Feel some calm in knowing the fear of “not knowing” is normal and find confidence that you can turn it to your advantage. We all feel the pressure to not be wrong at the very time when our lack of knowledge is truly a benefit. Maybe a flip on projecting confidence when you don’t feel it is actually being confident in your lack of knowledge. I recently spoke to an old boss and now entreprenuer who mentors a lot of 20-something women and he shared this insight that hits this idea home:
“In your twenties it’s hard to shed all the pressures from the outside and understand that the best way to perform as a twenty five year-old is to not feel any pressure. It’s actually your youth — your freshness, your almost naivety — that is a core benefit. Let it come out. Be confident of being naïve and proud of not knowing the answer. That is the value a twenty year old brings to a company and to themselves.
I think there’s so much pressure for the generation entering the workplace today that it’s easy to forget that it’s okay to make mistakes. Take advantage of your twenties. I always say that if you’re 40 years old, people expect you to have an answer that makes sense. When you’re 22, it’s okay to be pie in the sky. Not having mind-blocks is the advantage of your age. And nurturing that will help you grow in the long run.
Of course if you’re an accountant, you can’t be wrong. That is the difference between a job where intellectual value is the most important thing. If you have a specific skill or trade you need to perfect that. So if you’re an architect at 25, you have to make sure that the building doesn’t fall. You can’t be wrong on that. But creating a new building shape that challenges what convention says is possible …that may be what ends up creating a new shape that’s never been done before. I think there’s a difference between skills and thinking for a 2o year old. You have to learn the skills but you have to let your mind wander and be confident in that.” — 40-something, entrepreneur, mentor, New York, NY