Day 7: BUILD YOUR EXPERTISE
Hello and welcome to Day 7 of The Villa Confidence Boot Camp! Today’s topic is about the physiological/cognitive component of The Chemistry of Confidence.
Today, we talk about building your expertise and skills. Your expertise is compromised of the following:
· Knowledge, technical skill, education, training
· Capabilities, judgments, critical thinking
· Interpersonal and influencing skills
Your expertise and skills do not define you and your worth. Rather, developing your skill set and enhancing your expertise empowers you to build credibility and self-confidence.
As you build your expertise, people come to trust your level of skill and thus your credibility. When we are seen as credible, it allows us to build our own belief in ourselves, and therefore builds our own confidence.
Your expertise is your set of skills, knowledge, and experiences that makes you good at what you do. You may have technical skills, people skills, leadership skills, or thinking/influencing skills that increase your value. This part of your identity grows naturally over time, but is also enhanced by your efforts to gain critical thinking or experiences that help you grow.
The first step to building your expertise is identifying the skills that you are naturally talented at. What skills and areas of expertise have you always naturally excelled at and been drawn to? What technical or interpersonal skills do you enjoy the most? Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them.
The next step is identifying those skills which you wish to learn or improve. What skills are required to reach your personal and career goals? What skills will, once developed, empower you to feel more confident throughout your day-to-day life?
As I talk about in my video, the next step in building your expertise is admitting that you are not yet skilled and accepting that that’s OK. Starting with humility and refusing to internalize your initial struggles as you develop a new skill is absolutely vital to building expertise and confidence.
In the beginning stages of learning, you will stumble, fail, and often feel overwhelmed. THAT’S OK. You are not only already more skilled than when you first started, you are now 1000 times closer to developing your expertise and self-confidence than if you had never started in the first place. Every expert that’s ever lived started with a slew of struggles, failures, and days of feeling completely overwhelmed.
Early attempt at graphic design.
After some practice.
I will never forget the first months when I attempted to start my own business. I was a newly single mom with absolutely no background in running a business – but being an entrepreneur was my dream. I wanted to create an income to support my young daughter while still having the time and freedom to be there for her.
To say I ran ahead like a chicken with my head cut off would be an understatement. I still cringe a little bit looking back at all the mistakes I made, the mediocre work I dared present to really important clients, the embarrassment I felt when my work was returned with criticism and constructive feedback, etc.
However, I am so grateful for those “expertise building” moments. It was those failures that enabled me to figure out what I needed to do to become better. And as I became better, my credibility grew. I have since done graphic design and digital work for several multimillion dollar international companies from the US to Canada and the UK. While I still have a lot of room to grow, my expertise and credibility – and thus my confidence - has grown every step of the way.
So how can you improve your skills and build your expertise? Here are some of my top recommendations:
- Give yourself a specific project and deadline. You must first “try on” your new desired skill to figure out the specific areas where you need to improve.
- Find exemplars (online or someone you know personally) that excel at the skill you wish to master. What are they doing on a regular basis that you can apply? Can you ask them for advice? Would they be willing to mentor you? How can you take what they are doing and apply it to your own skill development process?
- Practice, practice, practice. Watch YouTube videos, search for “How-To” tutorials and articles, check out books from the library, and try something new daily.
- Volunteer or offer to work for free somewhere that requires your skill. For example, I initially offered to do free graphic design work for several companies. My first attempts were GOD AWFUL, but having them hold me accountable and offer constructive feedback was extremely helpful.
- Post your work on social media (we’d love to see it on our Villa Facebook page!), even if it’s just a video of you practicing. This consistent public presentation of your skills/expertise, while potentially awkward at first, will empower you to stay motivated at building your skill, grow your credibility, and enhance your confidence.
- If possible, join professional groups and get additional education. Check for classes at your community college or online courses, sign up for Meetups in your area, or find Facebook groups focused on your desired area of expertise. Continuing education is an important aspect of building your expertise.
- Ask for feedback and reviews. If your skills and expertise are part of your business, ask your customers to leave you online reviews and testimonials. While scary at first, feedback and reviews are important parts of building your credibility and confidence.
As the eloquent Mia Selway talked about earlier in our Confidence Boot Camp, journal your feelings, experiences, and thoughts along the way as you practice your skills and build your expertise. This will help you to process the journey of credibility/ skill building and allow you to gain insights that you may have missed before.
Finally, here are key things to keep in mind as you build your expertise:
- You will likely struggle in the first stages – THAT’S OK. You’re not alone.
- Refuse to internalize failures and struggles.
- Accept the ebb, flow, up, down, and all around cycle of skill and expertise building. Don’t view temporary setbacks as permanent failures or inherent ineptitude. Embrace the process.
- Believe in your ability to do anything you set your mind to. When you do this, “failures” and “setbacks” become “learning opportunities” that propel you forward.
Remember that the person you want to be is already inside you; otherwise, you wouldn’t want to be that person. All it takes is a little determination, a lot of practice, and a safe person/system to hold you accountable to build your expertise, credibility, and confidence.
Your assignment for today is to 1) Identify one area in your life where you want to increase your expertise, and 2) Of the above recommendations, which one will you start with and why?
For example, if your goal is to become a better runner, start by signing up for a 10k several months from now and create a “couch to 10k” running plan. This both gives you a specific project with a specific deadline and holds you accountable (most races are non-refundable).
If your goal is to improve at public speaking, set a goal to go on Facebook Live once a day for a week and talk about something you’re passionate about. Invite your followers to engage with your video and leave feedback.
I hope you feel inspired and empowered to work on building your desired skill set and credibility in whatever area ignites your passions. Thanks for joining us! If you enjoyed this post, PLEASE SHARE IT and help us grow our worldwide audience of empowered women. We will see you tomorrow for day 8 of Confidence Boot Camp. You’ve got this!
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