When You're Not Qualified like the Others in Your Field

If you haven't walked the career path that's typical of others in your's hard to be as confident as you'd like to be. It's harder to sell yourself for the work that you really want.

What I want you to do?

Embrace your inner stormtrooper.

I'll explain. We're on an annual family vacation in North Carolina and this morning, I walked past these houses. I picked this photo because these homes are typical of the beautiful beach houses in the area.

When we vacation here, my husband and I make up names for some of the beach houses around us. My favorite of all-time, is this one he named, The Stormtrooper:

I can't get over what a perfect name The Stormtrooper is.

The other day, I emailed a photo of The Stormtrooper to someone who has been working on a bio for me. Along with the photo, I wrote:

"I realized that I've been trying to think and talk about how I could be like the shiny, solidly-built beach houses around me when I'm so just not. I need to embrace the Stormtrooper and get a fresh coat of paint and fly a death star flag or something. (A more touchy-feely equivalent, I'm sure you get the analogy.)

What may or may not be more relevant for my bio is that I've done work I absolutely love...all over the world. I live lifestyle design and work/life integration. I've been paid to go spelunking in caves to see the remains of a virgin sacrifice made by the ancient live on a 42' sailboat in the meet Ecuadorian explore castles in hike the Inca take people night diving...I have a professional life where I do work I love, with people I love; when and where I want to.

So, the payoff for my clients is that when they are wondering about taking a leap, or starting their consultancy, or contemplating what they really want...I can help them expand their view of what's possible for themselves, and then it's easier for them to execute the tactical stuff-because they're inspired by their own vision."

This information empowers the reader to judge me. People who aren't going to like me are able to reject me right away. Faster than if I had said I have an MA in Career Counseling or an MBA. (I don't.) An upside of not having the typical path is that it gives you the opportunity to be creative.

When you're not like the others and you stop trying...and instead highlight how your professional foundation is so natural for the work you want to do...people start to get you.

When we first saw our now-beloved trooper last year, it just looked like a misfit house. Once my husband saw it and named it, it transformed our view of it. Just last night, the family spontaneously brainstormed how The Stormtrooper could be decorated to become an Airbnb and Instagram sensation.

Similarly, the unusual, stormtrooperesque parts of your career story are my favorite to uncover and tactically highlight. You don't see how powerful they are, and they make your brand so much more interesting to your audience.

When you embrace the ways that you're different from others in your space, and genuinely articulate those differences as strengths, you move from the weak energy of trying to explain why you belong, into a confident energy of who you are and what you provide. It helps the right fits identify you faster and gets you more comfortable with breaking the rules. You don't need me to cite the research that says confident people are more likely to get offers and promotions.

If you want to feel more confident about selling yourself for the work you want, I can help. Set up a free intro call with me here.

In your corner.


Emma Garrett is an Executive Career Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. Ready to start doing things differently? Consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals or checking out the resources at