I currently hold the rank of purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I graded about a month ago. It’s taken me over 10 years to get this far. For those who don’t know, I still have a few years to go to get my black belt level. Yes, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is tough and it doesn’t give away belts easily. The grading system is white, blue, purple, brown, black, red and black, and red. It our art attaining a black belt is quite an achievement, in fact attaining blue is too.
Recently, I had the honour of teaching a class at a local BJJ school. It was my first time officially teaching. Although I have coached for years in the fitness industry and have instructed Kung Fu, I had my doubts about what I could share. Then I remembered a point of importance regarding instructing and coaching:
Expertise is relative.
The class I taught was mostly white belts. Relative to these students I had a wealth of knowledge to share. It didn’t matter that I was not a black belt. All that mattered to these students was that I could assist them learn more about BJJ. They had questions and I had answers.
If you are in a position whereby you coach or teach remember that you are in the position of the expert for a reason. Even if you only know a little bit more than the person you are teaching you can still provide value and service.
Doubting yourself is not helpful. Preparing yourself is. If you feel that you need to know more, then search for your own teacher. If you feel that you could deliver your teachings better, then learn how to do that. But don’t doubt yourself.
One last example: when I was at university studying computing, I tutored a subject the semester after I passed it. That’s right, I tutored my peers in a subject I had only just completed myself. And it worked, most of my students passed (in fact only two cheats didn’t). My expertise was greater than that of the class and so there was value in what I taught. Looking back it was a ballsy move on my part.
To grow your confidence as the expert you must believe in yourself.
There is a reason people come to you for guidance and instruction. There is a lot you can share. Understand that your value is important to those that you can help. And always seek to improve yourself, that way your confidence can only grow further.