win one's spurs

win / gain /earn one's spurs
(to achieve recognition for one’s accomplishments, to distinguish oneself in one’s field, to prove one’s worth or ability; to achieve something that proves that you are skilled in a particular type of activity and to therefore win the respect of other people) — отличиться, выдвинуться, добиться известности, признания, проявить себя; составить себе имя, приобрести имя {от средневекового обычая награждать золотыми шпорами отличившихся воинов при посвящении в рыцари)

Example: After that rodeo, all the cowboys agreed that Sally had earned her spurs. (thefreedictionary.com)

Example: He felt that he had earned his spurs when he received his Ph.D. (thefreedictionary.com)

win one's political/scientific/etc spurs добиться известности, признания на политическом / научном поприще; добиться известности, признания в политической/научной сфере; прояввить себя на политическом / научном поприще

Example 1: He won his political spurs fighting hospital closures during his time as a local councillor in Bristol. (CALD)

Example 2: Sir K.S. Krishnan won his scientific spurs by opening peep-holes into the interiors of molecules.

Example 3: Jude Morgan has already won his literary spurs with compelling fictional biographies of the Brontes and Bryon.

Related vocabulary
[make a name for oneself ]