Thursday, June 14, 2007

"We don't say we don't know. We look it up."

My grandfather sold World Book encyclopedias door-to-door for many years. As a father of four, an avid reader and a life-long learner himself (though he never graduated from high school), he also kept a set of those encyclopedias at home. When his children asked him questions or, more pointedly, when *he* asked *them* questions and the response was "I don't know," my grandfather would admonish: "We don't say we don't know, we look it up." The children were sent to fetch the appropriate volume of World Book or the dictionary or whatever reference would provide the answer.

That insistence on finding out the answers was instilled in my father and passed on to me. As I advance toward my personal and professional goals, I notice that much of what enables me to progress is my willingness to ask questions.

There are still moments when I find myself overwhelmed and I begin to whine “but I don't know how to do that." Then I hear Grandpa’s voice of disapproval and I stop to reframe that into a question: "How do I find out how to do that?"

If you’re thinking about striking out on your own, know that you don’t have to have all the answers now. You only have to be bold enough to ask the questions and have faith enough to know that the answers are out there, and you can find them.

Last night, I attended my first PubTalk presented by the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN). With dozens of seasoned entrepreneurs as well as newcomers like me, it was a fantastic crowd full of talent, experience, and advice. It reminded me again of the resources that exist, and that I need only to avail myself of them.

Food for thought: Where do you go when you have questions? To whom do you turn? What resources are consistently useful in providing information or support? If you have a specific question, share it with me and I’ll let you know if I’ve found a resource that can help.

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