I was having a most fantastic chat with my best friend yesterday. It’s been so long since we just chatted inanely. And while our chat drifted from topic to topic, spiderwebbing as women are wont to do, we talked for a minute about music lessons and children. Her girlie just started playing the oboe this year and…well…let’s just say that’s a hard instrument to learn and lessons would help. But they’re also very expensive.
I reminded her that since her daughter is just a beginner, she doesn’t need a professional oboist teaching her how to finger notes and proper embouchure. A high school student could teach her some of those basics that would help her right now. And a high school student won’t charge nearly as much as the person who spent 4 to 6 years in college majoring in instrumental performance and giving lessons in order to pay the bills.
Not that there isn’t great value to be found in having a professional teacher…don’t get me wrong! But having someone who is qualified to teach her the basics and is in her budget is better than having her daughter struggle through it on her own and developing poor habits that have to broken later on down the road.
Sometimes we don’t need an expert to learn something new, or advance to the next step, or reassure us that we’re doing just fine and to keep on keeping on.
When I started as a mentor mom in our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, I was so intimidated and unsure of myself. All of the mentors in that group had previously been grandmas and I wasn’t even 40 yet. I was such a baby. My kids were in elementary and middle school. What did I even have to offer? But I really felt God pushing me to say yes on that count.
And goodness knows, I’ve learned so much from that opportunity in ministry. Mostly, I’ve learned that there is a great resource to be found in the person that’s one step farther along the journey than you. They remember very well what it was like to be in your shoes because it’s still fresh on their brain. Also? I learned that you don’t discount your own knowledge and experiences as “less than” or say you’re not ready to be that person for someone else.What if the person that's one step farther on the road is the one we need to learn from? Click To Tweet
It’s also strangely encouraging to become that person who’s one step farther down the road for someone else. It can become a sweet reminder of just how far you’ve come when often our focus tends to be on how far we still have to go.
From a business standpoint, I definitely see the purpose and value of expert advice! As a blogger I follow quite a few experts on social media and blogs. They have valuable resources and knowledge that I want…need, even. But right now I can’t afford a $500 course on graphic design or branding or social media. I can, however, afford a $5 book on how to grow my Pinterest traffic. I can afford a $45 class on monetizing that I have to work through on my own.
Sometimes our most valuable source of knowledge is the person one step ahead of us, not the expert. It’s not “settling” to turn to the person who doesn’t have ALL of the knowledge, but possesses what you need right now to help you reach the next launching point. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle all of the knowledge right now anyway. Chances are you couldn’t either.
What are you currently in the middle of right now, trying to push through to the next season of life or goal? Look around! Who can help you through this? Also, look back to see who you can help. I’m learning that some people seek my advice in one area, but I can turn around and come to them for advice in another. We carry each other and push each other to become more. I just love when it works out that way.