Know Thy Self First

Finding the words to define one’s expertise is hard. There are now several pages in my notebook* filled with one or two-word descriptions of things that I believe that I am good at and things that I am an expert in.  After I wrote down all these words, I then took time to think about what I meant by each of them.  I call this deep thinking.

daily_planner_writing_md_wht(*About the Notebook: I told you to get a good notebook, right?  You really need to be writing this stuff down. I’m using a really nice bound journal but you could just steal one from your kid’s school supply stash.  Believe me, you need to have something to write all your Attitude Adjustment Activities in. Stop reading and go get paper and pen now!)

Building your personal brand is a mix of several things and expertise is a big part of it.  Until you know what you are good at, it is really hard to communicate it to others.  And the communication part is what social branding is all about.  You need to ask yourself:  What is it I am known for?  If I ask a colleague or acquaintance, what would they say I am an expert in?  Would they know my distinct point of view on a subject? (And a future thought: Is that what I want to be known for?)

Attitude Adjustment Homework #1:  On at least one sheet of paper, write down the answer to the question “I am ______________”

I am ….a change agent; innovator; caring; mentor; mother; teacher; project manager; driven…..  you get the idea.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #2:  Take some of your words and make a WORD CLOUD (its fun and helps you to visualize).  You can make your cloud at

Here is my word cloud:

wordle expertis

I wanted to understand what ‘expertise’ meant, so I researched it on the internet, but I was not happy with any of the definitions that I found.  The definition I like the best is actually one of ‘competencies,’ and it came from IBM‘s internal encyclopedia called ‘Bluepedia:’

“Competencies are comprised of a balanced and coherent mixture of know-how (skills), know-what (knowledge), know-why (relevant experience) and individual attitude.”

Let’s break that down: (1) know HOW, (2) know WHAT, (3) know WHY, and (4) ATTITUDE.  If you have those four elements of competency then you can definitely consider yourself an expert in an area.  That works for me.

Attitude Adjustment Homework #3: Check in with other people to see if they agree with your cloud of expertise and if they would add or delete anything.

animationfinalKeep up the good attitude.  See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)