No One Has A Crystal Ball: You Aren't Expected To Have All The Answers
"I think we need to start getting a lot more comfortable with saying 'I don't know,' and not seeing it as a personal failure, and instead looking at it as being true to who we are, and what we know, in our current circumstances."
It is perhaps a characteristic of the times we currently live in that I have been recently finding myself being posed questions for which my reply, often grudgingly, is that “I don’t know.”
Those of you in leadership roles at your respective places of work may have found yourselves in the same boat lately given the COVID-19 crisis, we are often being asked as to “when will things go back to the way they were,” and having to accept and acknowledge our ignorance on this particular matter can be quite frustrating, especially since we may have well been looked upon as people who’d have all the answers once upon a time.
For me, personally, the reason for my discomfort with saying “I don’t know” is centered on the premise I have sort of built in my head that uttering this three-word-phrase is an admission of the fact that one hasn’t tried enough to figure out a solution to the problem at hand. Now, I still think this to be the case for certain matters, but I’ve also come to the realization that there is a definite difference between saying “I don’t know” because I’m too lazy to find an appropriate solution, and saying “I don’t know” because I haven’t been able to find a solution, despite how hard I tried. The latter feeling is essentially what I’ve been wrestling with over the course of the COVID-19 crisis- and I’ve since found that it’s not just me dealing with this in this our current era of uncertainty.
From people managing teams within large conglomerates, to entrepreneurs running shoestring startups, business leaders everywhere are having to come to terms with the idea that they are now playing in a strange, new arena where the rules seem to be constantly changing. Not only do they not have answers for everything, they simply cannot predict outcomes as comfortably as they probably did at one point in time.
So, where do we go from here? Well, for starters, I think we need to start getting a lot more comfortable with saying “I don’t know,” and not seeing it as a personal failure, and instead looking at it as being true to who we are, and what we know, in our current circumstances. At the same time, it is leveling the ground between us and those around us- such instances are essentially opening up avenues for dialogue and conversations that could perhaps help us figure out potential solutions in a collective manner.
Indeed, this might even lead to just a tacit acceptance of the way things are today, and taking on things one day at a time- and moving on ahead, regardless.