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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression

Tim Ferriss posted a great article on using the mental stages of building a business to your advantage. The stages are:
  1. Uninformed Optimism
  2. Informed Pessimism
  3. Crisis of Meaning
  4. Informed Optimism (-or-) Crash and Burn
I find many similarities between Ferriss's "Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression" and the Four Stages of Competency, which are:
  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence
My combined stages are as follows:

Stage 1: Uninformed Optimism and Unconscious Incompetence

At this stage, a sense of excitement and nervous energy about the new endeavor is overwhelming. The person does not recognize any deficits needing to be addressed. Everything appears to be awesome. Communicate freely with others and share your joy.

Stage 2: Informed Pessimism and Conscious Incompetence
The person is now aware that a deficit exists somewhere and wants to correct it. Fear and frustration begin to set in and the realities of the endeavor start to take over. Stay rational and make smart decisions.

Stage 3: Crisis of Meaning and Conscious Competence
The person is past scared, and feelings of despair kick in. This is the critical juncture where attention and focus are needed to maintain a sense of stability, or the endeavor will fail completely in a huge orange fireball. Reconnect with those around you and reaffirm your beliefs as much as possible.

Stage 4: Informed Optimism and Unconscious Competence (or Crash and Burn)
If the endeavor has not failed, the person emerges from Stage 3 with a new-found sense of calm and peace. The person is now aware of the hardships that come with taking on the endeavor and can make informed decisions based on experience and skill. Make smart choices and share your budding enthusiasm with others.

*Rinse and repeat*

These stages can be found in any project you take on. I know from personal experience that I just made it through Stage 3 of my personal training business. Lucky for me, I didn't crash or burn, and I can now enter the next phase of growth with more knowledge and experience than I did before. I know to expect the stages again as I face new challenges, and I will be ready for them. My network of friends and colleagues has expanded over the last three months (since I graduated college) and I have people around me that I love and trust, and who will get me through those tough times.


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