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  • vanessabelleau

Let's Talk About Expertise

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

This month, I decided to cover the topic of expertise. I know that it is such a vast subject! Yet, I really believe that it is an important one.

I do not know if you have noticed this, but there has been a shift over recent years in the business world! I truly believe that in a world of fake news and false information, experts are more important than ever. You don't need to know everything, you just need to know who the experts to go to are. But a massive question poses itself: how do you know who is an expert and who is not? 🤯

Read on and hopefully, I will be able to shed some light for you!

How is expertise actually defined? 📚

The Oxford Dictionary defines expertise as a 'great skill or knowledge in a particular field'. This is so broad. Over the past two years, I have had numerous conversations with various business owners (from micro to large) about the topic of expertise and how people show up in this world in 2021 and these conversations have fascinated me on so many levels.

What I understand is that there seems to be a misunderstanding of what expertise truly means over the recent years, and that really saddens me. I do believe that it is due to social media primarily. Think about it... Too many people, who are great at marketing themselves, pretend to be an expert in a field that they have no experience, skill or real knowledge about.

Yet, this also happens in large businesses, where people have managed to secure a leading position because of connections or sometimes nepotism rather than having any helpful skills in the field they are supposed to master, in order to push the company forward.

The difference between expertise and experience 🤯

Being an expert is very attractive to many, but I truly believe that only a few can really reach that level. You need to live, breathe, dream, practice, practice and practice as many times as possible. To me, it is important to understand the difference between expertise and experience.

Experience refers to the number of years it has taken you to develop your knowledge or skill, i.e. the HOW LONG, while expertise references the practice of that knowledge or skill, in other words, it references THE ACTUAL HOW!

'Having experience doesn't make you an expert'! 🤓

Check this video out. Keenan, a sales guy gives us a very inspirational talk, where he highlights indeed that there is actually no correlation between the number of years you have in something (= your experience) and how confident you are about practising something (= your expertise). He references the Dunning-Kruger effect. This just puts everything into perspective, and I love it! This effect happens when 'incompetent people not only fail to realise their incompetence but consider themselves much more competent than everyone else.'

In our society and workplaces, we are always very impressed by the number of years someone has in a certain field, and we decide very quickly that we trust them. Yet, we do not really reflect and ask ourselves if they are mediocre/good/great or freaking fabulous at what they do. We are so marketed to, all the time. This needs to stop! There have been too many stories where people have been cheated, which ultimately reflects badly on experts, who are doing the work every day.

Evolving my mindset to be the best expert I can be

I have had to evolve my mindset tremendously over the past 2 years. I have had to recognise that I am an expert, despite my imposter syndrome and my anxiety. This is actually not simple for me to say. Weird, right? If you know me, you know that I am very confident and outspoken, but I guess, this doesn't stop me to have self-doubt. I know deep down that I am freaking fabulous at what I do because I practice and practice and practice my craft - maybe too much, if you ask my boyfriend Mark and my dog Purple. But I can tell you right now, that unless I have to, I will never stop because my commitment to clients and people I mentor is paramount.

I am so very proud of my journey and the level of consciousness I have whilst keeping my head in the game of learning and practice. 😍 I am a D&I and Belonging expert and I love it! By belonging, I mean Business and Personal Belonging. I will expand on this in another blog - watch this space 👀.

Thank you for reading this piece! It was not an easy one to write for some reason! Phewww! But it is done now and I am very happy about this! 🙏

Vanessa x

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