Tuesday December 27, 2016
Do you ever have times when you feel like you don't know as much as you need to in order to help people and be an expert in your field?
Maybe you're just starting out, and are surrounded by peers who have been working in your field for decades.
Or maybe you've been at it for a while, but someone always seems to know something about your chosen profession that you don't, and it's making you wonder how many other gaps there are in your knowledge.
If you feel that way, you're far from alone. Many people struggle to feel confident in their value and expertise - even when they have more to offer than they realize.
If you or someone you know has been struggling with this, I'd like to tell you a quick story that illustrates an encouraging truth that you may have forgotten.
It started with three young women who were struggling to succeed in their chosen areas.
One girl was studying to be a cook, but no matter how many times she tried, her dishes never came out quite right.
Another was a musician who wanted to master the finer points of her craft, but could never live up to her skilled mentor's stringent standards.
The third was learning pottery, but the smooth elegance she was trying to create persistently eluded her.
They were ready to give up, but their father brought in a new mentor.
Seeing his daughters' discouragement, their wealthy father summoned a famous mentor to help them. When the father asked the teacher what he did, the man replied, "I'm the master of so many things that they say I'm the master of nothing at all."
The father was confused, but the teacher had an excellent track record with helping discouraged students, so he decided to let him try his unusual methods.
The mentor approached the daughter who was struggling to cook, and began to show her how he cooked. But there was one slight problem: this man clearly didn't know how to cook at all!
The mentor failed spectacularly at everything he tried to teach.
The stove was too hot, the pottery wheel was too fast, and no, you are not supposed to play that instrument with your toes, unless you've lost your fingers or want a challenge.
Every time the teacher tried to teach the girls something, he did it wrong, and needed to be corrected.
But as the young ladies repeatedly corrected and guided the man who was supposed to be guiding them, something magical happened: they began to regain their confidence in their own skills.
In the presence of a person who seemed to know so much less than they did, they began to realize just how much they already knew. The skills and knowledge that had felt inadequate, even nonexistent, began to show themselves more clearly.
And as the girls began to focus more on what they knew, instead of on the areas where they were lacking, their skills began to improve.
You probably know more than you think you do.
Like the young women in the story, you probably know more than you thought you did. You have a great and powerful array of skills and knowledge at your disposal - but chances are, you've become so familiar with this knowledge that it no longer seems special to you.
I've experienced this myself. In the course of talking to people who've been working in my field since before I knew how to use a toilet, I sometimes found myself questioning my own knowledge and skills.
But then I'd work with a person who had less knowledge about marketing than I do, and suddenly I'd realize just how many nuances I know about the industry that the average person doesn't.
So if you're feeling discouraged, or questioning your own value or abilities, here's an exercise you can do to remind yourself, both mentally and emotionally, just how good you are at what you do:
1. Write out a list of all the steps your clients need to take in order to get results.
For example, if you're a dating coach for men who want to meet women, the steps could include:
1. How to approach women in a way that gets them interested in talking with you.
2. How to spark attraction during your first conversation.
3. How to get their phone number.
4. How to ask for a date.
5. How to tell, during the first date, if she's the kind of person with whom you want a second date.
6. How to improve your odds of getting a second date.
7. How to build and maintain a healthy, loving, passionate relationship.
2. Ask yourself the following questions:
"How many of my clients already know how to do this?"
You're so used to knowing what you know that it may be easy to forget that that knowledge is something special that not everybody knows.
"How many different elements go into each step?"
For example, if you wrote down all the ways in which you'd teach men how to spark attraction during the first conversation, you'd probably be surprised by how much you knew about that one small topic alone!
"How much will my clients' lives improve, just from knowing about these few elements?"
You don't need to know everything in order to help people. If you can help your clients to make meaningful improvements that positively affect their lives, then your service is worth paying for!
Sometimes, you don't realize how much you know until you explain it to someone who knows less than you, or until you sit down and take stock of your knowledge.
But when you take the time to get your expertise written down in black and white, it's a powerful reminder of just how much of an expert you already are.
Do you sometimes find yourself questioning your own expertise?
Do you know any tips or exercises people can use to restore their confidence in their abilities?
I look forward to your comments!