“I don’t know. I can’t recall. I’d be guessing.”
We like to hear things like this (sometimes) when our client is testifying but what about when we hear ourselves saying them?
They make us sound weak, don’t they?
No. They make us sound smart.
According to Jeff Bezos, “The smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.”
Just when we think we’ve got this “law practice” thing working smoothly. . . that’s when we need to stop and re-assess.
What if we don’t know? What if we’re wrong? What if there’s a better way?
But do we do that?
Unfortunately, we often think we know better. We think we’re good at what we do and that’s enough. “If it ain’t broke. . .” we tell ourselves.
Sure, we take CLE, we read the journals, we keep up with the latest in our field. But all that knowledge can’t help us if we’re afraid to be wrong.
It takes courage to admit you’re not as good as should be, and courage to do something about it.
How do you develop that courage? A good place to start is to surround ourselves with people who challenge us and are willing to be honest with us and being willing to listen to them.
Early in my practice, I had people working for me who knew more than I knew and were better at their job than I was at mine. I got better at my job because I was willing to admit I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Today, I’d like to think I would be willing to do the same.
Would I? Would you?
If we’re as smart as we think we are, the right answer is “I don’t know”.
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