Online gurus and experts are everywhere, but it’s not always easy to spot the real gurus and experts from the fake ones. Social media has made it easy for anyone to become a minor celebrity in their niche. Anyone with a laptop, webcam and internet connection can broadcast their knowledge and skills, as well as promoting their courses, books and masterminds, with the help of livestreams, articles and online advertisements.
But social media has made us lazy. We can easily get drawn in with the polished looking videos and clever wording, designed to show us how great our business and personal lives could be, if we just invest in their product, service or course. Giving ourselves the chance to properly check out how established the seller is or how authentic they’re being, isn’t something we always do.
We want what they’re promising and we’re quick to put them on a pedestal because of those promises.
We’ve all heard the stories of people getting burnt by a fake expert
For many of us, we’ve experienced it first-hand.
One thing I’ve learnt is my OCD kicks in when I’m unsure of myself. I have a need to keep control and, in my business, that means I feel a need to learn everything I can, to help me run my business. Unfortunately, that means I sometimes don’t know when to stop learning and start implementing! However, it also means I can be quick to put a newly found ‘expert’ on a pedestal. I’ve invested in their ‘solutions’ and mentoring, without adequately checking them out.
I’ve previously invested in a coach who focused on giving people the step-by-step process to have consistent five-figure months. Turned out, she’d only ever achieved this once herself. I’ve experienced business coaches who focus on helping you get your business up and running – but they’ve only had a business for 6-12 months themselves. I’ve also followed step-by-step processes, that simply haven’t worked for me.
I, like many others, feel a need to have all the answers, have all my ducks in a row, before I make a move and do the ‘thing’ I’ve been learning about. This often means people like me can get stuck, unable to take action or putting in inconsistent action, until I ‘know’ the route to take. This left me open to the sweet-talking salespeople out there, who were offering a quick ‘solution’ to my self-imposed problem.
Luckily, I’ve also had a couple of great business mentors over the last couple of years, who have helped me have more faith and trust in myself and my abilities – without any mention or need for them, to climb onto a self-made pedestal.
It’s not just about the fakes out there – we’re part of the problem too
But it isn’t just about watching out for fake gurus and experts online. It’s also about how easily we put others on a pedestal and our need to do so, in the first place.
In doing so, we set unrealistic expectations on those gurus and experts. We pile on the pressure for them to always have the answers and to always be perfect.
And if they don’t, we’re quick to find a replacement to stand on that pedestal.
We need to learn how to be proactive, not reactive
What we need to be doing is learning how to survive without putting anyone on a pedestal. We need to learn how to leap, even when we’re scared and to focus on our end results and trust in our abilities to make it happen.
We need to be carrying out due diligence on anyone we want to invest in or work with. It isn’t enough to have a quick look at their website and social media profile. We need to be looking at reviews, asking for independent recommendations and checking out how long they’ve been in business and how well they’ve been at delivering consistent results.
A guru or expert is then an asset to us. Someone who can help us achieve our goals – not someone we hand over all responsibility to, for making those goals happen. We need to look at gurus and experts as a help – not someone who has all the answers to every question we may have.
The word guru does not equate to being perfect
What we need to remember is that no one is perfect, and no one has all their shit together. Everyone is flawed. Everyone has down days and life isn’t always sunshine and flowers.
Experts are expert in one area of their life. They may be great at social media or launching products – it doesn’t mean they’re living a perfect life. We may see them looking confident and polished on their videos and livestreams, but they may still get interrupted by their kids or have a dog barking in the background. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all witnessed this!
We put a lot of pressure on the female experts out there, to look perfect in every image, every video. Yes, there’s an element of professionalism at play, but no woman gets out of bed ready made up to face the day (unless they’ve got permanent make-up tattooed onto their face). They have days where jogging bottoms are their clothing of choice and a cap covers their unwashed hair. Again, we’ve all been there – so quit judging them and, at the same time, quit giving yourself a hard time by measuring yourself against how they look or come across.
What we’re seeing is the finished result
Often, what we’re seeing is the result of many years of hard work and perseverance. They’ve had years of learning and growing, perfecting their pitch and generally putting in the graft, to make their goal their reality.
Gurus and experts (well, the real ones, at least!) became what they are, through their hard work, consistent actions and a strong belief in themselves and their abilities. They know what they’re good at, know who they’re targeting and why they’re doing what they do. Their message and means of delivering that message may have changed over the years, but their ‘why’ has remained consistent.
We see this finished result and measure ourselves against it. This leads us to inaction, as we worry about how we look, making a wrong move and showing our flaws to the world – when we’d be better focused on how they inspire and motivate us.
There is no one-size-fits-all cookie cutter answer
When it comes to those step-by-step processes, they don’t always work for everyone. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong or you didn’t follow them properly, it just means they didn’t suit you. It’s important to remember, what you’re being shown are the steps someone took, but they will have often added in extras or had a different starting point. For example, they could have:
- A different niche
- Already got existing followers and fans
- A different personality and mannerisms
- Used different wording
And, of course, they could have:
- Put on a good act
- Achieved a one-off result that hasn’t been replicated since.
When we then follow these steps, and don’t get the same result, we immediately think we’re the problem. This leads us to fear that we’re doing it all wrong and we don’t know enough to get started. We then stall our efforts and go back to the beginning – leading us into a perpetual cycle of inconsistent action.
So, what can we do about this – where does it leave us?
If today’s article has resonated with you, here’s some advice I’d like to offer you.
- There’s nothing wrong with you! There are things you may be able to do differently or some more action you can take, but until you take a detached and honest look at your current methods, you won’t know. Remember, it’s all a learning curve.
- Know what you want. It’s easy to get side-tracked by shiny new objects. If you know what you want, you can confirm whether you need that shiny new thing or not!
- Be selective about who you follow. Make sure you look into their history and background etc. Spend time following them on social media to see how authentic and consistent they are.
- Give yourself time to process any offer that comes your way. I know there’s a lot of scarcity tactics and countdown timers in play, but don’t get swayed by them. Before you hit the buy button, ask yourself – do I need this? Is it worth the investment? What will it enable me to do and do I need to do that, at this point in my business?
- Learn to trust yourself. Stop beating yourself up about not knowing enough, not being good enough etc.
- Stop putting gurus and experts on that pedestal. Follow them and take their advice on board. Admire them, if you like – but remember they’re not perfect. They’re just a person who is great at what they do. If their advice resonates, follow it and implement it.
- Stop looking for that perfect solution or for someone to give you the exact steps you need. Instead, be proactive. Decide what you want to achieve and work out what you need to implement, to get there. If you need help to implement the steps or to get clear on what steps to take, look to get help on those things. If that means hiring a mentor or following the advice of an expert or guru – make sure you research them well, before you invest.
So, over to you! Did today’s article resonate with you? Do you believe we’re looking for a quick solution in these gurus, instead of putting in the hard graft? Or do you think we put gurus and experts on a pedestal and pile on too much pressure on them to be perfect? What are your thoughts around gurus and experts – why not share them in the comments box below!