Part One: Make a choice to be the very best
Over time, their voices become familiar. You come to like them, listen to and believe them. They may even slip beneath your skin and become your friends. The point is that you trust them, look to them, believe them, and on the strength of that, they ascend into the lofty realm of ‘experts.’
These are the gurus, the thought-leaders, the technical wizards. When the big names are in need of guidance; when the media need insights; when the leaders need a way forward, they are the go-to people.
But experts are never experts by accident. They are the men and women who understand how to manage perceptions within their industry. And while it is true that they often possess a great many of the answers and have built up a huge body of knowledge, there is also a significant Public Relations element to their perceived stature. They are what they are because they have built up that reputation, progressively and persistently, over time. They are experts on purpose.
The good news is that their techniques are specific and can be emulated.
Over a series of installments, I would like to give you a range of specific actions, taken from my upcoming book ‘50 Ways to Position Yourself as an Expert,’ which you can carry out in order to actively position yourself as an industry expert.
Here’s the first one:
1. Don’t decide to be an Expert. Make the decision to be the Very Best
Performance experts; from the sports to the business arena; will tell you that deciding to be ‘good’ is not nearly as psychologically effective as deciding to be ‘the very best around.’ If you truly want to be recognised as the guru in your game, your first step is to make this decision early on. Deciding to be ‘good’ allows you a great deal of behavioural leeway, but deciding to the very best inspires a more obsessive approach, and that’s a recipe for much higher level thinking and much more intense levels of research, practice and performance.
Let the Feel-Good speakers and trainers tell you about all things in moderation...but the reality is that if you want to be an expert, you actually do need to obsess about what you do. You do need to demand a great deal of yourself.
Obsession. It’s a powerful thing.
If you would like to see what this sort of obsession looks like in practice, and what it can achieve, take a look at the white-gloved man who was arguably the greatest performer of the last century: Michael Jackson. It’s no coincidence that people still use terms like ‘legendary,’ ‘greatest,’ ‘king of...’ and ‘one of a kind’ when they talk about him.
In the video ‘This is It!’, which features footage from the rehearsals prior to what would have been Jackson’s final tour, we get to see the incredible level of demand that he placed upon himself, and the kind of exacting standards he expected from his co-performers. There is absolutely no sense of ‘It’ll do,’ in his approach. Not even in the small details. The King of Pop wanted absolutely everything to be done in the absolute best way possible.
Again: Obsession. There are few things more powerful.
So whether your goal is to become the highest paid consultant in your industry, or the most renowned creative mind in your field, or the go-to person in the eventing industry, or even the grand high-lama of flower-arrangers, this is your first step: Obsess about being the best. Don’t aim for good. Aim for ‘the greatest.’
In the next instalment: How being a producer positions you in the forefront of your industry.
Douglas Kruger is a professional speaker, trainer and author of ‘50 Ways to Become a Better Speaker.’ Watch him in action at: www.douglaskruger.co.za, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org