November 14th, 2013

It’s okay to say “I don’t know”

It’s okay to say “I don’t know”

It’s always nice to see awesome Portland folks sharing their knowledge. Or sometimes their knowledge about admitting not having knowledge. Because it’s not always the knowledge that helps. Sometimes it’s the courage to say that you don’t know something. Which can be difficult in any situation. Let alone an industry that has its own righteous indignation directed at not knowing.

It’s even worse when you’re a founder or entrepreneur. Someone who is “supposed to have all of the answers.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Lyza Danger Gardner, cofounder of Portland’s Cloud Four, has a great post on how to find this courage—and the onus for doing so:

Not long before, I had started noticing a habit I had, a tendency to nod or make vague assentive noises when people around me talked about things I’d never heard of.

When I did this, my motivation wasn’t to claim knowledge I didn’t have as much as to deflect a need for outright admission of ignorance. I’d let the moment glide past and later scamper off to furtively study up.

I recognized this in myself, this fear of looking like I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, and I didn’t love it. At the same time, there was so much to keep on top of—JavaScript frameworks, browser bugs, devices, hacks, techniques, workarounds, etc.—that to be entirely informed about all of these things wasn’t feasible either, no matter the level of effort.

Take some time to read “Never Heard of It.”

(Image courtesy Bilal Kamoon. Used under Creative Commons.)

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