It’s still okay to not know everything (and to take a break from it all)

Person lying on back in a field of flowers
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Listen to me, and listen carefully.

Last year I wrote an article about what you can do when you’re tired of trying to learn it all. I included a bunch of tips for how to organize all the stuff you haven’t read yet, or how to handle those webinar recordings and books you haven’t tackled.

All of those things are still relevant and true.

But you know what else is true? Doing none of those things is OK, too.

Wait, what?

In fact, if you’re already thinking, “What the hell are you writing this for, Erin? I’m going to close this tab,” then you can absolutely close this tab. Walk away from your screen. Ignore it. Go pick flowers. Take a walk. Listen to music.

If you do any of those things I’ll applaud you. I’m proud of you.

Headphones resting on a journal title “Pilgrim Soul: Creative Thinking Journal”
The Pilgrim Soul Creative Thinking Journal is the perfect brain break when I need away from all of it. Music, too. The power of music should not be underrated. (Photo by me)

Because at the end of the day, even trying to organize all the “stuff” in your industry — all the bookmarks, all the reading materials, all the things that you hope will make you better than you were yesterday — can just weigh in on our already looming imposter syndrome. It can simply be too much.

So don’t do it.

I’m writing this from the perspective of a user experience web professional who feels like her inbox of newsletters is like opening a closet to a bunch of soccer balls, rolling out and suffocating her. Yep. I can’t even take my own advice.

But no matter your career, you probably have folks who are wiser, more extroverted, dropping their knowledge across the internet or through various channels in your industry. And you think, “Why can’t I do that?” or “I need to find time to consume [that thing].”

That imposter in the back of your head nags at you and makes you think you’re not worthy of your job, your title, your knowledge. That you have to consume all of these things or you’ll never be good enough.

The imposter is a liar. You don’t need any of those things to be good at what you do. Your experience is what makes you better.

So take a break.

Cartoon of man throwing papers in the air
Seriously, walk away from it sometimes.

I say this with love: Walk away from it.

Whatever your day-to-day life looks like, focus on that. Do the best work you know how to do. And if you’re tasked with something you’re unfamiliar with, ask for help from a colleague.

Those articles aren’t going anywhere. That webinar recording probably isn’t, either. And those books on your shelf? Definitely not growing legs and running off.

You’re great at what you do. Even if you’re still learning. The fact that you want to keep learning means you’re even better than you give yourself credit for.

So don’t fret.

You’ll keep learning. You’ll keep getting better. Some of that might come from books and articles, but most will come from experience.

But it doesn’t have to come from stuffing yourself silly with tips, tricks, and advice from strangers. Not right now, anyway. So give yourself a break, get some mindfulness in your life. In fact, take an extended break (or in other words, use that paid time off if it’s available to you. You earned it, so use it.)

Before you know it, you’ll be writing articles about stuff you figured out that you want to share to make it easier for someone else.

Yesterday was heavy. Today is heavy. Put it down.

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