I am a fan of old Pacific Lutheran football coach Frosty Westering and a saying he uses before he speaks “empty your cup”. (Being Frosty, he actually demonstrates the illustration, water goes everywhere etc.) The essence of the saying is that if we go into anything thinking our cup of knowledge is full, we will not have any room to learn anything knew.
We must first empty our cup, and then look for ways to fill it with the knowledge of others.
This is something that I struggle with, and am trying to work on. I am an internet geek, I know a little about a lot, but true knowledge comes from relationships not the internet.
I struggle with this at my job as well. As an Ad Exec, I have a tendency to always want to come off as the marketing “expert” to my clients. I have the education, experience, support groups, etc. and my client does not, so I should understand marketing more than most of my clients who spend most of the day running their businesses.
But that is not always the case. As much as I try to understand my clients business, they still know it better than I do. Sometimes I make a mistake or overlook something, and the client can add some good insight. Other times my clients wealth of knowledge might be different than mine, and they may offer a great idea that I have never thought of.
Bottom line, no matter how much of an expert you think you are in any particular area, always listen to others as if they are an expert. It’s amazing what you learn with an open mind.