riffs & rants blog

Trust Me….I’m an Expert!

I’m not an “expert”. I don’t want to be an expert. What does it mean to be an expert anyway? Nowadays being an expert is a title you tend to give yourself. It’s vague, and nebulous, which makes it so attractive for people who lack substance and practical knowledge.

Why don’t I want to be an “expert”? Nowadays, self-anointed experts spend most of their time talking out of their asses, regurgitating somebody else’s ideas. They spend most of their days trying to sell stuff, not trying to solve problems.

The actual, real experts are busy making things and solving problems. Real experts focus on art and science, not vapor and hypnotic tools.

So-called experts have no sense of art. They prefer to disseminate information. They like to package it in pretty packaging with neat bows or put it all into an easy to read checklist. Their information takes on the form of processed food, colorful and convenient, but lacking in nutrients and value.

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Self-described experts also like to “herd” people into sales rooms and move them around according to price point. They view their clients as sheep who are there to respond, not to their own genuine needs, but to the need of the expert to keep filling their funnel. They will recommend that you abdicate, what you know, what you’ve learned, and instead adopt their “seven easy steps” or “can’t fail system”.

Real experts understand art. They spend their time continually learning and creating improvements and solutions to problems and challenges. They have no interest in herding people, creating “followers” or being a peacock, flashing their feathers around town.

Real experts value others. They see the value their clients bring to the world and help them make their products and services better. They respect the knowledge clients bring to the table and seek to augment not overtake. They collaborate rather than dictate.

Instead of declaring so-called expert status, what about embracing wisdom instead? Wisdom involves knowing when to speak up and knowing when to shut up. Procuring wisdom is slow, organic and thus unappealing to today’s sound-bite society.

Wisdom means you spend most of your time listening and learning, having real in-depth conversations, taking your time, being thoughtful.

Wisdom also means knowing that it is never all about you, ever. When someone asks you to help them, you are aware that it is your role to join them, not replace them.

Wisdom is an essential skill for mastering the art of understanding, understanding people, understanding complex concepts. Without wisdom it is too easy to be swayed by the swell of oversimplified noise and manipulative tactics used by the carpetbaggers of the world, especially the online world.

Wisdom means never pretending to have all the answers. This makes people who want to be rescued very uncomfortable (which is a good thing). The desire to be rescued from difficult choices and consequences fuels the so-called expert industry.

It is much easier to think, “this one seminar will put me on the map…this button on my website will make the cash register ring…this person has all the answers I need to make it happen” than it is to actually think about yourself and your business.

The desire to be rescued does not solve anything, it just leaves you vulnerable. Instead of being stronger, wiser and able to solve your problems, you are at the whim of people who just want to take your cash. They want to make you feel better, so you keep spending money, they do not, however, want to help you get better.

There is a huge world of difference between feeling better and getting better. Things that make you feel better are temporary. Things that help you actually get better (as in improve) are yours to keep. Drinking the martini will help you feel better for a little while, but lifting the weights will actually change your physical state and increase what you are able to accomplish.

Wisdom means being comfortable with putting yourself out of business, working yourself out of a job. With wisdom, comes independence. You see your role as being there to help someone solve something specific, at a specific moment. This may turn into helping them solve many problems over a longer period of time or it may not.

With wisdom the question asked is, “how can I serve this person, and solve this problem” not “how can I make them a customer for life?” This person may not need your services for life. The goal is to solve, not create dependency. While making a long-term relationship or friendship or a referral source is fortunate by-product of doing the work well, it should never be the primary aim.

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