What does real expertise look like?
“Who do you work with?” is one of the questions we all must answer with as much clarity as we can muster.
I’ve struggled with this over the years. I now tell people I work with ‘coaches, consultants and experts’. Which has led me recently to ask… what actually makes someone an expert?
(Because often the people claiming to be experts actually aren’t...)
The experts I’m after usually don’t have the best or slickest marketing. A true expert won’t have much time for marketing at all. They’re mostly out of sight, doing their thing. They’re hard to find on Google. They often don’t fully appreciate how valuable that thing is. They don’t collect as many testimonials as they should. They have at least three books in their head, but worry nobody will be interested. They have fascinating stories. They provide an outstanding service and experience, but you wouldn’t know it from first impressions.
The type of expert I seek out has lived a life, and brings multi-disciplinary insights. They see connections between things that aren’t obvious. They have a contrarian take on things. They think deeply about things, at least from time to time. They ask questions about why things work they way they do. They disappear unapologetically down intellectual and vocational rabbit holes. They have eclectic reading habits.
You could describe that as an ‘avatar exercise’ if you like, or at least the beginnings of one. Perhaps really it better describes the type of person I want to become.
Either way, it’s good to be more specific about the type of person you’re trying to find.