Here’s #1: There’s no such thing as an expert.
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We are all born a “nobody.” We all must start at the beginning to build ourselves up.
But it doesn’t always feel that way.
When I first entered my industry, I felt the same imposter syndrome that many people do. I worried that I wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t worth taking seriously. When more experienced peers criticized me, I felt beaten down and struggled to find the motivation to get back up.
But after a while, I realized that this wasn’t a problem with my abilities. It was a problem with my perception. That’s when I made a decision to amplify my voice even more.
Along the way, I found that there are eight critical ideas that can help people navigate turbulent times. I’ll share each below, along with a quote that helps me remember them.
1. There’s no such thing as an ‘expert’
There, I said it! We are often conned into believing that industry leaders know everything — when really, nobody does! When a person believes they have learnt it all, that is the moment they prove that they don’t know enough.
“If I claim to be a wise man, surely that means I don’t know” —Kansas
2. Experience is relative
One of the most common misconceptions in business is that a person with more experience knows more than a person with less experience. Experience is best gained through failing forward and learning from our mistakes — which means you’ll gain valuable experience simply by moving forward.
“Some people have 20-years-experience, when in reality they have 1 years of experience repeated 20 times.” —Stephen Covey
3. Qualifications don’t guarantee knowledge
People can be intimidated by qualifications because they assume a certificate from 10 years ago proves that a person is always right. In reality, education is an evergreen task that requires lifelong study and an openness to learn something new from others — irrespective of who they are.
“Never let schooling get in the way of your education.” —Mark Twain
4. Imposter syndrome is a state of mind
And it feeds off negative thoughts! When we allow ourselves to believe that we are less than worthy, we give our power away. When we embrace the power of our thoughts and use them to instill positive affirmations about ourselves, we starve negativity into extinction and allow ourselves to feel proud of our accomplishments to date.
“Never let someone’s opinion of you become your reality.” —Les Brown.
5. There’s always someone who needs to hear what you have to say
That’s true even if you are just starting out in an industry or role. There will always be someone a step behind you who needs to hear your message. So rather than concentrating on those who you think know more than you, think about those who you know will appreciate what you know today.
“If you don’t pick your audience, you’re lost because you’re not really talking to anybody.” —Julia Child
6. The newcomer is just as valuable
A newcomer is in the best position to recognize areas in a business or industry that are in dire need of change. It’s easy for industries to be stuck in the rut of status quo because it’s convenient and always worked that way. But a fresh pair of eyes allows a business to take the rose-tinted glasses off and polish up the mold. Think of the newcomer as a gatekeeper: They hold the keys to doors unopened.
“Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” – Steve Jobs.
7. We all should want to make mistakes
Mistakes are how we learn, grow and develop our skills. Everyone will make more than one mistake, say more than one thing wrong, make more than a few impulsive decisions and offend the odd person. There’s nothing more inspiring than the person who can admit when at fault with integrity and sincerity.
“If you aren’t failing, you aren’t even trying” – Denzel Washington.