Positioning yourself well is a key to standing out. But what if you don’t feel ‘expert’ enough to do that? Let us help you with that!
Whether you are a seasoned speaker, author, coach or you are just starting out, you can still get caught in the trap of feeling you don’t know enough, you don’t have enough experience or you just haven’t earned your ‘stripes’ yet to take the stage, or reach that next level. That lack of confidence can be frustrating, as it gets in the way of you landing clients, making the impact you want to make or reaching the people and numbers you want to.
What IS an expert?!
To position yourself as an expert, let’s first work out what that really means. We see a lot of people who WANT to call themselves an expert, yet shy away from it for a multitude of reasons.
Let’s start with the dictionary definition: “An expert is someone who has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field. Informally, an expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.”
What gets in the way of claiming this title?
It’s a funny one as many people say “I can’t call myself an expert yet” as they don’t feel they’ve earnt the right to do so. Let us help you debunk this. People make up that they have to have heaped up qualifications and many letters after their name to call themselves an expert. People make up that they have to had years and years of experience to call themselves an expert. And people compare themselves to others in the field and get stuck in impostor syndrome, holding back from sharing what they know, because they think someone else is ‘already doing it’. Do any of those sound familiar?
Redefining the expert label
Firstly, your expert status CAN be defined on how efficiently you can solve a problem and it doesn’t mean that you have to have years of experience of lots of letters after your name.
As an example if I had a new born baby which I couldn’t get to sleep and to stop crying, and you told me that you had a methodology that would achieve this on 5 minutes — you would be seen as an expert in my eyes and I want the insight that you have now!
When being mentored by Brendon Burchard through his Experts Academy, he taught us the 3 ways that you can obtain expert status, but before we share those, let’s address why it’s vital you change your thinking around this, and start to call yourself an Expert.
Claim your Expert status.
Before we go into how to do it, let’s address why claiming expert status is so important for your positioning.
Being an expert helps people file you away in their memory as the GO TO Person for (whatever your thing is). As soon as someone mentions those keywords, you want them to be thinking of you. Take a moment now to fill in that blank for you. (Notice if that was easy or hard for you — if it was hard and you skipped it, go back, be brave and fill it in!). “Owning” that go to label is a powerful step towards claiming and embracing your expert status.
To help you a little, this area should really be what you live and breathe… you naturally read books about it, go to conferences, have a stand / opinion about it. So it’s not actually that hard to know the Go To nature of what you want.
There are many benefits of being an expert in your field.
Claiming your expert status allows you to more easily do a lot of things that are likely why you set out to be a speaker, author or coach in the first place. It will help you to:
- make a difference, to make a change, to be heard, to drive change
- open doors, find opportunities, like-minded people and partners
- attract people to you, your company and/or your movement
- get interviews, PR opportunities, news positioning, requests for input
- win contracts, get clients
In short, positioning you as an expert gives you choice!
Who can be an expert?
Here’s where it gets really fun; an expert really can be ANYONE! Someone with a vision for shift, for change. If you are concentrating on a niche area or have a different viewpoint on a common topic, you can be known for specialising in your area. If you have a passion and a determined to make a difference, highlight an area of need, or drive an agenda forward, or even put one on the map, you can be an expert.
Three ways to become an expert
Brendan said that there are 3 ways to become an expert. You can of course be all three or have all three elements that allow you to really claim this status, and be even more seen, but that can be developed over time. We want for you not to hold back from calling yourself an expert now. Below are the three areas — notice which you naturally fall into; the other two areas can be added on over time (if you feel you need them — ONE is enough!)
- Qualifications & accreditation. This is based on theory of your subject. What have you studied and how much or how many different approaches to that subject area? A lot of the time, it’s the depth and rang of study and your synthesis or maybe the combination of your studies that gives you a distinctive viewpoint. For example, you might be a qualified fengshui consultant AND as an occupational physiotherapist and combing them you assess workplaces to increase performance in a way that is unique.
- Experience. We regularly teach in our Facebook live training sessions that we deliver into The Connection Hub every Tuesday, that there really isn’t any new information in the world, it’s your experience and how you package it to help others that matters. One of us was talking to a friend yesterday who hired a sleep coach for his baby and the reason he chose her was because she specialised in babies with reflux. The experience you have and the area you focus on can be enough to really give you the expert status. Remember that if you know what they don’t know, and they need that knowledge right now, you, to them, ARE the expert!
- Research. You might not have a great deal of qualifications or experience in your field, but you could become an expert by curating information from other experts or doing specialised research in a particular niche area & gain expert status that way. If you are someone that loves to gather information, and share it, whether it’s through reading, interviewing, questioning and researching, you become known not only for what you learn, but for what and how you share that. Becoming the Go To or ‘one stop shop’ area for a niched set of information can put you on the map.
Hopefully you’ll now see that you ALREADY have the right to start claiming your expert status! Do share in what way you are an expert in the notes, we’d love to hear! The world NEEDS you to share your knowledge, experience and expertise!
If you are still hesitating…
Impostor syndrome can stop some of you showing up as experts. If you are still shying away because you think you need a degree or qualification yet have 30+ years experience etc, that can be a sure sign. Or maybe you are always able to refer someone to a great next step, because you know the right book, article or person, yet you don’t think of that as valuable.
Here’s how to know that you are holding yourself back: if you get really frustrated when ‘others’ do what you want to do, the chances are you are caught in the Impostor trap, or not yet owning your Expert Status. Don’t hold back please. The world needs you to stand and claim it and share what you know, now more than ever.
Write down how you’ve earned the right to call yourself an expert.
It’s time. Here’s an exercise to help you. Now, the ideal place to be in would be to have something to tick the qualification, experience & research boxes to really be known as the Go To Expert in your field. But start with one and keep building as you go. Focus on what you WANT to be known for and seen as. Think about what you desire to create an impact on.
Use the RAVE concept to help you:
- What is the REPUTATION you have / want to establish (what would you want said about you)
- Where are you setting up your AUTHORITY and what will it give you the opportunity to do
- Where will you show up and share — what is the VISIBILITY level you want; local, regional, national, global?!
- What is way you want to create ENGAGEMENT — how do you want people to experience your expertise?
Answering these will connect you more to understanding how and why you are ALREADY an expert, and we ask that you go out and start claiming that in the world.
We are experts at helping speakers, authors and coaches to build a business On Your Terms, that is monetised well, creates an impact and provides a sustainable, steady income, without the overwhelm or risk of burning out. If you want to know more about that, have a look at our ChangeMaker Central Membership or at least join us in The Connection Hub.
As ever, do let us know what you are going to do as a result of reading this in the comments.