I have been in many conversations where I hear people say “I know what to do”. It’s something we all believe is true of ourselves. We go about our day, our jobs, our life believing we know what we are doing.
This thinking makes for a degree of calm in our lives. There is less stress when we believe in ourselves. We sometimes work harder (and other times less) when we are more sure of ourselves.
The confusing part creeps in when we look to see if we are effective. If we are accomplishing the goals we set out to achieve. If things or situations around us are improving.
I have been guilty of being confident a lot and always busy. Spending effort learning and doing. Things I felt needed to be done. Why? Because I believed I knew what I was doing.
It’s interesting to step back and reflect on the times when things either did not turn out the way we want or our situations never change or improve in spite of us working really hard.
What I have learned is that believing that you know what to do has no relation to understanding what is necessary to do to be more effective. In my life, I concentrated a lot on the wrong things to focus on at work. No matter how hard I tried and how much I believed I knew what I was doing the financial results (in this case) didn’t change.
I didn’t understand what was needed or important to do to achieve better financial results. This is not an issue of capability or skill. This is an issue of perspective and being able to really self analyze my “self valued” priorities and contrast (not compare) them to the priorities a situation or goal requires.
(I believe this is true of many other situations that are not financial or related to business.)
What’s necessary may be harder for us to execute because we aren’t as skilled at the required to move ahead. That’s ok. It happens all the time. We honestly may not even like to do them. But because of our responsibilities and our situation, we can never breakthrough unless we do more of what’s important and less of what we simply know how to do or believe we should do.
To focus on the necessary, we may need help and humility to listen more to others outside our inner circle. Collaborate. Be more willing to adjust and try different things to build new skills and strengths. Even when we first hear of something that either hurts us or we feel is so wrong (in the end it may not be).
We need to remember that leverage (achieving more than the effort we put in) will only occur when we focus our efforts on what is necessary to be done and shedding our pride and our insistence on always knowing what to do.
Knowing what to do and understanding what needs to be done most likely will create a conflict within yourself that you alone can resolve.
Life throws us many challenges. Suppressing the urge, to boast about what we know to do, to see more clearly what is needed and important to do, is a skill worth developing sooner than later.