Managing Self Personal Development

Think again: You don’t have to have all the answers

Written by Allison Wolf

Have you ever had this worry?

I don’t know the answer.

I should know the answer.

The truth is that you don’t have to have all the answers.  What you do need is to be able to ask the questions that will get you to the answers. And to reach out to the people who can help you learn and develop.

This Monday I had the opportunity to moderate a “Women Lead” panel discussion for ILTA (International Legal Technology Association). Our three inspiring panellists shared their top tips and insights gathered over the course of their respective careers.

This key message – you don’t need to have all the answers – was touched on by each panellist.

Constance Fenyo told the story of moving her husband and children across Canada to take up a role leading the Western Canadian operations of Dye & Durham Corp.  Just one month into this role, the new provincial government announced measures that would wipe out up to 20% of the company’s revenues. In that awful moment as she faced looming disaster she did not have the answer. She did know what the answer could not be – reduction of the valuable staff and significant losses for the company. She knew she had to find a way to transform the company so that it would remain relevant and the staff gainfully employed.  She turned to external advisors, she asked many questions, and she discovered the answer was to embrace the on-line business environment through transformation of the company’s services.

Fenyo reflected that where there is challenges lies opportunity.

You don’t need to know the answer.  Seek it out instead.

The path forward is with asking questions, collaborating with others, and taking one small step at a time towards the solution.

Next time you don’t have the answer see that for what is is: an opportunity for learning.





About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and a lawyer coach with over a decade of experience helping clients overcome challenges and achieve success however they define it. In practice this can be many things from helping a law firm partner get more “dad time” with his young family, to coaching a lawyer on the business development strategy, skills, and implementation to grow her legal practice. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or visit my website

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