When will you be ready? When will you say, ” All right, I have everything I need. There is nothing else I need to know.”
You have studied. You have ticked off a long list of classes, courses and workshops, You’ve read a pile of books and have become quite knowledgeable in your area of interest, but when will it be enough?
Let’s face it, there will always be another online course. The web is stuffed full of them. There will always be a new book illustrating a new theory or technique, they are published weekly. Still want to learn more, just YouTube it. It seems that any subject you can think of now has a video. The quest for knowledge for the curious need never end.
But when will you say I’m ready to do this professionally? When will the student become the teacher?
It’s possible that you no longer need to get better at your craft. That your craft is just fine.
It’s possible that you need to be braver instead.
This week’s quote from thought leader Seth Godin was a “bing bing aha” moment because it is not only true for me but for a lot of folks I know. Do you see yourself in this quote?
The need for one more feather in your cap, one of the ego’s favourite stall tactic. Similar to the shiny object syndrome where you let yourself be loured away from your intended focus by something newer or shinier only to get loured again and again until you’re not even sure what the focus was to begin with.
Some might say it’s a lack of clarity, that they are not sure yet what they want to achieve with all this knowledge they’re acquiring but in reality, this is more a symptom of the problem, another excuse. Some might say that they need more time, that they are not ready. Time for what? Time to find more stall tactics?
The reality is, you are ready and it’s just plain old vanilla flavoured fear that’s holding your back.
Is this you?
- A friend asks you for advice in the area of your expertise and you happily offer up exactly the information that they need.
- You have taught ever family member and friend who wanted to learn the skills you possess.
- You find that the courses you are now taking are a review of what you already know. In fact, you may have even said to yourself that you could teach this class better than the instructor. You even go as far as revamping the outline in your head as to how you would teach it.
- You have run out of the basic mainstream skills in you area to learn and are now looking for the weird, down the rabbit hole stuff because there’s no other stuff left.
So the real issue here is fear but more than that, it is a drive for perfection. That imaginary mastery that you feel others have that you do not. And what is even worse is that you are probably comparing yourself to folks who have been working in your field of interest for years and years. How can your insignificant skills compete in a league of giants?
The answer is you can’t. Not yet at any rate. But more to the point is that you shouldn’t even be trying.
The thing is, your rational mind knows that the top people in your industry didn’t start out as fully qualified masters. They too had to start at the beginning and learn just like you. It’s the fear of not being perfect that’s getting in the way of your ability to start.
Dream big but start small.
One of the best pieces of advise I ever got years ago when I was selling furniture was to remember that those who were asking for my advice or who were seeking out my skills, were doing so because they don’t know the answer to their problem. If they did they wouldn’t be asking, so right off the start I needed to remember that I knew way more than they did.
It’s not about power, it’s about confidence. Being confident that you have a skill and other’s who want or need that skill, do not.
Perfection is the real enemy here and it’s driving your fear that you are not enough. Yes you have considerable knowledge but it’s clouding your ambition. To get past the evils of perfection you must go back to the basics and start there. Offer your skills at that level, then as your confidence increases, offer more. That’s what the masters did.
There is nothing wrong with another feather in your cap. We should all strive to learn more and grow but feathers are meant to help you fly. Are they instead weighing you down?
There will always be someone that knows more than you, but there will always be someone who knows less than you as well. It is with that person that you start. It is with that person that you can be brave and begin because every feathered bird knows that before they can soar with the eagles, they must first learn the basics of how to take off and fly.