I thought I was an expert

I’ve been doing some spontaneous traveling the last few months and most recently I was in Rome. A city so full of history it’s overwhelming and mind-boggling. I’m fairly comfortable with the history of the 1700 and 1800’s, but I had a hard time grappling with what life was like back in 350 A.D.

It was easier for me to understand the leather goods being sold to tourists on every corner and every street. Leather handbags galore.
After awhile, we realized that every store sold the same bags in the same colors, with the only difference being in how they were displayed and what the prices were.
In one store, my mom and I saw a bag in a style we hadn’t seen yet and the price was really good. Here’s the conversation we had while I stood in front of the mirror with the bag on my shoulder:
Mom, “It doesn’t feel like real leather.”
Me, “It has to be. We’re in a store that only sells leather goods.”
Mom to the store employee, “Are these bags real leather?”
Store employee, “They’re 100% real plastic ma’am.”
As I sheepishly put the bag back, I wondered why I thought I was suddenly a leather expert based on five days of walking past leather bags versus being brave enough to admit my naiveté and ask if the bag was real leather. Especially when the price seemed too good to be true.
And then I wondered, where else in my life do I think I’m an expert when I’m clearly not?
Where I do hold myself back because I don’t ask the right questions or ask questions at all? Where in my life do I know someone who’s an expert and yet I think my “experience” trumps theirs?
When I don’t see results as fast as I’d like, do I just stop because somehow the expert must be wrong?
It’s hard work pursuing something you want. It can be daunting entering a new life stage. So it can be embarrassing to ask others for help or to admit that you may need to learn something new about something you’ve never thought about or experienced before.
The result of asking or inquiring of someone who knows something you don’t? A wiser decision. A better use of your money. A better understanding of the endeavor you’re on. A higher success rate.
What was the result of my mom asking what to me was an embarrassing question? I bought a better handbag.
So this week, is there a subject matter in your life that would benefit from input from someone who actually knows more than you do? 
If so, don’t be afraid to find that person and ask that “embarrassing” question. It’s okay. You’ll be better off.
Trust me. I now own a 100% genuine leather handbag.


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