One of the faster ways to put yourself into a drama relationship with yourself and others is to pretend you know something when you don’t. If you pretend you know how to fix your computer after it crashes, rather than ask for help from a computer professional, you will only cause yourself frustration.
Pretending you know something when you don’t, interrupts your willingness to learn, shuts down new possibilities, and limits your effectiveness.
This can be particularly challenging if you are an expert in a profession, hobby, or practice. As David often says when coaching such an expert, “The good news is that you know your stuff. The bad news is that you know your stuff.”
In most schools you were taught there was a right and wrong answer and you were supposed to “know” it. Some professions have a precise right or wrong skill, and you may get promoted based upon how well you know that skill. Many organizations reward the knower mindset, but then wonder why their culture struggles with a lack of innovation and new ideas.
When you think you know something, you must compare what you know to what others know. Once comparisons take off, it is essential that you defend yourself and what you know. Conversations can become personal and all about how much you know (or think you know). Then you are firmly into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). And here’s the irony—you probably don’t “know” that your need to be an expert is the source of your drama.
In conversations, you may protect your point-of-view, and even Persecute others if they disagree with you. Interactions are debates and your approach to a discussion is to regard your point of view as a truth that should be obvious to everyone else.
Stuck in a knower mindset may give you comfort, but it can easily frustrate your co-workers, friends, and family. The mind can get lazy and keep repeating habits that worked in the past. Without being aware of it, you can be stuck in the “box” of your prior experience. As a result, you may forget how to learn new ways of thinking or approaches to life’s challenges—to “get outside the box.”
Having a Creator mindset, which is the foundation of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®, is the source of a learner’s mind and the antidote to the knower mind. It requires that you learn to become comfortable with not knowing—not an easy thing to do for a “knower!”
As you shift from knower to learner, you may feel uncomfortable at first, as you move outside your comfort zone. With practice, we believe you will experience more fun, joy, and success in life and certainly be more effective as you learn to consider new possibilities, rather than rely only on your expert perspective.
Here are a few steps to get started with becoming more comfortable with “not knowing”:
- Declare that you are a learner, rather than a knower. Practice saying, “I don’t know.” With this declaration, you become open to new perspectives and ideas.
- Learn something new that places you into an uncomfortable state of “not knowing.” It may be learning a new hobby, language, riding a motorcycle—anything that sounds interesting and forces you to learn. For Donna, taking drawing lessons has required a learner’s mindset.
- Ask for help! Asking for coaching, taking a class, or starting over opens you to learning.
Shifting from knower to learner is not always easy. However, it can open you to the new, the novel, innovation, creativity—and it can even be fun and invigorating!