I was struck again today that the really self aware and quietly confident people really do say when they do not know about something and feel, rightly, no embarrassment in doing so.

In saying you do not know something you are offering a realistic view of yourself. Who on earth knows everything about everything? Anyone pretending that they do is not fooling anyone.

Confidence allows us to reflect on what we do well and to recognise what we do not do particularly well and what we do not know – yet.

And do not think you can style this out – the truth leaks out in the written word as well as in the body language. What you believe will be very clear to people whether you or they consciously realise it.

Some of the most accomplished people I know happily say – I do not have a clue how to do this, do you know? Can you tell me? And they can do that easily because they are clear what they do well and are also clear on what scares them silly. Please do not think that successful people are not routinely scared. Bravery is about being scared and acting anyway.

So I suppose what is missing for many is growing self awareness. Awareness increasing week on week as you get to know yourself more, as you set off on a new career or indeed feel anxious about the end of your present one, will serve you like no other skill.

Being clear that you do not have to do this all alone, that no one is an island and that we are all better off when we can bounce ideas and learn from one another. Why spend so much time learning something from scratch when the person next to you has already walked that path and can tell you easily?
Over the years of PiPS it is a clear realisation that there is some certain characteristic of this group that seems to feel that one must absolutely do all this growth and development totally by oneself. That the optimum outcome is if you just turn up knowing everything, how to do everything and when to do it. Goodness that is a hard path you are setting yourself.

So here are some statements, I would ask you to reflect on whether any of this seems familiar;

1. Everyone else seems to know how to do this, best not show out
2. How hard can this be? If others have done it and I am bright I should find this a breeze
3. I really would rather not speak to anyone I do not know unless I am asking the questions
4. I need the sense of achievement of having done this myself.
5. It would be hideous if anyone knew I did not know how to do ….. (insert anything here!)

And the answers –

1. No, everyone else does not know how to do everything – such a thing would be impossible
2. Not too hard at all but often what you are seeing is the result of a hard learning curve – have you got the time?
3. Control like this comes at a very high price and often makes one very unappealing to others
4. A sense of achievement is felt when success is experienced – do factor in that without some help we may never get to experience that success often having failed or given up.
5. Oh anyone with a brain knows that you do not know everything – and if you did they would probably not want to know you as your ‘wonder’ would make us ordinary sorts feel very dull

So step out now with some energy and confidence. You are enough and you have the ability to learn and develop. Only in being brave and being confident (giving yourself a stern talking to when you wobble) will start to reap huge rewards.

Work with people who know more about what you are seeking and get to where you want to quicker and indeed increase the chances of gaining the success you crave.

Meanwhile I am off to learn more today than I knew yesterday – I promise to pass on what I find


Angela Hackett