The ‘know it all’ trap

Dec 5, 2019

There is a big difference between knowing everything and knowing that you can figure out anything.

Many service providers believe that they “have to know it all” before they can provide any value to their clients.

And that if they don’t “know it all” yet, then they aren’t ready.

So they don’t put themselves out there. They get caught in an endless loop of learning and taking courses. They lose sales because they bring their “I don’t know enough yet” mindset to the conversation, and essentially talk themselves out of clients.

The drive to “know it all” is a dangerous trap, not only because it’s impossible to achieve (I have yet to meet someone who knows it all!) but because it’s not really what your clients want from you.

Your clients want someone who can drive the work and get it done.

They want someone who is going to own their part and take responsibility for their work.

THAT is what will get you hired. The attitude of “I may not know it all, but I know MYSELF… and I know that I will do whatever it takes to fulfill on my promises and serve my clients.”

It’s the difference between “I don’t know it all yet so don’t hire me”VS”I don’t know it all yet and I can figure it out where needed.”

This might mean learning on the fly. Doing research. Hiring someone else to help you. Reaching out to a community of trusted colleagues for advice.

And to be clear – this is all based on the assumption that you have a foundation of expertise and knowledge. If you’ve never built a website before and you tell a client you have… that’s not figuring it out. That’s lying.

If you’ve taken a training in your area of expertise but don’t yet have a tonne of experience… be upfront about it! Just say “I don’t have a lot of direct experience doing X yet, but I have invested in myself with training and am committed to doing whatever it takes to fulfill on my promise to you. I have a community of colleagues I can turn to and am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and figure it out when needed.”

Take a moment and consider – where do you feel like you have to “know more”? And where does it hold you back?

Think of a time where something came up that was new to you and unexpected. How did you handle it? I suspect your “figure it out” muscle is stronger than you might even realize.

All things are possible when we know OURSELVES – not when we know it all.



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