Often, an entrepreneur’s hardest work is going on invisibly, on the inside. I, for example, have been working on being ok with not knowing all the answers. Even typing that makes me gasp and feel nausea rising. How do I deal with that immense sense of responsibility – the need to understand, know and be able to clearly explain everything, accompanied by an immense fear that I might miss something important and place my clients at risk? Here are 5 strategies that I have found helpful:
Embrace a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is all about embracing new challenges and seeing them as opportunities for growth and learning. Instead of seeing uncertainty as a weakness, a growth mindset acknowledges that no one knows everything, and there’s always room for improvement. When you adopt a growth mindset, you’re more likely to be open-minded and curious when it comes to dealing with gaps in your knowledge. You’re also more likely to seek out opportunities for self-improvement, which can help you provide better advice in the long run. By cultivating a growth mindset, you’ll be more comfortable with uncertainty and better equipped to tackle challenging situations.
Be Honest & Transparent
It’s not always easy to admit when you don’t have an answer to a client’s question. However, being honest and transparent is essential when it comes to building trust and credibility. When you don’t have an answer, it’s much better to acknowledge that fact than to try to bluff your way through it. Your client will appreciate your humility and authenticity. Explain to the client that you’ll need to do some research or consult with colleagues before providing a comprehensive response. This approach shows that you’re committed to finding the right answer, and that you value your client’s time and needs. It’s a win-win situation: the client gets the information they need, and you build a stronger relationship based on honesty and transparency.
Seek Expert Opinions
Sometimes, the best way to deal with uncertainty is to seek advice or guidance from colleagues or industry associations. By tapping into the expertise of others in your field, you can fill the knowledge gaps and provide more reliable advice. When consulting with others, make sure to choose experts who have a proven track record in the relevant area. This could be someone in your organization or industry, or an external consultant with relevant experience. By doing so, you can leverage their knowledge and expertise to provide your clients with the most accurate advice possible. Clients also love it when you help them with referrals. It is perfectly acceptable to tell them that, while their needs are beyond the scope of your capacity, you can offer them some names of professionals who may be better able to assist them. I have even arranged with other lawyers to provide me with professional development, giving me a crash course in the basics of their specialty, so I can provide preliminary advice and confidently refer more complicated issues to them. This approach also helps you cultivate collaborative rather than competitive relationships with others in your field.
Consult Relevant Resources
The internet has made it easier than ever to access a wealth of information on virtually any topic. When you’re dealing with uncertainty, make sure to take advantage of reliable resources such as textbooks, journals, or government websites. This will help you build a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, and fill in any knowledge gaps. When using online resources, make sure to check the credibility of the source and verify the accuracy of the information. Doing so will help ensure that the information you’re providing to your clients is accurate and complete.
When dealing with uncertainty, it’s essential to keep your clients informed throughout the process of finding answers. Update them on your progress and when you anticipate having an answer. This will help manage their expectations and demonstrate that you’re actively working on their behalf. Clients appreciate being kept in the loop, even if you don’t have all the answers right away. By maintaining clear lines of communication, you can build trust and a stronger relationship with your clients, even when dealing with a situation where you don’t have all the answers. Communication is key when it comes to managing uncertainty in professional advice, so make sure to keep your clients informed every step of the way.
How I can help
If you have also been struggling under the weight of your perceived professional responsibility, come and have a chat with me! We can unpack your “what if?s” and get some perspective on the difference between subconscious fear and real world danger. We can also start making an action plan to keep you safe.