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Ross Kennedy: What You Don't Know You Don't Know..

What You Don't Know You Don't Know….

By Ross Kennedy

During my many years as a house owner, I have developed a love of DIY home projects and, along the way, have accumulated a fair range of DIY skills.

Last weekend, I set out on the latest home improvement job full of confidence that my acquired skills would see me through. Instead, I found myself frustrated that the way I thought I should tackle the task was, in fact, not doing the job.

I was, of course, hell bent on doing it my way - this, after all, is the prerogative of the DIY fanatic - but, after a longer period of time than I care to admit to here, I realised I had to search for another way to do the job. Putting this newfound approach to the test, I was surprised that the task was finished quickly and to a level far better than I had previously anticipated.

And, the great news is that I was reminded of one of life's really valuable lessons.

I had launched blindly into the project with an I-know-how-to-do-this attitude and learnt, after much anguish, that had I put a little effort from the outset into thinking of the various ways I could tackle the job instead of roaring into it single-mindedly, I would have struck gold a lot sooner.

Could this apply to business? In my experience as a Business Coach, the answer to that is most definitely 'Yes, and it applies to a huge number of business owners that I speak to every year'.

In order to succeed, we have to instigate change. But, before we can instigate change, we have to admit to ourselves that we need to do things differently - and that often necessitates asking for help. In other words, admitting we do not know opens up the way for you and me to be willing and receptive to new ideas.

Catch yourself when you find yourself saying, 'I KNOW' Teenagers are experts at making out they know everything! After all, it's pretty 'uncool' to have someone older telling them something they don't know, especially in public and particularly if that person is their parent. That's why, 'I already know that' is a common phrase in a teenager's daily conversation.

Is this reluctance to accept help and advice and to do things differently burned into our subconscious mind, only to surface again when we are about to be taken outside our comfort zone?

'I know about…', 'I know what…', 'I know how…". How many times do we say 'I know' statements to ourselves when we hear or need to seek out new ideas? So often we measure these new concepts against our own existing perceptions and make a judgment shutting out all possibilities of learning. When we read some new information, we often simply stop reading because that little voice in our head tries to reassure us that we already know.

Been in business for a long time? Yes? Then chances are you are probably blasé about business information - after all, a huge amount of written text arrives every day - information about what we should do, about seminars and workshops we should attend, articles in magazines and books we should read and so on.

When receiving this information listen to yourself, are you saying 'I KNOW'? Be honest, how often do you say this to yourself or out loud during a conversation, a meeting or when one of your team members is explaining something to you? If you answer 'often' or even just feel a little uncomfortable about this, chances are you are probably shutting down all possibility of learning something new and being able to do something in a different way.

So the question is why don't we do what we know? The truth is we are creatures of habit and are controlled by our fears so we tend naturally towards repeating things - doing things the same old way - so we don't have to face change.

Dr Spencer Johnson in his book 'Who moved My Cheese?' says, "The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it".

So, as a business owner are you frustrated that you are not doing the things you 'know' you should do - such as increase sales levels, profits, your team's performance or improve your systems? Do you 'know' your business stays at the level you are at and for your business to move forward you have to change?

Ask yourself this question - 'How many opportunities have I consciously or subconsciously said 'I KNOW' to recently?' Catch yourself next time, and replace those two words with, 'Isn't that interesting'!


This article was written by Ross Kennedy. Ross is an Action International Business Coach based in Auckland who helps business owners increase their profits and enjoy more life.


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