Most people (myself included) underestimate themselves and overestimate others.
We are quick to lionize and idolize folks like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk etc.
Whilst they are certainly amazing people with remarkable achievements, in reality they are human just like us. Even they had to start from somewhere.
And that’s the point, that at some point, you just have to start.
This is the problem most people have…
Over the years I’ve spent a long time just consuming information.
The trap with this is consume enough information and you even start to feel productive after a day of nothing but information consumption.
I got so sick of it. The fact that I wasn’t doing enough or creating/producing stuff.
The excuses we tell ourselves…
For a long time I wanted to try my hand at creating a blog and writing.
Usually this was just about the time when self-doubt would creep in and I would begin second guessing myself.
Isn’t the human mind just the most fascinating thing?
Sometimes when you want to think of ideas and be creative or think of something to say your mind blanks out…
But at other times, like right before you make the important decision to start doing something productive, our minds kick into overdrive and come up with a whole host of creative excuses!
This is also a form of procrastination, or the Instant Gratification Monkey (as Tim Urban put it so eloquently in his brilliant TED Talk) rearing its ugly head.
Excuses such as:
What could I possibly have to say that people would want to listen?
I’m naturally not that interesting.
I’m not a ‘creative type.’
I wasn’t born creative.
And one of my favorites and the excuse this post mainly focuses on busting because it plagued me for such a long time:
I don’t know enough about the topic.
I’m not an expert at anything.
There’s so many great authors, writers and bloggers in this space who have said it all before and far more eloquently than I ever could. What could I possibly add to the conversation?
If so, read on….
You don’t need to be an expert to start. You only need to read one chapter ahead…
I was reading Russell Brunson’s book, Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Finding Your Message, Building a Tribe, and Changing the World (free + shipping offer) and came across two examples I loved and just had to share.
The first is a story about Tony Robbins. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Tony Robbins told me that when he first started learning neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), he signed up for a six-month training course, and after just a few days, he fell in love with it. He gained skill quickly and wanted to start helping people immediately. The trainers said, “You can’t, you’re not certified yet.”
Tony said, “Certified? I know how to help people. Let’s go help!” That night, he left his hotel room, walked across the street to the nearest restaurant, and started helping people quit smoking and assisting them with lots of other amazing things. He ended up getting kicked out of the program because he was practicing without being certified. Yet he’s gone on to transform tens of millions of people’s lives using NLP—all without any certifications.
Your results are your certification.
I can almost imagine Tony enthusiastically going out there right after learning all these new NLP skills.
He didn’t sit there and read more about NLP or theorize about NLP. He went straight out there and applied what he had just learned.
Sure, things like certifications and qualifications have value. Yet most of the time the value is to the people in the profession who seek to protect their own interests and increase the barriers to entry into their profession/turf.
The next is the famous story of Frank Abagnale. Here’s the excerpt from the book:
There’s a book (and a movie) called Catch Me If You Can [played by Leonardo DiCaprio] that illustrates this point pretty well. It’s the story of a famous con artist, Frank Abagnale, a brilliant high school dropout who masqueraded as an airline pilot, a pediatrician, and a district attorney, among other things.
There is a point in the book where he starts teaching a sociology class at Brigham Young University. He teaches the whole semester, and no one ever figures out that he’s not a real teacher. Later on when they finally do catch him, the authorities ask, “How in the world did you teach that class? You don’t know anything about advanced sociology.
He replied, “All I had to do was read one chapter ahead of the students.” [emphasis added]
Before I say anything else I’ve got to say great movie, check it out if you can.
Ok back to Frank Abagnale. Can you believe this guy? When I first read that I was amazed.
He successfully impersonated a university professor for a whole. Entire. Semester…
He was that good. Nobody called him out or suspected anything…
But the most amazing thing is he didn’t have any qualifications a Sociology Professor would have.
All he did was read one chapter ahead.
And that is the key. This illustrates you don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person in the world in your field, all you need is to just read one chapter ahead of the people you are helping.
As Russell says in Expert Secrets:
There will always be people in the world who are more advanced than you. That’s fine. You can learn from them, but don’t let it stop you from helping the ones who are a chapter or two behind you.
So what are you waiting for? Go forth and read one chapter ahead…
Action points/notes to self
- Don’t underestimate myself and overestimate others.
- Don’t let my brain fool me into thinking I am not good enough to start or that I’m not an expert.
- To be an expert, all I have to do is read one chapter ahead of the people I’m helping.
- I don’t know about you, but that is such a liberating feeling.
Have you ever felt like the thing that is stopping you most from starting is your fear of not being qualified enough or an expert?
What do you think of the story of Frank Abagnale?
Do you agree that all it takes is to read one chapter ahead of your audience?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this so please leave a message in the comments.
Until next time.
Tony Lee Jacobs
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