How can I be seen as an expert in my field without calling myself one?

Have you ever noticed how beginner entrepreneurs tend to put their most fancy face forward AT ALL TIMES, never taking a moment to have a sip of wine or say what they really think?

It’s understandable, really.

You want to look like you have it all together in the name of professionalism. You want to be en par with the experts in your industry. You want to share your magic with the world… And you feel as though you need to be at a certain standard in order for people to pay attention to you. 

The issue with that ‘professional standard’ is that in practice, you end up standing on a pedestal, delivering a smart how-to sermon from above. Rather than leading to the expected portion of recognition and awe (and lots of subscribers), it leads to distance. Because when you are standing on a professional pedestal, you are delivering information from above, which doesn’t equal a heart to heart. 

The issue is ironic. You are wanting to really connect with people deeply to share this amazing content you have to offer. Because you believe it requires professionalism, you put on a mask and stand on a pedestal. It is this very action that causes people to feel (consciously or subconsciously) that you are speaking at them from above, rather than with them. As a result they do not fall in love with you or purchase what you have to offer.

And it only gets worse because the less people buy, the more insecure you become. The more insecure you are, the more makeup you will put on to hide said insecurity. The more makeup you wear, the less authentic, approachable or confident you seem. *Cringes while physically feeling the horrible downward spiral*

What to do?

The whole issue is counter-intuitive:

Insecurity masked tends to come out as arrogance.
Vulnerability shared tends to come out as open-hearted confidence.

The reason most people still act under the thick veil of professionalism is that they are still stuck in an old guru mindset. We try to exude professionalism, wisdom and a metaphorical long white beard. But times have changed and the world of business is becoming less hierarchical and serious. Wisdom is no longer measured by the length of someone’s beard, their gender or the amount of certificates on the wall.

Instead, respect is caused by a deep feeling of trust: “She really knows what she is talking about. Paying attention to her is easy and fun. Her communication is spot on and feels effortless.”

Trust transcends age, geographic boundaries, social classes and cultural norms. And we are beginning to learn that wisdom can be found everywhere.

As a student, the lesson is the good old “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

As a creator, the lesson is “stop spending so much time on designing a cover that is fancy but doesn’t match the content”.

The resonance takeaway: Rather than trying to seem professional, share your truth. Infuse it with emotion and personality. Speak to people the way you like to be spoken to. In my world, that means across a coffee table rather than through distant or overly academic correspondence.

Write a great book. Tell everyone about why you wrote it, what moves you and what you learned from it. Be honest. Talk true. Forget about wanting to make a sale. Share. Make the sale when the person in front of you needs exactly what you have to offer.

Be the person people would love to have coffee with.