Yesterday, I started a series for the week centered around being the change you wish others would have been in your life. Today is the second installment of that series and the one that I think is most critical. Far too often, especially after looking at my own life, I see this step as the downfall for major change and it’s my mission today to help us all be successful in this step. After all, time is ticking and every moment spent not becoming the best you for yourself is a terrible way to waste it.
Becoming the expert you wished you had when you needed them the most may sound like a daunting task but trust me, you’ve played this part in your life before. You may not have consciously known you’ve done this, but you have and it’s up to me to make you aware of it. Here are some examples: It happened when you learned more about a hobby than anyone else you’ve encountered. It happened when you’ve bothered to abnormally research a certain topic simply because you had more questions than answers. It happened every time you decided that what you knew about the subject was inadequate yet the answers you received weren’t enough. If you identify with any of those scenarios, congratulations! You’ve been the expert in your life with regards to a certain subject. Now we just have to apply it to whatever you wanted others to do for you.
In order to become the expert in a certain subject, you must first understand this: Becoming an expert on a certain subject does not require a degree. Far too often, we rely on those who’ve gone to school, attained the degrees and have the so-called book knowledge we lack. Let me be the one to tell you that this does not always an expert make. Why? Because you can get the books too. You can go to school to learn it too. You can attain the same degrees too. An expert (according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary) is having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. Google defines it as a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area. This could be you. If you don’t have a formal education on the subject that is troubling you, it’s okay. Some of us are not meant to have it. We’re just meant to learn it in our lives and as we all know, experience can be the greatest teacher.
To become the expert you wished you had when you needed them the most, you have to be willing to do the following:
- Unlearn and then learn again
- Repeat until success
I will use my current journey of living a Ketogenic lifestyle as an example of how this works. As I stated yesterday in my blog post titled “Be The Change…“, I longed for some “expert” to tell me exactly what to do in order to lose the weight and get pregnant. When it didn’t happen, I was often upset with them for not showing me the way and for being the expert without a solution. This led to me doing a myriad of things to try to get rid of it and mostly failing. Every time I went to the doctor, all the information stayed the same. So it was up to me to create a difference. This meant I had to understand:
- The doctors had book smarts and possibly even had some experience in dealing with a PCOS woman but they still knew nothing to help me.
- I had to unlearn the role of the doctor in my life and learn their true role.
- That it is quite possible that I have more knowledge about the subject than my doctors which meant that I had to teach them.
Unlearning and re-learning about the thing that bothers us the most doesn’t take a great deal to do but it takes understanding, patience, forgiveness and education. One has to understand that the person we regarded as the expert can only go so far in our journey. They are in that role for a reason and a season. That’s it. Their reason started out as your mentor, your point-of -contact, your authority on the subject. As soon as that role is over, they no longer can play that part. When our reliance on them can no longer be justified, we typically get angry, upset, and frustrated. We may call names, we may separate ourselves from them and we may even persuade others to avoid seeking their knowledge regardless of the fact that it actually may help them. But that’s where the forgiveness comes in. We have to forgive ourselves for not seeing the signs they’ve given us when they were signaling that their role in our lives were finished for the moment. This is also where patience and education comes into play. We have to use what we’ve learned through trial and error and be patient with ourselves as we expand what we already know with more education. I’m not saying that we should buy the exact books as the person we considered to be an expert has but we shouldn’t be afraid to get more information about the subject at hand due to fear of lack of comprehension or the cost. This is actually something I learned while becoming a health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).
As they say, experience makes the best teacher and what better way to be taught than to be the teacher. One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve heard about teachers is that since they’ve mastered what they teach, they now become unteachable. This is the furthest thing from the truth. While I’m not a teacher at all, my friends who are certified teachers who teach in the public school system can attest to having to continue their education to keep their certifications active. Using this in our own lives is detrimental to our success. Sure we might have relied on another source for assistance but in order to be the change we wanted others to be for us, we have to do this for ourselves. So we have to learn. We have to get the books, ask the question and then we have to have experiences. We have to step out on faith and try. Again, if we’re looking at my scenario with the weight loss, not only did I have to unlearn what I know about nutrition, but I had to be willing to fail.
After having experiences, we may suffer failure. This is the only way we can find out what works. The error part of the phrase “trial and error” doesn’t mean defeat. It only means not yet. There is a step missing. There is a piece missing. There is something awry. It doesn’t mean it’s completely wrong. It just means it’s incomplete. In my scenario of weight loss, one can see it better. After twenty years of trying many diets and weight loss supplements, I can tell you that I’ve failed countless times. But in my failures, I’ve finally discovered the answer to one of my questions about all of my doctors’ summarized statement of “cut back on sugar”. What they have failed to tell me (but have since learned through my trials and errors) is that my body does not metabolize sugar very well and almost everything that goes into my body can turn into sugar. Now that I know this, I can do a better plan of attack on the weight loss to see some results. However, the point is that in order for me to understand this about myself, I had to fail numerous times and yet have the strength to continue to pursue my goals.
This leads me to the fourth point: repeat until success. It will get tiresome. It will be painful. It may even be a lonely journey but let’s face it: there are questions and they need answers. If no one else can be your expert then guess what: TAG, YOU’RE IT! If one wants the answers bad enough or if one is tired of the situation, one will do what it takes to get the answers for as long as necessary. As you know, success usually doesn’t come over night. It takes time and possibly many different strategies fused together to get the desired outcome. So be prepared for the long haul. However, when you do succeed, the job isn’t over. As one goes through their journey, they will have naysayers, onlookers and even fans to come out of the woodwork. They may choose to acknowledge them during the journey but when one reaches their goal, they will be there. It then becomes the goal to continue to educate yourself and others (if any asks).
Until next time, look at some ways in which you can become the expert you wish you had in your life and think of how to implement them in your life. Who knows? Your answers to whatever you’re needing might be in that step alone. Stay tuned for the next segment titled “Becoming The Guinea Pig”. It’ll be interesting (read: not quite as long), that’s for sure.