What is an expert?
What is an expert? Throughout my career the functional definition has been, someone I trust who knows more than me. Perhaps that is a fair definition for a mentor, someone who can help you see and reach beyond your current skills and abilities, but this likely isn't a sufficient definition for a subject matter expert. If you are interested in this topic, I think you will enjoy Episode 94 of The DYOJO Podcast as well as some of the quotes included in this blog post.
An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
I think there is a humility factor in becoming someone whom others perceive to be an expert. I find that the things that I know well are those things that I learned by failing. It is comforting to know that there are others who view the world in this way as well. If you want to become an expert, the first step is to be willing to fail. The fear of failure is often more dangerous than failure itself. When we fail we can learn and try again.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.
In order to excel in one area, do you have to prioritize your time and effort? I have heard that the difference between good and great is a small gap, but the difference between good, great, and elite is expansive. John Wooden coached UCLA basketball from 1948 to 1975, during that time his teams competed in a record 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games. Each offseason coach Wooden would study an aspect of the game to help keep himself sharp and hungry to improve. He said, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
Expertise is a combination of training, education, and experience.
Aside from being a shameless plug to listen to my podcast so that you can hear these words from Bob's mustachioed lips yourself, there is great wisdom in his mantra. Mr. Blochinger has developed his career over many years of being a contractor, flooring installer, and now third-party consultant and expert witness, by applying the principles he shares. Bob has sought out training with practitioners, industry education and certification, and learning from his own experiences as well as that of others in his network.
An expert is somebody who is more than 50 miles from home, has no responsibility for implementing the advice he gives, and shows slides.
I can remember the first time a company I worked for hired an outside consultant to assist them in growing their business. If memory serves me correctly, I believe Edwin Meese's definition fit the representatives of that business consulting firm perfectly. As we discuss on my podcast, I think this is why the most helpful experts are those who have relevant experience in applying the principles that they are coaching their clients with.
An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.
Another great mind, author and consultant Lex Sisney, shared a simple principle that has stuck with me. Whenever you are working to improve something, in yourself or your team, ask what must I STOP doing and what must I START doing to achieve the IDEAL. If we combine the concepts in this blog, the roadmap to expertise incudes filtering those things that are (even if only for the moment) distractions so that you can narrow your focus on what is important.
Family dynamics are often complicated. My daughter and I are big fans of A24 production, so when we saw an advertisement for a sic-fi fantasy film that appeared to be addressing family dynamics with a off beat comedic approach, we knew we were going to see this movie in the theater. For this film critic, Everything Everywhere All At Once was one of the best films of 2022. Below I have included a clip from the movie. I think the beauty of this scene, which includes spoilers and likely will not make complete sense without seeing the whole film, is that it doesn't "solve" all of the family issues with a beautiful monologue.
"No matter what, I still want to be here with you.
A few thoughts from Everything Everywhere All At Once:
Having the conversation
My wife is a talented proponent of this phrase, "Have the conversation." Whenever there is conflict, especially with those that you love, it is rarely the answer to walk away from the issue. Rather, you must lean into the awkwardness or the pain so that you can begin a conversation to address the issues and work towards a resolution. In the clip above, mom doesn't give a beautiful speech, but she does give a heartfelt one and it lands with her daughter. The speech doesn't solve everything but it opens the door for understanding and starts the momentum for the next steps.
The work is never done
Love is a choice, not just a feeling. So, if we choose to love each other, rather than assuming that because we are family it is a given, then we are constantly working to love, to be loving, and to explore what that means with those we choose to love. Mom starts her monologue off with, "You are getting fat..." What stuck with me after watching this film is the recognition that our loving relationships are not perfect. We are imperfect people doing the best that we can to show love to one another. Often times we miss the mark and sometimes we even hurt the ones we love. Moving forward does not, and should not, require perfection. Love does require the effort to understand and engage.
Movie: Everything Everywhere All AtOnce
Director: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Cast: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu
Release date: 2022
Genre: Sci-fi fantasy, drama, comedy
If you went way back in time, people groups were primarily agrarian. They lived off of the land. The effort put into working the soil, growing crops, and taking care of animals was directly tied to your ability to survive. Think of all the things we take for granted today, those were not around:
If you are hungry, you go to the grocery store or a restaurant. Those are fairly new elements of society. In prior generations, you wouldn’t buy bread, you harvested grain and made your own. You would top that with butter that you churned yourself and jam from wild berries.
As technology advanced and societies evolved, work is more associated with making money to buy food rather than being directly involved in raising food. If you were a farmer raising you own food, you worked as long as you needed to in order to accomplish this task. If you didn’t work, you didn’t eat.
A Brief History of Work
The Industrial Revolution brought significant changes and factory work became prominent. People working in factories around 1867 were pulling 12 to 14-hour shifts, often six days a week; or 72-84 hours a week. That same year, Illinois was one of the first states to pass a law calling for a standardized 8-hour work week.
The first occurrence of this becoming the norm was for government workers in 1869. It was until 1926, when the Ford Motor Company established a five-day, 40-hour workweek for its workers. Owner Henry Ford declared, “It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either lost time or a class privilege.”
In 1938, congress finally passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, making the 8-hour work day and 40-hour work week the law of the land.
Employers are allowed to ask you to work more than 40 hours and you may find some advantages in doing so. If you work more than 8 hours, in most jurisdictions, you are working overtime which is usually 1.5 times what your regular rate is. For example, if your hourly rate were $20 per hour, if you worked 45 hours in a week you would have 5 hours of overtime that would be paid at $30 per hour.
Putting In Extra Time at Work
When I first started working for a local restoration company in Ventura, California, I was on the mold removal team. If you’ve ever seen green or black stuff growing on a wall in your house, my team would be the ones that suited up, set a containment area, and removed the bad stuff. Our workday was 730am to 330pm, I was going to night school and had a daughter on the way. I noticed some of my team members in another division would get after-hours calls to respond to water damage in local homes and businesses. When I found out they were getting paid a bonus to go plus their overtime I asked to be put on that list immediately.
Life is about opportunity, not convenience. If I was willing to be on-call for one week every 6 weeks, I often could make close to two weeks (or more) pay. This was money that I was able to use to pay cash for my associate's degree in criminal justice and tackle the debt from having a baby. Another cool thing you will learn, even if you have health insurance, there are still things you have to pay for when you have a medical procedure or create a human.
Finding the Right Work Team
Finding a quality team to work with makes the reality of work more enjoyable. Four questions to help you determine if you're on the right team:
Money is important, but like many things in life it is a tool. The more you learn about how the tool of money works and how to apply it to your situation, the better you are able to use it to build the life that you want.
A New Book for Young Workers
This content was adapted from the new book from The DYOJO and Jon Isaacson titled, Challenge Accepted: An Open Letter To Young People Entering The Workforce. Watch the video to learn more about Challenge Accepted.
Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.