Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #62
From the Greenbelt of Boise Idaho, Blustery weather
Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you. – Eckhart Tolle
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. – Gilda Radner
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. – Socrates
Last night I missed a phone call from my brother, and he didn’t leave a message. I made up a story about why he called. When I talked to him, I learned he had an entirely different purpose. Fortunately, I started by asking what was on his mind, rather than launching into my story. It made it easier to let go of my “knowing” and respond to him.
The problem is, when “I think I know” I become invested in my conclusions, and less able to discover and create with what’s really happening. I compound this when I insist "I’m right”. Trained through school to know the answer, and as an engineer to come up with the best solution, I’ve spent a lot of my life focusing on “knowing” and “being right”.
Here’s an experiment to consider. Think of a time when you went into a conversation with a team or group, or someone you care about, and you knew what was going on, and had an answer for what to do about it. How did that conversation go?
I’ve come to realize that I never see the whole situation, and that "thinking I know" gets in my way. Instead, it helps me to imagine possibilities, and curiously explore, expecting new discoveries and options to emerge.
It’s our common human response to react to a situation, construct an emotion and create a story using our lived experiences. Our body and brain react to stimuli, predict and act unconsciously to keep us alive. When that’s all we do, we create consequences with those we live and work with. It requires conscious practice to deliberately engage with the intention to discover and create, improvising in the moment together instead of reacting alone.
I work with teams and leaders to create better results through the conscious practice of leadership. Let’s create a better future today!