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No. 617 / On being an expert

What makes an ‘expert’ an expert? 

1. You probably know more just by doing your job than the vast majority of the market. You’re more of an expert than you realize. 

1.1. But here’s the thing—if you’re constantly running around proclaiming you’re an expert, it weakens your authority which, by definition, makes you less of an expert. 

2. If you were an expert on something a while ago but haven’t bothered to continue your education on the subject, you can’t be considered an expert anymore. Expertise comes from curiosity and a desire to never stop learning in a particular field. 

3. You can’t be an expert in isolation. An expert is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area.” It’s a social activity! You will need to gain people’s trust and earn their attention. Only then can you have the kind of influence required to be an authority figure. 

3.1. But here’s the final thing—again, it’s not up to you to decide if you’re an expert or not (see 1.1). That’s for others to resolve. The best you can do is to consistently show up. Make promises and keep them. Do what you can to put yourself in a position to have influence and make an impact.