July 20, 2012

On being an expert

Image from here

You have to be quite mindful when working with people who need your support. Watch your p’s and q’s, watch how you say things, how you phrase them. The same can be said for day to day conversations, there is always a space between your foot and your mouth – mine collide on a regular basis.

One day last week I had a coffee with a friend as our girls swung off trees in the backyard. We talked about having ‘stuff’ to say when you’re a stay at home mum, how sometimes you worry that you dont have things to add when your day consists of saying the same thing 11 billion times.

Most of the time i dont worry about content, I worry about how I say things, how the conversation flows and whether or not Im interesting enough. The art of conversation isnt finely tuned for some people – they dont get that its a bit of dance between me talking, then you. Rinse. repeat. The thing I find the most irritating is when Im talking and someone finishes my sentence before I get there. I mentioned this over coffee and my friend admitted to being one of these people – apart from feeling foot in mouthness for saying it – I was interested in getting the other side of the story. Why do sentence finishers finish sentences? She said it was her way of letting the other person know that she’s heard them, that she’s involved in the conversation, that shes in agreement. I explained that when someone finishes my words I think they are giving me the wind up, that whatever Im saying is predictable and that they are just waiting for a chance to change the direction of the chat. Both sides. Valid. I think.

I remember going for a job interview a decade ago and one of the questions was how I would feel about being the expert in the area I was working in. A smart colleague once explained that no one should ever be comfortable saying they’re an expert because expert suggests you know everything. That we should always be open to new learnings, new wisdom. The only place where the tag of expert belongs is when its attached to you talking about you. I am an expert on myself, I know what Im talking about, how I feel and what I think. We are all the experts on our own lives – maybe you just settle into it as you get older.

Im about to jump on board as an expert in loss for a new online mag later this month. Id love for you all to follow on the journey with me. Point out when Ive got it wrong and finish my sentences if you must. Ill choose to take it as a sign that you’re agreeing with me because now that Im a mature woman Im completely OK with that. Sometimes.

Watch this space.



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Mental health