What I Struggle with Most...
A few years back I was at a clinical conference out of state. From across the room, I recognized a colleague I had met once or twice but did not know well. I watched her take careful notes, as did I, because the information offered was good.
The conference was about court testimony and what was needed to present as an expert. As I listened to the presentation, I thought about my own experiences as an expert witness, my previous experience—before graduate school—of working for the District Attorney’s office in victim witness. I thought that perhaps sometime in the future, I might offer training about how to testify.
I’d been told time and again, by attorneys and judges, that I was the best expert witness they had seen. One judge asked if I would join her in developing a course for therapists and social service workers on exactly how to testify. One attorney said she used transcripts of my testimony to help other therapists that she worked with learn how to answer the questions presented in court, how to remain on topic, and how to redirect back when needed.
Even with all of this positive feedback, as I sat in the presentation, I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’ll offer a training. Maybe. It's pretty common sense, I'm not sure anyone really needs this.”
And that’s what I have struggled with most in my lifetime: I don’t realize that not everyone knows what I know.
Understand that this is not the same as Imposter Syndrome; it’s not a belief that others might “find me out” and discover I know nothing. Instead, this is more of an underlying assumption that what I know is just commonplace and everyone already knows it.
I'm not alone in this, I know. A coaching client recently expressed her reluctance to begin to provide clinical training for other clinicians because she thought she needed additional training of her own. She is someone who also has been a specialist in her work for over 20 years and has supervised hundreds of clinicians. But she doesn't realize her unique knowledge set, and so she keeps it secret, reluctant to share it because she doesn't recognize how valuable it is.
The colleague that I saw at the conference? She went home and within three months, put together a training on the very topic she and I attended. She did not hesitate to realize that her knowledge wasn’t ordinary, and she shared it.
So that's exactly what I've been working on: To share my knowledge set, rather than keeping it a secret.
And I encourage you, too: If you’ve been holding off on putting yourself out there, thinking that you have nothing unique to say, or anything valuable to share, because it’s all been done before, perhaps now is the time to move beyond that. Perhaps now is the perfect time to share your gifts with the world. After all, no one else really knows what you know; and that’s pretty awesome.