THE HAPPY HAZARD OF LOOKING STUPID
By Tricia Scott
Ever been in a room full of people engaged in a discussion, everyone's nodding in agreement and you're like, what the fuck are they talking about?
Loads of times actually.
I finally decided enough was enough when I moved house to a super exciting river view apartment right next door to a contemporary art centre. Now, I like art and I loved being able to wander in, drink coffee and browse around the vast spaces of sometimes brilliant and sometimes way-over-my-head installations but after about a month or so I found myself doing the thing.
Standing in a room full of artsy-types and nodding.
'Hmm yes, I see what they've done there'. FYI, I didn't. Not one bit, not a fucking clue. I quite liked it, I guess something about it appealed to me, but I had no idea what these people were talking about and yet here I was nodding like Churchill the bloody dog. **
It’s a funny thing observing your own behaviour, I felt utterly ridiculous and not because I didn't get it but because I was standing there pretending I did. What for? Who was I even trying to impress anyway? So, I did what I do best and went into full 'bull in china shop mode' I walked right past the group admiring and oooh-ing and aaah-ing and went straight up to a member of staff and said 'I don't get it'
Just like that.
Stunned silence? Sniggering and pointing of bony accusing fingers? The gods of art striking my heathen body with bolts of fiery lightning (yes, I'm dramatic, err, hello!)
Not a bit.
The girl gave me the biggest, warmest smile (I also noticed a trace of relief) and said, 'well thank goodness you asked, or this would all just look like nonsense!' Whaaatt?? I stood there, aghast, rigid, waiting for the fallout and the fire but instead she proceeded to tell me all about it, she took me back to the beginning of the artist's story and brought the piece to life. She loved explaining it, she got a buzz from being able to share what she knew with someone who really didn't have a clue. It was fascinating and afterwards, she thanked me for allowing her to do her job and confided that hardly anyone ever asks for her help. Even though she sees plenty of confused faces, even when she offers her assistance they tended to shy away and leave.
The funny thing was, a couple of people from the crowd of nodding dogs came forward during her explanation and joined in. Turns out they didn't know either.
And that's the thing. We're not supposed to know it all.
When we're starting out and all along our journey as entrepreneurs, we can't possibly know it all and yet we find ourselves afraid to ask questions of those who are further on or of more experience. Yet if only we put our fear aside and stuck our hands in the air we would find that the people who have the knowledge are more than happy to help. Being asked to help is a sign that someone is trusting of your actions and decisions and it’s what our community at The Female CEO is based upon. People want to help people, It’s human nature. You're going to be learning all along your journey, that how it's supposed to be. Stay curious, learn as much as you can, it makes it so much more exciting and when you know something, pass it on. Pay it forward and watch how the world changes around you.
We have the power to create for generations to come, so be brave and ask the question. What's the worst that can happen? Be the one who puts that hand firmly in the air because that small act of bravery, I guarantee, is being watched by someone (probably many people) who are too afraid of looking small or stupid in front of the crowd. You won't look stupid, in fact, you're doing a massive service to those people in the room who know the answer because they can then shine their light too.
Keep going, you never know, and will be rather surprised at, who you're inspiring along the way.
I believe in you,
** Churchill is a nodding dog used in insurance advertising in the UK, he looks like this: