The Novice Expert

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"I don't need no stinking class."

Surfing is like anything else. You’ve got to learn it.

Now, I’ve never taken a surfing class, but I’m sure one or more of these guys is thinking, “I don’t need this. I just wanna go surf.”

The world is full of people who know not that they know not.

They’re a sad lot, but they do provide some killer YouTube content.

But there’s another group. They know something. Many are even highly educated. They’re just inexperienced.

“I don’t need no stinkin’ experience.” 

That’s the caption underneath their photo.

Recently I was indirectly involved in a sales situation. The business owner was lamenting how a novice salesperson was chasing a deal he felt was a long shot. Worse yet, the company had some resources tied up in chasing the deal. As I am wont to do, I shot my mouth off telling the business owner, “It’s like trying to be a vitamin when the client wants and needs and aspirin.”

We talked about how hard it can be to convince a prospect that they need whatever we’ve got. Again, I couldn’t resist mouthing off, “But, I’ve only got 40 years experience so I don’t likely know enough.” We chuckled and he replied, “Yeah, your 40 years has likely jaded your perspective.” More laughter.

The serious issue is that I know very clearly that there are many things I don’t yet know. I feel like I’m the guy Dirty Harry was talking to when he made this exhortation…

A man’s gotta know his limitations.

Many novices don’t yet know that. Their confidence – real or fake – gets in their way and works against them.

Many experienced people are just as guilty.

Today try looking for things you can learn. Don’t presuppose you know the right answer. Maybe you do, but it won’t hurt if you remain quiet for a few minutes. Don’t be so quick to think, “I don’t need to listen to this. I know exactly what ought to happen.”

You might save yourself embarrassment. You might learn something. Or, you might foster greater confidence from others.

About the author: Randy Cantrell is the founder of Bula Network, LLC – an executive leadership advisory company helping leaders leverage the power of others through peer advantage, online peer advisory groups. Interested in joining us? Visit ThePeerAdvantage.com