The disease of the information age: Information overload
While it is valuable to gather knowledge from reputable sources, you can sometimes place too high a value on mentorship and too little on hard research and clarity of thought. There is a danger in the information age of drowning in facts but still missing vital pieces of data.
When I diversified to enter into the development of a technology program at one point of my career, I was already a multi award winning entrepreneur and bestselling author. But I felt that my area of expertise needed to be expanded, and to do that, I built an advisory group of mentors who shared their stories, ideas and knowledge with me regularly.
Their advice was well-meaning and much of it was valuable, and soon they were speaking to me about literally every aspect of my business, even those parts which were already successful.
I began to experience the disease of the information age: information overload.
And yet, in the deluge of knowledge, opinions and insight being showered down on me, there were still vital pieces of information missing. But it was difficult for me to see that, because my view was crowded and clarity was obscured by the volume of advice.
Soon pieces of advice started to conflict with other pieces and the advisors became more forceful in their cases of why their advice was better than another person’s.
Decisions became harder and harder to make as I assumed everyone else’s knowledge was better than mine.
This delicate dilemma of too many voices building to a critical overload can happen to anyone.
Sometimes the voices are not verbal, they are written opinions of experts in the field you are trying to gain insight about. You read one White Paper or research in a peer-reviewed journal and you are greatly impressed by the insight provided; then you read another one and it is well-reasoned and eloquent as well, but the conclusion is completely different.
How do you deal with information oversights?
Where do you stop consulting mentors?
When is research a source of confusion instead of a path to clarity?
First, don’t be dissuaded from seeking insight and knowledge from good sources. This process is a critical part of learning and expanding your own knowledge base.
But always keep in mind that your research, no matter in what form you conduct it, is meant to enhance your knowledge, not replace what you already know, or cloud the clarity of your decision making.
Make sure that you are asking the right questions of the right people. Do they really have the knowledge you seek? Be diligent about determining how expert others really are.
You don’t need an endless list of experts; you just need a few really wise and learned ones. Trust them and stop seeking endless validation.
I lost almost two years of business growth by listening to and heeding the advice of others that did not work well for me or even make sense to my business growth pattern, and this got me off track and slowed my momentum.
The process of winning involves knowing how to deal with information gathering and information oversights. I have now learned how and when to assemble the information I need and how to use it.
This is a valuable skill we all need to succeed and own our awesome. You can acquire it by remaining true to your values and goals and keeping only the nuggets of information that support and grow them.
The insight I have gained about the impact of mentorship has helped me change how I mentor others. Mentoring is still a big part of my business, and recently I was inducted into Canada’s Top Ten Mentor Rock Stars by Start Up Canada.
I am really careful to offer my advice only on subjects that I truly have knowledge and experience in. I also make certain to remind the mentees that they have wisdom within themselves and they must check it often and weigh the information they are gathering against what they know and how it relates to their own business goals.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 34 countries, 13 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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