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Your Experience is Your Qualification

By Tanya Ortiz

THU OCT 14, 2021

I often worry that when it comes time to show up as my biggest, boldest self I will be seen as unqualified. When I allow myself to dream a small voice inside of me often goes “But what qualifications do you have to validate your ability to do this? IN fact, who are you to do this??”

Have you ever had this little voice?

What I have come to know as truth however is, it’s not so much about the level of degree or education, or certificate that you have, as it is about the quality of experience you have when you show up. I heard an author say that knowledge isn’t power- it’s potential power; until you know what you have learned it in your own first hand direct experience/application, it lacks it’s true power.

By and large, any fear I have about showing up I acknowledge is self imposed, but I find it worth saying that as a yoga teacher Im surprised by the ever common misconception that mindfulness practicioners are immune to or have transcended the experiences of emotions like fear, anger, shame, and doubt. And while this myth seems laughable to those who are actually in practice, I suppose I do see this judgement surface when I am in the midst of my life’s challenges. At times when Im making the most use of the skills and practices I have learned I often feel like if people were aware of my inner turmoil they would call me a fraud.

So, here is the thing… Truly, I believe that your experience in something is related to your qualification in it. As a yoga practitioner, it is my experience in struggle and in the suck of life (as my vichara partner puts it), and my application and dedication to the practices that perhaps delineates any level of qualification to it as a yoga teacher. It’s not that I read it in a book or learned it in a class and now I’m qualified. But rather, I took what I learned and when life started to air on the side of contrast, I applied the learning so that I could earnestly experience the efficacy of the practice. There is nothing qualified about skillsets that you have not applied & integrated, AND, nothing fraudulent about employing those skillsets in times of need. By it's very essence our experience is our qualification.

I still feel a slight shudder to proclaim that I am qualified in such things. But I can confidently say that there is a calling in me to lead and guide others by sharing my experience. You can’t help people out of a well you haven’t been down. The practitioner in me grows ever grateful for life’s promise that there will always be challenge, there will always be opportunity to continue to practice and refine your skill in the face of contrast. The teacher in me grows ever grateful that those challenges will allow me to continuously hone my ability to use my experience as a guide point for those who are going through their own version in the suck of life.

My upcoming workshop series is me sharing just that. It's a journey on embracing a non-linear path and learning to find the purpose and value in all of our experiences. I hope you'll join me in this series Awakening Your Like to Purpose.