How to Become an Expert

Ever been in a situation where you need to know something you don’t know?  Maybe it’s buying an engagement ring, handling a death, deciding on your next vacation, or meeting the demands of a difficult boss.

Talking to our oldest son Nathan over Christmas break, we came to a conclusion…you eventually become an expert on most everything that starts with the need to know.

To me, this is the up-side of facing challenges.  If we embrace them, go after knowledge, learn all we can, and make decisions to the best of our ability, we grow. Then we get feedback, correct the course, understand to a greater degree, and become an expert along the way.

The first time someone asked if I could speak on “Personal Branding,” I said yes but had never spoken on the topic before.  I guess they figured a senior marketing professional might know something about this topic.  I spent hours reading articles and combing the web for ideas, putting them all together into a presentation that was uniquely mine.  Everyone who attended thought I was an expert on the subject and now years later I suppose I am!

You get “know-how” when you move forward not knowing how.

When we started our organization, Stop Child Trafficking Now 4 years ago, we knew little about the horrors of child sexual slavery. In a matter of months however, our quest for information and connections with experts led us to knowing more than most, and equipped us to develop solutions. We made a lot of mistakes, would do some things differently if we could do them over.  Still, our knowledge bank and networks expanded greatly, leaving us with few regrets.

In some of my darkest hours professionally, feeling behind the 8-ball and rather hopeless, I see now those years were some of the most creative.  Working with nothing but perseverance in the quest to get answers, can unlock ideas you wouldn’t find otherwise and give you credentials that look good on your resume.

All this makes me want to spend more time with veterans, those who have lived a long time and learned so much about so many things.  We have a couple at our church, Bob and Kem Kuenzli who are both 85. This couple inspires like few do. Bob told me recently, “Growing old is inevitable, acting old is voluntary.”  They are wise experts on just about everything, and more engaging than a Google search.

So here’s to you band of experts, keep craving knowledge and embrace each challenge you face. You’re becoming much smarter than you think, and wisdom looks good on you!!


Squidoo is an online tool for sharing expertise (click on photo)

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