Native (adjective) - inborn, innate; archaic; natural, normal.
You have a native expertise. Something about you that you were born being really good at, or at least have been good at since you were young. Think about it....there's always been something about you that came natural, and for which others commended you.
"You're such a people person..."
"I wish I could write like you...you've always been so good at it."
"You're one of those 'math' people, aren't you?"
"I'd give anything to be as athletic as you are."
Have you ever heard something like this?
This is most likely evidence of you having native expertise. Something you're really good at, that comes naturally, and that others see as valuable even if you don't.
That's where the word "expertise" comes into play. People, businesses, educational institutions are always looking for subject matter experts, or SMEs to bring value to their plans and strategies. But what do we mean by value?
Value is defined as the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; the monetary worth.
Monetary worth....what is your native expertise worth to you monetarily? It's probably not something you think about too often. Perhaps you should.
Subject Matter Experts are typically paid a premium for their skills and native expertise. Why, you ask? Think of it this way...a company of 300 employees may have 100 people who know how to code. They probably do it well and are valuable to the company. Out of those 100 employees, there is likely only a very small handful who are SMEs, or native experts as I reference them...that is, folks that know coding inside and out, have better experience than the others, have seen their fair share of challenges and obstacles and have overcome those, and who are just natural experts at coding. Those folks are going to be paid more than the rest of the 100. And they should. Because it's those folks that, when something goes haywire, will have the expertise and experience to know how to overcome and get back on track. They have a natural inclination to just know their field inside and out...the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When you go to an interview, you'll probably be asked something along the lines of what your strengths are, what you're good at, and what you are confident with - all valid questions during a job interview. But you may not know that in those questions, and based on your answers, they are determining your value. Not a value that they are willing to openly discuss with you. Because it's nearly every companies job to make sure they are getting the best value - in other words, they they are getting the best quality for the lowest price possible. Think about that for a second....the lowest possible price. And if you don't protect your native expertise and your value, no one else is going to do it for you.
Now, let's be honest. You can't charge into a job proposition and demand some crazy high dollar amount for your employment or services, especially if you don't have valid, provable experience. But you CAN say, "Look, I know I don't have the 10 years of experience you'd like me to have, but I do have documented experience and valuable wins that directly translate to the type of experience you're looking for..."
Because hiring managers, HR teams, and executives know deep down that quality trumps quantity. They'd rather have an expert with the right kind of experience for 7 years rather than an expert with ho-hum experience for 10 years.
Your native expertise is a commodity. It's a commodity that you should be able to acknowledge, pitch, prove, and place a value on. You should be taking inventory or your native expertise on a regular basis, and analyzing the market around you, or in some cases the market where you want to end up, and determining how your own internal value stacks up. This is one small facet of roadmapping your goals. But it's certainly one of the most important ones.
What is your native expertise, and how can I help you capitalize on it?