May 20, 2012
What does it mean to be an expert? Does it even matter?
These questions came from a recent conversation with my son, Ry. (Incidentally, it continues to delight me that some of the best conversations I have are with my son.)
I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling uncomfortable and ‘less than’ because I haven’t seen myself as an expert at any one thing. Somewhere along the way I picked up the belief that being an expert at something was ‘the goal’. As my son and I talked I began to see the problem with greater clarity. I’ve had my ladder on the wrong wall! When I fix my attention on being an expert, I immediately notice that there are lots of people who know more about what I’m interested in than I do! So they will always be the experts. Not me. (Notice the emphasis on always, keeping me permanently between a rock and a hard place.)
So where, on what wall, do I want to put my ladder?! What gives me a sense of fulfillment and vibrancy and ‘enoughness’? I seem to feel just fine when I drop the idea that I should be anything other than who I am, somebody who’s fascinated by and pretty passionate about ACT therapy, and meditation, and coaching. I’m coming to see that I want my ladder on the wall that represents me being fully present, coming from my heart, and not worrying so much about how much I know compared with how much somebody else knows.
A friend recently said, “I’m getting pretty sick of reading that I need to become all that I can be to make the world a better place”. I’m with her! Isn’t it enough to kind of gag you sometimes? Today there’s more information available to me than I can get my brain around. And I love that! At the same time, It can be insidious when I don’t see that expertise and brilliance for what it is– information–not my personal measuring stick.
Today I choose to put my ladder on the wall that represents fully inhabiting my life, listening deeply as one of my readers recently suggested, and bringing exquisite attention to whatever I’m doing, wherever I am, right now.
After writing the above, I sent an email asking for help with my business accounting. I’ve been telling myself I need to become an expert at this—because it’s my business for goodness sake—right??!! WRONG!!! All I need to do is acknowledge where/who I am. Somebody who doesn’t have an accounting bone in her body (although if I relax about it I may notice a bone or two lurking in there somewhere), and needs to get her finances in order. My lack of accounting expertise doesn’t say anything about whether or not I’m enough. It says I need some help. Period. How lovely, I get to work with somebody I like and let him feel good about knowing what a huge help he’s been to me.
Is there anything you’ve been putting off because you’re afraid you might look foolish, or make a mistake, because you’re not an expert? Is there perhaps another wall for your ladder that might give you a different perspective with a new window or door?