When you get really stuck in your business and the imposter syndrome starts to creep in, don’t be coy! I encourage you to revisit your expertise and this is something you could schedule to do and then update routinely. Remember that your expertise is not necessarily always applied in your current job or business, and you can often lose sight of or appreciate the expertise you have. I have worked with people who are very disciplined in updating their CV twice yearly as a minimum, but it’s not a habit I have ever got into.
If you are inspired to do my suggested mop up, spend some time noting down the answers to the following questions. I often like to do this with a large sheet of paper and either across a timeline drawn through the centre of the page or as a mind map. There is something very powerful about seeing your expertise visually in this way. Jot down the response against the appropriate dates/decades along the timeline or groups them into themes or decades in a map. Select the dates when you attained a qualification or from when you honed a new skill, some may be lifelong and something you started to practice as a teenager perhaps.
- What are your qualifications? What formal qualifications, accreditations, certificates do you have? From degrees to short courses. All of your education forms part of your expertise, irrelevant of when you feel you last used it in a practical sense.
- What professions do you or have you worked in and for how long? Assuming you have worked in an area for a number of years, regardless of qualification, you will have expertise.
- What expertise do you have outside formal qualification e.g. experiential and soft skills? Consider your strengths such as people skills, communication, collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity. Do you blog, record videos, write or speak?
- What hobbies do you have and what extracurricular activities do you do?. What do you do in your spare time beyond the day to day running of your business? Do you volunteer or support a charity, club or school in some way?
- In what industry has your expertise been applied? Note down the various industries you have worked in and the number of years in each.
- Is your expertise location or geography-specific? Consider where you have worked and what markets you have been exposed to and have expertise in beyond the country that is currently home.
Double-check your CV, what else do you routinely include there? What have you stated as your core expertise in your social media profiles such as LinkedIn? If you have a poor memory or you have a tendency to live in the present day and move on from the past quickly, speak to ex-colleagues and peers about the work you have undertaken together. A conversation will often elicit hidden experience and expertise you forgot you have!
Once you have that glorious list, mind map or timeline of your expertise, claim it and think about how you can most effectively share it.
I have worked with business founders who have become stuck and have lost focus and just by undertaking this exercise it has shifted their perspective and the way they see themselves. This is important as a few of the foundations relate to creating value and demonstrating value and much of this stems from knowing your expertise.