“I don’t know.” was one of the phrases I previously feared using the most.
Now I embrace it.
What did I used to think “I don’t know.” said about me?
- I was uninformed.
- I was unprepared.
- I wasn’t as good as someone else.
- I was vulnerable and weak.
Questions I wanted to answer “I don’t know.” to but was too afraid:
- What were the annual sales of this product two years ago?
- How long will it take to create that new report?
- What changes did Kathy’s group make that cut their lead time by 15%?
- What would be the benefit of assigning that project to another team?
Having to say “I don’t know.” struck fear in my heart and left me feeling stressed, anxious and exhausted. I had convinced myself that there was an expectation that I knew everything all the time. I certainly didn’t. I felt like an imposter.
I will admit, there were times when I truly didn’t know but would try to bluff my way through anyway. Not a strategy I would recommend as on more than one occasion this strategy did not work out well . . . at all.
But in actuality “I don’t know.” can be incredibly powerful, made even stronger followed by “Let me find out.” What does using these two simple phrases say about you?
- You are honest about your knowledge.
- You know your limitations.
- You are open to exploration.
- You do not always need to be the expert.
- You are willing to be vulnerable, making it easier for others to be vulnerable around you.
Who would you prefer to be known as? The person in the bullet points above, or the stressed, anxious, and exhausted person that considers themselves an imposter.
I don’t know, do you?
Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC
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Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.
Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD