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It is amazing how fluid the web of relationships can be. I was exploring establishing my own blog over a cup of great coffee with a friend who entered my life as a client. We each have unique skills to bring to our relationship and more importantly a unique lens to view the process of innovation and idea generation.

I amaze myself at  how often women hobble themselves with self limiting thoughts about what they can or can not do because of credentials, or partnerships, or past biographies they have not yet settled.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the person who has decided they are qualified to charge for services they have not yet perfected. Or someone who positions their skills in a light that is a bit too bright to see the lack of depth.

But to have a developed skills by sweat equity- self taught, self researched, process of live and learn is as valid as the person who has sat in a classroom when it comes to some things. Particularly things like social media, that is moving so rapidly, there truly isn’t a formal means of credentials.

If you have read every book on the industry or market, communicate weekly with nationally recognized experts, successfully operate on multiple platforms and research your topics before you blog- I say you passed the muster so to speak.  You are demonstrating your skill through productivity.  Is that not as valid as the person who has the academic experience but not the implementation record?

My experience is that this self limiting belief is found more frequently in women than men- I would guess there is a study that identifies a anthropological reason for this, but either way.

How do we model to our daughters, our peers and our colleagues that professional development can and should be found in a variety of methods- the classroom, the library, the school of hard knocks, one on one mentoring or self study? And more importantly, how do we as fellow females, support and endorse those who have acquired skills in non traditional ways?

As for me, I have spent hours in classrooms listening to “experts” discuss the benefits of social media. But today, I saw in practice the ways one can use social media to raise your profile, establish yourself as a area expert, build a rolodex and network of resources to provide information and thought leadership while deepening your own knowledge around a specific skill.

The reason for the success?  At the core of her being, she possessed a curiosity that drove her to  learn more about her subject. More importantly, she built a network of area experts to teach her.  Mentor her. Engage her.  And correct her when she got over her skiis so to speak.  Her expertise is not in social media directly, but she is a very adept at the utilization of the tools and therefore her expertise is demonstrated in her ability to USE the platforms, not that she has a certification.

What do you think? How do we honor the self developed talent without diluting the value of traditional education and work experience? Why do we see them as mutually exclusive?

For me? I think I may need to pour myself another cup of coffee and continue to contemplate.