The one sentiment I hear from clients more than any other is “I should be able to do to this on my own, but for some reason I don’t. If you weren’t here, this would never get done, and with you it’s so much more fun!” This is a common testimonial that is easily put into words (and one I’m proud to own), but our reasons for hiring experts extend far beyond the particular expert’s unique ability.
Daniel Levitin, cognitive psychologist and author of The Organized Mind has put this into words. In working through my weathered and nutrient-dense copy of The Organized Mind, I came across a passage that shed a bright new light on the work I do and the reasons why any of us turn to experts. Levitin confirms that it’s much easier to stick with programs set up by “experts” than it is to trust our own self-generated systems. Here’s why:
“We are painfully aware of all the fretting and indecision, all the nuances of our own internal decision-making process that led us to reach a particular conclusion…We don’t have access to that (largely internal) process in others, so we tend to take their certainty as more compelling, in many cases, than our own.” - Daniel Levitin, The Organized Mind
If you tend to second guess yourself, this is why.
If you tend to take an expert’s advice and run with it, even though they’re not telling you anything revolutionary, this is why.
I’m hoping that this also explains the “cobbler’s children have no shoes” syndrome! Especially now that I find myself working with more clients on routines, productivity, time management, workflow, etc., I find myself wondering why I don’t take my own advice! I think now I know why.
This isn’t to undermine the experience, craftsmanship, and creativity that experts bring to clients, but is to let you off the hook for spinning your wheels when going at it solo!