4 Simple Steps to Unlock & Leverage Your Hidden Expertise (Without Going Back to School!)
“If everyone waited to become an expert before starting, no one would become an expert. To become an expert, you must have experience. To get experience, you must experiment.” – Richie Norton
If there is one challenge we hear over and over again from the thousands of you we have either coached with or spoken to who want to make an impact in the world, it is some version of this:
“I love doing xyz, but I’m simply not expert enough yet.”
It is one of the top things that holds a lot of you back from taking that first significant step from idea in your head to reality.
So this week we want to share with you:
- 4 simple steps to help you unlock and leverage your hidden expertise.
- How to create a mindset shift from ‘I’m not an expert’ to ‘I’m expert enough.’
- How you can start to experience the much needed freedom and space to continue along your own path to not just finding work that makes you come alive, but actually beginning to do the work that matters to you most.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
“The expert in anything was once a beginner.” – Helen Hayes
If you’re like a lot of people and you currently feel like you are not expert enough, it’s really no surprise that you might feel that way…
Perhaps you subscribe to a ton of blogs or go to conferences or take courses with shining sales pages, or listen to experts on podcasts or watch TED videos. Or perhaps all it takes is a quick look at your Facebook news feed where you see all of the accomplishments of others and before you know it you’re comparing their highlights reel to your reality.
It can feel like there is an enormous gap between where you’re currently at, and where you want to be. And when you constantly have other people who claim to have ‘made it’ rubbing it in your face, it’s easy to feel inadequate, like you are doing something wrong, and that you will never be as expert as they are.
A few weeks ago we shared with you why momentum comes before clarity, and then shortly after invited you to start setting your goals for 2016. And based on your comments, we know that many of you were inspired and are already taking action… But then a lot of you started to bump up against this pervasive roadblock called ‘I am not expert enough!’
The good news: You are stretching yourself (go you!) and what you are doing is important to you, otherwise your little internal alarm bells would not be sounding. In fact we would suggest that if you aren’t having these kinds of self-sabotaging conversations, you aren’t pushing yourself.
The bad news: The more you push outside of your comfort zone, the louder these kinds of internal bells sound.
The other good news: This kind of self-sabotaging internal conversation is VERY common. You are not alone and you are always in the driver’s seat of how you choose to respond.
Shift Your Reality by Shifting Your Focus
“Your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas
Last year I (Leah) took part in a 3-mile fun run with thousands of other people here in Brisbane, Australia. I am certainly not a fast runner and less than a mile into the run I started to notice all of the other people going past me. Kids, people pushing prams, some people much older than me, and even some people dressed up in crazy costumes! I felt like I was the slowest person out there and thought to myself, ‘There are so many people overtaking me! I am a terrible runner. I am so slow!’
But then I started to wonder how many thousands of people must be behind me, running slower than me, perhaps struggling even more so, and thinking even more disempowering things than me!
In that moment I started to shift my focus from those ahead of me or passing me in the race, to those jogging alongside, and then to the huge bunch of people behind me.
You see, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking ahead, at the faster runners, those with better style or shinier sneakers and while this can most certainly be useful in learning, growing and improving for the next ‘race’, it does mean that you are spending the vast majority of your energy and effort chasing someone else’s idea of success.
But what if that success would come if you simply shifted your viewpoint from looking ahead of you to those behind you?
- You might start to see how far you’ve actually come instead of how far you have to go!
- You would start to notice all of the people 1, 2 or 3 steps behind you on your journey who could do with your help and need someone to believe in them.
- You could start to implement all that you’ve learned along the way from those ahead of you on the journey.
There are currently thousands of people behind you on their own unique journey who could benefit from your guidance and experience. You are the expert for them. Don’t forget about them simply because they are out of view.
Turn around and take a look – who’s behind YOU?
Experience Feeds Expertise (Not Qualifications!)
Qualifications, degrees, diplomas, accreditations are all certainly useful. A lot of us have them and spent a bucket load of money on them (or are still paying those degrees off!), but they DO NOT equal expertise.
Expertise only comes when you step in and take action, when you take your first job, get your first client, present that first workshop, speak that first speech, launch that first blog or podcast or send that scary email, etc.
A few years back we were completing our intensive coaching training in Sydney. It involved 8 continuous and long days of heavy coaching theory. But the real power came when on each day of the course we had to put that theory into practice by coaching ‘live’ while two expert coaches assessed and benchmarked our skills. On Day 1 it felt incredibly awkward and to be honest, downright scary. But by Day 8, although still scary and awkward, we were both much more competent AND confident and started to truly believe we were expert coaches.
The point is: We were practicing and gaining valuable ‘on the job’ experience.
Learning leads to knowledge. Experience leads to expertise.
The #1 reason you don’t feel expert enough may be because you have next to zero experience in the area you are passionate about. Getting into the ‘arena’ is the most amazing education – and something that money simply cannot buy.
4 Steps to Unlocking & Leveraging Your Hidden Expertise
The first step toward feeling expert enough is to start asking yourself: “What is something that I feel I am knowledgeable enough in?”
You see, you don’t need to know everything, you just need to be able to teach someone something about the subject matter. Aim for somewhere that puts you just a little outside of your comfort zone – somewhere that makes you feel uncomfortable, but not completely paralyzed by fear!
Because once you take that first step, you can then start to level up and change your mindset through experience.
1. Tap Into Your Existing Skill Sets
What you may not already realize is that you currently have in your possession skills and talents that other people desperately need. And the reason you can’t see these things is because they come so naturally to you that you easily discount them.
Perhaps your superpowers are that you’re:
- an incredible listener
- a talented graphic artist
- an amazing story teller
- a captivating speaker
- able to connect seemingly unconnected concepts
- skillful at resolving conflict
- a videographer
- a mindful shopper & healthy eater
- a great cook
- a skilled gardener
- very organized and detailed
- the list goes on!
What is one thing you currently have in your possession that others could benefit from? That is your superpower…well, one of them at least!
And if you still can’t see your superpowers, ask those closest to you – colleagues, family and friends. “What am I really good at?” or ask yourself, “What do people thank me for?” to help you shine some light on what your are naturally good at.
2. Embrace Your Uniqueness
Comparison is not only the thief of joy, it is also the thief of uniqueness. You will simply never feel expert enough if you’re trying to be a carbon copy of someone else. Do you think anyone could be an expert in the exact same way that Oprah is? Of course not! We all have our own unique expression of who we are.
Additionally, most people compare themselves to a version of a person that has ‘already made it.’ Are you looking at the food blogger you want to be like and comparing yourself to them after they’ve achieved success? What if instead you looked at them when no one had a clue who they were? Are you looking at the successful runner that has completed 30 marathons and wishing you were like them? What if instead you looked at that runner when they were training for their first marathon? Turns out, there really might not be such a large gap…
“Don’t compare your chapter 1 with someone else’s chapter 20.” – Unknown
When we first started our blog three years ago, we were doing what we thought we ‘should’ be doing – writing blogs and being very serious about sharing our knowledge on making one’s ripple effect. In that, we had lost the essence of who we truly were: fun, passionate, unapologetic, and quite silly at times.
You see, you needn’t worry if you’re expert enough in a particular field because your version of the thing that you’re passionate about will be your own unique expression in the world. It will have your own special ‘edge’ and flavor. So you can stop trying to be someone else’s version of ‘expert’ because so long as you’re comparing yourself, you will never be an expert on your own terms.
3. Provide Epic Value For Free
Without a doubt this has been one of the fastest ways we know to feel expert enough (and one of the biggest lessons Scott taught us). Get experience wherever and with whomever you can! And although we are saying ‘for free’ – this is actually one of the biggest paybacks you will experience in the form of mindset shifts.
You will go from ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’ to ‘I did that?!’ or ‘I now know how to improve and what went well.’ That is priceless.
And when you lead from a place of genuinely wanting to help people rather than simply from a place of trying to make money, the world seems to help you in return.
So when we say ‘free’, we suggest that you always ask for a written or video testimonial so you can start building up your portfolio.
Some examples of how we have provided epic value for free (or seen others do so):
- If you want to be a coach, mentor or teacher, find someone you feel ‘safe’ with to coach or teach for no charge (we coached with hundreds of people before we asked for any money purely to boost our expertise). Do you know 1, 5, or 10 people who could use your help? You don’t need a website or business cards to offer one-on-one consulting or training. Think you need a qualification? Think again. Just be clear about the benefits of your service (make sure you don’t overpromise and under deliver), how you can help, your knowledge, and the problem you’ll be solving.
- Run a mini workshop – at your office or local meetup on a subject area you know well and are passionate about. If you have one person respond to your workshop offering, then there is your first consulting client! For example I (Leah) offered to run a mini workshop on mindfulness back when I worked in PR – my boss said yes and it was a huge baby step for me)
- Provide value ‘just because’ – for example, review the design of a friends website and offer to provide feedback/suggestions for improvement. Troy Young from our community is a great example: he is a videographer and took it upon himself to take all of Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project interviews and created this epic video. He did not ask for permission, or for any compensation but what he got in return was priceless in terms of confidence, expertise and a wonderful, genuine and lasting connection with Jonathan.
- Start a blog on a topic you feel passionate about and share it with your friends.
- Provide a service – this could be for someone you respect without them even knowing – for example we had someone review our entire eBook and provide proofing and grammatical corrections…in our eyes they are an expert in proofing, demonstrated by their work and we would absolutely give them a testimonial if asked.
- Write a ‘How to’ eBook or guide – for example, if you have a passion for ‘healthy eating for kids’ and one of your strengths is ‘being organized,’ you could write a mini eBook called ‘The time-poor parent’s guide to getting healthy food into your kids’. Now think about who could benefit and send them a free copy. A few weeks later follow up them to see what they thought and if they would be willing to give you a testimonial.
4. Take Advantage of The Market Gap
Have you noticed there are many ‘experts’ out there that are simply out of reach to people just starting out on their journey – either due to cost or availability? Those uber successful people can only serve so many people, and this leaves a huge gap in the market for you to help those who are a few steps behind where you currently are.
Being in this position has another huge advantage because you can more easily relate to the struggles or pain points of those only a few steps behind, as opposed to someone who’s already built an empire and moved through all of the ‘in-between’ challenges. It’s as simple as taking your unique knowledge of a topic and sharing that with others.
A few simple ways to bridge this gap:
- Put things into action immediately. Have you ever watched a YouTube video from an ‘expert’ on a new skill or read a book about something you were excited to learn… then never actually implemented your learning? I think we’ve all been guilty of that at some point… But as we know practice makes perfect. So make sure you carve out the time to create as much as you consume! And once you do that, share it with others. (FYI: The Live Your Legend Creators Guild is a great place to do so!) You automatically become more of an expert to those around you once you turn your ideas into action!
- Did you read something recently that you thought was incredibly eye opening? Verbally share that idea, thought or topic with someone else. Yes, you can always just pass along a link or inspiring article but taking it from your thoughts into words is incredibly powerful. And do this without expectation! Simply explain the idea to someone you love (or a stranger!) and why it was so powerful to you. At the very least, this might start up a fun discussion. You could even go a few steps further and start your own podcast! What can we say, we like to think big around here… 🙂
- Create a free 5-part video series – video tutorials are becoming more and more popular as people have less time. What can you teach and record easily on your smartphone? Perhaps the basics of learning a language, fitness exercises, travel tips, habit change, etc. Most importantly have fun with it and share it. Keep the topics simply and the videos no longer than 2minutes.
- Give back! When someone does something that you find massively helpful, TELL them how useful it was to you and why. That might give them the insight they need to recognize their own superpowers!
Embrace Your Expertise and Take Imperfect Action
So, how does it feel to know that you are in fact already an expert for at least one person out there in this big old world?
Pretty good, right? And of course, it might also be a bit scary…
However, knowing all of this stuff makes zero difference if you aren’t ready to do something with it.
So… are you ready to accelerate your journey to living your most amazing life, truly experiencing the joy of being an expert and helping one (or perhaps hundreds) of people along the way?
Then let us know…
What are you already expert enough in? What action are you going to take to find at least 1 person to help?
Let us know in the comments below!
Here’s to being the expert you already are,
– Leah and Naz