Have you ever thought that what you know is not enough?
I love the “story” above by StoryPeople artist Brian Andreas, because it speaks to the conundrum that I find myself in so very frequently. Certainty is not about knowing enough, it is about making a decision. But often I will put off making a decision EXACTLY because I don’t believe I know enough to start. Which keeps me stuck.
I fall into this habit of thinking: “Just this one more thing, just one more piece of information, THEN I can start. THEN I can say I’m an expert. THEN I can be certain about myself. THEN I can build trust around what I do.”
Recognize these?: “If I just read that book, if I just attend that course, if I just listen to that podcast or watch this video, I’ll have most of what I need to get one step closer to knowledgable. Being knowledgeable will get me one step closer to being seen as an expert. Being seen as an expert is important to make a living doing what I do.”
The truth is that I’m already knowledgeable and so are you.
I have knowledge about so many things. I learn all the time. I’m absorbing each and every day. Like a never-satisfied sponge, I soak up all the information I can, because I simply can’t not do that.
So the questions are: When will you decide? When will you decide you know enough? When will you decide to start?
Tara Mohr calls women out on this behavior of putting things off in her book, “Playing Big.” She writes:
“Brilliant women seek out more education for another reason [than getting the degree, credentials or skills]: because getting the next training or degree is within our psychological comfort zone, and leaping into playing bigger right now is not. Talented women with a dream believe that they need another degree, training, or certification because they are not “enough” as they are."
An example she shares is one of her graduates who put it this way:
“I thought I would apply to graduate school and get a second master’s, but I realized that I was using education as a reason to stall the process of what I really want to do—write, build websites, and teach. More graduate school wouldn’t help me with that and would probably take me away from those things. I need to leap from where I am, not wait for a better-educated me.”
Tara’s suggestions are to have compassion for yourself if you have this information or education seeking habit. Because it just means you're scared.
Becoming educated, sitting in “training” mode allows you to put off the scary work of stepping into your role as leader, creator and change agent, while convincing yourself that it is actually preparing you to step into those roles.
That's how you play bigger.
You will never know enough. You will never know everything there is to know. So just start. Start and be certain you will learn as you go.
A friend of mine put it this way today as we were talking about starting a business: "The best way to learn is to teach."
I agree. Teach what you already know and you will learn what you don't.
How would it be for you if you could turn around that thought of needing more education and decide that what you know is exactly what you need to know? Can you give yourself that permission? Right now?
[Photo by Diego Jimenez on Unsplash]