Why are we okay admitting we’re not an expert at, say, a sport or game, but not okay admitting we might need some help making a difference?
When I began my own business, I was pretty confident that I knew what I was doing. After all, I was building on more than 30 years of experience helping donors structure charitable gifts to make a meaningful difference.
But some things were definitely new to me. For one, if I wanted to grow my network and build a client base, I needed to develop a stronger presence on social media. I needed to be strategic. Yet whenever a fellow entrepreneur said, “Do you have a content plan?” my palms began to sweat.
Not Good with Not Knowing
A content plan? How do I do that? What are the components? How do I structure it? Is there a process to follow?
So instead of taking deliberate steps to learn, I posted on LinkedIn frequently but without much strategy. I listened to podcasts on social media marketing and read articles, but I mostly avoided doing the work. Why?
Because I’m used to being an expert. Social media makes me feel like a novice, and I don’t particularly like that. It seems that everyone else is good at it, knowing how to engage their intended audience with just a few clicks. No matter that this may not actually be true.
Few of us, especially those “of a certain age,” like being a novice when we have a reputation for knowing our stuff. Worse, we often don’t seek out the expertise we need. Approaching philanthropy is no different.
Mogul to Novice
Enter Jeff Bezos. In a November 2022 interview with CNN, the Amazon founder and multi-billionaire was noted for saying that he planned to give away most of his wealth, but that philanthropy was “really hard.”
There is no shame in being a novice.
Jeff Bezos, wildly successful in business, is a novice at this new endeavor. There is no shame in that. I hope that like he certainly does for his business, he is seeking out the expertise he needs. A qualified philanthropic advisor can help him be effective and fulfilled as a philanthropist. They can help him clarify his focus and his definition of success. They can work with his team of financial and legal advisors to set up structures for long-term success.
Such an expert can also help this novice learn.
What about you? Feeling like you might not be as effective making a difference as you’d like to be? Not sure you know what meaningful change you want to have in the world? Hey, that’s how most of us feel, or felt at one time. No worries. But if you don’t put in a little time to learn, if you don’t engage with knowledgeable advisors, you will miss out on some incredible opportunities for meaningful impact.
And that would be a shame.