Sounds like a crazy premise…but hear me out.
You see, I don’t believe experts really exist. An expert is someone who has mastered ALL there is to know and understand in a particular field or craft. It also means they may have stopped learning and growing, convinced that they have already arrived!
People can be well informed, highly knowledgeable and perhaps highly experienced. Have you noticed those people who suddenly assume expert status when they want to tell you their opinion as to what you should do?
Have you ever noticed that so-called experts shout down other people’s ideas more often and more vocally than anyone else? Think about it and I’ll bet you agree.
No one knows your situation as well as you do, and no one ever will. Most people don’t know enough about their own life, limiting beliefs, personality and biases – how could they possible give you advice and counsel about your situation? Why would you want advice from someone who doesn’t even really know enough about their own life?
Have you ever noticed that highly cautious people, people who operate within a fear mentality or people who are scarcity thinkers tend to give opinions that are highly cautious? Funny how that works, isn’t it.
I’m not putting those people down or judging them; rather pointing out they are more comfortable with the status quo than they are about changing things or doing something differently. It’s an awareness issue and nothing else. Change requires challenging the status quo.
Don’t get me wrong – asking others for input or perspective can be a useful exercise. Successful leaders know they aren’t experts; they can’t possibly have all the information or perspective necessary to make many of the decisions they must make. That’s why they have a team; that’s why they can and do delegate research assignments to people on the team. They seek to become informed.
Leaders make decisions – they are decisive. Are they right all the time? Of course not, yet they make decisions anyway. Nothing happens until you act on what’s going to happen!
However, be careful who you are asking to give you input and perspective. You must be aware of their current thinking capability. If they are cautious and risk averse, you are bound to get perspective that is on the side of caution, playing it safe and uninspiring. Is that what you really need? Heck no!
To be of real value to you, they will give perspective that is best for you, not necessarily what they did when they were in a similar situation. You want people who have no other agenda but to be of help to you. If you sense the person is seeking to control you or your decision, temper your enthusiasm or dowse the flame of your passion, turn and run away as fast as you can!
Experts tend to be reporters or historians and not futurists who think into the future. They report on what has happened to them, rather than to help you think was is best for you going forward, given your unique situation.
When you ask an expert to make a decision for you, you may actually weaken or marginalize your ability to make the decision because you can miss the important connection that your situation is like no one else’s situation.
Check your level of self-confidence. When you ask for someone’s opinion, are you really interested in their perspective, OR, are you possibly asking for their permission to implement an idea you are not totally sure about?
This is an important distinction. When you are essentially asking permission, you are actually weakening trust in yourself; you are weakening your ability to make a decision and take accountability for that decision.
Asking an expert takes away your opportunity and responsibility to conduct “possibility thinking”. Successful leaders are possibility thinkers – in other words, they firmly believe there is always an answer to any given problem or condition. They are very reluctant to dismiss anything as impossible.
If you want to achieve something extraordinary, give yourself permission to believe it is possible, despite what the experts say. If you want greater outcomes, greater results, you can’t continue to do things the way you have always done them.
This all leads me to ask the big question – who is in your inner circle? Who do you rely on for insight and perspective that will help you grow and not hold you back? I hope you take some quiet time to reflect deeply on this question – it could be life changing for you.