The Difference Between Experience And Expertise

Posted on February 12, 2014

Ryan Stewman



Lots of folks out there these days calling themselves “Experts”. I have conversations with people everyday who are failing at their job, but want to coach others on how they should do theirs. We’ve all heard the saying “Those who can’t do, coach.” Sadly and for the most part, it’s true.    

It’s a hell of a lot easier to tell someone how to do something than to actually do it yourself.  

In order to be a true expert, you have to go through phases in your learning. If you don’t properly graduate from each phase, you will never reach true expert status. Most people don’t follow this progression. Most people pretend to be experts, but never work hard enough for the experience in order to earn expertise.  

Let’s talk about each of these three phases  

Phase 1: Experimentation In order to gain knowledge you have to take action. You’ve got to conduct experiments to see what works. Some call it testing. Others call it lab work. Bottom line is experiments are the only way you can gain experience.   The act of DOING is a long forgotten method for many people. If you plan on ever becoming the best at something you have to practice. The best athletes experiment on their body. The best scientists experiment on their subjects. Without taking action yourself and learning first hand, you will never properly move on to the next phase.  

Phase 2: Experience After many trials, tribulations, failures and wins you gain experience. Only through first hand experimentation will you gain real knowledge. You have to feel the struggle and feel the victory in order to truly have the experience you need to learn from. There’s nothing on Earth more powerful than real world experience.   Once you’re in phase 2 aexpertnd you experience the feelings of winning and loss time and time again, you gain powerful knowledge that will stick with you forever. You’ll link certain feelings to certain actions. You’ll develop systems and styles on how you operate. Your experiences will educate you one at a time.  

Phase 3: Expertise After you’ve run all the tests, conquered all the tasks and deployed all the tactics you’ve earned expertise in your field. Experts aren’t continuous failures. Experts are masters at their craft. They know what to do inside and out and rarely fail due to experience and expertise.   Expertise can not be bought, It can’t be gained over night. It can’t be FAKED. Expertise is one of the few genuinely earned merits left here on Earth. Sure, you could fake like you know everything but one day someone will figure you out. As hard as some work to fake expertise, they could have gone through the phases and gained it.  

When you are considering hiring a consultant, coach or expert on a certain subject drill them. Ask them hard questions that make you uncomfortable. Make them demonstrate their expertise. It doesn’t take much these days to see through people’s bullshit.  

In this world of instant gratification, everyone wants to skip the line and head right to the front of the class. The problem with skipping the line is that you didn’t endure the patience and work needed to go from the back to the front. Therefore you gained zero experience. It’s a cycle that cannot be broken. The order of progression cannot be re-arranged.  

Take a deep look inside yourself and ask what phase are you in. Next, take a deep look at the 5 closest people around you and ask yourself what phase are they in. Lastly, look at the people you trust as mentors, advisors and consultants, what phase are they in? Once you start assessing each person’s phase level, your bullshit meter becomes bulletproof.  

There are no shortcuts to expert status. No fancy products, no skip-line tactics. The only way to become an expert is through experimentation and experience. If you’re ready to play full on and stop pretending, now’s the time. I’m a full fledged expert in sales and marketing. I’ve turned cowards into closers and good salespeople into stone cold killers. I’ve put in the time to gain expert status. I still experiment every day. If you’d like an opportunity to learn sales and marketing from an expert, fill out the form below. Let’s talk about what magic we can create together.


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