I am not an expert.
In fact, I’m suspicious of anyone who calls themselves one. The Internet is riddled with “experts” who will help you find your purpose/live your dream/make six figures/lose weight/gain another 1000 Facebook likes…. If there’s something you want to do, it’s likely there’s an “expert” to help you.
I imagine these people with their families. “I’m not really an expert, but I play one online.”
It’s not only the (non-existent) barriers to entry that really cause my anathema to the word “expert”, however. It’s the idea that an expert’s word is final.
I don’t want anyone to ever imagine that my word is final.
I never want to be the person who says do this, not that, because it eliminates space for creativity, curiosity, imagination. It suggests that what I say is better than what you know to be true – even if you aren’t ready to admit it.
Expert advice stays in the safe zone. Do this because that’s the way I did it and it worked for me. Do that because that’s the way it’s always been done. Don’t think for yourself, just listen. Do it my way. The world is flat and you want to stay close to shore because if you deviate, oh my hell, there be dragons!
There is a difference between “expert” and “expertise”.
Expert is listen to me and don’t argue. I am the unswerving authority. Expertise is let me show you everything that’s worked for me. Let me listen to your unique situation and give you my opinion. Expert is do it my way. Expertise is let’s figure it out together, using everything that we both know – and then let’s venture into something new.
Partnership over Dictatorship.
Guidance over Authority.
Rainbows instead of Black & White.
I’m a recovering rule follower. I want to do things right and I don’t want to make anyone mad. My biggest guide in getting past this fear has been my son.
When he was in kindergarten, he got in trouble for remaining seated when everyone else stood up to sing a song. He sadly told me about it after school and asked, “Who am I hurting, if I don’t stand up?”
Classroom management aside, there is wisdom in that question. Who are you hurting by doing things your way? Or maybe a better question is, who are you hurting by doing things the expert way?
Curiosity over Fear.
I advise clients every day to not just take the path-less-followed but to grab a machete, cut through the weeds and build the world’s most excellent resort.
I’ll suggest that this blade is the sharpest based on everything I’ve learned to date, but if you tell me, no, I’ve been in this part of the world before, we need these scissors, I will grab the scissors and help you cut.
Who are we hurting by trying?
Deviation takes courage. Not everyone is built to go against the grain and when you’re losing sight of the shore, there’s no way to know where you’ll end up. Yes, you could be swallowed by dragons. But you could also end up discovering an entirely new-to-you land.
Be curious. Be fearless. Sail to the edge, chase down the dragons, and make them your friends. Because staying close to shore may be safe, but all the magic is in the outer corners. If you want to sail to the edge of the known, I will use all my expertise to help you build your boat.
Don’t listen to someone because they style themselves as an expert. Listen to the people who give advice that resonates with what you know to be true.
Ask for guidance but not for maps.
Ask to be listened to, not to be talked at.
Your business is not a paint-by-numbers, it’s a glorious masterpiece that you want to direct yourself. Click to tweet.
Trust me. On this, I’m an expert.
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