Updated and broken links corrected. It’s even better reading now
I really wanted to add this article into my recent post,
but it was already nearly 2,000 words … way more than most of you want to read, and actually, way too many words about almost any subject.
I do go on at times *sigh*
But that’s because I am NOT an expert writer (if I were, I would write ‘shorter’).
But I am an expert in a number of things … for example, helping people ‘sell themselves’ in the job search process.
Being an Expert is Not Being a Braggart
That’s a big problem in many people’s minds. For some reason we are taught from an early age that “tooting your own horn” is distasteful, rude and very boorish and ill mannered.
And certainly, when carried to the degree many people take it to, it is all that and more.
But when you are an expert on something … and willing to help others attain their goals in the area, then it’s only good manners to say so and let them know where they can find expert help.
Here’s how another writer, Christian Russell, explains the idea behind being an expert and also some of the ethics behind it:
… This is the big myth of “the expert”. We think experts are supposed to know everything. They don’t. That’s the guru’s job. And that’s why no one trusts them. No one knows everything. So if not … what the heck is an expert?
An expert is someone who cares enough to make sure the job gets done right.
An expert is someone who will admit when they don’t have the answer, but they don’t leave the client hanging. They go figure it out, and they make things work.
An expert makes mistakes. Yep. Then they admit it, take responsibility for it, and they fix it.
An expert is someone who looks out for their client’s best interest above anything else.
An expert doesn’t claim to be a guru. They simply claim to be who they are. Their clients respect them for that.
An expert may have been in business for decades, or they may have just started. The level of their experience carries weight with regards to how they market themselves, but it carries NO weight with regards to their fiduciary responsibility to their clients and customers.
Who is an expert? An expert is someone in the position of being an expert. It’s a responsibility, not a level of experience…. It’s your responsibility to do right by your clients, even if you have no experience…it’s on you to make good stuff happen…. Read my whole article on Get Busy and Be an Expert! here.
It’s Not That Hard
The long and the short of why I’m trying to convince those of you with expertise out there to recognize it is, (as I have said before here) You are worth SO MUCH MORE than many of you give yourself credit for.
You have been taught for so many years that you are a nobody, “one of the little people”, always at the end of the line after the “powerful people” … in blunt terms, “a Loser”.
I get queries and emails from people so many times that make me want to reach my hand through the screen and just shake some sense into them. They ask for help in the most obsequious, “poor me” sort of way. You would seriously wonder at times how these people figure out how to take care of normal tasks like living, eating and breathing.
But I know these people are really nothing like as weak as they make themselves appear. They are just “stuck in a rut” because that is the way their upbringing made them. In other words, they refuse to allow themselves to shine because they somehow equate intelligence, drive and knowledge with bullshit and braggadocio … which it IS NOT TRUE.
Let me illustrate in a small way with a true story that happened to me:
… I worked nights because I enjoyed being away from the view of the "front office" and my perception was, they didn’t like seeing me that much anyway … nothing really major but a bit of friction from time to time.
One night yet another form was in my office mailbox. It was a thick document with page after page of listings of all the various tasks we performed in our work … and a few I’d never heard of as well. The form insisted we rate ourselves on each and every task using a very simple scale of only four levels of competency … expert, skilled, semi-skilled and trainable.
Peeved with the perceived waste of time I sat down and made my way through the list marking a lot of the tasks "trainable", a great many "semi-skilled", all the ones I worked on a nightly basis "skilled" and perhaps 2 or 3 out of the entire list "expert". Like many of you, I suspect, I have an aversion to self-proclaimed "experts" and I really hate "tooting my own horn", especially about knowledge I am already assumed to have.
Next night I had a note to see Mr. Bob Waters, a very senior civilian supervisor in our unit, two levels above my boss … a guy whom colonels often addressed as "sir". Worried at what sort of jam I had got myself into, at the end of the work shift, instead of going home to bed, I made my way to Bob’s office and cooled my heels until he called me in.
On the desk in front of him was that self-appraisal form I had filled out the night before.
Hmmm, First thing that came to my mind was he was going to question why I had marked myself expert on some things … probably was going to bitch at me for over-inflating my competency level … there was a connection in the future between that form and possible future pay reviews.
Turns out Bob did want to question me on that subject.
He told me he was very disappointed in me because I had ranked myself so low on so many tasks … especi
ally because I had given myself so few "expert" ratings.
When I protested, Bob asked me if I realized why he allowed me to work nights for him? Not knowing how I ought to answer, he asked further if people in my workplace ever asked me for help or took me with them on difficult tasks.
Well, of course they did I responded, many of the guys on my crew are younger and inexperienced so it’s part of my job to help them out and train them.
"Bingo!" was Bob’s response.
"When others come to you for help or look to you for guidance, you become an expert.
You are one of my most experienced technicians. I honored your request to work nights berceuse I knew your skills and I knew you would keep these guys out of trouble and get airplanes fixed, on time.
Believe me, if I didn’t have that confidence in you, you’d be working day shift, right outside my office, where I could keep an eye on you.
Regardless of what you seem to think of yourself, Dave, you are one of my key experts in your field, or you wouldn’t be where you are. Now redo this form and mark it properly."
Full article on how I found out I was a true expert here.
So now you know a little better what a true expert is, and that you, yes you out there, even my precious Filipino readers, YOU have a license to be the expert that you are in so many things.
The Question For You Now Is,