Expert in Everything
When I first decided to create Reunite with You I was immediately overcome with imposter syndrome. Who was I to inspire others? What qualifications did I have beyond a college degree and a few years of experience in the working world?
I knew what I wanted to write and was passionate about it, yet I continued to hesitate. There was always an underlying feeling of uncertainty and inferiority. It felt like nothing I could say would make a difference if it came from me, a “nobody”.
Words mean nothing if no one listens. So I initially chose to stay anonymous thinking that my words would have more impact -more authority. As if hiding my true identity would somehow make people trust me. I knew that all of the acclaimed, well-known self-development guides had plenty more years -even decades- of experience and knowledge over me. So what could I possibly bring to the table?
This imposter syndrome is something that inevitably occurs in every job for every industry. No matter what we do, we will always be surrounded by someone who is more experienced, knowledgable, and qualified than we are -thus making us feel inadequate. The real problem begins when we start to believe we’re inadequate and let our efforts suffer because of it.
When we compare our beginning to someone else’s middle or end, of course we can’t compete. There’s no way to stop the comparison from coming. But there is a way to avoid latching onto it. We just need to remember that we’re all running our own race with our own finish line in sight.
Still, I became a professional imposter trying to run the rat race during my first year creating Reunite with You. While the writing flowed, I struggled to believe that my words had a wide spread purpose. I saw what it took to become a successful leader in the personal development community and wasn’t interested in spending hours on social media or creating classes.
I was stuck between choosing my authenticity or acclaim. Did I want to spend time promoting my site, or did I want to keep creating it? Deep down I knew that the traditional road to success wasn’t meant for me. My heart was in the thinking and writing process, not publicity. So I finally prioritized my path over the societal one. I essentially quit social media and began creating Kee’s Corner, a space where I could share my authenticity without any filters.
I was no longer hiding behind an anonymous facade. Finally I felt free! This was the moment I realized that I was enough. That my unique life experiences and insights are what qualify me to speak on these universal topics. But then I began to question what made me feel this way in the first place, to believe that I was an imposter? What was preventing me from owning my perspective, my voice -myself?
Nowadays it’s nearly impossible to have your voice heard over the noise of the crowd. Since everyone has something to say and somewhere to share it, our society has felt the side-effects of information overload. But the overflow of opinions has caused us to classify what counts as “accepted” or “right”. So instead of trying to find various viewpoints and come to a conclusion on our own, we’ve relegated ourselves by settling for the opinion of the “expert”.
In theory it makes the most sense and was what I believed in for the longest time. Why should I question what’s being passed down to me? The textbooks, classes, and other fundamental resources have been used for generations. Thus I should trust that what I’m learning is founded in facts. But this is where the problem begins.
We’re told that there’s always two sides to every story, yet we’re typically only taught one. We rarely see the full picture of our world’s history because every storyteller is biased. And it’s easier to share the side that we know -our perspective- versus the multitude of other perspectives which are just as essential.
So when we take the opinion of an “expert” for granted, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Of course this varies from discipline to discipline, as there is certain knowledge that must be acquired to make a well-informed opinion in say the medical or scientific fields. But when we want more than facts, we need to consult more than one person’s perspective. Otherwise their opinion becomes a fact -the truth.
While the depth of humankind’s knowledge has increased over the years, decades, and centuries, the way in which we share and use this knowledge has stayed the same. We entrust our knowledge to those who raise us -the generations before us. So we follow in their footsteps believing that what worked for them will also work for us. But rarely do we stop and consider what this actually means.
We’ve learned to accept one relative societal perspective and trust it completely. Once I realized that I was blindly following the traditional path while promoting Reunite with You, I heard the lightbulb click. At first I was confident that social media was the way to go, yet every time I logged on there was a sense of dread. But I pushed past it because I wanted to be successful. I was willing to put energy into something I hated in order to support something I love. So when I finally let go of the “popular” route, I was free to create my own.
When we follow in the footsteps of what’s popular, common, or known, we can feel like we’re falling behind. But when we disregard the expectations of others and follow our own path, we become the pioneers that discover our own hidden treasures. It may be the road less traveled, but that means there’s more room for us. There’s space to fall and rise -to take our time.
What I realized was that most of us are only taught to follow the one path. It made sense then why I wasn’t fulfilled by the road I was taking. And why following the ways of the “expert” don’t actually work for many of us. Most of us aren’t experts and don’t have a plethora of knowledge in one subject. We are multi-faceted individuals with various interests that can’t be put into one box and shipped along one route. So the problem with only trusting the experts isn’t that they aren’t trustworthy or knowledgable, it’s that they aren’t the experts in everything.
We are already experts in everything that we do, because in essence it’s all that we know how to do. I am an expert in me as you are an expert in you. So when we put more importance on the opinions of one person over another, we’re saying that their perspective is more valid than any other.
This doesn’t mean that whatever I have to say is important -or even relevant. It just means that I have a voice with a viewpoint and maybe, just maybe, it’s valuable to the topic at hand. But we’ll never know if we’re never given the opportunity.
Thus lies the underlying issue with the opinion of an expert. Where does this opinion come from? Most likely it came from years of reading, studying, and research -plus years of practice and real-world application. Ideally they would be tested along the way and receive official certifications or even awards.
But where does this knowledge come from? Who is teaching and testing them? Presumably it’s from someone more advanced or qualified in that field. Someone who also went through the same steps to reach the accolades of becoming an expert. So, if we take a step back and view this process from afar, we’ll see that it’s nothing more than a wheel churning around the same knowledge time after time.
Of course new advancements and discoveries help to progress this process. But in a few more decades what we know now will become the new normal and the cycle will continue.
The real problem arises when this cycle is challenged -when the expert is asked to change or reconsider. Are they open-minded? Are they willing to let in new perspectives that can enhance the well of knowledge they possess? Or will they fight to hold onto what they know and refuse to be swayed?
The truth is, the current of an ocean knows more about the world than the water in a well. So why does society keep looking deeper and deeper, when we really should be looking wider and wider. How can we expect to solve global problems without globally minded people?
They say it takes a village to raise a child, so why can’t the same concept apply to the world? Instead of dismissing and diminishing one another for what we do or do not know, we should seek to communicate and collaborate. Because the answer to any problem doesn’t lie within one person.
It does take a village, every perspective, to provide enough unique insight so that we can grow up well-rounded. If we stay in our lane and stick to our societal script, we’ll never be challenged to learn anything new. And if we rely on the knowledge of others, we’ll never think for ourselves. Thus we limit our abilities and interests instead of expanding our experiences beyond what we know.
When we believe that we need to succeed -or become an expert- in one thing, we are no longer valued for anything else. While we still indulge in other interests in our spare time, it rarely becomes something that we see as valuable. Yet that’s exactly what it gives us!
The more we spread our awareness into other areas, the more insight we gain -the more connections we make. We learn to see underlying correlations and comparisons that others may not. These are the connections that will spark a new approach to an old question.
This is what being an anti-expert is all about. The ability to see beyond the confines of a question and interpret a solution based on our breadth of knowledge, experience, and intuition. Instead of following a rule book that’s based on inherited information.
If society were to embrace the power of multiple perspectives, we would see that there’s value to every “Why?”. From someone young or inexperienced to someone transferring fields, we all come with our own knowledge base that’s invaluable. And we always gain more from what we lack than what we have.
Once I started challenging the status quo and stoped consuming the opinions of others -especially experts- I was free to be me. To create my own world by following my intuitions. When I contemplated why I didn’t feel comfortable or confident sharing my opinions, I came to the conclusion that this “accept the expert” mentality is what I was taught -how I was conditioned.
While it took effort to realize and shed this societal weight from my shoulders, it was 100% worth it. Now I don’t have to suffer to succeed because I’m defining my own success. So instead of becoming an expert in psychology, philosophy, or spirituality, I’ve found my creative center which intersects all three.
We might not get to choose what talents or passions we have in life, but we do choose whether or not we embrace them. Let’s stop expecting the experts to have all of the answers and learn to listen to what we, others, and the world has to say. Then we can continue to develop and grow into someone that knows who they are and all they have to offer.
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