Hello SOTGC community,
When you start a new job, go to an interview, or bring on a new client (for the entrepreneurs out there), do you think you will be a better employee, candidate or consultant if you have all of the answers from day one?
If you think the answer is yes, then you might be missing out.
I mean, who doesn’t want to be an expert, right? We want to be good in our field, known for our knowledge and accomplishments. And in this age of instant gratification, we want it now. I mean why would someone hire us or work with us if they didn’t expect us to have the answers, right?
I spent a lot of my career thinking that my value was in how much I knew, and how often I had the answer. And you know what happened? I have had people tell me I was bossy, a know-it-all, that I didn’t listen and other fun terms I won’t repeat here. It was so confusing because I was good at my job, and I knew what needed to be done for everyone to be successful, and I was always nice, so what was I doing wrong?
It took me a while, ok maybe a little more than a while, to realize that people earn respect, not just by the things they know, but by listening to those around them and, yes, admitting when they aren’t sure and asking for help. Just as much as you love having the answer, other people love to be the one to help get you there, so let them.
And if they are a client or prospect, they really love to bet the one that came up with the answer and the more you simply guide them, rather than tell them. The more successful you will be.
Now, after 8 years in the workforce and a business owner for almost 2, I still find myself wanting to be the one with all the answers, that way I appear strong and capable. And then I remember that while I am talking, giving the answer, I’m not listening. And when I’m not listening, I’m not seeing the value in others and what they can contribute to my growth.
Now this isn’t to say you should never have the answer, which would be extreme and a bit silly. Everything in moderation as they say.
So if you are still thinking I’m a bit crazy, think of it like this, all experiences are an opportunity.
It’s not just about you doing a job and getting paid. It’s an opportunity to find out more about yourself. It’s an opportunity to find out as much as possible about everything you can, to find out what you are made of, and what you care about…now can you do all of that if you already know everything? The answer is you can’t. Do you see where I am going with this?
In the end, being the one with all of the answers may seem fun, empowering and confidence building, but there is so much more success to be had when you listen, lead others to the answer, bring those around you on a journey and see every interaction as an opportunity to learn. I learned it the hard way , and my fondest hope is that this post will help you learn it quicker than I did, becasue as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
So have you ever had an experience where you realized that having the right answer, wasn’t the answer? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.