Do You Need Knowledge to Be an Authority?

Do You Need Knowledge to Be an Authority?


authorityHey everyone!

Okay, before you say it, I KNOW I was supposed to get this post out on Thursday. I did actually start it on Thursday, honest! I’ve just had a few things on these last couple of days that took longer than I was expecting, so I do apologise.

Last week I said that I would be talking about authority in my next post.

What do you think about when you think of the word, “authority”?

In the context of teaching and helping others, do you have to be overflowing with knowledge to be view as an authority?

By the way, when searching for a picture to place here using the keyword “authority”, of all the pictures I could use 26% of them featured writing implements! This really surprised me, but I thought, hey, why not go with the flow? So here’s a picture of a quill. Go figure!

Anyway, to make up for the delay, I decided to throw a bit of a curve ball and do something a little different, something I haven’t done before. I decided to give you a video presentation from an extremely talented, good-looking, charming entrepreneur!

Oops, hold on a second, I just need to take this phone call….



That’s right….

Oh. I see. The extremely talented, good-looking, charming entrepreneur can’t make it?

Oh that’s a shame….

What’s that you say? You’re going to send someone who’s even more talented, good-looking and charming? Great! Who is it?

Glenn who??

Shepherd? Never heard of him!

Oh well, I guess he’ll have to do!”

So, here’s a little presentation by little old me, mulling over the idea of being an authority and whether or not you need knowledge to be viewed as one. So sit back, relax and enjoy the whimsical musings of your host as I take you through a thought-provoking journey of wonder and enlightenment. Or something.

*By the way, I realise the focus is a little off. I have a new camera and am not quite used to it yet. Some may say that the blur could be considered a good thing, although why they would say such a thing, I can’t imagine – after all, you can’t see me as clearly! Oh……


To Summarise


So then, do you know something or are you known FOR something? Of course, knowledge is good and we should all be endeavouring to expand our knowledge and improve in our online efforts. But think about it for a moment: are people really impressed by someone who has a lot of knowledge?


But think about it this way: why are some of the most famous people in history famous (or, indeed, infamous)? Just think about some of these people:

Marie Curie

Did Marie Curie have a lot of knowledge? I don’t doubt that she did. But what do people think about when they hear her name?

“Oh Marie Curie – she was a knowledgeable lady!”

Whilst that was surely true, I don’t think that’s the first thought that pops into people’s minds. No, Marie Curie was made famous for her pioneering research into radioactivity.

Albert Einstein

“Albert Einstein – wasn’t he that knowledgeable bloke?”

Of course, Albert Einstein was made famous for his theory of relativity.

And what about bloggers? You may or may not know these, but I’ve no doubt that those who do instantly think of what they are known for:

Adrienne Smith

I’ll tell you what comes to my mind when I think of Adrienne – she’s the Engagement Superstar. Now, I do know that Adrienne is a very knowledgeable lady when it comes to blogging and engagement. However, it’s what she does with that knowledge that has given her the much-deserved reputation of Engagement Superstar.

Ryan Biddulph

Yes, I’m mentioning good ol’ Ryan again. Well, he deserves it, frankly! Again, what do I think of when I think about Ryan? I think of the fun, somewhat zany guy who always has a huge smile on his face and blogs from paradise. It’s actually quite apt that I mention Ryan here because just recently he wrote an excellent blog post all about branding. He’s certainly doing an excellent job of branding himself and I recommend you take a look at his post (after you’ve finished reading this and left a comment, of course!).

So don’t allow yourself to be held back by worrying about acquiring masses of knowledge. Rather, leverage what you have and strive to be known FOR something – your transparency, your humour, your willingness to help others, your style of writing, your approachability. Whatever it may be, leverage it and brand yourself with it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and got value from it. In all honesty, I haven’t yet decided what next week’s post will be about, but stay tuned! And don’t forget to share and comment. Oh and if you like my style but haven’t yet subscribed, then don’t forgot to pop your details into one of the little forms and you’ll get my awesome, free e-book that talks about how I went from zero to my first four-figure day.

There’s also a rumour that there may be an awesome, free, 7-part e-mail course that my subscribers get too. I don’t know where they get these ideas from. Oh well, I guess you’ll just have to sign up and find out for yourself! 😉

Until next time!

About Me

Glenn is a Certified iPro Partner

20 thoughts on “Do You Need Knowledge to Be an Authority?”

  1. Hi Glenn,

    Great message and I loved the video. It is good to see you in person together with your cat.

    Indeed, we don’t have to be all knowledgeable in order to become an authority. We have to position ourselves as authorities and keep learning and I like what Mike Dillard said in his Magnetic Sponsoring book, he said if you know a little bit more than your audience you are an authority.

    If we have to wait until reaching a certain level of knowledge, it will never happen. We ought to start right away positioning ourselves as authorities and share what we learn and be honest with what we don’t know as an authority or expert will never know everything. I like what Donna said: “We need to be students as well as authorities”.

    Thanks Glenn for a great post and video. Enjoy the weekend ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted…The Power Of Purpose!!!My Profile

  2. Hi Glenn,

    Well, I haven’t been here in a while, but nice to visit again.

    What you’re talking about here made me think that’s why it’s very important to understand what our purpose in life. What are we good at? What do we love to do?

    If we find out and use such skill and calling, we should be known and remembered for it.

    No, we do not have to be all that knowledgeable to start and become an authority. As time goes on we get more experience and become more knowledgeable.

    Have a great weekend!
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted…Je Suis Charlie The Huge MarchMy Profile

  3. Hi Glenn,

    What a great video you have done for us! The word “authority” can be taken in many ways.

    I like the way you told the story to us about Henry Ford! His “authority” was all about what he could attain. When trying to bring him down, he proved his authority in court. Gosh I never knew that one!

    When we are teaching others, it’s ok to say no…I don’t know that, but I’ll get the answer to your question asap! We cannot know everything and never will. We need to be students as well as “authorities”

    When we say I don’t know..only goes to prove that we are honest. As long as we get the answer to that person right away and help them. We can still be in the place of authority.

    We have to ask ourselves “am I really qualified to do this?” I think the answer comes when we have done something and achieved it. Then we can share it with others. As long as we are honest it is all good.

    The worst thing we can do is use those “excuses” that we don’t know it all.

    Thanks for this lovely video! Love your cat BTW

    donna merrill recently posted…Sales Funnels In 2015My Profile

    1. Hi Donna,

      Thanks for the awesome comment. And I’m glad you love Sylvester – I love him too. 🙂

      I didn’t know that story about Henry Ford either until I came across it in Think and Grow Rich. It’s a cool story though, huh?

      Yes, it’s so important to always be students. It’s when we think we know everything when the real problems arise. It’s also important to recognise our achievements and skills, though. With regards to Imposter Syndrome, there was psychological research done in the early 1980s that estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves frauds. This isn’t because they’ve done anything wrong, they just have difficulty in internalising their achievements, thus questioning their qualifications. Apparently, 70% of all people feel this way at some time!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, it’s always a pleasure. 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Live Events Can Be Life-Changing EventsMy Profile

  4. Hey Glenn,

    This article reminded me of a story I heard years ago about a scholar and river raftsman. A scholar needing to get to the other side of a great river stopped a river raftsman to take him across the river. As they were going along on the river, the scholar asked him if he knew any philosophy? The raftsman answered no and the scholar said that it was too bad, he had missed out on a third of his life. Continuing on, the scholar asked the raftsman if he has read any great literature? Again the raftsman answers no in which the scholar replies that he has missed out on another third of his life. Suddenly at that moment, the raft hit a rock and started to break up! The raftsman turned to the scholar and asked if he knew how to swim? Panicked, the scholar cried out NO! The raftsman said that’s too bad, you just forfeited your whole life. 🙂
    Michel Snook recently posted…Setting Goals and Taking ActionMy Profile

    1. Hey Michael,

      That’s an interesting story, I’ve never heard that one before.

      I’ll be honest and say, at first reading, it puzzled me a tiny bit. After the second reading I thought I got it. After the third reading I definitely got it (give me a break, I’ve only just got up! 😛 ).

      I won’t comment on the application of the illustration, I’ll just leave it here and let people work it out. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Hope the rest of your week is awesome!

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…3 Approaches to Online SuccessMy Profile

  5. Wow Glenn I’m getting some serious burn here!! Thanks dude! I figure that if a broke ass security guard can become a world traveling, pro, full-time blogger I’d say that building your experience based can make you an authority….as for knowledge, well, it only becomes useful when you use it and in truth you can succeed quite nicely by leveraging the knowledge of others.

    The biggies you noted are cool studies. Marie C and Albert Einstein were world changers. In Albie’s case he said imagination was as critical as knowledge – or something like that – and taking his words to the bank we can see that folks who develop a name or brand often played the imagination game or the energy game before they acquired knowledge.

    Glenn, cool message and loving the video! Keep up the inspired work!


    PS; Nice oval 😉
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Review of the Blogging from Paradise 2 Book Deluxe ComboMy Profile

    1. Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for the awesome comment, bro.

      I hadn’t heard of that quote from Albert, but I’ve just looked it up and apparently he said:

      “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world”.

      I do like that. I think that’s an important statement, very profound.

      I’m glad you like the oval. I have a few video templates that I use from time to time, but I think this one’s my favourite. It depends on what’s in the video as to whether it’s fitting or not, but in this case it works. 🙂

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by. I hope you have a great week ahead.

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Check Out This Big Orange!My Profile

  6. Hey Glenn
    Nice post and video :>
    I have also heard that story about Ford and the knowledge issue. Although interestingly I listened to a podcast yesterday from Tim Ferriss where a memory expert said although it seems pointless to accumulate random facts, it actually exercises your brain in a certain way you cannot do by just looking something up. So there goes that idea :>

    Anyway, the idea of expertise and knowledge is an interesting one. I hate the expert title to begin with (as it is relative – you know more than him, so to him you are an expert). But I do think we can all become a so called expert in what we love and pursue daily.

    We strive to help others, and use that expert knowledge to do so. But we also never stop learning, and to say that now we are done and an actual “expert” is wrong. I help people all the time and often feel like I don’t know enough, but by trying and solving their problem you learn a little more each time.

    Just gotta keep learning and trying in my opinion. And if someone labels you an expert along the way, so be it :>

    good to see you live on video
    Ashley recently posted…SEO Tools To Turn You Into a ProMy Profile

    1. Hi Ashley,

      Good to see you, buddy. 🙂

      That’s an interesting point about exercising the brain. I’d have to agree that the brain needs this. You can’t just sit back, not give it any kind of stimulation and expect it to work well. I wonder, though, if the required stimulation and exercise could be achieved just as well by other tasks, even old-fashioned reading. After all, just because someone can spout out a load of general knowledge facts doesn’t mean they’re smart, it just means they have a good memory. 😉 I think that’s the nub of the matter that Napoleon Hill was driving at – Henry Ford was a smart man and he knew where his mental focus was better directed.

      Yes indeed, the term, “Expert”, is a relative one. I think it’s one that’s so often misapplied too. As you say, you may know more than someone else so, to him, you’re an expert. It’s like the word, “Perfect”. People often view perfection as being something far grander and more profound than it actually is. All perfection means is that something fits the purpose for which it was designed. So again, so long as something does the intended job, it’s perfect. And what may be perfect to one person may not be perfect to another.

      I remember coming across a great saying with regards to stopping learning and thinking you’re done, but I can’t for the life of me recall what it is. But to stop and call yourself an expert, believing that you can’t learn any more is a very arrogant view. In fact, I think that this is potentially just as inhibitive as not thinking enough of yourself. At the end of the day we need to recognise what we do know, where our skills lie and how we can help others, but equally we need to recognise that we can always improve and always learn more.

      I like how you highlighted learning a little more each time by trying and solving a person’s problem. That’s so true. It’s like anything – we get better the more we apply what we know and hone our skills. It’s the same with teaching – the more we do it the more we can improve. I’ve taught many people to play the guitar over many years and this is something I know to be true from personal experience.

      You can expect to see more video from me from hereon in. I’m not sure why I haven’t done more of it before, as being on camera honestly isn’t something that bothers me. But as I said in my post, I’ve just got a new camera and also I’ll soon be investing in some pro lighting and green screen, so I’ll be doing a lot more!

      Thanks for your awesome insights, Ashley. I hope all is going well, mate. 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Churn and Burn Blogging – Should You Do It?My Profile

  7. Quite simply: An Authority figure is on who has the knowledge or knows how to find it.

    I completely agree with your post Glenn. With the millions of websites out there and people sifting through the haystack to find their all too precious needle, if they happen to stumble upon your website and you either have their answer or can point them in the right direction for it, you’ll definitely be looked at as a go-to source should a similar issue arise.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Absolutely! At the end of the day, when people are searching for a solution, that’s all they care about – the solution. Whether you provide it to them through existing knowledge or you can provide it to them by means of pointing them in the right direction or relaying the info, so long as they have their solution then they’ll be happy.

      Thanks so much for your great comment. I hope you have a great week ahead. 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Five Essential Reasons to Attend Live EventsMy Profile

  8. Hi Glenn,

    Thank you for another awesome post! I was a couple days late in getting my post out too.

    I have a long way to go on the authority subject, in the mean time, when I need help, all I have to do is holler. Learning the technical side of things is the hardest for me. I’m so grateful to have you and the group in my life to teach me.

    Your so right about the geniuses in the world and how they surround themselves with knowledgeable people in their niche. It frees up the mind to go on to bigger and better ideas.

    I don’t know why, but I really have acute fear of the technical side of the computer. I;m afraid to break something that can’t be fixed. It’s a terrible fear. I am going to overcome that fear by applying myself and learn how to use the stupid computer. All I have to do is try and ask for help. All I have to do is follow the leaders in my niche.

    Thank you again for the awesome post and video!

    You have a great week.

    Linda Schrier recently posted…Quality not Quantity in Internet Marketing CommentsMy Profile

    1. Hi Linda,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment, as always. 🙂

      It appears that you’ve sorted out your Gravatar, well done!

      The technical side of things can be a challenge for those who don’t know much in that area. Hopefully my forthcoming course will help to take at least some of the mystery away with regards to what we need to know and work with regarding our blogs, etc. It’s getting there, I’ve just a few more things to sort out before I can let it go live. 🙂

      Try not to let the fear of the computer get to you. A lot of the time the answers are right there in front of us, especially these days with computers (on the whole) being much more user-friendly. Unfortunately, though, the fear can blind you to the obvious. Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns and go for it. That can be easier said than done though, I know!

      Keep going and keep growing! 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…How Can I Keep Going?My Profile

  9. Man oh man, I couldn’t have said it better. I think that most people have the belief that they have to had massive success from a monetary standpoint in order to be an authority.

    Here is one definition of authority: an expert on a subject

    So what makes you an expert?

    Quick Example: If I have never been able to generate a lead on line and I just happen to pick up a course from someone who taught me on the subject material, and I learn it. Not only do I learn it, but I go out and apply it and get results, I would now consider myself an authority on the subject matter.

    Now granted the more I do the subject matter the more experience I will have and therefore much more of an authority, but if I can do this feat anytime I choose (generate leads) I consider myself capable of sharing with someone else how to do it.

    The problem with most of those starting out, it’s as you mentioned, they think they have to learn everything before they can make that claim.

    What you don’t realize is that you only hinder yourself if you don’t walk in this place of authority. No one will want to listen to you or follow you as a leader.

    It’s self sabotage in its finest form. You just gotta get out of your own head and do what you know. When you do that others will perceive you as the way you perceive yourself.

    Hope that helps and as always Glenn another great post and video.

    Jerry Handy recently posted…How to Blog Your Way to Massive Online SuccessMy Profile

    1. Hey Jerry,

      Awesome stuff, bro! Just like Alan who commented above, you mentioned a phrase that I love: “You just gotta get out of your own head and do what you know.”

      Pow! Love it, dude!

      All this does remind me of myself and my own attitude towards things and it’s something I have mentioned before. I remember way back when I first started to play the guitar. When the subject would come up in a group of people, I’d get asked, “Oh do you play?” My response would be either, “I’m just learning” or, “Well I’m not very good.”

      I remember thinking, “At what point can I actually call myself a guitarist and not just someone who’s learning?” I don’t recall exactly when it was, but I came to the realisation that once I could play then I was a guitarist. Sure I was new, sure I had a lot to learn (more than 24 years on and I’m still learning!), but I was a guitarist.

      So it all comes down to what you said there about getting out of our own head, as that’s where the hindrance occurs. That’s where all those negative, doubting thoughts reside. You have to get out of there, approach things head on with the attitude of, “I am!”, “I can!” and “I will!” and position yourself correctly. It goes without saying that all this needs to be done in the right way, but if we ensure that all we do is honest, ethical and transparent then we’ll do it.

      Thanks for your valuable insights, buddy. Catch ya on the flip-side! 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…When Your Business Hands You LemonsMy Profile

  10. Hi Glen

    Glad I came across this post. I used that phrase all the time when I was a financial adviser. “I’m not sure of the answer, but I will find it out for you”. As you say, this is not a weakness – it is the opposite. It makes you an authority.

    Great video subject and not something I have thought about for a long time. If you know 5% more than your customer, that makes you an expert in their eyes. You don’t have to fake it, you just need to be able to find out the information and communicate it to them in a digestible form.
    Alan Chestnutt recently posted…The Journey Begins… First Steps In Internet MarketingMy Profile

    1. Hi Alan,

      Welcome to my blog. 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post and it’s good that you can relate to it from hour own, personal experience – that of an expert! 😉

      “You just need to be able to find out the information and communicate it to them in a digestible form.” That explains the process in a nutshell – I like it!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your insights. I wish you the greatest of success in your IM journey!

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Check Out This Big Orange!My Profile

  11. Hi Glenn.
    Great post as usual. I know all to well about the authority thing. I remember when I was a lead of an area in a company I worked for many years ago. The operators of the machines considered me the authority, not only because I ran the room but also because I had the knowledge necessary to run the machines plus had an understanding of how they ran on the inside. I didn’t have the knowledge required to fix them when they broke, but my knowledge of what was causing the problem allowed me to tell the technicians where to look first, and I was usually right in the ball park. The techs would tell me how I made their jobs easier by being able to give more details instead of just saying that the machine isn’t working properly. My favorite saying when I was training someone was, “Ask me anything. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it for you.” All I would have to do was ask the techs or the engineer of the area. So, even though I didn’t have all the knowledge, I was still considered an authority. That’s pretty much what we go through here. Someone needs knowledge and if we don’t have it all ourselves, we go to our mentor, or find the knowledge from other sources and either give it away or sell it. I hope I am correct with this way of looking at it. Anyway, compared to others just starting their journeys, I guess I could be looked to as somewhat of an authority with the knowledge I’ve gained and used so far, as you probably are also.

    Wow, where did all that come from?? Lol!!

    Have a good one…..Chris
    Chris DeeWaard recently posted…A Year In Transition Comes To An EndMy Profile

    1. Hey Chris,

      Dude, I reckon you’re spot-on with that! And what’s more, you’re speaking from personal experience. I had a similar experience in my old job. I single-handedly ran the mail room for the company I was working for, which required the operation (all at once) of a number of machines. When these machines when faulty we had to call in an engineer (who we called Phil Collins because he was a spitting image of him!) and I picked up a lot of tips from him.

      As time went on I ended up knowing more about those machines than anyone else in the company even those who’d worked there for longer and had worked the machines before I had. I was considered the ‘go to’ person when it came to those machines. Now, the irony of all this was that I ended up having to train up the manager of what was soon to become a whole new mail department based around that job. Notice that I wasn’t given a promotion – no, I had to train up the person who was going to get a promotion to do the job I was already doing! Anyway, that’s a whole other can o’ worms!

      After I stopped working in the mail room it never ran as smoothly and the machines weren’t kept working optimally as they had before. When there were breakdowns, the internal phone would ring and I would be requested to go and fix the machines. Obviously there were times when we’d have to phone Phil Collins, but I was considered to be the authority on those machines, even though I was really just an operator with a very basic knowledge of their maintenance.

      They key point was I was known for having a lot of experience with the machines and for being able to get them running if they ran into issues. So, it wasn’t so much what I did or didn’t know that I was known for, rather the results that I could get, i.e. tweaking the machines so that they ran optimally and getting them running again when things went wrong. I didn’t have a reputation for having knowledge, I had a reputation for being able to diagnose the problem and usually being able to get things running.

      So with what we do we need to find a niche within ourselves in which we really excel and then leverage that. Think of some of the Marketers and mentors that you know and admire – what would you say Alex Jeffreys is known for? What about Dean Holland? Think of anyone whom you look up to and think about just what it is that makes them stand out.

      I actually wrote a blog post a while back that talks about this aspect in some more detail, you may find it interesting: “Your Business Needs YOU!”

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Chris, it’s always appreciated. You have yourself a fantastic weekend, buddy. 🙂

      Glenn Shepherd recently posted…Why I Rejected Hundreds of Dollars Per MonthMy Profile

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