It’s okay not to know

Have you ever struggled to come up with an answer because you thought you were supposed to know something? You just might have to admit that you haven’t got everything nailed down.

Mindset and Communication Training

On one hand, when you are working without support, you necessarily ask yourself relevant questions and come up with your own answers. I heard from Ray Higdon in his Straight Talk Series, that as a downline, in order to start thinking like a leader, ask yourself the questions that you would normally ask your upline. It is often the case that if you can formulate a question, you actually have the ability to answer it. Strange but often true.

And while we would always like to have 100% certainty of ourselves and our answers, the fact is, entrepreneurs are often taking action with reasonable certainty, but not necessarily all the facts. 100% certainty suggests little or no risk, and we know from the beginning, running your own business will take you out of your comfort zone, taking risks and learning from mistakes.

Well guess what? If you haven’t been asking yourself certain questions, then you are less likely to have a convenient answer.

I was on a coaching call recently and I found myself in a bind to come up with an answer. I was confused and struggling for an appropriate answer, thinking I ought to know but did not. I wasn’t forthright. Duh.

“It’s okay not to know,” he said, letting me off my own hook.

When you are faced with that situation, do not think yourself as ‘stupid’, eradicate such non-serving language from for mind, “stupid” and such self-derogatory words are always a negative thinking trap. Think of your shortcomings as an opportunity to learn and to be grateful. At least put a smile on in your mind that you are getting better. Once you understand how the mind is influenced, you will understand how powerful your own self-direction can be and why “if you can dream it, you can achieve it” is more true than most people believe.

I want you to reread that last paragraph and ask yourself if you really get it. Do you get it?

When you’re on a call with a coach, it’s assumed you will be challenged, so don’t feel bad when you don’t know something. That’s why you’re being coached, right? Get ready to soak up what comes next in your talk.

Here’s a passage from the book by Don Gabor, “How to Start a CONVERSATION and make friends” (1983) that will help fill you in on the “I don’t know” dilemma…

Life is wider and deeper than the ocean, so it’s okay not to know everything you have yet to learn.- photo by Challen Yee


It’s Okay to Say “I Don’t Know”

Saying “I don’t know” is likely to make your partner respect you for your honesty rather than put you down for you ignorance. It’s immature and overcritical to think that you or anybody else) are required to know answers to every question or be aware of everything and everybody.

Suppose someone mentions a book, movie, or famous person in a discussion, and you nod your head knowingly as though you know exactly what he’s talking about. It may come out later (as many times it does) that you didn’t really have the direct experience you projected, and your partner will get the impression that you were just faking the conversation. This inhibits the conversation and your partner will tend to distrust your future statements and generally form a negative impression.


“I’m Not Familiar with That… Fill Me In!”

To overcome projecting a false image, admit your shortcomings lack of experience, or ignorance about a certain subject and look for your partner’s response. In most cases (unless the other person is trying to put you down) your partner will accept what you know and don’t know. It presents a balanced picture of you and tends to create a more trustworthy personal image.

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If you are  curious about  Don Gabor’s book on Conversation, click here


FYI, I’m going through a transition period and I’ve had to decrease the frequency of my blogposts, Currently, I’m shooting for three per week, instead of 5. So I’ll see how this goes. (as of 21 May 2014).

I’ll see you… on the next page

Challen Yee

Challen Yee


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