What Makes One An Expert Or A Guru?

2016-02-02 14.21.32

I once heard someone say that an expert is someone that knows 93 ways how to make love but doesn’t have a girlfriend.

But the question remains what makes someone an expert? a Thought Leader? Let’s change it then – What makes someone a Master, a Sage, A Hero, a Wise one or a Guru?

Are these not all archetypes?

Anyway, if you can get hold of a brilliant book called ZEN and the Art of Making a Living – A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design by Laurence G. Boldt, then read Chapter 3 – Myth at Work; Or, Crafting the Story of your Life.

To quote – ”To view your life as nothing but the facts is to miss an opportunity for a marvellous adventure, a conscious encounter with the universal energies and dilemmas of human drama. In this encounter, we take the hero’s journey, we experience life as art, we put the soul back into our work”.

The next chapter gets even more profound….in it there is a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. ”Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle…or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A Soul generated by love…..”

I find this thought-provoking. And, if you have read the Secret, something rings true here.

It is not about marketing and social media techniques. Even in social media, they are now saying it is not about how many followers you have, but the quality of relationships. These techniques do help for a while.

But, people will gravitate to the sages, mentors and experts, that IS an expert to them.

Are you creating a network of followers that follow you because you are an expert in their eyes? What are you doing to cultivate these relationships?

About a year before I went out on my own 24 years ago I read a consulting book called Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership (Paperback) by Joseph Jaworski. In this book, there was a story about someone that wanted to become a management consultant, when a mentor said to that person: Just be One. That statement resonated with me. I started to think and act like a consultant until I went my own way. I guess it is like the As If principle – All you have to believe is that you are a Guru.

BUT I think the word Guru has been replaced by the concept of the Thought Leader.

I once read a brilliant book called “The New Rules of Marketing and PR – How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly” by David Meerman Scott. In this book, he writes about people who add value in many ways called thought leaders. This has always been my ambition. People like Nelson Mandela who add value to projects irrespective their upbringing or education. Thought Leader? Look at what Wikipedia has to say about it.

A Thought leader is a buzzword or article of jargon used to describe a futurist or person who is recognized among their peer mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights (thinklets). [This is what Wikipedia defines it as](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_leader). The term has a stakeholder management application.

Do I fit this bill? I think I do! After twenty-four years of adding value to organizations through my writings, training, consulting and speaking, I think I do.

I wrote about it on my blog and David Meerman Scott picked up on it, and he felt I was a thought leader in my field. I think modestly that I am no Guru but I contribute to my field.

I think a Guru is someone that is really followed by a lot of people – like David Allen of the GTD fame, or Deepak Chopra.

Do you agree? Do I have a right to call myself a thought leader? Visit www.deonbinneman.com

Footnote: On the 14th January 2021 Deon will share some learning experiences, tips and ideas about Thought Leadership and Name Recognition at his Marketing a Consulting Practice workshop in Johannesburg.