193: Embracing Your Expertise | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Tanya Dalton quote on women leadership
October 6, 2020   |   Episode #:

193: Embracing Your Expertise

In This Episode:

Why is it such a challenge to view ourselves as experts? I see this happening with so many brilliant women that I look up to, that I recognize as experts, and I know this is something many of us experience. We women all seem to readily struggle with accepting the accolade of being an expert in our respective fields. In this episode, I’m talking about what happens when we hesitate to call ourselves experts, and how we can learn to step up and embrace that title for ourselves once and for all!

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Start seeing yourself as an expert.

Questions I Answer

  • What does it take to be considered an expert?
  • How can I look at myself differently?
  • How do I get others to support me on my goals?
  • Why does no one take me seriously?

Actions to Take

  • Get comfortable with applying that word “expert” to yourself
  • Take a look at your bio online and see how you’ve positioned yourself. If it needs to be updated to showcase how amazing you are, then make those changes now!

Key Topics in the Show

  • What really happens when you hesitate to call yourself an expert

  • Why you have to allow your light to shine brightly

  • How to step up as the expert in your field and own that status

  • Momentum builders to help you step into your expertise

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, an
entrepreneur best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert, and
mom of two. This season is all about Strategies for Success, helping you confidently
step into leadership, purposefully, intentionally, and mindfully. Are you ready? Here’s
your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello, Hello, Everyone. Welcome to the Intentional Advantage podcast.
I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is Episode 193. We’re going to pull out the
soapbox again. I’m getting up on there because last week was a lot of fun and I feel
like we really peeled back a lot of layers on why women hesitate. I want to really
build off of that idea this week, and I want to talk about why it’s such a challenge to
see ourselves as experts.
Why do women hesitate to accept that accolade? Because I’m seeing it all the time.
I’m experiencing it with other women that I work with, that I know are experts, that I
see as experts, and yet they shy away from that term. So before we dive into that, I
want to check back with last week, because we had some momentum builders that
we talked about.
And I want to remind you, if you haven’t yet told someone whatever it is that you’re
wanting: a promotion, a raise, something in your personal life; I want you to do it.
Those momentum builders are there because they’re really easy to do. And I want
you to start getting into the habit of truly speaking your truth, going after the things
that you want most, because the time for women to stop hesitating, to embrace
success on our own terms starts now.
It starts right now, okay? Not really right now, it started like decades ago. But we
need to own our own confidence and we need to stop hesitating. You know, we
talked about that idea of hesitation last week and that we don’t want to step
forward, that we’re scared of it, that it makes us nervous.
We hesitate to ask for the things that we want. We cut ourselves off from the
possibility of achieving our goals and our wildest dreams. We hold ourselves back,
waiting for life to happen to us instead of making life work for us. And here’s the
thing: That doesn’t serve us, and it certainly doesn’t serve anyone around us.
I know that so many of you who listen to my podcast, you want to make a big impact
on the world. You have a message worth sharing. And if we want to improve the lives
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of those around us, we gotta step into this. We have to embrace that discomfort and
stop hesitating and take the leap.
You know, just a few weeks ago, I was in the room with all these amazing successful
women entrepreneurs. Everyone in the room had to be a seven, eight, nine, or
ten-figure business owner. So obviously some wildly successful women. And here’s
the thing: When I was in that room with these powerhouse women, I listened to
their stories. I listened to what they do, and I am encouraged simply by having been
around them.
I get to flourish and I get to thrive simply because I’m inspired by them. And that’s
what you can do, too. We inspire others around us when we step out of the circle of
comfort and we stop hesitating. When we start owning our greatness, when we stop
making our light dim, and we allow it to shine so brightly. When we stop playing
small and step into the roles we were designed for.
And I want to dig into what that means for women this week. Again, I want to talk
about this idea of hesitation, and I want to talk about why we don’t see ourselves as
experts so often. Why do we push back against truly owning our own achievements?
I know push back. I used that word intentionally there because that is what we do.
I mean, you think women don’t hesitate? Okay. Ask yourself this: When’s the last
time that you accepted a compliment with just a simple, ‘Thank you’? Nothing else,
just a simple, ‘Thank you.’ Or when you received a compliment, did you brush it off?
Did you push it back with a wave of your hand and make some excuse about,
‘Oh, it was no big deal,’ or, ‘Oh, that was nothing.’ We don’t step into our greatness, w
don’t own her abilities: We hesitate. And then we shy away from this expert status.
So I want to explore this idea of why we do that because here’s the thing: There are
an absolute ton of great, amazing, fabulous women out there who are absolutely
killing it with their businesses and in their careers.
And they’re doing that as a result of stepping into themselves as leaders and owning
that expert title. But we need to see more of that. We need to see more examples of
strong women coming out and saying what they think and believe. I know they’re
out there. You know they’re out there. I’m certain that you can think of at least a
couple of women in your own life who maybe hesitate more than they should to
step into their achievements or to even celebrate them.
They downplay their experiences or their qualifications evem after all the confidence
that women often have. And the degree that we hesitate to step into ourselves is
pretty common. It’s a little bit unsettling, how common it is. Now that I’ve been kind

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of on this kick, where I’ve been exploring this whole idea, I’m seeing it all the time.
And I think that’s what I’m finding so alarming.
I mentioned last week that I wrote an article for Entrepreneur on why women
hesitate. And when I did that, I did this all-call to help a reporter out. It’s a way of
getting a hold of a large group of people. And so I did this all call for successful
female CEOs and business owners, to talk about how they maybe have hesitated in
the past.
And I asked them how they felt about calling themselves an expert. Now, the
women who replied to this call that I did were all highly successful, running
incredible companies. But so many of them admitted hesitating to call themselves
an expert. They just couldn’t do it. I was shocked. I’ll be honest at how many, the
percentage was incredibly high. And some of them would say things like,
‘Well, I could never call myself an expert. I would have to have somebody else call me
an expert.’ Therefore, no longer owning their own power. Or, ‘It never crossed my
mind to think of myself as an expert,’ said some. Another one said–not one, more
than one: ‘I can’t call myself an expert in anything because I’m always learning.’
Come on, Sister. That right there is why so many run into this huge wall with the
word expert. You know, we talked about this last week with this idea that we have to
check all the boxes in order to qualify. And here we are, again, with those same
damn invisible boxes. We think we have to check all of these requirements, and
whose requirements are they?
Yet we have to fill all these boxes out in order to truly call ourselves an expert. And
that is without question untrue. An expert is not just a person with a great deal of
understanding and experience in their given field. An expert is also someone who
never stops learning and trying new ways of doing things.
They’re an expert because they keep up with all the newest ideas. They’re constantly
growing so that they can reach and help as many people as possible.
We have to stop feeling like we have to have it all figured out. Those gurus that you
listen to, they don’t have it all figured out. They put their pants on just like you do
and just like I do, one leg at a time. We’re all humans, and none of us have all the
answers. I mean, think of all the men who are considered experts in your field or any
other field for that matter.
I know in my field, all the experts on panels are named things like Hough and David
and Michael. And I mean, they’re all men, and here’s the thing: It’s not their fault that
it’s filled with men. It’s because we’re not stepping up. People admire them and
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resonate with their messages, not because they’re men, but because they’re always
turning out these new ideas and finding new ways to promote those ideas to the
people around them. They are accepting that expert status.
New ideas do not come when we stagnate. Experts are always learning, always
evolving and changing. They come from the changes that we embrace, little by little,
and the growth we experience as a result. That is what makes us an expert. So now
that we’ve talked about that, I want you to ask yourself, Why can’t you be an expert
in your field? What is holding you back from that expert status?
As I mentioned earlier, we need more examples of women in leadership who are
truly embracing themselves and stepping into the success that they want in life. But
that starts with you and me. That starts with us. And we can make that change. We
can turn this corner together, but far too often, we hesitate to ask for what we want
and to celebrate our own accomplishments. We don’t recognize ourselves as truly
qualified professionals and experts in our own lives, simply because we don’t see a
lot of examples of women in highly successful positions.
Progress is being made, that is without question. And that is a good, good thing.
Thank goodness for the progress of time. But we got to keep going.
I recently received a tweet from a male who had read my article on Entrepreneur
and he really resonated with my message, and I loved it. So I wanted to share it with
you. He said, ‘We need more female founders (full stop). But also, we need more
female founders to recognize their expertise and to be comfortable saying, I am an
expert. It goes beyond qualification.’
I love that. I love that. I have this man who’s recognizing that we need more of that.
And in fact, you might remember I had Chris Bailey on the show, several seasons
back, who is a productivity expert. And after we did the recording together, he said
to me, he said, ‘Tanya, I have to tell you it is so fabulous to have a woman expert in
our field.’ He goes, ‘There are way too many guys in here. Like, I love that you’re
bringing a woman’s perspective.’
I love that there are men who are making room at the table for us. There are a lot of
men who are stepping aside and making that room, but we have to take the seats.
We can’t be so caught up in being polite that we allow that chair to sit empty. You
know, we can have all the qualifications in the world on paper, but if we don’t speak
up, if we don’t step into our expertise, as women, as entrepreneurs, as CEOs, as damn
good, highly-skilled, knowledgeable, and successful professionals in our field,
nothing happens. The impact that we want to make and that we know deep down,
that we can actually achieve, it doesn’t happen. All that progress stalls, all the great

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ideas, and the truly innovative things that we could share with the world, they don’t
get very far; not nearly as far as they could.
So we’ve got to stop hesitating on calling ourselves, experts. We’ve got to stop
hesitating to celebrate our achievements and really enjoying this journey we have on
the way to success. I mean, the men around you don’t (and good for them). They
shouldn’t, but neither should you. Neither should you. And just like our male peers,
we have to start recognizing that we do know what we’re talking about, and we have
every reason to recognize our expertise and to truly own it and share it with people
around us.
So I want to shift gears here, beause I know I’m up real high on the soapbox. It’s
going to take me a few minutes to get down. So we’re going to have to pause and
take a mid-episode break here in a second. But I want to talk about in just a minute,
some ways that we can stop hesitating when we run into that word experts. And I
want us to start setting ourselves up as confident experts. Okay? So let’s do that after
our quick little mid-episode break.
All right. How are you guys feeling about the show? I am really feeling energized
and charged about where we are heading. I’m feeling on fire with the conversations
that we’re having in the DMs and the emails I’m getting from so many of you about
how these episodes are resonating with you and what it means to truly step up as a
woman, as a leader, and to feel confident doing it. So if you’re feeling this way, I
would love for you to leave a review.
Truly, that is one of the best ways, one of the easiest ways that you can support me
and the show because of the way that iTunes and Stitcher and Google Play and all
the places where the podcast plays, that is how they push out the show to other
people. That’s how other people discover us. And you can help spread the messages
by leaving a five-star review and leaving a note about what it is you love.
And to be honest with you, that’s where I look a lot of times to see what’s resonating
and what’s happening. What kinds of topics do you want me to cover? I read
through those reviews and then I plan accordingly. So I would absolutely love for you
to leave a review and a five-star rating. That would mean the world to me because
we got to get this message out to more women. We want more women to feel
strong and confident as they step into leadership.
All right, let’s get back to today’s topic of accepting that expert status. I want to talk
about that word expert and how we can become a little bit more comfortable using
it. When we’re talking about ourselves, you know, we, women run into some
hesitation around that word expert. And I noticed that a lot of panels are really
male-focused because there aren’t a lot of women putting their names in the hat or
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tossing their names in the ring saying, ‘Hey, I want to speak up for this.’ And so a lot
of times you go to these events or these online virtual things, and the expert panels
are mainly men.
You know, experts or more commonly featured in articles and studies where experts
weigh in are from men. But here’s what I want to know: Is that because there aren’t
any women experts out there or is it due to something else? I know that question is
somewhat rhetorical, but it’s not even a valid question anymore. You and I both
know there are plenty of women experts in the world. We just have to speak up a
little bit more.
And if you recall from our conversation last week, it’s not that women are entirely
removed from these top positions that we commonly talk about here on the show.
It’s not that there aren’t women in business, or better yet, that there aren’t women
business owners out there who are going way above and beyond. But the root cause
of the absence of women on these so-called expert panels, is that we hesitate far
more than we should.
We shy away from stepping into leadership when we should because we think that
doing so will cross some invisible line in the sand. We stop and we overthink. But
when it comes to speaking up and sharing our ideas and our vision with other
people, we worry about taking the leap and truly owning our accomplishments and
our achievements. And when that happens, when we hesitate, we fall short of
recognizing the different accolades that we’ve earned and truly, truly deserve. And
this is what leaves that huge gap that our male peers are more than happily fill in
our absence, because I mean, if we don’t who will, right? So of course they fill in that
spot. That’s not their fault: We have to fill that gap.
You know, someone has to be on these expert panels that we see from time to time.
So why not you? I mean, you hear expert, and what happens is we as women, we
drifted that checklist that you have to have landed, you know, so many speaking
engagements or you have to have published X number of books or articles, or have
been quoted hundreds of thousands of times.
We set this nearly impossible bar to achieve. And it’s no surprise that we never
achieve it. I mean, guess what? The word expert is not synonymous with perfection.
An expert doesn’t need to be an untouchable perfect person. In fact, that doesn’t
really even exist because no one, and I mean no one, in this world has ever been
Step up and own your expertise. You don’t have to be perfect to be an expert. We
have to stop believing that we can’t be an expert on something unless we check
those invisible boxes in our minds. And that right there is essential, that’s my first tip
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for you to help prevent yourself from hesitating or on calling yourself an expert:
Reframe what that word expert means in your own mind.
Just like we reframed what success looks like. We did that a few episodes back. You’ll
remember we talked about exploring that idea of what is success and then
redefining it for ourselves. Why don’t we do that with this idea of being an expert? If
you’re telling yourself that an expert is this person who has just volumes and
volumes of knowledge and gets everything right, let’s rewrite that definition.
What happens is we let imposter syndrome take hold, and question our identity. We
think to ourselves, there’s no way that I could be an expert. I didn’t know these
things a year ago or two years ago, we go back in that card catalog in our mind. And
we pull out the examples where we didn’t know the answers. And we think, ‘See that
right there is a perfect example of why I’m not an expert.’ But who you were in the
past is not necessarily who you are today.
It’s funny. I’ve been doing a lot of personal growth work, and so I’ve been having
these really deep conversations. And I was talking with John the other day about the
fact that people tell me all the time that they really admire that I don’t take a lot of
crap. And I don’t take a lot of crap from people, I just don’t. But whenever people
would say that to me, I’d always kind of have in the back of my mind this little tiny
voice that’s like, ‘That’s not exactly true.’ Because, for some reason, I go all the way
back to 12th grade, which was in 1991. For those of you who are trying to do the math,
let’s just go ahead and say I’m 46, so long time ago.
And I think about how I had a conversation with Carrie Jameson. I won’t forget this
Carrie Jameson in the fall of 1991. She chewed me out sideways, upside down, and
inside out. I remember what it’s about, but I won’t get into it here on the show. She
chewed me out for like thirty minutes. Thirty minutes! And I sat there and I took it
and I just listened to her chewing me out. And I remember getting off the phone
and my parents saying to me, ‘Why in the world would you let someone chew you
out for 30 minutes? You don’t have to put up with that.’ And then I didn’t. And it was
like, suddenly that light bulb for me switched: I didn’t need to put up with that
anymore. And so I stopped in 1991, and yet somehow here we are in 2020.
When someone tells me that I don’t take crap from people, I go back to that
conversation I had that I know Carrie Jameson doesn’t even remember. I do that.
That’s evidence that I do put up with people’s crap. And I realized, I said to John, the
other day, I said, ‘You know, what’s funny is I’ve thought about myself as being this
imposter, but really the imposter was the girl who sat there on the phone. That
wasn’t really me. I was just freed of that because of the experience.

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And maybe that’s who you are too. Maybe the imposter isn’t you as an expert, maybe
it’s you not as an expert. Maybe it’s just a matter of you stepping into who you truly,
authentically really are. That’s you owning that expert status. Have you thought
about it that way? To be honest with you, when John I had that conversation, it was
like, like the angels came down and sang, because I thought this unlocked so much
for me, this is why I like to spend a lot of time kind of revisiting and reflecting and
doing those things.
But it does make you think who’s the imposter here. It’s not necessarily the person
you want to become, maybe it’s you NOT becoming that person. You know, I think
it’s really important to recognize that every single expert out there started
somewhere. They don’t start their career with a big reputation of being an expert,
they put themselves out there, they present themselves before people and they
focus-in and they learn what to say.
And guess what? You can do the same thing. I know because I did this, little by little.
You know, I started my productivity company and I grew my company, inkWELL
Press. And when I first began, I found myself doubting whether anyone would
resonate with the things I had to say. But, you know, I had some encouragement
from the people around me and I pushed through that initial discomfort. I started
educating myself. I started reading a lot more about productivity. I started coming
up with my own ideas and I started posting more and I started writing more blog
articles and I worked on productivity systems and I created things to cultivate the life
that I truly wanted for myself.
I began seeking out speaking engagements that were aligned with my messages.
And then of course I started a podcast to connect with women all over the world
who wanted to find happiness and productivity. And you know what the funny thing
is here? We are in Episode 193. I had to look: almost at 200, which is an amazing
thing. But I remember 193 weeks ago. I seriously questioned whether I would run out
of topics. I said to John, ‘What if I run out of things to say?’ To which he replied, ‘Have
you ever run out of things to say?’ Valid point. And here I am. And you can be too.
So, you know, this is the thing: Somewhere in that journey, I started hearing
Productivity Expert being used to describe me by other people. It caught me off
guard at first and that’s okay because I was internally struggling with it. It doesn’t
mean that I couldn’t accept it. You know, we’ve all heard that you have to believe to
achieve, but once you achieve, you need to receive. Receive the praise, accept the
compliments, allow the accolades: You’ve earned them.
And that’s the big takeaway here: You may not see yourself as an expert right now;
that’s okay. But someone somewhere will resonate with your message, you just have
to start putting the ideas out there. That is what matters. And the more comfortable
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you get with sharing your ideas, the more comfortable you get with sharing your
vision. It’s easier to step into that leadership role and become an expert by extension.
You know, we’ve mentioned this a million times on the show before, but a lot of the
issues that we run into when it comes to embracing ourselves in any sort of positive
light, it’s all mindset. So I want you to think about that for all the things you’ve
achieved so far to this point in your life, What is holding you back from owning those
things and truly celebrating them? The likely answer is yourself.
Now, as you know, I like to close out each show with a few momentum builders to
get you started thinking about a few things and how you can take action on what
we talk about here on the show. So, Momentum Builder Number One: I want you to
reframe what it means to be an expert, just like we did with success a few weeks
back. I want you to come up with your own definition of what that means to be an
Which leads me to Momentum Builder Number Two: I want you to get comfortable
with applying that word to yourself right now. No matter what it is you do each day, I
want you to pinpoint what your expertise entails. And I want you to get comfortable
with recognizing yourself as the expert you are building on. Educate yourself, receive
And make sure to head on over to my Facebook group, because I want you to share
what your definition of being an expert is. I’ll give you bonus points: If you share what
field you’re an expert in with me in the group, I would love to hear. And I would love
to see you in the group, Tanyadalton.com/group.
And finally Momentum Builder Number Three: I really would love for you to leave a
five-star rating and a review. I am thinking right now about what we’re going to be
doing for our next season, Season 16, which is crazy to think about. And I would love
for you to put in the comments there about what you’re loving with the show and
what you want to see more of when it comes to topics. It really does mean a lot to
me. And it means a lot for you to spread the word about The Intentional Advantage
I really want us to work together to build up women more and more because it’s like,
we’ve said time and time again: We need more examples of women who are killing it
in life, across the board. We need more women to come together to link arms and
work together to build the best possible version of the future that we can. I have got
to tell you, none of us can do it alone. It takes all kinds of women from all different
backgrounds and different kinds of expertise.

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It takes all of us to come together and empower one another to keep on moving
forward. And speaking of women from all different backgrounds, I have an incredible
woman coming on the show. Next week as my special guest, she has an incredible
background. and I know you’re going to be inspired by her story and just her
absolute determination and resilience.
And I want you to walk away from today’s episode thinking about how you are a lot
more than you give yourself credit for. And I want you to think about how your story,
your message, can mean so much to so many other people around you, because
that connection we gain from one another, the support and the momentum that we
build, that’s your Intentional Advantage.