What Does It Take To Be An Expert?

In some ways I’m like everyone else when it comes to dealing with the concept of the term “expert”. The word has its connotations that make it something to eschew, and at the same time something to aspire to. I’ve hated being called an expert and tried to stay away from it at times. Then I came to grips with the reality that, as an independent consultant in different fields, the best marketing I can think of is to be seen as an expert in those fields where people might actually pay me for what I know and what I can do.

Doesn’t this guy look like an expert? 🙂

I remember reading a book by a guy named Brendon Burchard called Millionaire Messenger. His premise is that all of us are experts to someone, and we can turn that expertise into a career if we learn how to do it and have the confidence to do it. That kind of thing makes great sense to me, and it’s also motivational.

You don’t have to always be making money at something to be considered an expert, or at least be trying to be an expert. I’ll go out on a limb and say that I might not have a skyrocketing ranking when it comes to blogging or YouTube videos, and yet I’d like to consider myself an expert on the first one, if not the second. I’ve given live presentations on numerous topics, including a presentation on business blogging many years ago that went over really well.

It’s because of quite a few other things that I feel I have the right to call myself an expert on the topic of blogging. I’m expert on a few other things as well, and that’s more the premise of this post. What makes someone an expert, whether they want to call themselves one or not? I have some ideas, and I’m going to relate a lot of it to blogging. Here are 5 things I have for you; let’s see how you feel you stack up to them when I’m done:

1. Some knowledge of what you’re talking about

I like to think I know something about the topic of blogging. As it pertains to this blog, 10% of the articles I’ve written here are on the topic of blogging. Since I’ve written over 1,800 articles here, that’s not so bad.

But that’s not all. I also consider myself an expert on the topic of leadership and management, and to that degree 33% of the articles on my business blog are on those specific topics. Add to that the reality that I wrote a book on leadership (actually two) and you could say that I’ve proven myself to be knowledgeable on the subject.

2. Longevity

I’ve been writing and talking about leadership for 20 years now, if I include my newsletters. I’ve been a health care finance consultant for 21 1/2 years, with 40 years in the arena come August (now I’m feeling old). I’ve been writing about leadership for that same period of time and blogging about it for 16 years, and I’ve been writing about blogging for 13 years. For that matter I’ve been writing in some form or another for 50 years (as I discovered some of my earliest missives last summer), which has prompted more than 6,000 articles online and nearly 250 songs and lyrics copyrighted (I was even a member of ASCAP!).; I hadn’t talked about writing earlier but I don’t necessarily consider myself an expert at that, even with the longevity.

3. Acknowledgement from others

This one is something you can’t really generate on your own (well, you can ask for endorsements on LinkedIn, but that’s not quite the same thing), so it’s nice when you get to be a part of something like this article from about 10 years ago, including myself along with 32 others titled 33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement.

I’ve been a part of other interviews as well, and have been asked to write all sorts of guest posts, and participate in forums here and there on the topic. There are many long time readers and bloggers who say a lot of nice things about my blogging ventures. Of course there’s many who have no idea who I am as well, but it’s not always numbers that make you an expert.

4. Willingness to continue learning

After all these years of all the things I’ve done, I continue trying to be better. I read more and I write more (maybe not so much lately but it’s coming back) because everything new that I learn gives me a new perspective on things like and already know something about, gives me something new to write about and to help others with, and it all helps make me more of an expert, which of course helps me benefit others.

5. Being willing to share

This is the big one. Back in the day there were a lot of people saying “You give too much away; no one has to hire you because you give it all to them already.” That may or may not be true; I really don’t know. I believe that over the years I’ve been willing to share what I think about blogging, writing, social media, and other things that I’m sure some people really couldn’t care much about, but others might find somewhat interesting. After all, the name of this blog is I’m Just Sharing after all. 🙂

When you’re willing to give, you open yourself up to receiving as well; that’s what the cycle of life, or the laws of attraction, are really about.

There’s my 5 things; how do you match up to them? BTW, this is an updated article from many years ago, and oddly enough there’s still one person who commented back then who still writes on her blog, so I’m giving her a bit of love; hey Lisa! 🙂
 

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2 thoughts on “What Does It Take To Be An Expert?”

  1. Hi Mitch, very interesting piece. I was part of the 33 experts piece and it blew my mind away. Then I started to think, I do have 25+ years in marketing and 3 years in blogging and managing websites with quite a bit of knowledge.
    Many of my old friends have no clue what I am talking about and others that are in marketing don’t get all the blogging, etc.
    I still feel I need to learn a lot every day though. Things change so quickly that once you learn it – it changes! I love to share too, what good is the knowledge if we can’t share it with our friends and readers? We all can’t no everything so we must not assume all bloggers will know everything we know right?
    We all bring different experiences to the ballgame too. And we may inteprete things differently. I may see a strike and you a ball. We learn from each other too. To more years of learning and sharing Mitch 🙂

    1. Great stuff Lisa and yes, you got it. I mean, 25 years of doing anything makes you an expert at something right? And being asked a question and then being able to answer it means someone thought of you as an expert and, in that moment, you were. Of course if it’s my team’s pitcher they’re all strikes. lol

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