A lot of people are afraid of, “I don’t know.”
I have to admit that I was too, until I took a closer look at that statement after a recent networking meeting.
We were talking about it in the context of the pandemic — specifically, the fact that we can’t possibly know what’s going on with our clients unless we make the effort to ASK.
We’d rather make assumptions because it’s easier than being vulnerable.
It’s simpler to feed ourselves toxic thoughts like,
“They didn’t hire me this time because they weren’t happy with our last design.” Or …
“They put our retainer on hold because they’re trying to phase us out.” Or …
“I haven’t heard from them in a while because they’re working with someone else now.”
More often than not, reality is much less painful than the picture we paint in our head.
If we just take a minute to say (instead), “I don’t know what’s going on with this relationship. BUT I can guarantee it’s in everyone’s best interest for me to find out.” That effort alone will go a long way.
It shows that you care about your client and the relationship you’ve built with them.
It shows that you’re human and want to understand how life (and the pandemic) has impacted them, both personally and professionally.
And it shows that you’re willing to put yourself out there — and even risk potential (though unlikely) rejection — to learn how you can be a better partner for them.
My perfectionist mind always thought of “not knowing” as a weakness.
When really, “I don’t know” is probably one of the most powerful statements I have in my arsenal. Because it opens up the exploration of EVERY possibility, instead of just the damaging ones rattling around in my own head.
And THAT is definitely something worth knowing.