In My Expert Opinion

What does it mean to be an expert?

What does it take to be an expert?

When I picture an expert, I think of a 60 year old man with a PhD who has been studying or practicing a topic for 40 years.

When I taught in China, I was referred to as a “foreign expert” just because I am a native English speaker. Wow!  That made me feel like I was something else! I felt important. I felt like I knew what I was talking about. (Although, I probably really didn’t at that time.)

I think when people start seeking your advice about a certain subject, then you know you’re somewhat considered an expert. I think we are sometimes scared to give ourselves praise for fear of sounding egotistical. But, I think it’s ok to say we are good at something and to let people know we can help them with that something. Use your skill and your expertise to help others learn. Don’t just declare yourself an expert in order to sound high and mighty. But, at the same time, I think we need to be more accepting of praise for things we’re good at. It’s ok to be good at something. In fact, celebrate when you’re skilled enough at something that people seek your help!

This has been a new thing with me. I’m only 28, so I still feel a bit like a kid sometimes. But, really, I have learned a lot in my life and have done a lot. Just last week someone said, “Don’t ask me. Ask Ashley! She’s the expert!” The funniest part was that he meant it. It cracked me up that someone was considering me an expert at something, well, at anything really. But after thinking about it, I decided I should give myself a tad more credit. I do know a bit about traveling, I do know a bit about teaching ESL. I can answer people’s questions about those things. I think that sometimes people look down on us “young ‘ens” and think we can’t possibly know what we’re talking about. Yes, we still have more to learn, but give us some credit at least.  So, go; share your knowledge, and consider yourself an expert!  :]

Lotus Flower-Photo by Ashley Fugett