I had this interesting conversation with one of my business contacts the other day.
She and I first met at a meetup focused on business and personal relationships.
I had pushed out on my Facebook that I would be doing a conversational interaction on the subject: Sex, What’s Love Got To Do With It?
I invited all my Facebook friends to attend the online event if they were interested.
Suddenly I received a PM asking me, “Since when and based on what have you become a relationship expert?”
She continued, “It’s amazing in Canada how easy it is to be what you like. With all due respect, I’ll take advice from professionals.”
She knew me as an IT specialist.
It was incomprehensible to her that I could know a thing or two about relationships as well.
What’s funny though is, she only knew me as an IT specialist because I had told her I was one too.
I’ve never done any software development for her.
For all she knows I made that up the same way she seems to think I’m making up my relationship consulting credentials.
And of course she’s quite right.
Just deciding I want to be a relationship consultant doesn’t make me one.
Any more than deciding I was a software developer made me one of those either.
In both cases I have a combination of training and experience that qualifies me to do what I’m doing.
Of course in the case of my software development, I’ve had Microsoft certifications for over a decade.
I am a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer and a Microsoft Certified Trainer.
I’ve just recently let my MCT certification go because the IT training business has thinned out so much since the downturn in 2008.
But those certifications aren’t what make me qualified as a software developer or a trainer.
What makes me qualified is that I know how to do software development and I know how to train.
I have experience doing both.
My qualifications for both of these didn’t come through any formal training. They came through many years of personal study and experience in these subjects.
The same way my qualifications to be a relationship consultant have come.
I was in a long term relationship and so have extensive experience with long term traditional monogamy.
During that time I was also an emotionally disconnected guy who struggled with porn addiction.
In 2010 I went through a relationship crisis.
That led to extensive studies in the relationship field through which I turned myself around and found my heart.
I then spent three and a half years trying to turn my long term relationship around, finally concluding it was just too late.
At that point I moved out on my own.
Thus began the accrual of extensive experience with both online and offline dating.
In the past three years I have dated over 50 girls since moving to Vancouver.
I’ve also had two romantic friendships, like I describe here.
In other words, my qualifications in this area have come the same way my software development and training qualifications came. Through extensive study and experience.
Unlike with my IT Microsoft certifications, I’ve not chosen to pursue any “recognized” certifications in the relationship or coaching world.
This is because each of the certifications in these fields are tied philosophically to particular perspectives on relationships and coaching methodologies.
Nothing wrong with that, but it is not my style to limit my education to just one segment of a knowledge area.
Even my Microsoft certifications were obtained solely because I required them to teach the courses that I taught.
My knowledge of software development is much broader than just the Microsoft world. The same is so for my perspective and knowledge about how relationships work today.
It is a synergy of everything I’ve studied and everything I’ve done.
Since 2010 I have been in a non-stop state of study in this area, both academically and experientially.
I read broadly across every perspective I can find in the relationship field.
This includes things like psychology, neuroscience, attachment theory…even pickup artist seduction theory!
I’ve met with a lot of relationship “coach types,” and I haven’t met anybody yet, who has as extensive an exposure in this overall field than I do to this day.
I’m not saying this to brag.
It is just a fact that my view is informed by the best I can glean from everyone’s thoughts.
There are no experts in the field of relationships really.
We are all learners.
None of us working in the field can have experience that covers the gamut of relationship experiences our clients may have.
One unique advantage I have however over many relationship coaches, is the fact I’m polyamorous.
This allows me to continue to explore the world of offline/online dating, even while in a relationship.
I can have many relationship experiences with different types of people, rather than limiting myself to just one.
Yet my long term traditional monogamous relationship gives me that perspective as well.
Whether your preference is monogamy or non-monogamy, you are in a relationship or looking to find love, I can help you.
When this Facebook friend wrote me questioning my credentials, I offered to get together and share my story.
Because she obviously doesn’t know any of what I’ve shared with you here just now.
But she didn’t seem to think that would change her mind.
I’m an IT specialist and that’s that!
I have no business advising people about their love lives. She seemed quite worried in fact about the bad influence I would have on people if I did.
There wasn’t much else to say, so I left her with her worries.
Of course she could have just read my blog.
That might have given her a few hints, that the world is bigger than her assumptions.
You’ve been reading me here for a while now. Do you think I have a few helpful thoughts to contribute?
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This Post Has 2 Comments
I think you did all you could do Kel to convince that woman to at least listen to your side and consider carefully the facts, once she had them all before her. People seem to like to sterotype, however. For some, I believe it’s the only way for them to make sense of people. I personally have a problem with the use of the word “Life-Coach” that I hear thrown around everywhere nowadays. Seems everybody and their brother is proclaiming themselves to be a “Life-Coach.” Who says they’re qualified, them??? I remember having this conversation with a friend who replied: “There’s a course they have to take. You get a certificate.” What course?? Do so-called Life-Coaches actually take this course??? Would any prospective clients of their’s ever actually insist on seeing their credentials beforehand??? I even knew of a guy now calling himself a Life-Coach, but in my view, he was a hustler. Lived as cheaply as he could by any means possible, lied to people, including his girlfriend who he cheated on and routinely scammed money from, & lived leaching off of her essentially. So, why would I trust this guy to help me. As far as I could tell, “Life-Coach” was just one of several scams he was running to try and make ends meet. After reading so many of your columns, and spending time with you socially, I’m certainly convinced that you are the polar-opposite to him, with many valuable insights to offer others on love, life, and dating. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Jeff for you kind words and comments. I always enjoy our chats. Of course you’re gonna break me with all the paycheques I’m putting out, to get you to promote me so well!