Are you caught in the ‘don’t know’ trap?

I saw this post recently from @tarasophia and found it quite shocking.  Here is the quote that grabbed me:

When researchers gave women and men a short quiz that tested their financial literacy, men did better. Not too shocking, right? Men are exposed to more informal financial education, and they are encouraged to learn about investing and money management. Women often are not.  But there was another part of the research findings that practically knocked me out of my chair.

“When we took away the ‘do not know’ option [from the multiple choice financial tests] women were no less likely to choose the wrong answer. So if forced to pick an answer, women seem to know as much as men,” Professor Annamaria Lusardi, one of the principal researchers, reported.”

Oh my goodness – the lengths we can go to when we hope to be accepted or we value the opinion of others so much more than our own.  This also reminded me of some recent coaching where female clients wanted to be more influential in work – sometimes they were undermining themselves when the lacked the confidence to share their own thoughts.

So, here is a new experiment to find out if you are ‘pretending that you don’t know’:

At the end of each meeting, ask yourself these questions to increase your self-awareness:

  1. How many times did I say or think ‘I don’t know’?
  2. If I was forced to pick an answer – could I give an answer that I had 80% confidence in?
  3. What do I want to do next time?

For more information read this great article from Tara Mohr or get in touch for coaching.

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