How to become an expert in your field


January 14, 2018

“I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was.” — Pokémon Theme Lyrics

Wanting to become an expert is great. I have good news for you. You already have what it takes to be a top-notch expert in your field, you’re just missing the confidence.

To become an expert you need more than information or certifications.

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

Expertise begins with starting to believe in yourself. It is what gives you the power to learn the tool you otherwise would not attempt to learn if you didn’t believe in yourself. Nobody has ever come into this world is an expert.

Experts believe in themselves. They try, they learn, they break down, and they keep trying. They keep trying because they believe in themselves. One day, after many tries and failures, everyone starts calling these people “experts”.


Why you don’t think you are an expert.

When we think of becoming an expert, we tend to think only about the possibly huge amounts of money that will come with the expertise. We must not forget that even the experts started at the bottom.

If you think about it, you will find that there is at least one area of life that you know a lot about. You may not already be at the “expert” level, but your knowledge in this one area definitely surpasses that of someone else.

What I’d like for you to take away from this is that to become an expert you will have to start somewhere. This starting place could be in the last place.

To be honest, in order to be an expert all you need is to have more knowledge on a particular topic than a small number of people.

The people that will consider you to be an expert are those that you help, those you teach, and those you inspire. Your expertise will increase as you keep helping, teaching, and inspiring others.


The biggest barrier to becoming an expert.

Ready for it? It’s paralysis analysis. The simple idea of getting started frightens most people. Those who will achieve that expert status in 2, 3, or even 5 years, are those that start mastering a craft today.

Do not wait for the perfect time to begin your journey to expertise. Start now!

“Don’t wait. Time will never be just right.” — Napoleon Hill

The pyramids were built one block at a time. One day at a time. If the Egyptians had waited for the city to be built on its own before getting started, well… that doesn’t make sense, doesn’t it?

It will never be the perfect time to start anything. If you want something, go get it now.


Do the work. Nobody else will do it for you.

We live in a world where everything is being outsourced. Today’s expectations are that others should produce the work needed for us to become experts. This is simply not right.

If you don’t do the work yourself, at least in the beginning, you will not get the experience required to become an expert.

Doing something alone in at first is what gives us the required tools to be considered an expert later on.

Have you ever heard of someone showing off something that they didn’t work for? Showing off something that was handed down to them for no apparent reason? Yeah, I know you have, and we all hate those kinds of people. These people tend to try and teach concepts that they read from some fantasy books rather than from trying, failing, and trying again.

Confidence is key.

When I started focusing on my skills as a software engineer, I had zero confidence in myself. I thought that I was at the bottom of the chain and that there was almost nothing that I could contribute anywhere. Oh, I was very wrong.

Even if you haven’t earned the expert status, I promise you that there is someone out there that could get some value from your knowledge in some way.

When I started mentoring others I felt like a fraud. How could I be mentoring others when there was so much more for me to learn? Well, that’s where you need the confidence.

You need the confidence to know that you have done hard work and that you are of value to others that are a few levels below you.

Do things that scare you.

“Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever” — Unknown

Every now and then give yourself the opportunity to try something that requires an expert. Even if you think you are not prepared to tackle this expert task, give it a shot! You might surprise yourself.

Allowing yourself to wrestle with a task that needs expert knowledge will force you to acquire the skills that an expert holds.

Conclusion

Get comfortable with the idea of starting from the bottom in order to become the expert you want to be. Get started, try, fail, and try again. Eventually, you will become an expert.

There is no hard rule to who is or isn’t an expert. Experts are only experts because others perceive them to be such a thing. Your expertise will increase as you keep helping, teaching, and inspiring others.

“You can do anything you set your mind to” — Benjamin Franklin

Start your journey to becoming an expert right now!


Written by Victor Dozal who lives and works in Austin, TX. He enjoys building useful things, writing about his journey as an engineer, and consuming lots of coffee. You should subscribe to him on YouTube :)

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