Experts and Know-it-Alls

“But, you’re the expert,” says many clients.

No one likes a know-it-all, but everyone loves an expert. Experts don’t know it all, but they can show us how to get from point A to point B. But, we treat experts like know-it-alls when we discover the effort that is required to get us from point A to point B.

If we’re honest, we admit that we are capable of more than we give ourselves credit for. However, at the intersection of risk and effort is often where we put the car in park or neutral and decide that an expert, read here as a know-it-all, should take the wheel. By the time we’ve gotten to this point, we’ve begun to visualize being chauffeured to our destiny, stepping out of a limousine and declaring, “I’ve arrived!” But, would that have been worth it?

At the intersection of risk and effort is the fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of embarrassment, and unending “what-if” clauses. We faint at the thought of owning the negative possibilities, so we seek someone else to take ownership. We want to own the success and disown the defeat; which skews the reality of the journey and devalues the finished product.

Value is found in the risk and effort – we do not value that which we did not work for, instant success does not last. There is gold in the negative possibilities – lessons that we could not have learned any other way. Does it have to be this way? Not always, but these lessons are useful at the next intersection.

The expert does not hold the map to your destination; they are only familiar with certain parts of the journey, based upon the road they took. This does not make them more suitable to drive than you, possibly more efficient. You still own the car, the journey, and the destination; you can not take a back seat, they may not ride all the way to the next stop.

Which reminds me, I watched the movie “Baby Driver” recently. The main character, Baby, was a highly skilled driver, who was forced into working as a getaway driver by a criminal kingpin. He served his purpose well, but he had other dreams. When his service as a driver had ended, the kingpin forced him to serve as a driver, against his will, resulting in Baby driving their plans right into a ditch.

I’m not saying that someone will purposefully drive us in a ditch. But, ultimately, we are responsible for how our journey goes and we can not make someone take us somewhere that they are not willing to go. Likewise, we cannot hold someone else accountable for our journey and the choices made along the way. You don’t need an expert. You don’t even need to be an expert. You need a willingness to accept the good along with the bad, mine the gold from the journey and drive on.

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