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How To Become A Recognized Authority In Your Field

Written by: Maria Papacosta, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Standing out from the crowd means that you’ve achieved the status of a recognized expert or of an authority in your field. Becoming a recognized authority is a long-term process that requires time, effort, and consistency. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to transform you into an authority figure. The good news is that it’s not rocket science, either. However, very few are determined enough to follow the process and maintain their energy and motivation levels high throughout the journey.

Serious woman running at camera in orange background.

If you want to stand out and make an impact, then step out from your comfort zone and start considering the following 7 steps.

1. Be self-aware

It all starts with self-awareness. You need to know your strengths and put them forward, but at the same time, you must be able to identify your areas for development and invest time and effort in prioritizing and improving these areas. Most people think that they know their strengths and weaknesses, but most of the time, they tend to confuse limiting beliefs with weaknesses and some extreme behaviors with strengths (for example, confidence at its extreme levels can be viewed as arrogance, thus not a behavior that one should nurture or treat as a strength). Knowing about yourself means being honest and kind with yourself and focusing on facts rather than beliefs and perceptions. Knowing that you’re good at something is not enough unless you can support it with evidence. Becoming truly self-aware requires devoting time to yourself and seeking feedback. How do others perceive you? Ask your friends and colleagues about what your strengths and areas for development are and be open to feedback, you'll be surprised with the information you’ll gather about yourself. Find time for yourself to reflect on how your day went and what emotions you created in the people around you. What could you have done differently and what made you proud?

2. Define your purpose

As Max Weber said, we grow in the iron cage of others' expectations. This may overlap but is not necessarily what we want. Acting based on what others expect from us is often a burden that prohibits us from dreaming and from discovering our purpose. What is your greater purpose? What are your aspirations in life and what is the journey you want to embark on? Does your vision serve a greater purpose? Is your purpose not only inspiring to you but also realistic and achievable? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when designing your vision and defining your purpose. Without a clear purpose, you will not be able to design a successful path. Your journey will keep on leading you to various destinations other than the one you actually want to be reaching. Your identity as a leader develops from your values, your authentic purpose and your actions.

3. Do the work

Once you know who you are and where you want to go, it’s time to start preparing for your journey. This is the stage where you work on self-improvement, learning and relearning, cultivating a growth mindset and eventually growing stronger and more confident. For many senior executives and leaders, this stage may be about fine-tuning rather than redefining their skills and competencies. This is the stage where you start practicing your new behaviors at work, at home and at society. This is the stage where you practice to the point of mastery.

4. Find your micro-niche

Your ideas and passion must be shared with the world otherwise, no one will ever know about you. This is the part where most are going the wrong way. This part is not about generating big quantities of content in social media and giving interviews about your vast array of expertise. This is the part where you need to define your micro-niche and start building your reputation on a very specific and narrow theme. This is the part that most are afraid to implement properly in fear that they will miss out on various opportunities. To give you an example, if you present yourself as an expert in communication, culture and teamwork, you’re really not an expert in either of these. If on the other hand, you present yourself as an expert in communication for teams working remotely, then you start establishing your focus and expertise and gain the attention of people interested in this particular area. This does not make you irrelevant in teamwork or culture, but it gives you the benefits of focus and having a dedicated group of supporters that will eventually expand. Even if you don’t start with building a micro-niche, you certainly need to decide what are the areas of your expertise and these areas must be strongly related.

5. Communicate with the world

Ideas must be shared, but as in the micro-niche example, your messaging must be clear, focused and consistent. You need to keep on repeating your message in order for people to start understanding it, and you need to educate people about the importance of your message. Nowadays, it is easier than ever to get your big idea out to the world. You don’t need to start with the most respected publications. Start with means that appeal to you and you can gain access to write to. Test your ideas on social media, online publications, podcasts and why not lectures and find out what approach appeals most to your audience. Don’t be afraid to start small and surely don’t be afraid to fail. It takes practice to find your authentic voice and gain the confidence to communicate your message with the world. It also takes practice to handle criticism and turn it into constructive feedback or even learn to ignore it when necessary. The more you practice, the more your message will spread and the better communicator you will become.

6. Optimize your online presence

It goes without saying that you can’t be an authority in your field if you don’t have a strong online presence. How is your website looking and does your branding put forward your authentic qualities? Is your LinkedIn profile polished and up to date? Are you paying attention to aesthetics, words, imagery and the overall emotions you’re creating when someone visits your website? Do you have an SEO strategy so that people can find information about you with ease? Every detail matters and it is such a shame when people put all the effort to build their online presence and neglect links that are not working, typos and information that cannot be easily accessed for the sake of a fancier design.

7. Networking

The people that surround you are the ones who will first start talking about you. Expanding your network is a win-win situation. You need to give in order to take. You need to support others prior to expecting any support from them. Above all, you need to start acting with a sharing mindset. There is no point in keeping your secrets to success a secret from the world. Try to help as many people as possible, regardless of their status or seniority. The more people you touch, the stronger you will become. Fame and glory will come, but first, you must become an open source of discoveries and learning experiences. Sharing is not just caring. Sharing is growing.

When we know our own capabilities, we increase our self-confidence. By anchoring in purpose, then we’re able to take conscious decisions about our own development and about the directions in which we want to move in order to accomplish the goals that we set. An authentic purpose helps us maintain alignment between our values and our behaviors and helps us build trust with the people we interact.

It is important to view your personal brand as a trademark that needs protection and continuous shaping and development. This trademark must be developed with the intention of how it can best serve others and not yourself. In order to become a recognized authority and build a strong personal brand, you need people to receive clear benefits from being associated with you. When we manage to create positive emotions in ourselves and others to bring out our best, is when we become inspiring as people, as leaders and as authorities in our area of work.

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Maria Papacosta, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Maria Papacosta is a leading expert on Presence and Inspired Leadership and an acclaimed personal branding strategist. Her practical, high-energy talks and workshops provide tangible results that help people design a better version of themselves and excel in their work and life. Maria is the co-founder of MSC Marketing Bureau. Her branding strategies have helped some of the leading thinkers of our time to spread their messages and make an impact. Maria's mission is to help people create a better version of themselves.



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