Who are you to be teaching this stuff?
Where are your credentials?
When we consider coaching or consulting, these are the stomach-churning thoughts that pop into our heads..
“There are people out there that have written books.. appeared on T.V… I haven’t done any of that.. How can I possibly be on the same level as them?”
“I know lots about it.. But I wouldn’t call myself an expert…”
“What if a prospect confronts me.. and asks for proof of my credentials… and found out that I don’t have any? My rep would be ruined! Ahhhh”
“What if they ask me a question that I don’t have an answer to? I would be EXPOSED! How humiliating!”
These thoughts keep us from persuading our clients to sign up with us. Since we don’t have confidence in ourselves, our clients don’t have confidence in us.
The lack of confidence shows up in our voice and on our face — if we’re on a skype call, in-person presentation, or recording a video.
Every time we’re considering of promoting ourselves, our subconscious says..
“You’re not ready — You’re not an expert yet”
and then we go..
“Right.. of course.. yeah I better do some more research.. read a few hundred more texts books and sign up for another 6 years of education.”
This crippling mindset makes us meek and timid. It makes us take one step forward, and immediately one step back.
It destroys our chances of attracting clients and building our businesses.
Now wait a minute..
Let’s step back for a moment and analyze this entire “I’m not an expert” frame of thinking. Where did it even come from?
Why we feel we NEED to become an expert first
1. “You must have XYZ before you can do ABC” Programming since childhood
Think about it. We’ve been brought up since birth with this idea etched into our heads:
“You need to do XYZ before you’re QUALIFIED to do ABC”
Who benefits when this type of thinking is type of thinking is adopted by the masses?
Certainly not us..
but rather, the schools, the institutions.. the people issuing the certificates and “degrees”.
They LOVE to tell us..
“You NEED to jump through a bajillion hoops.. and pay us an ungodly amount of money.. before you can have the ‘right’; before you’re ‘QUALIFIED’ to perform this work.”
Law and Medicine aside; do you REALLY need to jump through all these years of school before you can perform “the job” — any job?
Of course not.
95% of the stuff we “learned” from traditional schooling we never retain ANYWAY.
I know you know this on some level.. but yet, this ingrained “programming” still gets to us and makes us feel like we’re unworthy to doing a job we may already be capable of doing.
Now getting to the second, less obvious reason..
2. Human nature of comparing ourselves to others
When we’re considering of becoming an advice-giver in any field, we look around, we see the big-name celebs and we think we need to be on their level.
If we’re becoming health coach, then we think we need to be Dr.Oz. or some health-guru we see on T.V.
“Surely, if we want to introduce ourselves with the same “title, we need to have the same amount of experience and expertise.. right?”
But the reality is, we’ll never reach their level, because they have a 2.. or even 3 decade head-start.
What all this boils down to..
We feel like we NEED to hold this arbitrary “expert” status and have the “right credentials” because by having this status..
A: Our clients will trust us and believe in our abilities to help them
B: We will believe in OURSELVES that we’re capable of helping them; so we can we can confidently look them in the eye and tell them “I can help you”.
You see.. this is all total. utter. irrational. ineffective.
This is what you need to know:
Our clients don’t care about our “status” or our “credentials”. Rather, they need to know that we’re CAPABLE of solving their problems.
What do I mean?
When was the last time you asked for a cab driver’s license and certificate of qualification?
You need to get to the airport – FAST. You say to the driver “I need to go to the airport.”
They go “Yeah, okay. We’ll take the I-5 freeway. Takes about 15 minutes.”
They have a car, the meter looks like it’s working fine, they appear to know the way… Okay, let’s go!
When was the last time you asked a food-truck cook for their license for operation?
You’re starving.. and you’re in a hurry to catch the last metro home. You ask “What are you still serving?”
The cook goes “hot dogs”.
The “kitchen” doesn’t look rat-infested, you see hot dogs on the grill, no mold on the hot dog buns… YES, you’ll take the hot dog!
When was the last time you asked the dentist for their license of operation?
Your tooth is KILLING you. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t work, you can’t FUNCTION.
You ask the dentist “My tooth is killing me, can you do something about it?”
He tells you “Quit whining, sit, open your mouth, I’ll fix you up in 10 minutes.”
He’s working out of a clinic… not a garage, there’s a set of drills on the counter, the anesthetic needles don’t look recycled… Alright, fix me up doc!
None of these people had to PROVE themselves with their “credentials”.. right?
They demonstrated that they had the solution to your problem, and you were sold!
The point here is this:
Instead of spending your time getting “accredited” by the “right people”, or chasing the arbitrary status of being an ALL KNOWING EXPERT, you want to become a niche problem solver; a person who holds the exact solution to the specific client-problem.
Let the “experts” play their expert role in their category. Remove yourself completely from the category and create your OWN niche-category and be the maven there.
You’re probably saying now..
Wait a minute, but my service is something that sells for much more than $20 or $100 dollars. When the price goes up, people will surely want to see some credentials and proof of expertise from you!
Here’s what I mean:
Pretend for a moment that you’re 36 year old software engineer from Texas. You have a problem..
You’re a chronic binge-eater. You’re 40-some-pounds overweight. You look and feel terrible. You know that you have a terrible relationship with food, you want to put an end to your destructive eating habit.
You’ve made countless promises to yourself in the past to quit buying the giant, 18.5 oz part-size Cheetos bags, but after a long, stressful day at work, you lose all motivation.
Your friends tease you about your supposed “love for food”. They poke fun at your weight. They tell you that you need to just cut back on the chips and you’ll be “good to go”, but they don’t understand that it’s not as easy as they think. It goes deeper than that.
You’ve tried to “figure it out” on your own, but whenever you feel bored, or stressed, you somehow find yourself running back to food for comfort.
Let’s say… after an exceptionally bad binge-episode one Saturday night, you decide to start looking for some help.
You flip open your laptop, open up your browser and you type in “binge eating cure” in Google.
You click on the first search query that pops up:
You hit the “back” button and start skimming through the rest of the searches.
Then, this catches your eye:
Binge eating controlled my life | My story
You click through..
On the surface, who appears to be more credible health, fitness and weight-loss “expert”?
Who’s more “qualified” to be giving any advice about health?
Tony. Of course.
He’s been featured on T.V, he’s written books and he’s been certified!
But who are you — the chronic binge-eater — going to be more inclined to want to hire as a coach?
Who would you believe — without much more convincing on the coach’s end — that they have the solution to your problem?
Jonas of course!
Does he need to prove his “expert status”? His credentials?
Of course not. He stated that he’s not an expert.
So why work with him?
Well, you have the problem of binge-eating. You believe that Jonas has the solution to your binge eating problem because of his demonstration of understanding.
Jonas’ credits and “expert status” then becomes an irrelevant topic.
This is the power of positioning yourself as a niche problem-solver.
As coaches, authors or consultants, we need to STOP FOCUSING ON “STATUS”.
We need to STOP OBSESSING OVER “CREDENTIALS”.
Instead, we need to START FOCUSING ON THE PROBLEMS OF YOUR CLIENTS.
Forget about comparing yourself to the biggest, baddest fish in the massive pond. Go find your own pond and become the big fish in your own – smaller, but big-enough pond.
This way, you can confidently say to your ideal clients:
“I understand you.. I can help you… yes you.”
This helps you abolish the crippling, insidious thinking of “I need to be an all knowing expert before I can do X” once and for all.