I've been called an expert. An expert blogger, an expert "social media" person—whatever that is. An expert in user/consumer/customer experience or "Web 2.0". If the "expert" label gets thrown my way, I don't give it much thought. It's just a label that helps people wrap their heads around something abstract to make it more concrete. Sometimes we need to categorize in order to make sense of things.
The thing is, I'll never see myself as an expert.
You might think that's humbling. I only wish I were that humble. I'll never see myself as an expert, because once you've convinced yourself that you are one—that's the moment your ability to see the world differently begins to decline. Expert eyes know what to look for. They can also be the eyes that miss the most obvious insights which lead to the most elegant of solutions.
I've embraced Forrest Gump as one of my heroes. An expert in nothing—with expertise in several things. Someone who did more than most of us dream, because he never saw himself as an expert.
He just did things.
There really isn't a problem with having experts around. They make us feel better. But I'd rather be an expert in nothing, with expertise in something. The next time you consult with an expert, ask them if they see themselves as one. The answers can tell you something about what they really know.
This post was inspired by a "novice".