I get the whole idea that it is important to claim expert status… but come on people, be an actual expert first. I know that many of us feel like we are “faking it” because many of us need to be confident because we truly are experts in our field but our confidence in ourselves is off. The point is, don’t be one of those people who decide one day to be an expert and then immediately begin to teach people when you have never done the work or built up any real experience.
I get that you might be good at it or you might have a natural talent, but if you are brand new claiming expert status, you will look silly to anyone who has even a little more experience than you.
That said, you are still on a great track and will become an expert if you do these 4 things:
1. Do the work
I am a writer, writing teacher, and curriculum coach. I don’t claim to be the best writer in the world, but I’m a VERY good teacher and I live, eat, and breathe curriculum. Part of being good at curriculum is that I am good at laying out the obstacles, the challenges, and the questions that your audience will have while presenting or teaching. I think of myself as the terminator of curriculum because as you are talking I’m mentally laying out the whole course and plan of action that you must take to create a course.
Was this a natural talent? Maybe, but I had to go through years of writing curriculum, teaching, failing, hearing questions and confusion from my students, changing it and redoing things in order to learn how to write amazing curriculum.
On the other side, I have just recently been writing for an audience. I have always been a writer, but never publicly. I have struggled to learn SEO, how to condense my writing for blogs (still struggling with that one), and how to balance out the teaching with storytelling. Learning to write for an audience has been a challenge with many obstacles. I have had to put in the work to learn to write for an audience, and I’m still building those skills.
2. Become the expert through hard work and endurance.
Many people assume that if they are good at something, then it will be easy. Those of us who have achieved any sort of success will know that this is sooooooo wrong.
Here’s some practical advice.
First, determine your end goal: mine is to become the course content developer and writing coach go-to person.
Then, make a list of ALL the things that you need to know to achieve that goal.
Each day, week or month, learn a necessary piece that you will need to know to be an expert.
Last, practice your craft every day. If you don’t put in the work you will not reap the benefits.
3. Overcome obstacles
Many people also get this feeling that if there are too many obstacles then it is God (or the universe) telling them “No!” They are wrong. They are looking for an excuse and are taking the easy way out.
I went to a writing conference last night and Lynn Vincent said, “If you can choose not to be a writer, don’t be a writer!” Writers STRUGGLE with writing, but we overcome those obstacles because we can’t NOT write.
Like I said, I never wrote publicly, but I’ve always written. I am a crazy person when I don’t write, but the process of writing for an audience is terrifying.
I could quit and just keep writing in my journal and dreaming of the time when I leave my journal at Starbucks when some famous publisher picks it up and realizes they are holding the journal of a genius.
Or I can work my butt off to make my weaknesses into my strengths. And I will. And you will, too.
4. Be teachable
I don’t know how many times I have heard someone who is just beginning decide that they can start teaching people. They aren’t looking to get under the wing of an actual expert. They aren’t listening to any podcasts because they think they can do it better. And they aren’t listening to advice.
Being an expert is not about knowing everything. Dale Carnegie says that people will think you are an expert if you listen and ask questions. If you do these things, they will think you are the smartest person in the room.
Why? Because no one does this anymore.
Especially when you find someone who is where you want to be, ask questions and LISTEN!! Ask what struggles they have gone through, what experiences that taught them the most, what are some of their successes and failures, etc.