We want to be seen and to see ourselves as competent. So we are tempted to become some form of The Expert at work. Defensively, we reach for this title because, deep down, we see this scary truth:
We don’t know.
Because none of us has seen this exact situation before, we can’t be certain. And so we can’t know exactly what to think, say, or do. To an extent, we can try to apply what we recall from past situations to this one. But reliance on experience and expertise can be risky: we may miss the important cues and clues that make this situation unique. We also can remain closed to new, better solutions from others or even ourselves.
Plus, we waste a ton of mental and emotional energy defending our position as The Expert.
If we drop this defense, if we let ourselves say, “I don’t know,” we free ourselves. No longer blinkered or defensive, we open up to both seeing what’s unique now and to trying new ideas and solutions. In this state, we still draw upon our experience and expertise. We blend it with new, creative insights from ourselves and others.
And people will give us a new title: The Wise.
In your corner,