I tend to be an early adopter, especially when in comes to technology (yes, I was one of those crazy people who stood in line 11 hours to pay Apple $649 dollars for the first iPhone on launch day). Because this is how I trend, and people around me are familiar with this part of my identity, I frequently get tapped to provide insights or help about new technologies.
For example, no less than four times in the last couple of weeks I’ve had people say something like, “Can you give me some training on using Evernote?” My response is always the same. “I’m not really an expert on ___________, but I’d be glad to show you what I’ve learned.” The amazing thing is that, even though I may be further down the road than someone else, I invariably feel like the ‘journey’ for me is just beginning & the road ahead is long. While I want to help, there is a big part of me that wants to just point people in a different direction – toward the true experts at whatever it is they are seeking information about.
The truth is, though – most people don’t want experts, they want guides. They want people they have some type of connection with, who won’t speak over their heads, or weigh them down with so much knowledge that they have a hard time stepping out of the sea of information. They want someone who is approachable, understanding, and is willing to walk beside them as they take their first steps. “Here is what I encountered and how I dealt with it,” are words of gold to them.
I’ve heard these type of people called Sherpas before… referring to the Sherpa people who are expert guides for mountain climbers. These indigenous people of Nepal know the mountain terrain, the best path to take, and the pitfalls to avoid. They have walked the steps they lead others on countless times. If you are attempting to conquer Everest, you want someone who has gone before you & knows the way, not a scientist who studies mountains but has never climbed one.
Our world is full of ‘experts.’ You may find yourself one day at the top of your trade, or possessing true wealth of knowledge because of your experiences and learning along the way. But what the people around you need – and are even craving for – is a guide to walk alongside them.
Photo courtesy of Darcy McCarty