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Introducing Chevis English: What Makes Us Qualified?

September 8, 2009

LAF Note: Chevis English will be a regular contributor to this blog – so make sure to say hi and welcome her!

When first approached by Lauren about being a contributor for her blog, I immediately thought, “I can’t do that, I am not qualified to write on Her blog.”  I then stopped for a minute, because I did not understand why I had this thought.  I have always stepped up to a challenge and consider myself to be a doer, not a be’er (New word alert: Be’er, the noun form of to be.)

What really makes one qualified anyway? Is it a college education? Experience in the workforce? Reading books on various subject matter? Being mentored by someone who has been deemed qualified?

Well, I know everyone has their own opinion about what makes one qualified, but I feel like it is a mixture of the things stated above along with actually doing the things you fear you may not know how to do.  It is by doing things for ourselves that teach us the most.  I read a quote recently by Marissa Mayer, vice president of search product and user experience at Google, who said, “Do something you’re not ready to do. In the worst case, you’ll learn your limitations.” (Who says Vogue can’t feed the mind?)

It seems like everybody these days considers themselves to be a guru or expert of something, and who is to say they aren’t?  I definitely do not consider myself to be a PR or social media expert, but I am a learner of the practice and as long as I continue to do and not just be, then maybe I will eventually become very knowledgeable of the industry.

With all that being said, I am very happy to be a part of the LAF blog and I look forward to learning from all of your feedback on my future posts!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 10:38 am

    Chevis –

    Great post, and welcome to the blog! When it comes to being “qualified,” I think you hit the nail right on the head. It’s not necessarily any of those individual things you write about, but a combination of them and other things, along with doing something new and continuously learning.

    I look forward to reading your future posts!


  2. September 8, 2009 11:11 am

    Definitely a great first post Chevis! My career path has recently taken an unexpected (but thoroughly welcomed) turn down a scary (but exciting) road, and the first thing I asked myself was: “Are you actually capable of doing this? You’re only 24, after all.”

    But you hit the nail on the head – being ready and “qualified” comes from a mixture of those things plus the willingness to take a risk and do what you think you can’t. Because even when you fail, you learn. And that gives you wisdom and experience, something that doesn’t come from a college degree or a chapter in a book.

    Thanks for this post – it has inspired me to continue doing, instead of simply being!


    • Chevis permalink
      September 8, 2009 12:21 pm

      I am so glad you liked the post Sarah! It makes me happy to hear that something I have felt and said has inspired others. Congratulations on your new career path and I am sure you will do wonderful at whatever it is you’re doing. If it feels scary then just remind yourself that even though the path less traveled may be more frightening, more than likely it will have greater rewards at the end!

  3. SaraKate permalink
    September 8, 2009 11:21 am

    Great first post, Chevis!

    In my life, the things that have mattered most are my own “real-world” experiences, the ability to adapt to new situations, the capacity to add to my own knowledge base, and a positive attitude. I think a quiet (or maybe a loud?) confidence in one’s own abilities is also a huge contributor to being “qualified”. If you are able, capable, and willing to learn, be confident in that and it will get you further than any degree or specific knowledge. The capacity and eagerness to learn on the job is a huge asset. Keep adding to your skill set, the knowledge base and helpful interpersonal connections will follow – all of these things are important.


    • Chevis permalink
      September 8, 2009 12:28 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more SaraKate. Confidence plays an integral role in one’s own abilities to being “qualified.” Thank you for bringing that up because confidence is something I feel like “newbies” in the professional world sometimes struggle with. With that being said, people must be aware not to come off as over-confident. As the saying goes, “Fake it ’til you make it.”

  4. September 8, 2009 11:42 am

    Haha, you’re qualified because you took the initiative to look into the opportunity and seize it. That’s qualification enough for me.

    • Chevis permalink
      September 8, 2009 12:36 pm

      Yes Stuart – I seized the opportunity but I was also lucky to have Lauren think of me to be a contributor.

  5. September 8, 2009 11:52 am

    Love the post. It reminded me of something my brother taught me when I played saxophone in the high school jazz band. He has a jazz studies degree from UNT so he knows a thing or two about jazz and I needed some advice for an upcoming contest.

    He said, “Kristen, it’s jazz. Just make sure you play it loud. If you play it with confidence no one will really know if it’s right or not.”

    Over the past 15 years I have found that advice works not only for jazz but in PR, consulting, and almost any area of life (except maybe the medical field, rocket science, and flying an airplane). Not to say that you shouldn’t gain expertise as you go, which you can do by surrounding yourself with smart people (as I can see you are well on your way), being a life long learner, and then just fake it til you make it.

    Welcome to the world of blogging! Now you know our secret ~

    • Chevis permalink
      September 8, 2009 12:39 pm

      Thanks for the warm welcome Kristen! I think contributing to this blog and putting my thoughts down for people to read & comment on will really expand my learning in a whole new way. You are right – confidence is key to success.

  6. September 8, 2009 11:59 am

    More importantly for me, the discussion of qualification goes hand in hand with the discussion on frauds.

    Yes there are people who are ‘experts’ on everything of thing, but most of what we have on blogs is full fledged opinion.

    I loved academic life in this sense. When I ran a linguistics experiment I had my data, analyzed that data, ran some statistical significance tests on it to see if I had anything worth reporting, and then reported it. People became experts because they were considered that by their peers, and not voted on by themselves.

    Same in soccer. Some guy with a British accent comes over and says he knows the game and people flock to him for all the best information and latest tips and trainings, but he doesn’t know the game better than Joe American.

    For every one person that is truly qualified, there are 5 others who say they are, but are not.

    • September 8, 2009 6:41 pm

      Do you think that is why there are so many blogs, and people find it so easy to call themselves gurus? I think thats what Chevis was blogging about – and she hit it right on target.

      • September 8, 2009 6:55 pm

        Well I think that your opinion doesn’t make you an expert on something. Your drive/passion plus your results can.

        I’m sure we all have different ‘experts’ in social media, or in any field. Someone I think is brilliant you might hate.

        • September 8, 2009 6:56 pm

          I hate the term expert, really. And you’re right – someone’s expert is someone elses’ fool. Thanks for the insightful comments R!

  7. September 8, 2009 1:33 pm

    Hi Chevis!

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot as well. I think in school (and on entry-level job postings) we’re so used to being told you must know X or have done X. We’re jaded. We think we aren’t qualified for something because we don’t fit specific requirements.

    How do you match and exceed the traditional requirements put out for us? By starting. By just doing it.

    I’m getting used to it as well, as I joined Stuart in June at the Lost Jacket. It’s about letting go of your fears, believing in your ideas, and jumping in.
    So welcome 🙂

    • September 8, 2009 6:43 pm

      Carla – Completely agree. When I read this post by Chevis, I was impressed with how she was right on the nose with so much of it. I like the challenge yourself everyday mentality – you never know unless you try!

      You are doing a great job at TLJ btw.

    • Chevis permalink
      September 9, 2009 1:07 pm

      I agree Carla. I had a rude awakening last spring when applying for internships. I applied for an internship to learn and get more experience after I had been interning at Moroch Partners for the past 7 months. The company sent me an email back 2 weeks later saying they were going with somebody who “had more experience.” I was taken aback and thought – How in the world am I supposed to get more experience?!

  8. September 8, 2009 8:50 pm

    That you’re a “be’er” (I’m sure many folks who hang around here will get overly excited because they think a beer is blogging for Lauren) is one thing that makes you qualified to be here. Express your opinions, express them succinctly and without fear, and BAM! you’re qualified. 🙂

    Each of us is learning, each and every day. If (and when) you ever find yourself in the company of someone who’s referring to *themselves* as an “expert” (or any related term), just run screaming in the other direction. Who is an expert is for others to decide, and it’s all subjective, anyway.

    So, welcome! Just by being here (and certainly having Lauren as your mentor/accomplice), you’re doing great. And a terrific first post, by the way!

    • Chevis permalink
      September 9, 2009 1:12 pm

      Thanks for the advice Melissa! I definitely consider myself to be a doer because I am not one to just sit around and let things happen, or in most cases, let things not happen. I always enjoy reading Lauren’s blog so I am very happy to have her as a mentor. Thanks for the warm wishes!

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