By Andrea Jones, Soul Pilates Instructor
Learning a new skill can be a daunting prospect. Not only do you have to put yourself in a very vulnerable position of admitting that you know absolutely nothing about something, but you also have to be willing to try things that may make you feel very uncomfortable.
There's a model in psychology* used to explain the stages of learning and acquiring any new skill; the process you have to go through to get good at something.
The last 5 years of my life have been an ongoing example of this model which goes something like this:
STAGE 1: UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE
This is all of us at the beginning of any new endeavor. Unaware of just how not good we are at it.
...And this was me 5 years ago - 24 years old, newly married, newly moved to a brand new city in a new country with no 'career' to speak of. Basically, as unconsciously incompetent as they come.
After trying a few different jobs, I eventually settled into one that involved sitting. All. Day. Long. At a desk, which I'd never done before!
Now it turns out it doesn't take long to get very good at sitting behind a desk and quite soon I found myself settling into a slump. To counteract the restlessness I was battling throughout the day and the lazy blob I was turning into, I started taking Pilates classes.
The first class literally changed the course of my life.
I remember it as being weird but wonderful. I was vaguely familiar with Pilates after watching my mother's accrued collection of random Pilates videotapes that I'd watched growing up but I'd never had an actual teacher present to show me just how incompetent and unaware of my own body I was.
STAGE 2: CONSCIOUS INCOMPETENCE
This is when we realise how not good we are at something.
Things started shifting very quickly after that first class. Not only in my own body, which was becoming leaner and stronger then it had ever been before, but my mind too had been opened to new possibilities that I'd never considered before.
I realised that sitting behind a desk wasn't particularly fulfilling or challenging and that I was yearning to do something that would positively impact others, just as I'd been after that initial session in a Pilates studio.
I started looking into becoming a teacher of the method that had already shown incredible results in my own body and mind. I embarked upon an initial training course and soon realised how little I knew about anatomy, physiology and the psychology of movement...as well as the implications of a sitting society on our collective health.
STAGE 3: CONSCIOUS COMPETENCE
It took 2 1/2 years of long hours, blood, sweat and occasionally tears to reach a level of readiness to sit my Comprehensive Polestar Pilates exam. During that journey, I met so many sharp corners of myself which took a great amount of courage to overcome.
Anxiety, depression and a complete lack of confidence were all things that I'd struggled with in the past. But I found as I began to deepen my understanding of anatomy and to embody the knowledge of how it all works, I uncovered a deep appreciation for my own body and mind and all of their amazing functions - a feeling which I was so motivated to share and spread.
STAGE 4: UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE
Finally you reach the point at which you don't have to consciously think about doing something to be good at it.
And this is where I strive everyday to be. A motivator of movement through moving well in my own body. A living, breathing example of how awareness of yourself can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
*Developed by Gordon Training Int. employee Noel Burch over 30 years ago
Andrea developed a passion for movement at a very young age through ballet and gymnastics and all the outdoor activities available at her doorstep in New Mexico.
Andrea is a Comprehensively qualified Polestar Pilates Instructor and as an avid cyclist, she understands the importance of being able to take the knowledge from the studio into everyday life.
Andrea is available for private sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings and leads our Beginner Equipment courses.