I want to share something today that’s really important to me, because I see it happening all the time. I’m going to talk in the context of business, but this is relevant for any area of your life you may consult the “experts” around.
Several years ago I became the marketing and design person for a small company. I had been working with them doing data entry and reception for about a year before I finally took a stand and convinced them I could do more, turning them into an awesome client. The thing is, I was still less than a couple years into my first design business, terribly introverted to the point of losing my voice on calls, and so far from confident in my expertise that I was unable to stand firmly rooted in my power.
When I began recommending and pushing for a rebranding of their online presence, I was met with a lot of pushback from the team. As I presented a beautifully designed website and new color palette more fitting for their audience and business, one older woman in particular cut in and very firmly said, “well the branding experts say to never change your colors like this.” I completely lost my footing and began stumbling around trying to find the words to express the expertise I had deep within. Thankfully the company owners loved it and we moved forward regardless, but this moment stuck with me.
There would be many more moments like this that would throw me off my footing when it came to talking with clients about their businesses, marketing strategies, and brands. Even to this day I mastermind alongside and am friends with brilliant individuals who are constantly saying things like:
“So and So over on BigName.com says to do _____.”
“The marketing experts all say to have these kinds of offerings.”
“I read that ____ have a 90% conversion rate so you should do that.”
While statements like this no longer throw me off my game when I’m coaching, masterminding, or even having a casual conversation, they still drive me absolutely insane. Here’s the thing:
“Expert” advice, tips, or strategies are completely irrelevant unless they’re provided in the context of how they’ll work for you and your goals.
Unless said expert has a clear understanding of you, what you’re trying to create, and who else is involved.
Period. End of discussion.
If someone isn’t taking a clear look at your life, business, or goals, nothing they say is relevant unless you feel it is. Unless you’re working one-on-one with a coach, don’t blindly apply their blueprints and strategies. Unless you’re talking to the expert about your specific experience, personality, relationships, and vision, don’t blindly apply their beliefs and processes.
This doesn’t mean their information isn’t valuable, it absolutely is! People who spout off on statistics and numbers have done a lot of research and testing. Coaches and mentors that share insights (like this post), trainings, guidance, and processes have usually seen firsthand how powerful these practices can be.
The point isn’t “ignore everyone, no one’s a real expert”, the point is to remember that when it comes to your life, business, relationships, and goals, you are the only expert in the room.
1) Only consider expert advice as it applies to your situation
That includes me, absolutely! Just because I say something will work well because it has for me, doesn’t mean it’s right for you, and I constantly stress that to my clients. Especially in situations where we’re not working one-on-one and I’m not taking a clear and thorough look at what you’re doing. Without context and a foundational understanding of where you’re at, these posts are simply guides for you to use as you need and see fit.
Read blogs and books, hire coaches, work through programs, and learn from the people you’re drawn to learn from, but always filter everything through your intuition. What really feels right for you? If I’ve learned anything from working with different coaches these past couple years, it’s that I’m truly the only one who knows what’s right and best for my business and life.
Coaches and mentors serve as guides, people with experience who can give insight, help with direction, uncover the clarity you need, and give you the tools to move forward. But no one’s more of an expert on your situation than you. Trust yourself first and foremost.
2) Learn to stand firm in your own genius and expertise.
Whether you’ve been in positions like the one I described above, or you’re having trouble trusting yourself as directed in the first step, it’s really just about cultivating confidence. Confidence in what you know to be true for you. It’s easy to let doubt creep in when people are always challenging us with what the “experts” say to do.
One of the best ways to stand firm in own your genius and expertise is to stay completely present in the moment. Don’t go into your head and obsess about what was said, just stay engaged in the moment and in your body. Your intuition lives in your body, and staying present is the best way to maintain access to it.
Second, just own it. Own your beliefs, views, goals, dreams, preferences, and choices. So what if the “experts” in question say to do something else. You’re doing it your way and that feels good to you.
3) Question everyone and everything.
Most of the time when someone says “well so-and-so says to do this” or “the experts say blah blah blah” my first thought is, “who the heck is so-and-so and what does he or she know about my business?” And who are the “experts” anyways? Many times people just read something somewhere and take it as gospel, when it could have been inaccurate, poor advice, or completely unrelated to the topic at hand.
Always question everyone and everything. Who decided this is the “right” way to do things? Why would I listen to so-and-so anyways? Have they, or are they trying to, create something similar to what I’m doing? Does this feel right to me on a gut level?
Getting in the habit of questioning yourself is such a powerful practice. Read a blog post and ask yourself, does this resonate for me? What do I want to keep and apply, and what should I simply discard? There’s a plethora of information available to us, and more experts than we can count, so choose wisely what you allow to color your life and work.