I Don’t Know is probably one of the most frequent phrases that I hear from clients. I don’t know stops us in our tracks and it blocks our forward momentum.
What does “I don’t know” really mean?
If you are like me the phrase I don’t know does not always mean that I do not know. For example it could mean that I do know, butI am not ready to act. It could mean that I am afraid to speak the truth because my inner critic thinks it is silly or stupid. Maybe I am worried that if I actually answer out loud that I would have to commit to taking a risk and doing something really scary. It may mean that I feel I am stuck with a decision between two options that I do not like.
As a coach there are many ways we help clients who are stuck at I don’t know. While I won’t have time to elaborate on all of them, I wanted to give two tips to try next time you have to face an I Don’t Know moment.
The power that I Don’t Know has over us is that it really immobilizes our ability to rationalize and think clearly. Because we can’t reconcile some sort of uncomfortable truth our mind franticly searches in loops for a viable alternative. One very simple yet powerful thing you can do is to stop running from it, turn and just give I don’t know a big hug! The more you run away from it, the more power it has over you. Try this the next time you come face to face with I don’t know.
- Stop, take a deep breath in
- Relax your body & let the breath out
- As you breathe out admit to yourself with conviction “I DON’T KNOW”.
Really own it in the moment. Don’t be afraid to repeat this a few times, but eventually you will feel a release. When that happens don’t forget to pause an enjoy the peace.
Now that you were able to break the cycle and strip the power of anxiety away from I Don’t Know, you can now start to explore what’s behind it without the panic. As a coach we know there is real revelation waiting when our clients can fist acknowledge and choose to come face to face with what they are really thinking. Just know that what comes up may not always seem completely rational. It may be based on a belief of who you think you SHOULD be instead of who you are now or want to be. Our mind plays funny tricks like this all the time. But once you have the honest truth in the open you now have something real to work with. It can be broken down into some things that are smaller and more actionable.
I will often ask clients to complete this sentence out loud quickly and without thinking about it. We have a short window (5 seconds) where if we start thinking our internal filters will kick in and block the answer.
Ready don’t think, just answer.
I don’t know because I ….
That thought that came into you head just now is likely the sticking point. Repeat the sentence again a few times. Try it on, so to speak, to see if it resonates as true.
By learning to embrace and explore I don’t know, you are taking a bold step towards being really honest and authentic with yourself. These Aha moments help us grow, learn and live more fulfilled lives.
I hope this tip comes in handy one day. If you need some help tackling your I don’t knows or just really wan’t to amplify reaching your personal or professional goals. We offer a free life coaching consultation. It’s easy just fill out the form in the link below and we’ll get you scheduled for a free discovery session.