According to research in Outliers: The Story of Success, it takes over 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. However, you don’t have to wait that long to help your audience achieve success.
After getting some positive feedback on one of my recently completed courses, I took a moment to reflect on exactly what I had taught over its eight-week duration. Of course I had done what was expected of me, drawing from my business experience in the U.S. and my language teaching experience here in Japan. After thinking about this particular course, however, I also realized that I had shared quite a few tips from my never-ending experience as a Japanese leaner.
These tips didn’t come from any specific training or work experience from my past. They were simply things that had helped me overcome my language learning hurdles over the past five years. Many of those who attend my presentations and take my classes seem to appreciate strategies gleaned from my personal triumphs (and failures) with the Japanese language—sometimes just as much as the business and English content I’m trained to share.
So, in other words, your ability to help others achieve their goals doesn’t always hinge on your professional training or experience. Sometimes the simple fact that you can offer a unique perspective or path to reach a goal is enough to help someone else reach theirs. It’s easy for learners (language or otherwise) to fall into a rut of simply doing things the way they’ve always been done (regardless its effectiveness).
Sharing a new technique, tool, or perspective that helps your audience accomplish something can make a world of difference, whether or not you are an expert in your field.