There are many times when I am stuck on a problem and I need to talk to someone smarter than me to help me solve it. I don’t have the answer, but I know someone who will be able to look at my roadblock – and help me get through it.
So I open up my email and start to write an email to the person who I know can help.
In most cases, the person I am writing to usually has no frame of reference as to where I am at with this problem. So I start from the beginning and completely explain the background, why it’s a problem, all the options I have already thought of, and why I can’t solve it myself.
Here’s the funny thing…
About ¾ into my email, I look at what I wrote, and the answer to the problem becomes crystal clear to me. I know the answer! I know what to do!
I delete my email draft, close my email program and I never end up sending the email after all. I no longer need help. I got this.
This has happened several times to me over the last few months. It’s quite remarkable.
I think the magic comes from this….
I have heard it said that “If you can’t teach something to someone else, you don’t really understand it.”
The act of sitting down and completely detailing the problem to the level where you need to make someone else understand it, is the part we never do. We are lazy, we have a problem, we know someone else who can help solve it, and so we just reach out.
The next time you have a big problem you can’t solve, do this:
- Sit down and open your email.
- Address it to the person you know can solve your problem. (You can even address it to Gary Vaynerchuk or Oprah… this is an exercise.)
- Start at the beginning and explain the whole problem in detail. Teach your reader:
everything about the problem, all the solutions you can think of, and how they can help you solve it.
You will be surprised that before you click “send”, you’ll have your own answer.
The smartest person in the room is you.