Respect is earned, not taken…

Many times when I read blog articles or review Twitter/LinkedIn profiles I see people saying that they are experts in their field. This is great, and I am all about tooting your own horn when you do great things, it is a very important part of building your personal brand. However, nowadays these terms are used a little bit too much.

If you say that you are an expert and you have only been in that profession or position for 6 months and haven’t shown any results to claim that you are an expert you should leave those terms off.

Just because you read 1-2 books and a few blog articles, that doesn’t make you an expert. If you claim to be a community leader and you never attend a community event, you can’t use that title. If you claim to be a social media expert and you have hardly any followers and no engagement online, you can’t use that title. I can say to be the best zebra trainer in the country, but unless I have trained over 50 zebras with huge success, I really cannot claim that title.

I strongly believe that respect is given and not taken. There are people in my list of connections that have worked years to perfect their skills and are now seen as thought leaders and experts in that industry. They have had enough success that they can claim the word expert, and many times they don’t, but I put that label on them, because they have earned it. They have become mentors for many people in the industry and when they write an article about a subject they get a lot of engagement, because the readers respect them.

Some examples of people that I see as experts in the field are Grant Cardone, Jill Rowley, Koka Sexton, and Hank Blank. Check out their profile and their 100’s-1000’s videos and blog posts and you will agree that these professionals are the experts in their industry. They have a huge following and a ton of engagement, people respect what they do, because they have earned it.

I read another article the other day: the 3 fundamental traits of every good communicator, which are “be real”, “be concise”, and “be bold”. Don’t ever be afraid to say what you think and when you have an idea, speak up or write about it. What holds back most people in blogging their ideas or speaking up during a meeting is that they don’t believe in themselves enough or they think their ideas are not perfect. If you are not sold 100% on what you do, you need to change. Don’t be afraid to speak up. There are going to be discussions and people are going to disagree with your statements, but that doesn’t mean that you are wrong, just a different opinion. Stand firm in what you believe, but be open to other people’s opinions so that you can learn from their expertise and eventually by investing many hours, you can call yourself an expert.


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