Monday, July 29, 2019

Juanita Kees & Levels of Competence

Please welcome Juanita Kees to the blog today!


I’ve been teaching my youngest to drive. We’ve had fifty hours of driving together without a single drop of blood shed. It’s a miracle. Luckily, he’s a calm driver who remains unfazed on the road.
Driving with a newbie got me thinking about a lot of things, especially in the face of impatience from road users who’d forgotten they too were learners once. What it got me thinking about most though, was writing.
I spent a good portion of my working life as a retail standards coordinator in Quality Assurance, although it seems like a lifetime ago now. In the business world, our work is measured by the four levels of competence – unconscious incompetence (wrong intuition, L-plates), conscious incompetence (wrong analysis – red P’s), conscious competence (right analysis – green P’s) and unconscious competence (right intuition – licensed driver).
Like any job, there are varying levels of progress in the writing world too and this is how I’ve come to think of them: aspiring (learner), emerging (red P’s) and established (green P’s).
So why only green P’s when I should be at the top of the pyramid? After all the books I’ve written and had published, haven’t I earned my pretty blue pen licence? The answer is that even an established writer should never give up learning, never take unconscious competence for granted.  We still need that scheduled PDA (Practical Driving Assessment) test we call edits, beta reading and critiquing, no matter how good we think we are.
An editor, proofreader and critique partner are valuable in the writing world. Like a driving instructor or test inspector, they find the mistakes a writer can’t always see because we’re too close to our plot and characters. They stop us from falling back on bad driving habits that may creep in as we head down the road to publication. We might not always appreciate or agree with their instruction or feedback, but it’s important we remove the emotion and reaction to analyze and learn from their advice. Be proactive not reactive, a skill in itself.
There is a lesser known fifth stage to competency it would do us all good to remember as we climb that ladder to success, no matter what the job is we’re doing. The stage licenced drivers often forget out on the road – empathy.
The Fifth Stage of Competency
If you cultivate an attitude of empathy around competency, you can unlock a fifth stage of competency: empathetic competence. Empathetic competency means understanding that competency isn’t a checkbox or goal marker that we achieve and leave behind. It’s about assessing yourself and your abilities against your potential, rather than the abilities and potential of another person. Ultimately, it’s about being mindful of the skills and abilities of others, meeting them where they are, and supporting them along their journey to growth and success. ~ 
Zac Ryland (Tier 1 Performance Solutions)
That’s why I’m putting myself on probation, stepping back down to my red P’s, assessing where I’ve been and where I’m going, how I can do things differently to stay fresh, motivated and inspired.

The takeaway message – be kind, be patient, be empathetic, be supportive. No matter how good we get, we were all learner drivers once.

Juanita escapes the real world by reading and writing Australian Rural Romance novels with elements of suspense, Australian Fantasy Paranormal and Small-Town USA stories. Her romance novels star spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. She creates emotionally engaging worlds steeped in romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue, set in dusty, rural outback Australia and on the NASCAR racetracks of America. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and has a passion for fast cars and country living.

Juanita Kees on the web:

Fast Lane (Calhoun Customs Garage Book 2)
Trinity Calhoun is a name everyone knows on the race circuit, but her days in the hot seat are numbered. She’s tired of the limelight, meaningless relationships and long hours behind the wheel. When her father calls her and her sister home, she’s ready. She slips right back into the family business, finishing off the custom car projects her father has lined up. But racing is in her blood and she’s lured back to risking her life on the hot rod drag strips outside of town. It’s there she meets paramedic and volunteer firefighter, Reece Balmain, who has her re-thinking the road her life is taking.

Reece Balmain arrives in Big Fork a broken man. He’s lived and breathed through horror accidents, haunted by the faces of the people he’s cut from vehicles. He knows one thing–speed kills. He’s hoping not to see too much of it in small town Montana, until he hears about the drag races taking place outside of town. He knows Trinity Calhoun. He’s watched her race, seen her win, held his breath when her car somersaulted into barriers in Daytona Beach. He doesn’t like what she does, but he can’t stay away from the woman who’s claiming his heart.

Buy on:

Amazon US Kindle          
Amazon Aust         Amazon UK

OVERDRIVE (Calhoun Customs Garage Book 1)
Chase Calhoun has worked hard at making Calhoun Customs a world-wide sensation and keeping his father’s dream alive. He hasn’t had time to think about settling down, so he’s not expecting to find love or new life hiding in the attic of their garage among the ghosts of his family’s past.
Charlotte Jackson is on the run from a rebellious past, determined to prove she can be a good mom to three-month-old baby, Zoe. Tired of being delegated to the back office of the racing team her famous NASCAR family owns, she sets out to establish herself as a custom design artist. But she’s out of money, luck and time, and she can’t hide in the attic at Calhoun Customs forever.
While Chase slowly loses his heart to his refrigerator thief and the baby bundle asleep in his laundry basket, Charlotte learns that sometimes family is more than just blood and DNA.
Buy on:
 Thanks so much, Juanita!

I love the analogy you've used. It makes so much sense. That 5th competency level is definitely something to strive for!

How about you? Have you taught a teen to drive? And survived? (Check!)
How competent are you feeling right now? I think I'm at the emerging stage and working my way up.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Such a good reminder that we always need to keep learning!

I've seen some great bumper stickers here that parents have put on their cars: "Please be patient. Student driver." I was thinking how smart that was.

Juanita said...

I think that's a great sticker, Elizabeth!

Elephant's Child said...

A truly lovely analogy - which applies to life more generally too. We are (or should be) always learning and empathy (painful as it can be) makes the world a better place.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I taught my daughter to drive too. She was very reluctant so patience was crucial.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

No matter how much we know, we can't write on auto-pilot.

Blood was about the only thing not shed when my mom attempted to teach me to drive. LOL

Kelly Steel said...

Hi Jemi, Hello Juanita!

This is an interesting post on how we keep learning no matter how far we go in life. Thanks for sharing.

All the best with the new book, Juanita!

Juanita said...

Absolutely! No matter how hard the lesson :)

Juanita said...

Patience, wine and chocolate :) I'm sure she loves the freedom of being behind the wheel now. Safe driving!

Juanita said...

LOL :) Yes, thankfully no bloodshed on this side either! And yes, a good writer never stops learning.

Juanita said...

Thanks, Kelly! Glad you found it interesting :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Life-long learning is so important!

Jemi Fraser said...

Empathy is vital in this world. Sadly we don't see enough of it some days.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wine and chocolate were vital components when I taught my kids as well!

Jemi Fraser said...

LOL - no blood here either!
I've read a few auto-piloted stories - and gave up on those authors!

Jemi Fraser said...

In school, we always talk about lifelong learning and try to model that for the kids. It's fun to learn and try new things!

Denise Covey said...

Loving the spin from a fellow Australian writer. Awesome words of wisdom.

S E Gilchrist said...

What a fabulous post Juanita! And you're correct, we should always continue to learn, especially when discovering fresh aspects about ourselves. I taught three children to drive - that's why I now dye my hair!

Dawn Simon said...

Great post! I really like your analogy. I agree, we need to be lifelong learners.

Jemi Fraser said...

Very smart for sure!

Jemi Fraser said...

LOL - That'll do it to the hair for sure!! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Life would be so dull if we didn't keep trying new things!

Juanita said...

Thank you, Denise :)

Juanita said...

LO, I do have a few more grey hairs now!

Juanita said...

Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to learn, Dawn. :)

Kelly Steel said...

Just dropping by to say Hi!

Juanita said...

Hi Kelly! Waving hi :)