Too many people walk around proclaiming themselves to be experts on any number of topics.
Tim Ferriss would say he is an expert in living well (which he addresses through productivity, effectiveness, boldness and choice). Brené Brown is an expert in vulnerability, Gretchen Rubin in happiness, and Charles Duhigg is an expert in the matter of habits (just to name a few).
I’ve followed all four of these people, and I can vouch for the fact that they do have expertise in these fields, and definitely are worth checking out.
- I just changed my email and professional voicemail responders to reduce wasted time thanks to Tim.
- Brené has helped me reinforce and appreciate the notion of acting despite fear.
- Gretchen’s book The Happiness Project was the catalyst that had me re-evaluate my life and start Life in Focus.
- Charles’s Book The Power of Habits has shifted how I work with people who have food addictions!
Despite their expertise, however, not a single one of them can tell me what I need to be happier, more successful or more fulfilled. Their expertise is not in me, it is in a topic.
Only I know how that information can work, and how to apply it so it is RIGHT FOR ME.
[bctt tweet=”It’s a mistake to assume that someone else holds the answers to your problems, when in truth only you know what you need. #truth” username=”lifenfocus”]
I’m no expert!
In the world of coaching (any kind of coaching) and therapy, professionals tend to talk about how they are the experts in YOU. Well, I’m here to tell you that I am no expert when it comes to the subject of you, and I am both a psychotherapist and coach.
I am an expert in self-awareness, insight, change, anxiety and stress management (I have long since exceeded the 10,000 hour mark when it comes to practicing these skills). I have specialized knowledge about human psychology and what makes us tick. I can look at a behavior pattern in your life, and with the right kind of questions I can tell you what is holding you back or what is motivating you, but I am no expert in you.
It’s a mistake to assume that someone else holds the answers to your problems, when in truth only you know what you need. Only you have the answers to questions such as :
- What is the meaning of my life?
- What should I do with my future?
- How can I be happier/more fulfilled/healthier/ better?
- Are my choices right for me?
- What should I do next?
At this point you may be wondering why the hell you can’t easily answer these questions for yourself if, in fact, you are truly an expert.
That my friend is simple, you have lost touch with yourself.
You probably don’t know exactly what questions you need to be asking, how to ask them or even how to interpret the answers or signals that you are giving yourself. Don’t fret, those are things you can learn.
The coaches and therapists in your life may not be experts in you, but we are experts in helping you find the right questions and making sense of your answers.
I wrote this article a few year ago on the difference between coaching, consulting and therapy (it’s a worthy read). The gist of it all is that a coach is like a Sherpa. A Sherpa helps you get from point A to point B using the safest, most direct and appropriate route for you. They don’t walk for you, they can’t magically teleport you to your chosen destination, but they do make sure you get where you want to go, and that you are clear about the things you want to see, experience and discover on that journey. The same goes for coaching of any kind.
I’m not an expert, are you?
I write this post not to discourage you from checking-in with the so-called experts out there (including yours truly), but rather to remind you that you are more powerful, knowledgeable and resourceful than you imagine.
You might need some help along the way to:
- Identify a problem: It might have taken me years to realize that I was not fulfilled in the manner I wanted to. had I not read Gretchen’s book.
- Identify a solution: my most valuable contribution to my clients is giving them a framework to discover what they need, what right for them looks like, and overcome the roadblocks standing in their way.
- Identify a process: I guarantee Tim and Charles’ books as well as Tara Gentile’s strategy work have helped me become more effective and productive in my work.
- Move forward with a plan: That’s what most coaches do, it’s what I get out of my CrossFit and weightlifting coaches, and it’s what I seek in the strategies that Natasha Vorompovia and Lacy Boggs provide me for Life in Focus.
But at the end of the day, no one holds the answers that you seek… except for you.
So don’t passively rely on someone else’s system, or journey or advice. Use their expertise, yes, but use it to unlock the answers within yourself. Never let someone else tell you they know exactly what is right for you… because they don’t and they can’t.
I say all of this, but really, who am I to tell you what you should do… after all, I’m no expert!