You may even find yourself shifting from a place of being Unconsciously Incompetent to Consciously Incompetent or even shift from being Unconsciously Competent to Consciously Competent.

Ask for Help

I encourage you to explore the strategy sessions and health checks because you never know what may evolve from them. If you have any questions, or if you’re looking for help in a particular area please comment below and I can direct you. I am advising in many different spaces at the moment and I am aware of many free and paid offers and services available to you. If you find yourself in conflicts or are concerned about your increased level of anger, you may be living with a heightened level of stress you are unaware of.


  • Try the Quadrant Activity
  • Recognise when you are Unconsciously Competent
  • Take advantage of Strategy Sessions and Health Checks


  • Say “I don’t have time”
  • Forget to think about the Unconsciously Competent quadrant
  • Think you cannot gain knowledge and insight from free services

P.S. If you’re in the Northern Territory and you’d like more advice, tips and information to improve your professional skills, join our Facebook tribe of professional people in the Northern Territory:  www.territorybiztribe.com

Stress can impact on our health.  Take the stress test to determine how life circumstances may be affecting your health.

You may be eligible for a complimentary stress management strategy session.

Book a time for a chat to see if you’re eligible.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management strategist and stress management practitioner based in Alice Springs, Australia.  She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing.  She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things.

She is on a mission is to become the no.1 resource to help people unclutter the chaos and break free from the shackles of overwhelm so that they wake each day inspired and motivated to work in peak performance and to live on purpose. Barbara is known around Australia for her training, coaching, online programmes, webinars and as a guest speaker.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships.