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Kari Vernon, a participant in my Bring Your Book to Life Program, called today to thank me for facilitating several breakthroughs this week while she’s been on retreat working hard on her book. “But I still feel I have to make up for not being an expert in my field. I’m thinking I need a logo, marketing materials–and I need to make them really good to make up for my lack of mainstream credentials.”
So, I told her a story about when my husband needed back surgery. I secured him an appointment with the top doctor at one of the top Boston teaching hospitals for the kind of surgery my husband needed. The surgery would mean at least two weeks of bed rest healing and possibly much more. They would need to chip away at some bones to get to the fluid that had leaked out of the vertebral disc.
My husband did his own research and found out from our chiropractor–who specialized in working with athletes–that several of Boston’s top basketball players all saw a doctor at the New England Baptist Hospital for their back surgeries. This doctor wasn’t an orthopedic surgeon. Instead, he was a brain surgeon who took the cutting edge (no pun intended) technology for brain surgery and applied it to back surgery.
The upshot? My husband, who had not been able to walk without debilitating pain, had his surgery and walked out a new man the very same day–no two to three week recovery period needed.
When the brain surgeon first brought his techniques to back surgery, he wasn’t an expert in the field. He was an innovator, a pioneer who applied information from his former field to another field of endeavor. Kari Vernon similarly applied her impressive success as an award winning teacher–one who drew numerous visits to her classroom to witness her innovative and highly successful methods–to the realm of parenting. She was a pioneer, but somehow that didn’t feel like enough to her. She thought she had to make up for her deficits.
Yes, there’s a place for author credentials, degrees and training, but sometimes those things get in the way of seeing the most creative and elegant solutions. Don’t discount the fresh perspective you bring to a subject. And do tout your credentials from another arena–even if they seem tangential to you. They’re part of what make you uniquely qualified to be the pioneer, innovator and genius you are.
Some steps you can take to increase your author credentials: teach workshops to your new audience or market and get feedback on your ideas, methods and/or exercises; interview industry experts in your book (but be careful not to have this overshadow the expertise you bring to the table); start working with clients to implement your ideas–you don’t have to wait until your book comes out.
I’d love to hear from blog readers (yes, that means you!). Do you ever question whether you’re enough of an expert to write a book? How have you dealt with issues of confidence and author credentials? What challenges still come up for you? Please share your questions and comments below.
And, by the way, if you’re a parent and want to learn to apply Kari’s award winning teaching methods and insights to your life as a parent, you can visit her parent mentoring website (in its infancy while she writes her book) and sign up to hear more from Kari soon!