What do you think about when you hear the word “expert”? Does your mind a professor with a Ph.D. teaching a class, then running out to the wilds of South America where they raid a tomb for lost treasures? Do you imagine yourself as vividly when you think of your own expertise? If you don't, what makes you hesitate about putting your picture with the expert headline?
- Think about your own experiences and education.
- Think about your training and your clients.
- Think about your blog posts, your research, and your continuing education.
- Do you think the average person signs up for specialised training?
Regular people may do lots of reading about certain subjects they find interesting but they don’t necessarily call themselves a coach or an expert. They don’t have the same passion you have for helping others or for learning every last detail of your specialty. An interest, yes, but not necessarily a passion.
There's a world of difference between interesting and obsessed with knowing everything about it.
Then there's the group of people who say you're not an expert until your audience declares you one. I can just imagine swathes of people wandering the streets with gold rosettes, crowns, and certificates looking for a worthy expert to anoint.
Let me break it gently to you: If you have paying clients, you’re an expert. Get ready to own your expertise.
Combat Your Negative Self-Talk for Expert Status
I’m betting that at some point you have coached clients about combatting their negative self-talk that often sneaks into their hearts and threatens to sabotage their success. My question to you is – do you follow your own advice? Do you have self-doubts about your path to success? Do you compare yourself to others and wonder why you’re not further ahead in your business when they seem to reach success so easily?
Every single person has self-doubt and insecurities at some point in their lives but that doesn’t mean you have to sink under the weight of those insecurities. Instead of suffering in silence, and believing the whispers in your mind take an action step to dig yourself out of this hole.
- Send an email to your list.
- Engage with your followers on social media.
- Write a blog post.
Each of these actions will help your business move forward while focusing your attention on your expertise instead of wallowing in self-pity. You may have a pity-lunch, but you are denied permission for a pity-party, a pity-weekender or a pity-holiday.
Also, focus on your own goals and processes more. “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and you don’t know how many hurdles that other expert had to jump to reach their success. Wish them happiness on their path, knowing that we all create our own destiny and you're creating yours right now. It starts with owning your expertise.
Embracing Your Expertise
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “expert” is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.” Notice how there’s no mention of degrees. There is nothing that says you have to have a Master’s or Ph.D. or any other letters after your name to be an expert (excluding the medical profession, of course). Expertise involves context. As I mentioned, you would want a doctor with an advanced degree and years of experience to do your surgery for something. But do you need that level of expertise for what you do?
In other lines of work, you’ll find those years of work experience often beats formal education simply because not every life experience can be read and understood. The same can be said about the coaching industry. You will find coaches who have gone through the certification process while you find other coaches who are successful business owners with no certification but who have learned lessons through their experience.
Of course, your credibility will grow if you become a certified whatever and if your audience sees that you’re learning, growing and upskilling. But when you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to embrace your expertise and working experience because you definitely know more than your audience.
Your expertise is defined by your outcomes.