Rule 3 – You’re not as smart as you think you are, even if you are as smart as you think you are.
This rule, in my list of 12 rules for everyone, is apparently one of the most difficult to follow. WOW! I feel the need to remind multiple people daily. Won’t lie, even to myself. As you know I use my teenage daughter in many of my blogs, so of course she is a perfect example for this rule. I find myself needing to tell her frequently that she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is. But at 14, it feels pretty normal to still be teaching that life lesson. Of course she thinks she knows everything, what teenager doesn’t? To be fair, she does know more about being a teenager, horseback riding, playing the guitar, her favorite TV shows, movies and music than I do. So in that regard she IS as smart as she thinks she is. BUT that doesn’t mean you should make others feel inferior or guilty for offering to help because of your knowledge. You shouldn’t assume that it carries over into every other facet of your life.
Here’s another example I used on my daughter just this weekend. She is in her final week of the first quarter of school. She has an essay due on Wednesday about her “transition plan” into high school and then college. (My moment of “OMG not ready to talk about college” is for another blog! HA!) They have been working on it for a week and she wanted to work ahead this weekend and try and get it done early. GREAT!! So Saturday afternoon, she came outside and told me she had finished and asked if she could go to the park and play with friends. I praised her for being so responsible and asked her to print out a copy of the essay so I could proof it while she was at the park. You would have honestly thought I asked her to read War In Peace and told her she didn’t know what color the sky was. She was beside herself that I could possibly question her ability, skills, and thought process. In her mind, I was basically saying her paper was terrible. No, I just offered to proof read her essay. I explained that everyone, no matter who you are or what your job is, should have their important items proof read. I have a second set of eyes on my writing and I don’t think twice about it. I am frequently reading over reports for the team, because I can catch things that may be a simple oversight. Of course I showed her no less than a dozen requests in my work email asking for me to read over a report from a team member, and my emails requesting the same. I told her my proofing was not to question or find fault or challenge your intelligence, it’s to make sure all of your hard work and effort is not discredited with a simple grammar error or two or ten. And we all make them on occasion!
Think about your own team. I know you have many experts on your team. Use them and ask for their help and praise them for their accomplishments. Doesn’t mean you aren’t smart, an expert in your own area, and a valued team member. You are! But that can make you better and vice versa. The sales team can help you brainstorm through that closing objection from Mr. & Mrs. Dell. You can help them create a wonderful One Extra/WOW factor for Mrs. Bass and her daughter. The nutritionist can assist the dining services team and Chef Anton on how to make delicious, healthier meals for Mr. Snow’s sodium concerns. See the pattern?
I used to hear my Mimi tell people that “she/he needs a piece of humble pie.” I didn’t know exactly what it meant, but I knew from her tone that it meant she was trying to teach a lesson and was a little frustrated. Today, I know exactly what she meant! So just except that you don’t know everything, ask for a second set of eyes or another opinion, observe and model others positive habits and knowledge. If not, I’m going to start giving out pieces of Mimi’s humble pie starting tonight at dinner!
Until next time…