Last week, I encouraged you to call yourself an expert if you are able to demonstrate results, teach, and inspire your readers and clients.
Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the comments I’ve received on the post. From the comments, I’m guessing that you are on the path to becoming an expert but still feel uncomfortable assuming the label. I believe that is a wise position to take.
But be careful. Don’t let the journey prevent you from achieving success along the way.
Here’s what I mean.
I recently coached a blogger who describes herself as a lifelong learner. She prides herself on keeping an open and nimble mind. Her open-mindedness is a valuable asset since she blogs in a quickly changing field.
I believe she’s an expert. She’s put 20 years of full-time commitment. She has a roster of clients that sing her praises. She inspires me to be a better coach and professional.
Yet, she believes that her “Lifelong Student” charter prevents her from forcefully make the case to being a thought leader and expert.
From the comments and twitter responses I received last week, I believe that you might be in a similar position.
How to Learn and Succeed at the Same Time
It’s important to distinguish between who you are and what you do. You can be a lifelong learner but you are an expert at what you do. It’s critical that you understand the difference.
I believe that the “lifelong learner” moniker can be a crutch. (Tweet this)
It feels like a different way of saying “I could be wrong” which uncovers a persistent misconception about experts. Experts can be wrong.
In fact, successful experts make more mistakes than their more timid counterparts. It’s amazing to me that Michael Jordan missed more shots than he made. However no one would say that he wasn’t an expert at the fade-away jump shot. Was Michael Jordan learning more the game of basketball up until the day he retired? You bet. But with three seconds left on the clock, Jordan wanted the ball.
Think about it.
What Your Readers and Customers Really Want
I won’t sugar coat this. I don’t buy products from or pay attention to timid brands, businesses, or people. I can’t afford to take the risk. I want to KNOW that I’m dealing with someone who knows their stuff and are busting their butt to master their craft.
I bet that your readers feel the same way.
- They want to read posts from bloggers who want the ball.
- They want to listen to keynote presentations from leaders who want the ball.
- They want to retain consultants who want the ball.
- They want to buy products from businesses who want the ball.
Yes, be a lifelong learner. Yes, be humble. But don’t sit on the bench waiting for someone to pick your number. If so, you might be sitting for a very long time.