When I was a child I was mystified by how it was that some people lived in ‘that other world’.
People who lived in ‘that other world’ wrote books and newspapers or they made films, and radio and TV programmes. They didn’t just read, or watch or listen like I did, and like everyone I knew did.
I didn’t think of ‘people like me’ as having the opportunity to be ‘part of that other world’. It was those ‘other people’ who had the right to entertain or inform.
Now we have the Internet. There is not so much of a barrier between ‘people like me’ and the people in ‘that other world’. In theory ‘people like me’ have the opportunity to share what is important to us. The Internet has removed a major information-sharing barrier, but in practice there are other barriers, invisible ones. One is the mental barrier of ‘permission to speak’. Another equally important one is ‘permission to be taken seriously’.
How do we cross those barriers? How do we find the confidence to offer what we know, when we are not part of the ‘expert group’ (not academics, not professional writers, not recognised experts, not “successes”).
I often describe myself as a life-long learner and recently I had a ‘significant birthday’. I was challenged by the thought “Okay – that’s a considerable time spent learning – so have you learned anything useful yet?” and “If you have, are you going to keep it to yourself or make the effort to share it?”
This post and others related to it are part of my transition from ‘learner’ to ‘someone who speaks with authority’. I don’t have the benefit of the passing through the formal transition ceremony that starts in academia with the award of a higher degree and continues up the academic ladder or through other career progression.
Lacking such credibility and its related confidence-building I’m taking a different pathway. I’m transitioning from ‘learner’ to ‘authority’ through a series of blogs. They will serve as an audit of my experience and knowledge, backed up by earlier digital footprint evidence.
I hope I will never give up on the ‘life long learner’ identity but I also hope that by the time I’ve worked through the blogs I’ll feel able to claim the the identity of an authority in my field.