The Power of What You Already Know
Stop the cycle of needing to learn more, know more, or be more before you share who you are
Last year I attended a retreat for business leaders and entrepreneurs. I was sitting at a round table with other participants listening to the retreat leader talk about inspiration. She shared a story about a man’s relationship to playing his clarinet (the details of which I now don’t remember), then she asked the audience to respond to how the story related to inspiration. I stood up and went to the mic and shared my insights. In the process I shared that the root of the word inspiration was “in spirit.”
That was a lie and I knew it. I knew the real root. What I shared was something a lot of people say. It works well to break the word apart and say, “in spirit” because it nicely illustrates inspiration. It fits together.
What I didn’t say is that the real root of the word is “of the breath.” I didn’t say what I knew in that moment because I didn’t feel like I could do it in a way that was inspirational in that moment. It also didn’t fit with the point I was making about the man and his clarinet. In other words, I held back what I knew and didn’t say it because I wanted to look and sound good to the leader and to the audience.
After I sat down, the leader proceeded with her talk on inspiration, and with a nod in my direction, said, “Actually, in case you didn’t know, the root of the word inspiration is “of the breath.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I did know. I’d actually known for over 15 years. I counted them as I sat there brooding. I distinctly remember when I learned the root of that word because I was fascinated by it (I’m a bit of an etymologist and find that when you enter the root of a word you tap into a living system).
So why the hell hadn’t I said what I ALREADY knew?
I sat there hot-faced, my heart racing and didn’t hear another word of the presentation. It was all I could do to not get back up from my round table and go over the mic to say, “Actually, I did know that…” and explain myself away.
What disturbed me the most was that here was this woman up on stage sharing something she’d just discovered for herself, that the audience found inspirational and insightful, and she was getting paid a lot of money to do it, AND it was something I’d already been writing and talking about for years.
It was a huge wake up call for me. I asked myself, “What else do I already know that I am not sharing?” and “Why the hell am I not sharing it?”
The answer was, there’s a shit ton of stuff that I know that I am not sharing, and the reason why I wasn’t sharing it was because I was plagued with the idea that many people, particularly women, have — “I need to know more in order to be legitimate.”
It comes out in all kinds of ways. “I’m not ready. I need to know more, get another certificate, another degree, go to another retreat, hire another coach, read 1,000 more books on the subject before I have anything of real value to say.”
If it does, then I am here to tell you — knock it the hell off.
That’s deep, old conditioning that comes from patriarchal structures that say knowledge exists in a hierarchy and only outside experts and authorities get to determine if you are an expert or authority or not. It’s the gatekeeper model. Where others get to decide if you are going to be allowed in.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. You have a well of knowing within you that comes from the amalgamation of your unique life experience. You are an authority on that experience and what you have learned and come to know in the process. You may not be an expert in astrophysics, and might need to do some schooling if you decide you want to build a rocket, but you certainly can share what you already know about the power of flight and the dream of traveling among the stars without needing to get your advanced degree in the subject.
And for all you writers out there, the same goes for writing. Not long after I left the retreat, I started thinking about the stacks and stacks of journals I had sitting on my shelves full of stuff I ALREADY knew, including my explorations of the root of inspiration being “of the breath.” I’d been struggling to write a book for years, and I realized that I’ve written several books already. They may not be sitting on the shelves at the bookstore or available on Amazon, but I had already filled hundreds if not thousands of pages with my writing.
So often as writers, particularly shy, hesitant or unpublished writers, we discount our writing or simply write it and then tuck it away on the shelf never to be seen again. Sure some of it may not be worth revisiting, but I can guarantee you there’s plenty of writing in there that is worth it. And writing that will in fact WOW you when you read it.
Have you ever had that happen? Read something you wrote so long ago you forgot writing it and then you came across it and read it and thought, “Wow, that was pretty good, who wrote that, me?”
So if you are on the societal train to be better, know more, be more and you have moments where you come across something someone wrote or said, and you think, “I could’ve done that,” or “I did do that, I just never got up to the mic and bothered to share it,” then it’s time to stop learning more, doing more, writing more.
It’s time to get inspired and breathe some life into who you already are by sharing what you already know!
That’s the only difference between you and the person on the stage or the bookstore shelf. They frigging shared the power of what they already knew!
If you want to tap into and share the power of what you already know, I can help. Click here to schedule a chat with me. I can also help you breakthrough blocks, start writing, and discover your book’s heartbeat.
You can also click here to get your get your One Word Can Set You Free Guide as my gift to you, so you can write what wants to be written. The world is waiting for your words.