I’ve read a lot of posts about imposter syndrome, and theories about why so many people feel like they aren’t experts. But something I don’t remember reading about is how ludicrous this is at a time when there are so many people spouting off about things they know little or nothing about. A great example of this is the recent measles outbreak, due in no small part to a celebrity who didn’t do a good job fact checking and convinced a whole lot of parents that vaccines were very unsafe. She has since retracted her statements, but that is akin to newspapers running corrections on p10, or someone being released from prison after being found innocent – the damage is already done, and most people will never notice.
So why is it that many of us are so reluctant to embrace their inner expert? Are we afraid? And if so, of what? Many people are found out to be wrong, and rarely are they ostracized for it. In most cases, it is understood that new evidence has been found that sheds a different light on the facts. So they change their story and go on. Or cling to what they believe, assuming the next study that comes along will vindicate them. And so I ask again, what are we afraid of?
There are many examples of politicians and others saying absolutely ludicrous things, with a majority of the world looking on in disbelief, and yet those same people go on to represent us and make a lot of money doing so. There are also staggering numbers of people who don’t believe in undeniable facts – things proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Given this, we can’t possibly be afraid we’ll lead people astray by acting as an expert. Can we?
Come on folks, we live in a world where there are people who think reality TV truly is reality. It’s time to own your expertise! Recognize that no one is perfect or has all the answers. We are all learning together, all the time, and we need your expertise as much as the next guy’s. Tell us what you are good at, and why, and how we can be, too! And we’ll believe it, especially if you do. Or we won’t. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter if we believe you. If you’ve given honestly of your experience, it will matter to you, and to the people for whom your special expertise is most important.
Who are the real experts? We all are. Find what you are expert in, and embrace it!