Career success

How You Can Be A Leader / Expert In Your Field

Personal branding

Essential things you should know about becoming a leader/expert in your field.


1. Be the best at what you do. The difference between #1 and #2 in any industry is growing wider in all the fields. Google is way, way ahead of #2 search engine. I do not even know what #2 is!. Facebook towers over all social networking sites. I guess the earlier marketing adage of top 2 players in any industry cornering 80% of the market is a bit, huh?. Now, #1 holds 80% of the market!


2. Ten things about you can be a leader in your field:


1. Research your field.

2. Learn more about best practices, history and people who hold powerful decision making powers. Find people who have power to change others’ opinions. Befriend them

3. See what is wanting – things that not right.

4. Identify important trends – short term and long term – in you field.

5. Identify an issue around which a network or an interest group hasn’t been formed yet.

6. Learn what you can do to improve – do research and talk to people who might have answers to the problems.

7. Be creative and find new ideas about the topic.

8. Formulate a vision on all knowledge you have gathered.

9. Form a group, mobilize people around your vision.

10. Take the lead.

(Source: A summary of 'How to be a leader in your field' by Philip E. Agre)


3. The 3 levels to being an expert: Dropout -> Amateur -> Expert

- Anonymous


4. The way to being an expert: If you can help your readers or customers by making hard things easy to do, you have become an expert, an authority and today there are more avenues for you to benefit from your position. You can establish yourself as an industry expert using social media tools, blogging, events (conferences, workshops) etc. where you offer step-by-step guides, courses, consulting duties, training videos, screencasts, customer tips & tricks and formulating new ideas via blog posts and presentations.


5. Four stages of competence


- Unconscious incompetence

The individual neither understands nor knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit, nor has a desire to address it.


- Conscious incompetence

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.


- Conscious competence

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.


- Unconscious competence

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes 'second nature and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she may or may not be able teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.


- Linda Adams


6. Put in your 10000 hours

According to Malcolm Gladwell as well as the analysis theory, it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert or elite performer, in any industry, science and art form.


Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours a day, or 20 hours a week, of practice over 10 years.


That is why it is also sometimes referred to as the Ten-year rule.


But, K. Anders Ericsson, Neil Charness, Paul J. Feltovich and Robert R. Hoffman, editors of The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance say that 'doing something for ten years- in other words, having lots of experience- is not enough to become an expert performer.'


Most of us want to practice the things we are already good at, and avoid the things we suck at. We stay average or intermediate amateurs forever.

- Kathy Sierra


What is required is 'deliberate practice', namely concentrated effort at improvement.

An amateur musician, for example, may have lots of experience playing through pieces, but a high-level professional will spend untold hours practicing ever-more-difficult pieces, striving to master them.


7. Do the difficult stuff in your field

This is the big.


8. Teach.


'In order to learn, teach'.


You can study for decades and not learn what you can by teaching for a month or two. Just remember to be honest about your skill and experience level, and you’ll find the right students for you.


You start by teaching the folks who know absolutely nothing and do not knowhow to find the basics for themselves. (Or who just don’t want to.) Teach the tried-and-true.


As you teach, you will find that the “simple stuff gains a new depth and richness. You’ll start to see things about your topic that you never did before. Moreover, as you keep learning, you’ll be able to teach more and more sophisticated students.


Before you know it, you’re a guru.


9. Experts also look outside the box

They copy hit ideas from other industries.


Most revolutionary ideas come from merging 2 fields.


The hallmark of genius is taking inspiration from everywhere. For example, Henry Ford revolutionized car making by using assembly-line production. He got that from observing the meat-processing industry.


10. How Experts Gain Influence


Experts gain influence by convincing the bosses of their 'expertness'. They also gain influence by enrolling lots of supporters and users ('the tribe') for their innovations / projects / tools etc. Experts helps bosses and decision makers reach to a decision on a complex thing 'only' the experts understand (or, the experts make the hard stuff easy to digest for the bosses). To remain influential, experts get more people to try out their ideas and tools.


11. It is never too late to start

Did you know actor Geena Davis, of 'Thelma and Louise' fame almost qualified for the US Olympic archery team? She took the sport 3 years before going in for the trials, when she was 40 years old. You can say that archery does not require rigorous physical stamina but you get the idea.


Kathy Sierra writes that we can create new brain cells by learning new things, even if we are past 30 years of age. This phenomenon is known as Neurogenesis. It is never too late to start learning that thing you always wanted to do when you were a child. Just your next 10 years, perhaps?


Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life.  Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.