How to Claim Your Expertise Instead of Waiting to be Deemed One
A lot of us question whether or not we’re experts.
We don’t think we’re experts because someone hasn’t told us that we’re an expert. And also because we have the wrong model of expertise.
We think of expertise as being some mountaintop that we arrive at. Where one day we’ll look around, we’ll go, “I know everything there is to know about this, and I can now impart my knowledge to other people.” And maybe someone has told me that I’m an expert and I’ve been given the recognition and the title to be able to say, “I’m an expert.” But in truth, expertise doesn’t work this way.
Expertise is actually about a relationship between you and someone who wants or needs to know.
So as we grow, we get to these tiny little spots where we actually know more than the people behind us.
We may know more than some of the people on our project team because we’ve been through this rodeo a couple times before. We know more than our clients. We might know more than many, but not all, of the other people in our profession because we had to dive deeper on this one issue than they did.
Expertise isn’t about reaching some abstract mountaintop somewhere that’s defined. It’s actually about the relationship between what you know and what others need to know so that you can flow your knowledge down the hill to them so that you can help them move forward and grow.
So don’t wait to feel like you’ve arrived at some abstract moment to claim your expertise.
Practice your expertise by sharing what you know now, even as it’s evolving over the course of your career. That’s actually how we really do eventually grow into those big mountaintop experts.