I had a really great conversation about this topic, and I understand why old school or novelty designers don’t like the “new school” kids on the block. They take two seconds to create a—dare I say it?—“logo”, slap on some color, and call themselves an “expert.” However, it’s important to learn the trade and the craft of choice. Sure, you should be confident enough to call yourself a professional, but be sure your work is also up to par.
Now don't get me wrong, the mental shift to where you start taking yourself and your work seriously is important. Extremely so. After all, if you want to be a professional, it’s important to start envisioning yourself as one now. But you also have to always maintain a humble hunger for more knowledge in and out of the field.
Prematurely considering yourself an "expert" is counterproductive to your professionalism.
Before you think of yourself as an expert or as great, ask yourself: what have you done? This is important, because no matter how you feel about yourself, it’s your work that reflects the knowledge that you have and the depth of your skills.
You want to be the best? You want to be an expert? Don’t be afraid to connect with others so that they can give you feedback. The testimony of other people is always important. Your work can't be great simply because you think it is. If it's great work, other people need to recognize this.
Don't underestimate the social dimensions of greatness. Why be the best in your field? Why shoot for being great at your craft? Outside of feeling good about yourself, what's the point of being an expert?
The point of being an expert is less about individual acclaim and more about making a meaningful contribution to the collective field. It’s about mastering your craft in a way that advances the flourishing of your clients, your field, and thus, even the greater culture at large.
This puts the emphasis on the actual work that you produce, and not on your title. Being "the best" isn't about thinking highly of yourself or being praised, but about the benefit you bring to others.
The word "expert," has to be objectively earned in a social context with hard work, and not just adopted by yourself in effort to boost your own self-esteem. Whether this social context is simply a very good reputation amongst your clients or global recognition for great work. The reality is someone has to actually be benefiting from your servicesas opposed to you patting yourself on the back for your own work.
Being "the best" isn't about thinking highly of yourself or being praised, but about the benefit you bring to others.
PRO TIP: Both parties should always benefit, ask yourself how is this benefiting my client? How is this benefiting me?