I don't know everything

I don’t know everything.  GASP!  And a hush settles over the crowd. 

Ok, it didn’t quite happen this way.  I did say “I don’t know everything” out loud this morning, but there was no crowd.  It was me, my husband and my 8-year old in our house.   It wasn’t a hush, rather there was no response to my statement, i.e. silence.

Photo by Maridav/iStock / Getty Images

Today was the first time I said “I don’t know everything” out loud.  Lately, I’ve been seeking out ways to shortcut conversations with my son when he starts nitpicking at my behavior.  This morning his statement started with “mom, you said . . .”. 

The topic of conversation was du, du daaaaa – the missing Lunchable.  I knew today was a cold lunch day and I thought there was a Lunchable in the fridge for him to take to school.  When it was time to leave for school, it was not in the fridge.  At some point during the week, I (seem to have) authorized consumption of the Lunchable for dinner.  I didn’t remember it.  For a good reason, I don’t need to use brain cells to remember that information. 

I don’t remember everything he said, but I do remember the peaceful feeling after I said “I don’t know everything.”  There was no emotion behind the statement – I wasn’t mad or frustrated; I just made the statement like I was talking about the weather.

Have you ever said “I don’t know.” Did it feel empowering?  

I feel a wave of peace wash over me when I say “I don’t know.”  It prevents me from struggling to talk about information when I don’t know everything. Afterwards, I can take up the challenge to learn the answer or put the responsibility back to the person who asked the question.  I don’t always say “I will find out”.  It depends on the circumstances.  Sometimes I say “let’s find out together”.

Another phrase I am fond of is “this is my first time too”.  I started using it when my son would ask about details of an upcoming event.  I don’t need to guess or anticipate what will happen.  I can learn right along with him. 

As far as practicing law, no attorney is ever going to know everything.  That is one of the exciting parts about practice.  I get to learn something new on a regular basis.  Every case has different facts even if it is in the same area of law.

Even if I don’t know everything I feel fortunate that my awareness brings me peace, not stress.

You don’t have to know everything.  You don’t have to keep track of everyone or make sure 100% of everything gets done.  You are responsible for yourself.  Don’t place unrealistic expectations on your performance in life.  No one is keeping score.