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Experts (and egos) by Dwayne Castle
I read an article this morning at inc.com byPeter Kozodoy. The premise of the article was that if you are an expert in your field and attempting to earn a living as the expert that you must set aside humility and pick up ego in order to do so.
The idea, as I understood it, is that there are people who don’t do the promotion it takes to get others to see that they are experts because to do so is prideful and egocentric. I agree that there are probably people who think that way. But it seemed from the writing that the author believed it takes pride and ego to promote your authority in a particular field and with that, I see things a little differently.
If you have the answers that someone else needs in order to get ahead on the job or in life, but you keep that information to yourself out of some sense of humility- how will those people move from beyond where they are to where you could get them to go?
I think of the commentary by famed magician and atheist, Penn Jillette, when he asked this in regard to Christians that don’t share their faith- “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
Obviously, this is an extreme example, but the principle is the same. You don’t need to walk in pride in order to share the knowledge you have with the people who don't. It doesn’t require ego to share the wisdom you have received over time. I would suggest keeping the information to yourself is a sort of false humility that perpetuates people walking in their current conditions.
I have expertise in customer service and in teaching others how to engage better with people. That isn’t ego- that is over 30 years of observation and experience. It isn’t pride- it is decades of trial and error. It’s being called into the HR manager’s office, multiple times, to tell me I can’t talk that way to my employees. It’s reading books and blogs and watching videos and seminars that have allowed me to put together something that I sincerely believe will help others.
It’s not pride or ego that cause me to share what I know but a sincere desire to leave my corner of this world better than it was when I got here. On the other hand, I do appreciate the humility of those who allow themselves to learn and grow from my expertise.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to know. I would also love to encourage you to share your expertise with others. Perhaps it will make your corner of the world a little better, too.
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