Do You Need An Expert, Or Do You Just Need To Be Quiet.

by DavalosMcCormack on March 11, 2010


I recently had a friend who is a seasoned professional who has decided to change her career.  She has been in the same profession, working    for the same company for over 24 years and she’s frankly, had enough.  Luckily, she has saved some money over the years which gives her the opportunity of time.  Time to find out what she wants to do next.  And since she has been working for so long and so hard for over half her life, it feels very strange to have no place to go, no projects to do, and time on her hands.  In fact, you might say it is jarring for her.  Oh sure, the first 3 months were filled with friends, day trips, special things she wanted to get done around the house, but now, 6 months later she is looking for the “answer”.

She went to a therapist to talk about how she felt and the therapist suggested a “life coach” so she found a coach through a friend and began to look for her “new” self .  It has been over a year now and she is becoming very nervous that she won’t find the “career” that she loves  She has read books, taken classes, joined groups, and has actively pursued an answer from all kinds of experts.

I wonder if she just relaxed and stopped being so goal oriented if she might be able to listen to her own expert advice.  I can understand how years of practiced, work oriented, energy can leave such an empty place in a life, a hole so unusual in a daily experience that it seems as if you are doing something wrong if you are not rigorously pursuing your objective.  Not to mention how we are all defined by what we “do” in our society.  So it is completely understandable that my friend feels uncomfortable and anxious.

One of my favorite blogs is “Litemind” , written by Luciano Passuello, he always comes up with different ways to solve problems.  His recent blog is about how the instant rush to find an expert to give you the answer might be detrimental to your quest for an answer.  Experts can be very focused on the one specialty they have focused their careers on…but as Abraham Maslow says, “To the man who only has a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail”, meaning perhaps, there is more than finding an expert to tell you what you should do.

Today, I was listening to Michael Krasny’s KQED-FM radio show “Forum”. His guest was Mary Gaitskill, who has written many award winning novels and taught Creative Writing at Skidmore.  She said, people who want to become authors should not be concerned about the “need” to take a creative writing course as an absolute stepping stone to their success.  Sometimes we rely too much on how the experts do it.  Sometimes you just need to quiet the mind, stop the chatter and listen to your own advice.

The “Litemind” blog suggests talking to friends, acquaintances, people in the coffee shop,  and get a really good diverse conversation going.

Relax, be patient,  the answer will come when you listen.

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