I did something arguably pompous and decidedly cheeky yesterday.
In the fever dream that was the completion of my last annotated bibliography for a good long time, I decided to use a book in which I had been cited. Not only that, I made reference to something I’d said in the book in order to back up a point I was making in my annotation.
The whole thing struck me as rather odd, and I did what I usually do when faced with the oddity of my life – I tweeted it.
I tweeted what I had done and admitted to waiting for the universe to fold in on itself.
It was a strange feeling using me to back myself up.
Within a few minutes, a few folks replied on twitter – each equally cheeky.
One reply stood out. I’m not certain of its exact level of cheekiness, but it certainly got me thinking.
Durff asked, “What makes you an authority?”
That’s the kind of question that’ll get a guy pondering.
My initial reaction, whether genuine humility or my midwestern roots, was to say to myself, “Oh, no, I’m not. Not me. No authority here.”
Then I started pondering a bit more.
Turns out, I am an authority.
Not only am I familiar with the topic about which I was speaking, but I work to refine my practice daily. I try to push the envelope of what can be done and am constantly reflecting when I fall short so that I can improve on each try. Others recognize my experience and consult me on the topic regularly and by all accounts take what I say to heart as useful and wise.
I am an authority.
Am I the authority? No.
But the more I think about it, the more denying my authority in any given subject feels akin to calling myself a facilitator instead of a teacher.
I’m not an expert, genius or guru.
Someday, maybe, but not today.
I’m not always right.
Someday, maybe, no, never ever ever.
I might not always be an authority. I might fall behind, lose interest or be proven interminably wrong.
For now, though, I am an authority. I have earned that right.
For the same reason I wouldn’t accept a student’s claim of stupidity, I will own my authority.