You Know This For Sure

Unknowns Are Part of the Picture

In life there are plenty of unknowns, so it pays to practice “being okay with” those times that are full of questions, even realizing the benefits to these periods such as learning to get curious and to be open to new paths. While some introspection is appropriate during these times, you’ll still need to act on what you know. Hanging out in I Don’t Know Land for longer than necessary is often just avoidance and an excuse for inaction. When your I DON’T KNOW has more to do with fear, it can become a strange kind of mantra that only serves to keep you in place. The remedy? Take note of what you know for sure.

You Know This

graphic of notebook and penYears ago when film critic Gene Siskel interviewed Oprah Winfrey, he posed the question, “Tell me, what do you know for sure?” In the moment Oprah came up blank, though she was intrigued by the question. Today in her magazine, she writes a regular column entitled What I Know For Sure¹.

The question is a powerful one that can be applied not only to life’s big issues but also to everyday dilemmas that temporarily confound us. Say, for example, that you’re not sure whether you want to throw your hat in the ring for a new position at work. Taking pen to blank paper might result in something like this:

What do I know about this situation?
I’m feeling kind of bored where I am now.
People tell me I’d be great in this role.
I’m definitely qualified for the job.
There would be less direct interaction with customers.
Working with customers is what I really enjoy.
I’m ready for something new but this role isn’t it.
I can find a better match.

As you can see from this example, the insights that this question produced were not just the pro/con type of thoughts you might typically run through. Knowing might include physical proof, technical facts, and what you know to be true from experience. It also encompasses what you feel, what you know on a gut level or in your heart, as well as your mind. This is a knowing on the inside. When you familiarize yourself with using this question on all levels, excellent decisions will follow.

For Sure

In a journal entry dated June 26, 2012, across the top of the page I wrote these words: Of this I am sure… As is usually the case when I journal, I had no idea what would flow from my pen, but as I started to write, several important insights landed on the page. It’s an entry I’ve re-read several times and will reference again. When I read it over, it feels very significant, inspirational even. Writing down what you know for sure calms the questions in your mind and offers you a grounded confidence.

This Week’s Call to Action:

  • The next time you find yourself stuck in I Don’t Know Land, step back and ask yourself: What do I know? Don’t worry if your first thought is, “But I don’t know what I know for sure!” Start with: Well, I know that…

  • Use the question as a journal exercise from time to time. Of this I am sure…

  • Be grateful for the clarity of what you know for sure. How does it change your outlook? What next action is now obvious?

Every single day of our lives there is a play between the known and unknown. Make the best decisions you can and then act on what you know. The rest will take care of itself.

Here's to you,
Ginny Kravitz's signature

¹Read Oprah’s account of when Gene Siskel first posed this question to her (click here).

For more on today’s topic, see these related articles: Get Curious; Act On What You Know; Trusting Your Clarity

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