Why “I don’t know” can actually be the answer you need to everything you ever dreamed of and more.

In medicine, “I don’t know” isn’t always a welcome phrase. Concrete, evidenced-based answers are the gold standard and, at best, “I don’t know” should be followed by, “but I’ll look it up” or “but I’ll find out” or “but I will consult ____ to find out more.” All of these are appropriate and valid, helpful for the patient and for the growth of knowledge of that which has already been discovered, documented and decided.

But what about in a situation of growth? How could “knowing” in this way – based on established facts and past practices – actually be tremendously limiting?

When we are innovating, solving problems and expanding out focus, if we operate only from a place of “knowing,” the answers we generate will still be housed in old paradigms.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “there is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into sort of an idea kaleidoscope.” Perhaps there is opportunity to reconsider even that kaleidoscope from a new perspective in order to offer the necessary space to grow and discover.

If you are starting something new – a business, relationship, project, move, school – it can feel really scary to not know what to do next, what is coming next and you might find yourself paralyzed – not ready, willing or able to take the next step because you aren’t entirely sure what that is.