Trust, expertise and self-validation

Trust Expertise and Self Valdiation

What is the scariest thing to do? Trust yourself?


For as long as I have remembered, I have wanted to work for myself. And yet, here I am again, a contract is up & applying for some boring jobs that will pay the bills & keep me entirely unfulfilled.


Trust Expertise and Self Valdiation


Can I be frank?


I miss being an expert. Last year I had a contract that was fun, challenging, annoying, busy, and pretty much every other emotion possible.


But no matter what was going wrong I was trusted, no, expected, to be able to fix it and keep things on schedule. My advice was never doubted. Complained at, sure! My job was in an area of compliance, so a lot of the time that meant telling people that they couldn’t do their job when they wanted to. Through all of this, I never had my expertise questioned.


And it’s only in hindsight that I realise how much I liked that. Not so much from an ego point of view, but from a respect point of view. They didn’t like what I told them, but they knew if I was saying it, then it was true and that’s the way things had to go.


It’s a type of validation I hadn’t had in a few years and a type of validation that I’ve realised really boosts how I feel.


Where does this leave me? I have to trust me to be my own expert. And I have no experience in doing that. You’ll notice I have two pages on my blog, freelancing and blog coaching (now Embrace Shiny). I know that I know enough to cover what I would be getting paid for. I’ve been getting some day job interviews that have really shown me that in fact, I do know what I’m talking about when it comes to blogging and social media. I just have to trust myself to be my own expert. To validate myself. I’ve certainly helped people ad-hoc for free for a while now and know I’m of value there.


(Also, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, I really, really recommend you do. There will be a special offer in it this month.)


For what it’s worth, I would never take on a client if I didn’t think I could help them. So it feels like, technically speaking, I shouldn’t have an issue investing in myself.


Is this what fear is? Is it stepping off into the great unknown of trusting yourself on such a big level? Is it just that first, scary step? Maybe I just need to keep saying that I’m a freelancer so that it gets less scary with time. It’s not like I’ve never done anything working for myself, it has just been irregular.


Are you a freelancer or do you work for yourself in some way, shape or form? How did you feel when you first started trusting yourself or calling yourself a freelancer?


9 Replies to “Trust, expertise and self-validation”

  1. I think sometimes along with trust there needs to be a little faking it until you make it. The fear can definitely trip you up but it sounds like you have a lot of trust in your abilities. Good luck with moving it to the next step!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I guess I’ve always seen the “fake it til you make it” as too much along the “lie and rip people off” lines (I’ve seen a few things…dodgy) but I guess it can be faking the confidence!

  2. Ahh Tegan took the words out of my mouth. You do have to fake it until you make it. Before you know it you won’t need to fake it anymore. I think it’s the same with any new job. You’re always a little scared at first. I did a stint of freelancing writing when I returned from working in sales for two years in the UK. I was so nervous because I hadn’t written for ages. If you back yourself though, it’s amazing what you can achieve. You sound like you have plenty of confidence there. Go for it! Visiting via #teamIBOT

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      So it’s really time to just do it!! 🙂

  3. I was a subject matter expert in my last job and I do really miss it. I left to learn new things though and that has been gratifying!
    Freelancing sounds terrifying to me personally but I do think if you don’t back yourself, who will?

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I guess while I haven’t really disliked anywhere I’ve been since, I also haven’t learned anything new. Maybe that’s all it is!

  4. Freelancer here, have been on and off for years in tandem with full time work, but since having kids it is my only source of work. I was in a management role and – like Sarah – a subject matter expert and I really miss it. I miss crisis-mode, I miss people coming to me when shit went down and I miss being in that position where people looked to you to solve problems.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Maybe it’s the crisis mode thing I miss. But I would have thought that was adrenaline, yet even when people called me screaming about things that went wrong that I had never dealt with before, I was still calm and able to deal with them. It’s a very hard thing to identify.

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