Are you an expert?
Now, if I know my audience, I’m willing to bet a significant proportion of you felt uncomfortable about saying yes…
But here’s the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary definition of an expert:
‘a person with special knowledge, skill, or training in something.’
Doesn’t that describe you?
So, why the resistance?
It might well be because you don’t want to join the ranks of those people who think that being a few steps ahead of their clients makes them an expert. There does need to be some depth to your knowledge and experience. You need to be able to cope with the odd unexpected question, and not just trot out the same old stuff to everyone regardless of their particular needs or circumstances.
But there’s a big difference between that and feeling that you can’t be an expert until you know EVERYTHING and have experienced EVERYTHING.
If that’s what you think it takes to make someone an expert, no wonder you sometimes feel like an imposter. That belief also leads to people taking qualification after qualification so they will be ready for this mythical time when they will finally feel like an expert.
I’m not against qualifications, in fact, I’m a massive fan of life-long learning, but all too often this is actually an Inner Troll game, because you will never actually feel you have ‘enough’ qualifications. And so, the Troll hopes, you will never take the risk of putting yourself out there.
And putting yourself out there is to quite a large degree, actually how you become an expert. Being of service to others, helping them, gaining experience, learning all the time. It takes a real expert to feel OK about saying that you don’t actually know everything, and that’s it’s always a learning process.
The key is not to be a few steps ahead of your client, it’s to be genuine and transparent about what you are able to help people with and what you aren’t (yet). Not over-selling, but equally not underselling yourself.
You may feel that you’re being modest, and ‘not showing off’ but if you don’t own the expertise that you really do have it’s going to make it pretty hard to market yourself effectively. Would you choose to hire someone who was in effect saying, well I’m OK I suppose , but there are plenty of other people better than me?
Or would you prefer to hear, not a lot of hot air about how amazing they were, but a clear statement of exactly why they would be a great choice to help you, so you could make an informed decision?
Hiding your light under a bushel
How is it actually helping anyone, you OR your potential clients for you to be hiding your light under a bushel (apparently a bushel is a bucket, so that’s pretty well-hidden)?
It’s not, but still we hide because we’re fearful that we may be:
– found out as a fraud
– seen as ‘full of ourselves’
– attacked for not being good enough
That’s understandable, because the brain really hates change and risk. It’s a biological imperative to ‘stay safe’. But we only have one life and it’s too short to hide away just in case….
What difference could it make to see this differently?
Just imagine if you didn’t worry about these things?
What difference would that make to your life and business?
What difference could that make to other people’s lives?
Then remember that that’s completely your choice. You don’t HAVE to listen to that little voice, going ‘oo-er, what will people think?’
What’s the first step you could take today to start to own your expertise?