We have become overly obsessed with relying on “experts”.
Experts in finance. Experts in love. Experts in life… Experts in relationship based sales
The internet has only accelerated the expert fad creating a marketplace of “7 steps to do this” and “3 rules of this” with no barriers to entry. I’m guilty of it too and understand the humor in sharing this.
But there’s a serious flaw in the expert internet that’s worth drawing your attention to.
These experts assume you share the exact same view of the world that they do.
Build Your Company Like Me
I remember walking into the office of a very successful entrepreneur to get his advice.
This individual had sold a Software as a Service (SaaS) company he founded for many many millions and I figured he would have some great advice for a professional services company I was starting.
As the conversation went on, I realized that he was telling me to build the exact company he built. Verbatim!
He told me to turn the professional services into a software. Sell it on a subscription model. And target businesses by vertical and go after them one by one. This was identical to what he did.
Now, I have the utmost respect for this individual and there’s no denying he’s very accomplished.
But it occurred to me that day that even the most accomplished people just want to tell you how to address your unique situation the same way they did for theirs.
It’s easy to tell someone to do what you did. It’s much harder to understand their need, talk about their unique situation, and help guide them to find their own answer.
Physics vs. Engineering
Rockstar executive coach and dear friend Khalid Halim gave me this framework and I’ve used it almost every single day since.
He said (this is poorly paraphrased- Khalid is much more eloquent that I am):
“If you asked me how to get out of my office on the 20th story of this building, I can tell one of two things.“
I can tell you to walk out my office, press the button for the elevator, take it to the lobby, and walk out the building. And you would successfully be able to get out of the building (this is engineering).
The problem with offering engineering based solutions is when you’re on the top floor of a building without an elevator, you’ll have no idea how to get out.
Instead, what if I teach you about gravity?
By teaching you the physics of your environment, you have the knowledge to engineer the most useful and personal solution for you.
Maybe you choose to take the elevator, the stairs, or grab a parachute and jump out the window.”
Khalid works from the physics with his clients and it’s no surprise he’s been incredibly successful helping them accomplish their goals.
The 3 Keys to Using an Elevator
Here’s how internet experts miss the mark.
They only give you engineering advice!
In order for their advice to be helpful, you have to be in the exact same situation with the exact same resources available for you as they are when giving you their advice.
In Khalid’s example above, internet experts would write blog posts with titles like “The 3 Keys to Using an Elevator” and “How to Network While Waiting for the Elevator”
Human experience is completely unique and it’s rare that our exact situation matches someone else’s.
This kind of expert content is mildly helpful, at best.
True experts don’t tell you how to do something, they teach you how things work so you can figure out the best solution for yourself.
Just like a fish only becomes aware of water when they’re pulled out of the water, true experts understand that you know yourself and situation better than anyone and that you already have the answers you seek somewhere inside of you.
Their job is to help you see those answers.
Be careful to hand over authority to experts that want to tell you what to do.
The expert internet is guilty of teaching you how to fly without understanding your gravity. It may be a bumpy ride!