Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lean In....To Your Confusion

Today, I sent an email containing a list of all the things I'm unsure about.

Well, the things I'm unsure about for one particular work project anyway.

It's my job to ask potentially stupid questions. To expose myself as a fraud who has no business touching a computer.

I ask them anyway.

Because I've learned that sometimes when you ask a "stupid" question, you get two different answers, which surfaces some assumptions that hadn't yet been verbalized.

Sometimes you spark a conversation because they hadn't yet thought through the scenario you asked about. 

 (Image Credit: Charles Hutchins)
Sometimes you get an answer that's over your head but you can make a list of things to Google later so that you have a deeper understanding from which to ask future questions.

My understanding of a project builds itself like an imaginary house, and over the years I've built many imaginary houses.  My comfort level is high once I start seeing walls and a roof.  But sometimes I feel a tickle in my brain that's something like "Hmm, I didn't see a bathroom in this house yet.  I need to verify that we have a toilet.  Because that's kind of a big deal"

Trust the tickle in your brain.  It could be intuition taking the form of confusion.  And if it's not, your temporary feelings of embarrassment will help fertilize the ground from which your intuition grows.

(PS - I recall James Bach saying ideas of this sort in a YouTube video but I don't recall which one; hopefully my thoughts are more "inspired by" than "stolen from")

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