Are You Following When You Should Be Leading?
Are you an expert? Let me rephrase the question. Do you know more about one or more topics than most people do?
What type of advice would a family member, friend or coworker look to you for?
Most people don’t see themselves as experts, even though they have comprehensive knowledge of a topic.
Let me go out on a limb and say you’re an honest, sincere person who doesn’t want to put themselves out there under a label they haven’t legitimately earned. And yet, you’ve probably discovered by now that other people do this all the time.
Experts Get It Wrong More Often Than You Think
The truth is, experts get it wrong all the time. Sometimes they’re wrong in historical proportions as they were in the past election cycle both in the UK and USA.
Whether we’re talking about politics, health, investing or anything else, we can find example after example of experts being wrong.
Well-educated doctors get it wrong with such regularity it’s downright alarming. That’s why malpractice insurance is so high. Even after years of training… they get it wrong.
Despite all this and more, we still place quite a bit of weight on expert opinions and analysis.
Let’s take the word “expert” out of the equation and reword the question.
What do you know a lot about?
Can you know a lot about a topic and still help someone without being an “expert?”
Absolutely. People do it all the time.
Be honest, are you at a point where you should be leading instead of following?
My question to you is – could or should you be leading instead of following at this point in your life and experience? Maybe you’re at the point where all the books you’re reading at this point on certain topics all seem to be saying the same thing over and over again?
That’s a good indication you’re ready to make the transition from follower to leader. Maybe you’re trying to convince yourself that you know enough, but you haven’t been able to do so. You don’t have the confidence.
The thing is, it’s your readers or listeners who will make that call. Not you. You can label yourself as an expert. Or, you can choose the label “very knowledgeable.” That said, others must agree before they’ll follow. You don’t have to choose a specific label if you don’t want to. You can just say, “I can help you (fill in the blank).”
You always start with the BASICS
If you teach basic math, your students aren’t expecting to learn trigonometry. In fact, they have to learn basic math before they learn anything else. Every topic has a foundation of facts that must be grasped first.
Maybe you have knowledge, but it’s scattered? In other words, you have facts or insights, but you haven’t taken the time to organize them. If you’re going to help someone learn how to do something, you have to take them through the process step-by-step.
If that’s you, you’re ready to make the leap – you just have to document your process.
And here’s the thing about that… the process doesn’t have to be comprehensive. The basics are important. That’s the foundation everything else is built upon. Back in the early 90s, I learned how to use and fix computers from an expert.
During that time, I picked up the advanced information before I had all the basics in place. Afterwards, some of the problems I had while working with computers was due to the fact that I skipped past some of the basics.
When I discovered some of the simple things I didn’t know, I almost felt embarrassed.
Whatever topics you’re interested in or knowledgeable about, start teaching, writing, blogging or podcasting about those topics. Why not? That’s how you get started.
Use the platforms that are a natural fit for you
Focus on the platforms you enjoy working with. If you don’t like Facebook or Twitter, consider LinkedIn or podcasting. If you hate social media period, do everything via email. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after working with people for many years – you only do what you really want to do. Even at your personal expense.
Choose a content creation or communication method that works best for you (text, video, audio, pictures, a combination, etc.). Believe me, there are people out there who will say “yes” to your style. The alternative is to struggle with methods or styles you’re uncomfortable with. If you’re going to be a do-it-yourselfer, you have to build around your strengths. If someone tells you the only way to succeed is with a big Twitter following and you hate Twitter, guess what? You won’t do it. Getting started will be an uphill battle. It will feel like dieting all year to lose a single pound.
Consistency is the key
You have to pick something you’ll be able to stay with. That’s the key. Consistency.
Think about it. You’ve consistently followed certain paths throughout your life and those paths have led you to the here and now. We start out by following. Sooner or later, though, you find that you can go no further. You’ve reached the end of the line on that particular path.
You can make the transition from follower to leader – no matter what type of business you have. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and do it consistently.