I will be saying “I don’t know” more often in 2018. Here’s why.

Did you invest in a business planner for the new year? My social media feeds have been full of conversations about which one to buy over the past few weeks. As 2018 gets underway, we all want to find ways to keep track of our goals, be accountable, and make more use of our time.

I resisted the urge to invest in a new diary, partly because I didn’t want to buy something I might not use but also because I knew I had an unopened one sitting in a drawer somewhere. With the arrival of the new year, I decided it was time to dig it out and have a look. I was instantly inspired. It has a 90 day planner as well as a weekly one and ties in nicely with the 12 Week Year, which I’m following. There are challenges and helpful sheets including the Business Model Canvas, which readers of this blog will have come across before.

How I would like my planner to look. Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

But I also felt intimidated. There is the trepidation which comes with every item of brand new, beautifully designed, stationery: it’s too good to write in. Is it ok to fill it out in biro? What if I make a mistake? Will it be like my teenage diaries? A couple of cringe-worthy entries in January and then left gathering dust forever more.

More seriously, it has questions I don’t know the answer to. I don’t like not knowing. Do you? I feel I should have the answers. “Where do you see your business in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?” Am I a bona fide businessperson if I leave the boxes blank? Is it ok to come back to them later? I recently had to fill in an application form where one of the questions was simply a blank box marked: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us?”

Many years ago, in my first journalism job, a new reporter joined the team and sat next to me. He was given an assignment and some names of people to ring. Someone asked him a question and he replied: “I don’t know. I’m new here.” I was horrified! How can you expect people to trust you if you say you don’t know about the place or the issues? But he got lots more information about the story he was writing, was invited to go and meet the person he was speaking to and got shown around. Saying “I don’t know” got him a lot further than fake it til you make it.

Far from being a negative situation, finding yourself saying “I don’t know” is positive. It’s an opportunity to learn something new.

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Rachel Extance (photo by Jemima Willcox)

Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch by emailing rachel@extance.co.uk or contact her on social media.

Picture of Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help service-based business owners communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself on your website or your content marketing, get in touch with me.

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One Response

  1. Great post. Thank you for putting into words, so much more eloquently than I could, that feeling when faced with a new notebook or planner. Particularly pretty notebooks. Which you have to write in with very neat handwriting to make sure that your handwriting is worthy of the nice book.

    Love the idea that you can admit to not knowing things. As humans, we love to help others. Admitting to lack of knowledge encourages people to help you. They feel good about doing so. They probably crystalise their own knowledge whilst explaining things to you. You learn more than you might if you just made out everything was all fine and dandy. I think that everyone wins.

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