Explorers need allies. Is fear holding you back from inviting the right people on your expedition?

Maybe you feel a little nervous about reaching out to other people who know more about your topic or territory than you do. The common term for this feeling is "imposter syndrome." It arises from picturing knowledge this way:

There's an intimidatingly big circle. It represents all that you could know on this topic (but don't). And then there's a small circle that wouldn't intimidate anybody. It represents the depressingly minor fraction of knowledge that you've so far managed to accumulate for yourself.

You hope no one discovers the true size of your small circle, because (as the picture implies) you probably ought to know more than you actually do - especially if you're instigating this journey. In fact, you should stop right here, and leave this process up to the experts, i.e., the people with the biggest circles. What is the value of your perspective, weighed against theirs, huh?

This picture, and this entire narrative, is entirely wrong. Here's a different picture of knowledge that will serve you and your allies better:

Think of the total pie of knowledge about your topic or terrain as a ring of interlocking circles. From your perspective in that ring, you can see some things that no one else can - and there are other things you can't see without the benefit of a different perspective. The size of your own circle is not the most important thing in this picture. However big your circle, you'll never get the complete picture if you try to assemble it alone.

This picture invites experts to join the circle with the same humility that led you to extend your hand. The more deeply you can see in one direction, the more rooted you are in your perspective, and the harder it becomes to see things the way others in the circle do.

Do invite topic experts. If they are wise, as well as knowledgeable, they will see the wisdom in accepting your invitation to a joint journey.