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It’s difficult to put your ego aside and focus on the other person. I confront this every day. But sometimes I fall into a vicious trap that advisors, as well, must avoid.

Mistaken belief

My practice is similar to yours. Clients pay for my advice. I have an expertise – called “asymmetrical knowledge” – which is valuable. Like you, I believe those who pay me are interested in what I have to say.

But this is a fundamental misunderstanding.

Our clients have one, overriding interest. They want to know whether we can help solve their problem. Here’s an example:

Assume you have an expertise that is rare: You are able to recite in order numbers starting with “1” and going to “500.” A client enters your office. After briefly discussing your background, you proceed to demonstrate your unique ability. It takes you about 10 minutes to complete this exercise.

While you are demonstrating your expertise, you feel great. You’re the expert and you’re in charge. Everything is going smoothly.