I’m the type of person who takes probably a sinful amount of pride in the fact that I am adaptable and that I can make things happen. I always seem to be able to get an answer to a question or I’m able to find a solution to a problem. I’ve had to rely on my resourcefulness. People usually come to me for a solution and I usually delivered. Note the word usually.
I was reading an article in Red Magazine called Don’t Know And Proud on the way home. I was having so many OMG moments it was ridiculous! I could see myself in so many of the situations where people have opted to say “Yes, I know how” instead of saying “No I don’t, but could you teach me?”
Hypnotherapist Caroline Carr said that it’s usually a fear of looking foolish and the worry of not living up to others’ expectations that stop us admitting we don’t know something.” In my head a bell went, “Ding-ding-ding-ding!” I think it was because I was raised to value knowing things, having all the answers, knowing all the solutions. I was always the go-to girl for solutions, so I had to be all-knowing and all-solving.
If there was ever an important lesson that I learned while working as a customer service representative, it was to ask questions when you didn’t know things. It was always said during the training classes that “when in doubt, ASK.” The more questions you ask, the more equipped you are and the more effective you are at your job. I certainly wished I’d learned this lesson earlier! This is why I’ve always, always valued my stints in the call centres that I worked for (most especially PeopleSupport!). The “old” adage that bullsh*t baffles brains can only get one so far. Besides, you weren’t really solving problems by bullet-dodging. You solved problems by solving them, and not by pretending you had all the answers. I learned early on, while working as a travel agent for Expedia that if you didn’t have the answers it was better to say “I don’t know how but I am definitely happy to find out for you!” People respond to honesty better than any form of smooth sales talk.
I loved what hypnotherapist and author Avy Joseph said: “Being able to accept ourselves as worthwhile but fallible human beings frees us from the anxiety of saying “I don’t know.” The consequences of fallibility are that, at times, we will make mistakes or be rejected. But in admitting our lack of knowledge, we can be free to find out, learn and improve. It also connects us to other people, as we come across as confident and happy in our skin.” This means completely embracing what you know and don’t know and truthfully asking for help.
It was funny because before I had learned this lesson, I was determined to barrel my way through life. I find that now, now that I’m able to say “I’m not sure how we can do that, but I’ll find out if it’s possible,” my life is fuller and my steps are more assured because I am more informed. I’m also more than likely to consider other people’s way of doing things and because I do that, I am able to find better ways of solving my issues.
I wish I had known this as a child. I wish I had known that not knowing things and admitting that would release me from all the stress I’d gone through. If I had known this, I probably would’ve been able to avoid a lot of heartache and a lot of disappointment. But I’m not regretting that experience because now that I’ve learned the lesson, my experiences creates a better foundation so that the lesson isn’t forgotten.