“But, I’m not an expert!” Have you ever caught yourself saying this? Even in your head?
It’s one of the common reasons I hear for NOT Blogging.
“Who am I to talk, what do I know? I’m no expert, why would people want to read my blogs? There are plenty of other people who know more about ‘whatever-it-is’ than I do.”
Let’s get to grips with this word ‘Expert’ we find so difficult applying to ourselves.
As a wordsmith, I like exploring the meaning behind words, I find language and our perceptions around words fascinating.
What we’re told about ‘experts’
‘Expert’ is a loaded word. There are plenty of negative associations with it.
‘Experts’ have been much derided by our biased British press; especially given the huge political and constitutional upheaval we’re experiencing right now.
But, it’s not an exclusively British phenomenon. Things seem to be amplified in the States where phrases like ‘post-truth’ and ‘alternative facts’ are being bandied around to defend ourselves against these charlatans that claim to be ‘experts’.
The implication being that ‘so-called-experts’ are self-styled gurus. Fakers. Liars with a hidden agenda. They’re somehow there to hoodwink people, by baffling them with science and big words.
Who wants to be one of those? Certainly not you or me! We’re real businesses, doing actually useful things. Things that contribute, and slowly but surely change the world (because small businesses have the power to change the world!).
The fear of being ‘found out’
The moment we plant a flag in the sand and say, “Hey, I’m an expert” we fear ridicule.
Taken out of context.
Treated with derision and mistrust.
And part of us believes we deserve it because we’re not the all-seeing, all-knowing font of all knowledge about ‘whatever-it-is’.
We can look at others in our industry and immediately identify those who do it better than we do or have been doing it for longer or make more money than we do doing it.
Surely, they’re more of an expert than me? Sooner or later I’ll get found out if I start saying stuff about ‘whatever-it-is’!
“…and besides, there’s loads of stuff already out there on the internet. What can little old me possibly add to that?”
Who is really an expert?
Here’s what the Oxford English Dictionary defines as an ‘expert’:
A person who is very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area.
Nowhere does it say you must have all the answers.
Nowhere does it say you must have every qualification in that subject.
So next time you’re tempted to tell yourself you’re ‘not an expert’ – ask yourself;
- Am I knowledgeable about it?
- Am I skillful in it?
You’re running a business in that thing, so I suspect your answer to both questions is ‘yes’.
So, what does that make you?…
An expert, that’s what!
If you read the first part of this post and felt a fist of irritation balling in your gut that ‘experts are liars. or fakers. or charlatans’ – Good for you!
The truth is, when people come to you as ‘the expert’ in your thing, it’s because they perceive you as the expert. The thing is, if we have any degree of knowledge or skill in something, we are perceived as the expert in it by people who don’t have that knowledge or skill.
– They make pies and you can’t make pies for toffee – that makes them the pie expert.
– He’s a jewellery maker and you have no idea how that’s possible – that makes them the expert in jewellery making.
– She writes books and you’ve always wanted to do that but have no idea how to get started or how to get published – that makes them the expert in book writing.
You get the picture.
Expertise is all about perception.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t have all the answers about your thing, you have more answers than the person you serve and that’s all that counts. That’s all they want from you.
In fact, very often we don’t want to speak to the all-knowing guru of that thing because…
A – they’re intimidating and you’ll feel like a fool, and…
B – you probably couldn’t afford them anyway!
And as for the notion that you have nothing to add on a subject, that’s nonsense!
We’ve all been on different journeys. Your journey – the story of how you acquired your knowledge and skill in that thing – is unique. No one esle did it your way, therefore, you will have a different perspective on it.
Maybe there really is no such thing as a new idea? But the combination of ways of implementing that idea or how you happened upon that idea, is as infinite as the continuity of the human species!
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