On Not Knowing

(Estimated reading time 2 minutes)

What becomes available to you if you don’t have to pretend you know what you’re doing?

For me, the question gets at the heart of feeling like you’ve got to get it right (the first time or even every time). It’s about owning that in every situation, there are things that you don’t understand, see or know. This inquiry prompts the letting go of feeling like you should know or see or understand. It’s about being willing to try even if you might get it wrong, and about being less frustrated and self-critical.

Photo by Mazhar Zandsalimi on Unsplash

What becomes available to you if you don’t have to pretend you know what you’re doing?

The question keeps returning to me. It has been one of the more powerful ones I’ve asked myself in the last few years. I keep finding new applications.

In the context of work, it enables me to become more open to trying something new and to use my intuition, more flexible to adapt in the moment and less hard on myself when things don’t go the way I thought they would.

In relationships, it inspires me to keep going, to be kinder when I fail, to ease the grip on saving face so that I can be a better listener, be less defensive and more ready to ask for forgiveness when I mess up.

As a volunteer, I’m more willing to step forward and give my time even if it’s for a new role because I don’t have to pretend I know what I’m doing. I can ask for help. I can learn. I can grow. I can do something wrong without feeling defective.

Getting used to the discomfort of not knowing has been particularly helpful for me in dealing with the upheaval and uncertainty of 2020—what a crazy year. Asking myself what becomes available when I let go of having to know, has helped me become more accepting and adaptable.  Allowing myself the grace of not having to know how to live through a major renovation, my dog dying in my arms, a global pandemic, being the mom of a son getting married (during COVID-19) and how to confront systemic racism, starting in me.

When I get caught up in worry or what-ifs or not knowing, I remind myself to keep asking the question:

What becomes available to you if you don’t have to pretend you know what you’re doing?

Sue Das, Courage Coach, CPCC, ACC, B Soc Sc (SW)

If you’d like some coaching around this question or anything else that came up for you as a result of reading this post, connect with me here.

On a Personal Note

One of the things I love to do is walk at the start of the day and capture what I see in pictures. I thought I would start including a few of my favourite images of the week here for those of you who don’t see them on social media.

Misty Morning
Emerald Brilliance
A Painted Sky

2 thoughts on “On Not Knowing

  1. Dear Susie

    Excellent advice as ever.

    All the best for the wedding! I know your dear mum and dad will be so sad not to be there. Maybe you will have aZoom wedding for them?? Take care and be happy and continue to put those beautiful sunrise photos on Facebook. I so enjoy them.

    Love sal xx

    Like

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