Have you ever thought to yourself that you aren't an Expert?

Belittling ourselves is a crappy pastime that we all seem to participate in from time to time. We are all experts in a number of areas of life, based upon our own experiences. Every singe one of us is an Expert at many things, and in more areas than we give ourselves credit for.

I know it happens to me, and I have to take a step back and remind myself that I do have expertise in many areas.

I took a course last winter where we did a brainstorming/mind dump exercise in which we wrote down topics that we had some level of experience with and it turned out to be quite a lengthy list. I was surprised with not only the length of the list, but the breadth of topics as well; it covered all aspects of my life.

An Expert doesn't necessarily know everything there is to know about a topic, they just know more than a novice does.

It took me about 30 minutes to come up with a list of over 400 different topics, 419 to be exact, that I have some level of Expertise in. I'll bet you can come up with a similar sized list for yourself if you just take a few minutes to try.

Now that isn't 419 totally unique topics, there are definitely many that would be considered sub-topics or have some amount of overlap with other topics on the list, but I'd bet you'd agree that at least 1/2 of them count as unique.

Do this little exercise for yourself. It is quite mind opening!

Sit down at your computer or with a blank pad of paper and start typing/writing down all the topics that you know something about. Set a timer for 30 minutes and really focus, turn off your phone and e-mail and kids (or better yet, do it after they are in bed or before they get up in the morning), and continue for the whole time to dig out all the areas in your life where you have some expertise.

  • It could be work related; specific technical skills that you have and use.
  • It could be social; you are a supportive friend or a great pool player or you make a fantastic margarita.
  • It might be family related, like you are a great husband/wife and/or father/mother.
  • It could be that you are a great cook or an expert at the grill or make a mean pot of chili.
  • Maybe it is an outdoor activity like Mountain biking, Snow skiing or Water skiing.
  • Or maybe it is a hobby or 2 that you love spending your free time doing; like scrap booking or martial arts.
  • It doesn't have to be positive. Maybe you have had tragedy in your life and have some experience dealing with that; loss of a parent or child or a chronic illness.
  • And maybe you are a jack-of-all-trades and almost everything I mentioned (and much more) fits onto your list.

One of my mentors says that in brainstorming the best ideas come in the third third, meaning that you have to get past all the easy, obvious stuff before you get to the good stuff.

Remember to take the full 30 minutes to do the exercise. You are worth that much of your own time for sure.

How big a list did you come up with?

Did you beat my 419?

I bet if I did this exercise again now, I would be able to add dozens more items to the list even though it has only been 9 months since I first did the exercise.

I'm going to be on a plane on Friday morning, so maybe I'll take 30 minutes of that flight and do this exercise again for myself. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Monax
Independent Contracting Resources


I am a Mentor for Independent Contractors to help you with the Business Side of your Business.
I have been a small business owner of a number of businesses over the past 11 years.
For the past 6+ years have been as the owner of a small Independent Contracting business specializing in custom software development for large enterprise systems.

Because Being Independent Doesn't Mean You Have To Do It All Alone!