Do you wonder if you’re qualified to be an “expert?”
Does a failure-to-success story qualify you? You’ve been there and done that, so now you can show others how to do it! Well that’s one way to qualify.
I must confess that I’m a recovering achievement junkie and that gives me the moral authority to tell you that you can be a recovering achievement junkie too. I know how to do it and you may not… but as the expert, I can show you how. Yet, is that what I want to be an expert at? I’m not so sure.
What qualifies anyone to be an expert? I view an expert as someone who has considerable intellectual knowledge and real world experience in a particular field, area of study, process, or activity. They possess knowledge and experience in greater measure than a majority of others in their field. And they can express their expertise in order to help others understand and implement any appropriate ideas and actions based on that information.
Why would you want to be an expert? Because in business, experts get greater notoriety and publicity, can charge more than non-experts, and are often the best teachers. In your personal life, as an expert you can enjoy your skill or help others perfect theirs.
Say, for example, you’re an expert at tying fishing flies. You enjoy creating unique flies, you attend fishing conventions, and buy all the new supplies. You can enjoy your expert status on your own, or you can teach neighborhood kids who want to learn how to tie flies.
In business, you may be an expert in team building. You can hone your expertise in your own company or business, or you can become a teacher, coach, or consultant and help others build teams.
What qualifies you to be an expert is somewhat subjective. It used to be that education alone–the more degrees the better–was the mark of an expert. A masters and Ph.D. were often the benchmarks of at least the beginning of expert status.
Today, I would venture to say experience builds expertise faster and stronger than education. For education not applied is merely knowledge locked in the brain and not tested in the real world.
People who seek experts out want to learn from someone who has applied the book knowledge and discovered what works and doesn’t. Often, experts write books based on their experience, and that’s one of the quickest methods of achieving expert status.
Suppose you wanted to build a coaching business. You could go to a coach university and take two years of courses… or you could hire a business coach who has already built a successful business. Which way would you go?
Of course, you can always combine the two for stronger results: knowledge + experience = expertise. Nowadays, with so many people going into business for themselves, almost anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves an expert. But even though people may begin to seek you out for knowledge or information, they will need more than your word if you want to convince them to sign on the dotted line.
Here are some tips to strengthen your qualifications as an expert so you can attract the people who will benefit from your expertise:
1. Be an expert at one thing.
Don’t scatter your energies and try to be an expert at everything, only to wind up being expert at nothing. Be known for something significant that can boost your expert status. Be the best gardener on the block. Be the best golfer in your group. Be the best accountant in your business. What is your greatest strength or your greatest passion? Develop your expertise in that.
2. Do what the experts do.
Find a mentor who can cut short your learning curve. Or follow the experts in your field by reading their books, attending their seminars, and signing up for their newsletters. Say you want to build your expertise as a blogger. Google for the top blogging experts and get on their mailing lists. Take their teleseminars and read their newsletters. If the opportunity comes up for mentorship, go for it. Learn from the best, and you become the best.
3. Determine your objectives.
Why do you want to be an expert? What’s in it for you? What’s in it for others? If personal, are you just looking to improve your skill so you can gain more enjoyment from playing the guitar, knitting, or sailing? Or do you want to teach your expertise to others? If in business, will becoming an expert mean more credibility, more responsibility, and more money?
4. Keep learning and growing.
Learning to be an expert doesn’t stop when you leave the class or stop working with a coach. The more you perform your skill, the better you get. The more you keep up with current techniques, the more you have to share with others. The more you evaluate your expertise and learn and correct, the better teacher you’ll be.
Ultimately, what qualifies you as an expert is doing something you love, something you’re excellent at, and something for which others can seek you out as an authority!