You don’t have to be an expert to teach

I’ll let you into a little secret.

This is the first newsletter I’ve ever written. I’m a little nervous, you know, taking up space in your inbox.

Today I wanted to talk about sharing and teaching what we know. Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be writing about freelance life. But here’s the thing: I’m new to this and I don’t really know what I’m doing.

Good start, heh? I’ve never written a newsletter and I’ve never ran a business before and yet here I am writing and sharing.

But you know what? It’s a misconception that the people who are the best at something, or know the most about something, or have done something for the longest, are the ones who should be teaching us.

Some of you may know of Merlin Mann (I recommend his podcasts Back to Work and Roderick on the Line). He writes and talks about productivity and is best known for coining the term “Inbox Zero”. He’s been writing a book of the same name for several years and, on a podcast I listened to a while back, he was asked why he was taking so long to write the book.

“Hold on a minute. You’re a productivity guy and you teach us how to be productive, yet you’re taking forever to write this book”. (I’m paraphrasing, I can’t remember the exact question.)

His response was not what I expected. He argued that if he found being productive easy and that if he didn’t have to force himself to sit and write his book, he’d be the last guy you’d want advice from.

That struck me. He’s absolutely right.

Those at the top of their game often aren’t great teachers. Those that are new to something, or struggle with something, can emphasise. Empathy makes a great teacher.

And that’s what I want to leave you with today. We should all be sharing what we know no matter where we are in our journey. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or just starting out. There’s still something you can share.

If there’s one person who knows less on a subject than you, you can be a teacher.