Why I’m Not an Expert Anymore

Oxygen Volume 11I used to be an expert.

Not too long ago, I regarded myself as someone who could solve anyone’s business-building problems on the Net. I just ‘knew’ what to do.

In my own tiny mind, I rocked.

Then Teal died, my mother died, this happened and that happened and everything got stripped bare … including my desire to stand up as a so-called expert in the world.

What is clear to me now is that telling the world I’m an expert is simply false. Perhaps I know more about a few things than some others … but who cares? Aren’t we all peers in this game of life?

Why can’t I meet you just as an equal and a friend?

For the stinging truth is that in our industry, there has become on over-class of ‘experts’ and an under-class of perennial students who must learn, learn, learn to one day become ‘experts’ themselves. Because isn’t that the goal?

Take caution, my friends. Because what we are learning here isn’t brain science and does not require endless hours of study. Nor does it demand an endless panel of experts upon experts telling us how it is done.

What this business does demand is confidence, faith and perseverance. It’s just like Woody Allen famously said. ‘Eighty per cent of success is showing up.”

So I believe what is really needed here is community. Fair and equal support and mentorship with those who have walked the road ahead of you and are willing to give you the time of day.

Instead of experts, what we need is a friend to learn from.

We need someone to talk to as we find our way ahead — that’s what I find I need at this time in my life. I was reminded of that last weekend when I attended a conference up in Canada among many old and dear friends in this business. Being with these people was like manna for my soul.

These friends want nothing from me – and expect nothing from me, and I need nothing from them. But magically we meet in the middle and inspire each other and so give to each other endlessly.

And that is how this wants to be; the simple, generous sharing of hearts wide open.

So I have been looking hard at alternatives to the broken training system that is dominating the coaching space right now. Because as long as there is an over-class and an under-class nobody wins. The under-class simply keeps having their self-doubt underscored, and so they sign up for more and more and more training.

And the over-class has to keep continually reinventing their own personal wheel, until they eventually burn out from overwork and a lack of fresh inspiration.

There is a clinging to the old models that have always ‘worked’ instead of a fresh embrace of the new. And that old model is built on endless repetition, an a reliance on formula. We must sell our community into our work again and again to stay viable.

But like a good therapist, we actually need to serve our clients and then set them free. And so the client can stand on her own two legs and find her path, and so become empowered to step into full service.

There is nothing to be afraid of, friends. Nothing at all. Because in each moment there is a little gem of inspiration waiting to be uncovered by you. Your guidance will show you the way, again and again. That’s how you find the confidence you need to believe in yourself, your work, and your path.

I will report back here as I find the place I feel I can best serve.  But one thing I know for sure … I won’t be standing anywhere but beside you.

I don’t want to be an expert any more. I can’t, really. Because now I understand the information and experience I share doesn’t belong to me – nor does it make me any better or worse than anyone else.

And so I am no longer an expert, but just a slightly battle-worn fellow traveler. I am happy to sit for a while, exchange thoughts, enjoying a cup of virtual tea.

How about you?



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5 replies
  1. Yvonne
    Yvonne says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for this article, it’s really great to hear that someone agrees that one does do not need to be an expert as the whole world has always been telling us to be. I always saw myself as a ‘super generalist’, I know something about a lot of things. As I grew up in different countries around the world, I became good at observing, asking questions, listening, lateral thinking and I love ‘exchanging thoughts’. Dialogue leads to solutions, not just the input of the expert.

    In the past I was often told that I should specialize, but to me being labeled an expert always felt like a limitation. And more recently in internet marketing I am learning one needs to be (seen as) an expert in a certain niche. However, I love knowing/learning new things and I did/do not want to limit myself.

    I have recently found a compromise for myself: the market/client is obviously interested in dealing with someone who knows what they’re talking about, so for marketing purposes it is OK to show expertise in that context, however in my mind / my life I can still do, be and learn whatever I want, and be the generalist that I am.

    So, I’ve recently decided to accept the word ‘expert’ when appropriate, but not to let it define or limit me – very liberating! Wish I had realized that many years ago 🙂

    Anyway, love your website, look forward to more good stuff.


  2. Marguerite
    Marguerite says:

    In a world dominated by fakes, overinflated egos and bloated fees…your insights strike a powerful chord. I have enjoyed all your posts, but this one, more than all the others shows great courage and professional integrity. Thank you for taking the time to let your voice be heard. Some of us, on a similar path, find it uniquely encouraging.

  3. Melissa Gayle West
    Melissa Gayle West says:

    Wow, I just “happened” to come upon your website and this post. I SO resonate with it. After my 5th book came out about 5 years ago, this self-disgust settled around me as I continued to teach, write, and speak. I felt like Roseanne RosannaDanna was on my left shoulder imitating me, just like she used to do when Chevy Chase started pontificating. After several years of that, I quit teaching/speaking/writing, and my ego went into HUGE withdrawal-what if no one recognized me any more? what if I wasn’t interesting any more if I wasn’t an author/speaker/teacher? I felt so much self-loathing, and loathing of the “expert system” that keeps people feeling like not enough, and looking for more advice. A very deep soul sickness…I’m still not through detoxing, which I am feeling somewhat sad about. Any time I start to write, all that tangled up stuff resurfaces…I don’t know yet how to completely untangle from it.
    Thank you so much for articulating this! What you have said gives me hope for my own journey, and that someday I may feel free to write without any of that baggage…

  4. Donice
    Donice says:

    Beautiful Suzzane,

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your heartfelt writing. Your words have touched my soul on so many levels.

    Hugs to you, Teal and your mother. ♥

  5. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Dear Suzanne

    Thank you for your courage in speaking out about this. It was a confirmation that I needed from a friend.

    For three years now I’ve been feeling my way into my heart’s calling of helping people. I have been caught up and spun around in all the internet marketing hype of the “right” way to do it, and the trouble is/was that my heart’s calling just doesn’t fit into any of that stuff, so I kept procrastinating because it felt really icky to try to force it into that mould and also because my heart’s callling just didn’t fit into that mould. I originally “found” you and heard you around 2 years ago and discarded you along with so many other internet marketers because trying to follow the expert advice didn’t worrk for me.

    I, too, believe that we are each blessed with our own best inner guide, we just sometimes need a helping hand or a little encouragement along the way. We are all equal to each other, some of us are further along one path, others are further along on another, and so we help each other where we can. Trying to position myself as an “expert” or “guru” felt anything but authentic to me. And so I carried on procrastinating, which meant that my heart was becoming more and more frustrated and then self-doubts kicked in – who am I to do this, I’m a fraud, I can’t offer this stuff, It’s common sense, There are others who already do it better than me….

    Your message which I read today was so timely for me. It was a much needed confirmation that it’s not all in my head and that it doesn’t have to be done that way. Thank you from my heart and thank you to my soul for bringing me back to reconnect with you!

    Love, light and deepest blessings to you and to Teal

    Good luck with your journey! I would love to be updated on your new thoughts around how to do this stuff more coherently.

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