You are expert enough – here’s why

Have you ever been asked a question you don’t know how to answer?

Maybe you’re participating in a workshop, giving a podcast interview, or simply tagged in a Facebook post as a relevant ‘expert’ who should be able to help.

Suddenly you’re on the spot, in a very public way.

One part of you is flattered and excited… and the other part of you curls up in fear. Because there’s something about that ‘expert’ word that makes you bristle.

Expert? Me? I’m no expert…. I only know about X… I don’t know anything about Y, and I’m still trying to figure out Z…

All your fears and insecurities and feelings of ‘just making it up’ roar to the surface. You’re palms are clammy. You start worrying about saying the ‘wrong’ thing… or how to say the ‘right’ thing. You’re free falling out of flow and into ‘not good enough’…

Whoa…stop right there. Let’s examine that word ‘expert’ for a moment.

It is after all, just a word. But it feels like a loaded term, right? Something we associate with PhDs and academic accolades, a sort of mythical status for ‘other’ people to attain.

According to dictionary.com, an expert is ‘a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field’ – or a ‘specialist’ or ‘authority’.

It doesn’t say ‘a person who knows EVERYTHING about a subject’.

It doesn’t say ‘a person who has a flawless answer for every single question in a live workshop or a podcast interview’.

Marketing, writing, coaching, art, nutrition, design, social media, photography, psychology… there isn’t necessarily a black and white answer in any of these fields. There’s room for many, many different ideas, philosophies and interpretations. Many voices, many approaches.

Maybe you don’t need to be the most authoritative person in your field.

Maybe you only need to be expert enough.

  • Expert enough to help your audience over this hurdle they are currently facing.
  • Expert enough to show them how to take the next right step and the one after that…
  • Expert enough to know how to find out the answer to a question (even if you can’t answer it off the top of your head).

So what does it really take to be expert enough?

It takes commitment

Commitment to this path you have chosen. Commitment to ongoing learning and to personal growth. Commitment to read and listen and absorb all you can about this work, and to translate these concepts into ideas that others can learn from and implement.

It takes courage

Courage to believe in yourself. Courage to take ownership of your knowledge and skills, to believe that you have something valuable to share, to know in your bones that someone out there needs to hear what you have to say. Courage to be willing to be the one who stands up and says it.

It means letting go

Letting go of what others think – like your former colleagues, or your old clients, or even your friends. If they’re not your ideal customer, then it doesn’t matter what they think of your work. They were never going to buy from you anyway.

Most of all, it means letting go of perfection. You don’t have to pretend to know everything or to have the perfect answer for every occasion.

You don’t have to be the absolute authority in your field.

You just have to be expert enough.

So are you?

Have you ever struggled with feeling ‘expert enough’? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And if you need help owning (and articulating) your area of expertise check out my signature Start with the Heart sessions – just a few spots left before the end of the year.

Christine
[email protected]

Christine Sheehy will help you refine your core message, find your authentic voice and show up boldly online, so you can grow your tribe of loyal followers AND your business. She teaches women entrepreneurs how to consistently create engaging content and stand out in a noisy online world, through journalling challenges, messaging coaching, copywriting and intimate writing retreats. Originally from New Zealand, Christine currently writes, dreams (and persistently tries and fails to give up coffee, baguette and cheese) from an alpine village in the south of France.

11 Comments
  • Angela Murray
    Posted at 08:45h, 23 November Reply

    What a wonderful blog – I fully get the ‘expert enough’ concept and it’s links to perfectionism, if we can let go of that and realise that we are already relative experts then it will change the way we look at ourselves and our businesses. the big thing for me is to stop comparisonitis ie comparing ourselves to others in our field – because they are them and you are you, and whilst they are the expert at being them, you are most certainly the expert at being you. Embrace it!

    Very inspiring post – thanks!

    • Christine
      Posted at 12:27h, 23 November Reply

      Thank you Angela…and for helping me let go of my own perfectionism (work in progress though that may be). Sometimes I think we make things so hard or so unattainable, so that we don’t have to actually step up and do it. But that’s for another blog post. x

  • Philippa Ross
    Posted at 09:40h, 23 November Reply

    Fab food for thought Christine. I find so many peoples perception of the word is linked to an idealism that there is one way to do something; to be an expert means you have to follow protocol to acquire a particular status to r attain credibility and become someone of value.
    We all have value, our education system squeezes the life out of us. It stifles growth and curiosity. Knowledge only has value when we do something with it, grow it, add different perspectives to expand it. Each and every one of us has a unique perspective, we all have value. Personal intelligence as I call it is invaluable because we can draw on the expertise of our own experiences to add value to the world.
    Balls to protocol. Be unapologetically you.

    • Christine
      Posted at 12:22h, 23 November Reply

      Thank you Philippa! “Knowledge only has value….” Love this perspective and I think you may have identified a future blog topic for you right there! x

  • Natalie DeGoey
    Posted at 09:43h, 23 November Reply

    Your posts are always somehow perfectly timed for me. 🙂
    Working on my live lesson plans and feeling like I need to include everything that someone else might include in a lesson about “x”. But I don’t. I need to include what my students need to learn in order to take one more step forward!

    • Christine
      Posted at 12:26h, 23 November Reply

      Natalie – Yes! Try and include everything and you will only end up overwhelming both you AND your students. Plus you risk slipping into a cookie cutter offering. Remember to value your own unique perspective and concentrate on giving your students what they need to take that next step in the journey. Love what you are doing x

  • Mary Vitullo
    Posted at 18:13h, 23 November Reply

    Perfect timing Christine. Reading these words has given me hope and confirmation that “I am enou9h”, “I know enough”, and have “more than enough” to share with my clients. I am not an expert…”
    I am just a few steps ahead on the journey”!

    • Christine
      Posted at 21:16h, 23 November Reply

      Mary!! Lovely to hear from you! And I know you are enough x

  • Ruby Jude
    Posted at 08:02h, 30 November Reply

    Lol now I’ve entered the land of websites ……… Mailchimp …… Yoast …….. SEO etc etc

    I now know I do know absolutely
    Nothing and it’s a wonder I’ve got this far ……….

    I am trying to change this though !!!!

    Great blog

    • Christine
      Posted at 09:17h, 30 November Reply

      One step at a time Ruby Jude! Keep it simple….

  • Ruby Jude
    Posted at 08:04h, 30 November Reply

    Lol I know I know nothing at websites ……. Yoast ……….. SEO’s it’s scary the amount I don’t know ……..

    Great Blog thanx

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