I don’t think I’ve said two phrases more in 2015 than these two.
I don’t know.
And most of the time, they’re in conjunction with each other.
Why? Because most of the time I really DON’T know. A lot of the time I lack specific knowledge, whether it be specific to where I work, specific to the industry I now work in, or even specific to a process I’m using (no, I didn’t know pixels were better than points in web design).
It’s not an excuse. I just wasn’t aware.
Sometimes, though, “I don’t know” CAN be an excuse. Why is this in one image but not another? It was an oversight on my part. I wasn’t diligent enough to compare the two. I was rushing to finish this. Etc. etc. the actual reasons could go on and on. In which case, again, I try to identify the actual reason and state it. That way when I say “I don’t know” it’s not diluted by all the other “things” I don’t know.
Is this getting confusing? Because as I’m typing it out I’m realizing how confusing it might sound.
Then there comes “I’m sorry.”
I’m sorry I failed. I’m sorry I didn’t know this or this or that and the other thing. I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of XYZ. I’m sorry to bother you. I’m sorry to add work. I’m sorry to slow this down.
But here’s the thing about I’m sorry and I don’t know.
If you really are sorry, if you really don’t know…even if it’s frustrating for people around you…you’re learning.
When I don’t know something at work (like WHY something is used/done) I ask questions and I do research afterwards so I UNDERSTAND for the next time. Same applies for projects I do on the side. And even in conversations I have with friends.
So don’t afraid to admit these two things. Don’t hide behind them, either. Stay genuine and keep learning.