Expertise doesn’t happen overnight. While it’s possible for a talk, course, content, or project you gave or created to go viral overnight, that doesn’t make you an expert. Expertise is not about giving talks, creating content, writing a book, or building a brand. Those are merely the manifestation of possible expertise and not the real deal.
Think of it. Anyone can research a topic today and produce content about that topic overnight, but that doesn’t make them an expert in that topic. Why? Because they simply reproduced someone else’s work in their own words.
Another example: anyone can easily don a white coat and a stethoscope, but does that make the person a doctor? No. It only gives the person the appearance of a doctor. It’s all a charade.
Who then Is an Expert?
An expert is someone that has immense skills and knowledge of a specialised subject. And the knowledge and skills have to be rooted in long-term studies, experience, and practice. This is the reason we admire experts, the reason we enlist their services. Because we are simply looking for a quick route to learning and using what they know and have.
For instance, when you hire Macaulay Gidado to help grow your business, you are simply leveraging the knowledge and experience the agency has gathered over many years of helping other small and medium businesses grow. And that’s a smart move.
How Do You Recognise an Expert?
Experts Command the Respect of Their Equals
Trust me, it’s not enough that your mindless followers respect you. Recognition means receiving endorsements from the top players, celebrities, and mentors in your field. If you claim to be a world-class expert in Internet entrepreneurship (emphasis on world-class), then you should be receiving endorsements from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Reid Hoffman. I mean, they are some of today’s world-class entrepreneurs.
An Expert Offer Value
If you call yourself an expert in blogging, then you must have a successful blog to show for it. If you call yourself a business consulting expert, then you ought to have a long row of businesses you have helped build. These show your hard work and the value you have offered over the years.
An Expert Can Mentor
Being an expert means you have ample knowledge and skills to pass on. And before you can pass on knowledge or skills, you must first learn. Guess what? Learning takes years. This bring us back to my previous point: the knowledge and skills of an expert have to be rooted in long-term studies, experience, and practice. Take a look at soccer club managers, for instance. Many of them began their career as soccer players. Jose Mourinho of Manchester United and Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid are two great examples. They each became soccer expert through many years of practice, of playing in the field. Today they are mentors.
Experts Receive First-Class Rates
The truth is that you are either a pretender who collects chaff from your clients or you are the real deal and have invested yourself in many years of studies and practice. Which would you rather be? The former is often paid chaff while the latter charges first-class rates and still have individuals and businesses begging to enlist their expertise.
Let’s face the truth. When you are endorsed by your peers, deliver value, and are truly in a position to impact knowledge and skills, people will give anything to learn or use what you know.
How to Become an Expert
Are you discouraged yet? Well, there’s good news. Expertise is achievable. Think of it. Top experts in the world started somewhere. If they were able to do it, chances are that you too can.
Here is How:
- Find your passion.
- Choose a field, one you are passionate about.
- Set a goal. For instance, where would you be in your chosen field in the next five years?
- Invest your time, money, concentration, and more into learning.
- Practice, practice, practice. That the one way to improve your expertise.
As you learn and practice, always remember this quote from ‘Outliers’, a book by Malcom Gladwell: “you need at least 10,000 hours of involvement and practice to become an expert in something.”
And while you grow in your field, also remember these two points:
- Expertise is relative. An expert in one location can be looked upon as an amateur in another location or on a global scale. It all depends on the standards expected of your profession in your environment.
- There will always be someone better than you in your field. However, instead of becoming intimidated by this person, make him or her a challenge. That way, you will remain motivated to grow.