Following in someone’s footsteps

Setting out on your own path can be exhilarating, challenging, even overwhelming, at times. Figuring out where you’re headed and how to get there can take a lot of energy, as you head into new territory, adjust your course, encounter obstacles and respond to unexpected and new circumstances. Yet making that journey and having the change to make your own decisions can be powerful, grounding you in your identity and values, and allowing you to decide what really matters.

Over at Branded Blog, Anneleigh Jacobsen tells the story of a walk with her barefooted husband. Now Anneleigh’s no follower – she’s an accomplished marketer who runs a business and was recently named a contributing editor to Fast Company’s first non-US publication. But she likens the journey with her husband to being the “same as following or hiring an expert in an area you don’t know – as long as you’ve chosen them well, you can follow their footsteps confidently and trust that they know where they’re going, and they also know what to do if things don’t go entirely according to plan.”

The thing with working with an expert is that you don’t have to listen to every detail. You don’t have to embrace every point they make or do everything they say. But leveraging their hard-won experience, their insights and their journey can save you time and resources, not to mention an awful lot of mental energy. People often write to me and tell me that Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants helped them feel more confident and kept them from banging their head on the wall. And so it should be anytime you turn to someone for expert guidance. Your own clients should feel the same way – that you’re making this easier for them, saving them trouble and keeping them from making costly mistakes.

As you work with your own clients, reflect on how you can help them feel confident in you. Our free report, 6 Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status, provides some suggestions for how to help people feel more confident about your expertise. You may also want to assure yourself of your expertise – see Who You Calling an Expert? and Have the Confidence to See Yourself as an Expert.

Following in someone’s footsteps or at least finding someone to help you on your journey can help you get a foothold, even when you’re supposed to be the expert.