We find this attitude in teachers, business mentors, self-development coaches, and all too often among Sacred Artists. It has been around forever but in the age of high octane technology where safeguards and accountability checks are nil it is especially pernicious. I am talking about the “I’ve got it all figured out” mentality. It’s not overstating the case to say that this attitude is not only lethal to many a burgeoning business but also to living honestly and with full integrity.
People who have the attitude that they have it all figured out love to preach but do not like being questioned. They are often fans of blueprints, “Six Steps to Success” type programs, and above all, the sound of their own voice. They lecture and discourage free flowing conversation. Teachers who have this attitude rarely or never acknowledge their own teachers, seldom admit that they were ever students, and certainly do not seek out other teachers (Why would they? They have it all figured out!). In business some people with this mentality like to pretend that they always had it all figured out. Their website was on the perfect platform day one, they always knew all about the difference between push and pull marketing, and their mailing list grew from 6 to 60k in 60 days. Mmmhmm.
My irritation with this “I’ve got it all figured out” fallacy is that, first of all, it’s a total pile of BS. Secondly, it takes all the FUN out of learning, creating, and building anything–whether that’s a new recipe you are trying out for the first time or your very first website. I’m sure you all know this but in case, somehow, you don’t here it is: You never have it all figured out.
The dishonesty bit of this mentality is easy enough to understand but the losing the fun part is a bit more subtle. The first author who pointed this out to me was Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. Joel reminded me that the beauty of doing small scale anything–business, cooking, lotion making, planting, etc,–is that you get to EXPERIMENT. Yes! You can try out different things! Maybe the way that everyone else prices themselves actually does really work for you…or maybe it doesn’t! Maybe you like making small batches of face cream or maybe you don’t. Or maybe you want to try adding more lavender oil the next time around. The point is…we get to play! When you have it all figured out you don’t get to play. You get to be a know it all. Having been the poster child for school girl know it all let me tell you–that role is seriously overrated.
Maybe your first go at a website will be crap–mine sure was. Maybe the first offering you launch failed–it happens! As we say in Texas, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse (We don’t all have horses in Texas btw). I see the need for having it all figured out keep people from pursuing their dreams on a pretty regular basis and that breaks my heart. I see Sacred Artists especially effected by this obstacle…and to my mind that is not acceptable. I’m all for identifying knowledge and skill gaps and seeking out the appropriate teachers and support. I believe that making practical plans is the only way to ground your big vision in the here and now where it can actually become something tangible. I also think that we are kidding ourselves if we say that we are waiting until the day we have it all figured out. That day? Never coming. Meanwhile…we are waiting for you to bring your awesome.