If you search Google for any topic, you’ll find people calling themselves experts. From marketing experts to parenting experts to weight loss experts, they’re everywhere. Pick an area of interest and I’m sure you’ll find people calling themselves experts.
But how do they know they’re experts?
Is it based on how long they’ve been doing something? If so, I’ve been building websites for almost a decade, does that qualify me as an expert?
Or maybe I’m an expert at working with small businesses to plan, develop, and execute strategies to grow their businesses through their web presence (which is what I do today, by the way). Think about it, a web designer that understands business development, target marketing, and results-based web strategy. Very rare. But am I an expert?
So what is an expert? Oxford defines an expert as:
Someone who has comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
Well, that surely describes me. I have comprehensive knowledge and skill at utlizing websites to grow businesses. That must mean I can all myself an expert, right?
But what about authoritative knowledge? About authoritative, Oxford says:
Able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable.
Ah, wait a minute. Being trusted or considered reliable…to whom? Well, as a business owner I can trust myself, but that doesn’t necessarily bring me clients. I can know I’m reliable, but does it matter if noone else does? So trusted and considered reliable must mean to another person.
And for me, there’s the rub with declaring myself an expert at anything. By definition, authoritative knowledge would mean as seen in the eyes of another person.
Now it makes sense. I don’t declare myself an expert – others do. Other people decide whether I’m an expert in a given field or not. I get it.
So then why are all these people calling themselves experts?