Welcome to Ask Katrina. This week’s question is:
“How do I move past the constant need of feeling like I’ve got to know it all before I can move forward or do anything else?”
If you checked out last week’s blog, we talked about the fact that we feel like we’ve got to have things perfect before we can move forward.
This is sort of the same theory.
It’s the “I’ve got to know it all” trap.
“I’ve got to understand every piece, I can’t make a decision until I have enough of the facts.”
Let me be abundantly clear, 99% of the time you have enough information to make the decision.
That’s just the reality.
The reason why I can confidently say that is if you’re a newly promoted executive or an executive in general, we know that it takes women on average, 10 years to get to where you are now.
In 10 years, you’ve seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of situations in your professional life.
Those experiences have helped you create a base of very sound judgment.
What we must realize is that the best leaders don’t know it all.
I don’t know at all, I’m never going to know it all.
I’m okay with that, I’m at peace with not knowing at all because there are a couple of things that I figured out.
The first thing is that I don’t need to know it all. I just need to know enough.
Know it All vs. Know Enough
The way that I have peace with knowing enough about a situation is because I know that I can identify patterns.
I know that when certain things start to happen, that’s a pattern and therefore I know how to step in and resolve, stop, and break that pattern.
You can identify patterns, too.
If you’re a parent, you can identify a pattern very quickly. You can watch your child start to get spun up. And you can decide to stay in Target and deal with the tantrum on the floor or you can go and avoid it.
You saw it coming.
Because your toddler has a pattern of behavior before he or she starts to lose their mind.
We know that pattern.
No one asks, “What’s the pattern for your child?”
It’s not a discussion that you have, but you know it.
The reason why you think you need to have all the information is that you aren’t trusting that you can identify the patterns because up to this point, pattern recognition has been a subconscious action.
But pattern recognition is what we do all the time as human beings.
We know that when a traffic light is green, it’s going to go from green to yellow, it’s not going to go from green to red. We know the pattern, we’ve been trained to recognize and respond to that pattern.
There are patterns throughout the world and you know a significantly large number of patterns, which makes you really good at what you do.
But you know those patterns subconsciously, and that’s the problem. That is what is holding you back.
What you need to do at this moment is recognize that you have very good judgment and the reason that you do is that you’re very good at identifying patterns. Acknowledge that.
The second point in all of this, and another reason why I’m personally ok with not knowing everything, is that I don’t need to know how to do everything, I simply need to know who does!
As an executive, the same holds true for you.
You’re not a doer anymore, you’re a thought leader.
Instead of knowing how to solve the problem, you just need to know who you can call on.
That’s why executives must focus on relationships. Relationships are your commodity as an executive.
So if you’re waiting as a newly promoted leader, until you feel like you know it all before you start trying to add value, you will be eliminated from your role.
Waiting until you think you have all of the information before you start getting results is a primary reason a lot of new executives don’t make it, especially women.
Because they think, “I just don’t know the answer. What if I say something stupid?”
I’m sure you’ve said something stupid in the past. I know I have. I’m still here. You’re still here. We’re okay. We’re going to be okay.
But nevertheless, it’s one of the habits that women carry forward and it destroys their careers.
So the next time you’re placed in a new position or you are given a new project and your first thought is, “I didn’t want this project. I know nothing about this stuff. Let me go do all the research before I get started.”
Use your relationships. Use your pattern recognition. Use your judgment. Use all of the tools and resources that you already have at your disposal.
You can never know it all.
If you think you’re going to or you think you’re going to wait until you know enough, your opportunity is going to pass you by.
Go take action!
If you want help and you want to talk about the “right next step” to take, schedule a call with my team and let us support you!