Stupid is a name we have been called at least once in our lifetime. I say at least once with caution because I fear this is a word that easily rolls out of the tongue when in a state of disagreement or frustration either with self or others. The elders (also known as Wahenga) say this: Every one of us is stupid, the only problem is that some of us just seem to abuse the privilege.
As if to prove this statement true; that we all have some varying degree of stupidity within, was a conversation that took place at my dentist office recently. He could not contain his frustration with my situation as I previously had experienced a tooth emergency that led me to seek treatment with a different doctor who recommended a procedure that turned out to be detrimental. This meant that my dentist needed to plan a set of corrective measures that to him, were unnecessary should a different course of action have been taken in the first place. Visibly angry and frustrated at the situation, he stopped short of calling the other doctor stupid.
This incident got me thinking about the existence of different levels of intelligence between individuals in the society. The general misconception is that people in certain professions are more intelligent than others. In fact, a visit to my village and you will see how in my family, the doctors and lawyers are regarded highly compared to people of simple professions like mine. But are people really more intelligent by virtual of the professions they practice?
Like in the case of the 2 doctors above; one of them saw his intellectual capability superior to that of his colleague but, would this same doctor still consider his intellect superior say to the best Engineer in the country? I would love to understand any studies done to this effect.
What is important however, is the fact that we need to continually grow our expertise to build our Personal Brands. This way, our peers will have no reason to refute our work and our conscious will not lead us to a point of second guessing our own decisions. Your expertise is the one thing that will prove to your audience that you can deliver value and thus help in building your Personal Brand.
How do you use your expertise to build your personal brand?
Thankfully, an article citing Dr. Bloom’s research, reiterates that experts are made and not born. According to the research the secret to their expertise was in the sheer amount and quality of their practice. This persistent and consistent practice of their craft requires choosing a line of pursuit that one enjoys performing, years of hard work, painful & candid self-review and sacrifice.
This therefore means that one must always be in learning mode to become an expert; a process that can be enhanced by:
- Conducting a self-assessment of your current level of knowledge, skill and expertise: The world is constantly changing and the skills of today may be rendered irrelevant tomorrow. Therefore, to keep up with the latest in the industry, it is important that we keep upskilling ourselves. Acknowledging shortcomings is the first step to closing any identifiable knowledge / skills gaps in our fields of expertise.
- Choose your industry and master it: Don’t allow yourself to be a jack of all trades. Figure out what industry speaks to your vision, purpose and passion and immerse yourself in it. By fully identifying the industry you seek to serve, recognizing underserved areas with the potential to make a difference in the long term becomes easy.
- Ask questions: Asking questions is one of the best ways to fast track your learning. In every situation, there will always be those with more experience that you. Take the time to identify such persons and engage with them with the intention of extracting as much knowledge as possible from them.
- Understand your specialty and own it: Each one of us is talented differently and the more we embrace each other’s unique talents the better for our society. There is no way you can expect a chef to diagnose a kidney problem or a doctor to make the best soufflé dish. No matter how good the doctor is at diagnosing patient’s problem; in the kitchen, he will be like a fish out of the water and the same goes for the chef.
Becoming a subject matter expert is critical to enhancing the value of your personal brand and working on our intelligence a must.
Resist the urge to embrace any stupidity privileges and #standout4growth.