I remember the first day I was called an expert. “Me? An expert? What do I know?” I don’t believe in titles if they don’t match the content. The person who called me an expert argued with me seriously when I said I wasn’t an expert yet. “Doyin you actually know more on this matter than you actually acknowledge.” It made me pause and think a bit but I still wasn’t convinced.
Then it happened again. Over the weekend, my former boss referred to me as an expert in a public forum! Ah…I just wanted to scream! But obviously I couldn’t do that. So again when I got back home, I had to pause. What makes a person become an expert? At what point of the gathering knowledge process do you actually become an expert? While I still believe I have a lot to learn (I hold myself to really high standards) I believe these tips will help you on your way to becoming an expert.
Act like you know nothing.
I know you’re thinking, “How do you become an expert by knowing nothing?” Don’t worry, I’ll explain. You see, when you act like you know nothing, you soak in everything! You are eager to learn. Think of yourself as an empty jar just waiting to be filled with water. And imagine that jar has the capacity to expand. The more information you soak in, the more knowledgeable you become.
Eat the humble pie
Honestly, I believe one of the fastest ways of becoming an expert is to be humble. I learn from every- and anybody. I don’t care whether you are my senior or subordinate. If you know something that I don’t know, trust me I’m coming to you to get that thing. If you like turn up your nose and form, I will learn what I want to learn from you.
Don’t be scared to ask
You learn by being inquisitive. I have always been an inquisitive person. It’s so bad that even when I’m having conversations with people I can ask a bunch of questions like I’m their psychologist. Being inquisitive has really helped me a lot. I thank God my mother did not succeed in killing this particular trait of mine because it really annoyed her back then. Anyway, my point really is, ask questions. If you don’t know something, don’t suffer in silence. Learn to question things. Why are things done in a particular way? Is there a better way to do them? You’ll grow a great deal when you ask the right questions.
Roll with the right people
It is not possible to become an expert mechanic when you are rolling with hairdressers. What is the correlation? You have to be around likeminded people. And please let this be a healthy mix of people who know the same things as you and people who know more than you. In fact I will recommend that you have more of the people who know more than you. Don’t be a local champion in the one-eyed man clan. There is no way you’ll become an expert if you do that.
You need to actually take the time out and use Google productively. Who are the thought leaders in the field you want to become an expert in? What are the latest trends? What are the latest books on the subject? Best practices? All these and more are the things a simple Google search will reveal to you. Take notes as you do your research. Bookmark important links. And please research beyond your geographical location. The internet is loaded with information so why do you want to limit yourself?
I think the final thing I will say is start from where you are. As you learn new things, start implementing them and teach someone. I’m sure you read this post and you were like “This girl knows her stuff”. Well it is because I have decided to share what I know and what has worked for me. That is what you should do too.
Feel free to add any other useful tips in the comment section 🙂