This is a question that came up just recently & also something that I’d come across years ago when someone asked “When are they no longer the noob?”
At the time the answer someone gave was “When you don’t have to ask that question!” Being relatively new to the field at the time, it wasn’t me that gave the answer and being fair I didn’t have one, even if I was the one who was asked.
When are you no longer the apprentice?
But at some point we look back on our journeys whether they’re personal or professional and only when we reflect do we realize how far we’ve come. These journeys are slow & arduous and the progress can be so incremental that we don’t realize that we actually make progress.
So whatever your field is; When are you no longer the apprentice? When can you call yourself the master?
When thinking about this there is no single point where the change takes place, but your Google search history is a far better gauge of where you’re at. It might seem abstract but keep reading.
It’s what you’re looking for.
My conclusion is that there are four key factors that determine whether you’re an apprentice or a master.
1. When your questions change or when you ask different types of questions.
Let’s use the health and fitness industry as an example. There are literally millions of people who have asked; “How to lose weight.”
We have to accept that this is a very generic question for the fitness industry, and an easy question that everyone at some point has asked. Most likely this is the ‘first’ question that anyone asks when they want to ‘get into shape’ whereas someone with more experience may start to ask “How to lose fat?” or “How to build Muscle” or even better “How to boost your metabolism?” In the fitness industry, trainers and instructors typically want clients who ask these questions because they are already more mature than clients who just want to ‘Get into shape.’
2. When you start to research your own answers, and having the confidence to know your research is correct.
Let keep running the fitness industry for consistency. Whether you’re a client wanting to strip fat or boost your metabolic rate eventually you’ll start to do your own research rather than perhaps simply taking what your trainer gives you as gospel.
This is where you’re going to start having the ability to sift through all of the noise such as banana diets, lemon diets, soup diets, and start looking for higher quality information which will be more suited to your needs.
When you finally start to find consistent information from independent sources you’ll have the confidence to determine that what you have found is something that you can work with and learn from.
3. When you start helping others—you know where they’ve come from.
Give it enough time and research and you’re going to start getting results. Nothing is going to attract attention like progress, and once you start to make progress people around you will likely want to know how ‘you got into shape’
At this point in your experience, you’ll have the ability to help & educate others but also to know what question to ask when you start to provide guidance.
The biggest take away to know about here is that the advice and guidance you’re going to give is already going to be more advanced than what you would have searched for when you started ‘your‘ journey.
This means that you are more advanced and skilled than what people are typically looking for.
4. When the questions you ask, haven’t been asked. You can’t find your answers any longer, and you are doing new things.
The final step in knowing that you’re no longer the apprentice is when you begin to look for answers that are not readily available or when you start doing your own research & experiments.
Remember you started your journey with ‘How to lose weight’ and you may have found information about cutting calories.
As an advanced self-taught fitness expert you’re going to be looking for information in the fields of ‘Insulin Manipulation’ or ‘Cortisol reduction’ . . . the list of advanced key word searches is endless which will likely see you looking through research papers on page 2 of Google or beyond rather than Instagram posts.
So when are you no longer the apprentice?
From experience (regardless of the industry) I can say that it comes down to these four areas which all relate to the questions that you ask, and what you look for in your field, and not just about how long you have been doing something for.
After all you can cut calories for years but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert!