“Of course you can do it,” she said with a little disdain, “You teach this stuff so it must be easy for you.”
I don’t have verifiable statistics to back this up, but from my personal experience, the most common misconception about experts in the areas of personal and professional development is that they have it easy.
Business experts never struggle with business matters.
Health experts never battle eating habits.
Relationship experts live in a fairy tale romances.
Spriritual experts are constantly tuned in and…
Mindset experts are always on the tippity-top of their game with no need for work.
Let me save my wife, kids, family, and friends the trouble of having to tell you, that isn’t the case. All of my friends that meet the ‘expert’ criteria would tell you the same thing. My friends don’t make up all of the ‘experts’ in the world of getting better, but they’re my friends because they are real people that live in the real world.
The difference between those of us in the guru seat and those that look to us for guidance and advice has nothing to do with being dealt a different hand or reaching a level where issues disappear. It has everything to do with living the material we teach.
When I was offered an opportunity to attend Ken McArthur’s JV Alert Live program as an expert panelist I was a little apprehensive. Ken’s programs are legendary in the Internet marketing world and I would be serving with people that were pioneers on the Internet, best-selling authors, coaches to billionaires, and then the real heavy-hitters. Let’s be very clear… I’m none of those at this point.
Do I have a purposeful vision that puts me at that level? Yes. Since I coach people and companies to and through massive breakthroughs of power and profitability I should instantly feel like I belong in a group like that, right? Right? Come on… right?
My first thought was, “Cool! I’ll get to meet some amazing people, increase my visability, and learn a ton.” The second thought reminded me that I was attending as an expert and sounded more like, “Oh crap! I don’t belong in that group! I’m going to look like a total fraud and fool. My business isn’t big enough to be there… they’ll laugh at me and not take me seriously. This is going to end badly.”
Pretty ordinary, isn’t it? No dramatic theme song running as I approach the situation with supreme confidence and the perfect plan. No thoughts of grandeur and stratospheric self-confidence. Just me reaping my feelings of doubt and inadequacy.
“So what did you do PJ?” Thanks for asking. Believe it or not, I practiced what I preach.
My practiced system of awareness grabbed those thoughts and dragged them into the light instantly. “These aren’t healthy thoughts… where are they coming from?”
The first two steps were to check the situation against my vision and purpose. “Does attending this event in this capacity get me closer to my vision?” The answer was a resounding “YES!”
“Okay. If it gets me closer to my vision, is it in alignment with my purpose?” Once again, an undeniable, Yes.
I continued to think it through. “I have huge gratitude for this opportunity and I don’t have any resentments or guilt about it,” then something popped up. “However, I could look like an idiot if I’m out of my league.” Ding, ding, ding! We’ve found something! I needed to grant myself immunity, forward-forgiveness, for any screw ups or miscues. Everyone I’ve ever looked up to was willing to take risks to play bigger. This was a chance for me to do just that.
So I listed out all of the things that could possibly go wrong and evaluated. No heightened risk of death or dismemberment. The financial commitment was reasonable. The worst case scenario was embarrassment, but I couldn’t even make a good case for why that would matter.
With all of the obvious (and sometimes ridiculous) risks laid out in front of me, I granted myself written immunity from any of them that might occur. It’s amazing how liberating permission feels.
The next step was to look at my purposeful vision for going to the event itself. What did I want to get out of it? What would a successful trip look like? A natural goal popped out of that exercise (it always does) and I laid out the steps to make it happen. This is where the real breakthroughs occured.
While mapping back my action steps I noticed my stomache starting to “speak to me” as I got closer to the starting point. My awareness piqued and brought the next issue to the forefront… “you don’t believe your worthy to be there.” gulp.
It was totally obivious and true. In the past year I’ve successfully led thousands of people live, written an authoritative book, had my articles syndicated to 85 countries, and receive notes and letters every day reinforcing that I’m making a difference. I’ve had a hand in pulling businesses out of bankruptcy, launching dozens of others, and taking even more to new ground of profitability and influence. In total, I’m doing some pretty good work, and I still felt a lack of worth.
I tell you all of that to illustrate that this stuff happens to everyone. Issues don’t disappear when you become an expert on something. You just learn how to deal with them.
The number of times I’ve told someone, “you don’t have to be worthy, just willing,” in the past two months alone is astonishing. It is one of the most common issues with which I help. It’s also one of the most common that I personally deal with. Every time I breakthrough it on one level, there’s no doubt that it will show up on another level. Forgiveness, vision, gratitude, purpose, action, belief, awareness… all of the Elements of Personal Choice are tested and needed with each experience of growth. And each time, it gets easier to deal with.
That’s the point of a life worth living. Not to get to a place where nothing challenging ever happens, but to build tools and resources for handling what we find.
Ultimately, I faced my issue with an expanding willingness. I looked at my action steps one at a time and asked myself the same type of questions I’ve asked others hundreds of times.
“Do I believe I can show up and be myself?” “Yes.”
“Do I believe I can speak honestly and with integrity?” “Yes.”
“Can I seek to serve without any expectation for return?” “Yes.”
“Do I believe I can contribute real value as a member of this expert panel?” “I don’t know.”
“Am I willing to help and contribute when it’s in my power to do so?” “Yes.”
For me, this is where the voice of God became very clear. “That’s all I’m asking is for you to be willing. You put yourself out there and be prepared to respond in alignment with gifts and talents I’ve given to you. I’ll do the rest.”
I find myself in that position a lot. No real idea how something is going to work out, but willing to move forward. It hasn’t always been easy but it becomes easier every time I work myself through this system.
My time at JV Alert was absolutely nothing like I had envisioned and 100 times better than I could have dreamed. That happens a lot too. I met THE experts in some areas and they shared their insecurities and manner of dealing with them. Some pulled me aside for my advice or to express a desire to partner on projects. Stuff I didn’t and couldn’t imagine came out of that event and not because I knew they would.
I trusted myself to the edge of my belief and stayed willing to move beyond it if opportunities presented themselves. That’s all any of us have to do.
Don’t get caught up in the idea of following someone because you think they’ve reached the mountaintop. Anyone trying to tell you to “buy my stuff cuz I’ve got no problems” should be avoided because that isn’t real. Find people, coaches, mentors, and the like that want to equip you for your own journey of opportunities, pitfalls, love, heartache, fear and bliss… not avoid it.
…and please don’t expect them to be perfect. Expect them to be as real as you are, just with a cooler set of tools that they are willing to share with you.
Be your best,