win/earn your spurs
win (one's) spurs
To prove one's skill in a particular area and earn distinction or a good position as a result. Once you've watched the triplets for an entire day, then you'll have won your spurs as their caretaker, as far as I'm concerned. After getting my bachelor's degree, I won my spurs as a teacher by working short-term contracts in small urban schools for two years.
earn one's spurs
Fig. to prove oneself. After that rodeo, all the cowboys agreed that Sally had earned her spurs. He felt that he had earned his spurs when he received his Ph.D.
earn your spursor
win your spursmainly BRITISH
COMMON If you earn your spurs or win your spurs, you show you are capable of doing something well, and can be relied on to do it well in the future. How did he earn his spurs for the toughest police job in the country? Kampelman had won his spurs as U.S. negotiator at the Madrid talks. Note: In medieval times, when a man was made a knight, he was sometimes given a pair of golden spurs.
win (or earn) your spursgain your first distinction or honours. informal
In the Middle Ages a knight who had won his spurs had attained knighthood by performing an act of bravery: a pair of gilt spurs were the distinguishing mark of a knight.