day 11

In the spirit of ‘un-doing’, I’m experimenting with a bit of ‘un-knowing’ and it’s kind of cool….

Back in my university days, for a while I hung out with a bunch of what I considered to be ‘very clever people’ who spent time discussing philosophy and politics.

At the time that wasn’t really my thing so when asked for my opinion, I would reply ‘I don’t know’ and then go into a whole load of thinking about how stupid I was, how this group of friends would never accept me because I wasn’t clever enough and I’d feel shy and overwhelmed in their presence.

At that point I made a decision: I would have an opinion on stuff. I would know the answers.

And I set about accumulating information so that I would be well informed and ‘clever’ like them.

I got a first class Psychology Degree, I got an MSc in Occupational Psychology, I bought every program there ever was on marketing and personal development and devoured information so I would always know the answer.

I tried coaching, but then realised I felt far more comfortable in the world of mentoring.

Where I could position myself as the expert who knew the answers.

After running about a thousand webinars, I managed to get comfortable with ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you’ as an answer when put on the spot.

But when my coach at the time once said ‘All the stress you’re feeling right now is the result of un-made decisions. Look where you’re NOT making decisions and just make them and you’ll be able to relax’.

That seemed to mesh with my experience that if I could just know the answers I would be happier.

Big mistake. Bad advice. Given in all innocence, but fundamentally wrong.

What I’ve started to wake up to has changed EVERYTHING.

I suddenly saw that there are actually two states you can be in.

I know.

I don’t know.

But what I’d been doing for years was running around inside of ‘I don’t know’ trying to find the answers.

Being in the unknown was sooooo uncomfortable that if I thought ‘I don’t know’ the next step that occured to me was to work out the answer so I did know.

Not just because of my university experience.

But because I’m a human being.

We all do it.

We HATE being in the unknown.

But what I realised was that I spent so much time trying to get from ‘I don’t know’ to ‘I have the answer’ instead of using a simple full stop.

What do I want to spend my time doing in September?

I don’t know.

And using that energy I was wasting with getting on with the stuff I know without even thinking about it.

Making up a cup of tea, picking the kids up from school, creating a new program that felt like a no-brainer, calling that person, going to sleep at night.

All of those things we just know to do.

My mind became quieter.

And the answer to the question: What do I want to spend my time doing over the next few months? came to me.

I just knew.

Not because I’d worked it out, figured it out, got coaching on it, read a book on it, googled it or any of those things I do when trying to solve the ‘I don’t know’ problem.

But because I HADN’T done any of those things.

Because I had a better understanding of how the mind works.

And I knew that inserting the full-stop after ‘I don’t know’ was the way to get the perfect answer for me.

So if you don’t know your coaching niche – you don’t know.

Full stop.

Until you do.

Stop trying to work it out, worry about it, think hard about it and get it right so you can answer the question.

If you don’t know how to fill your next coaching program – you don’t know.

Full stop.

Until you do.

If you don’t know whether to get married to that guy – you don’t know.

Full stop.

Until you do.

And if you don’t know what to do about your kids answering you back – you don’t know.

Full stop.

Until you do.

Homework for this week: Just notice how much time you spend trying to work out the answer to a question you don’t know the answer to.

And maybe just stop it.

As ever, please share this post using the buttons below if you know people that you know are trying to answer the questions they don’t know the answers to – you may just give them some respite today!

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