Going pro

There seems to be hundreds, even thousands, of overnight success stories out there.

The reality is that success rarely, if ever, comes as a result of very little effort.

Whatever your chosen endeavour, be it losing weight, or building a business, or writing a book, or learning a musical instrument, you are going to have to decide if you are a professional or an amateur.

By professional, I don’t just mean getting paid for it, although it’s easier to explain this idea in that context. Steven Pressfield wrote about what a professional is in The War of Art, by relating it to what we do for a job. The salient points are:

  1. You show up every day. Even if it’s just so you don’t get fired.
  2. You show up no matter what. Even if you are sick or hung over.
  3. You are committed over the long haul. You might have a different job with a different company next year. Either way you’ll still be working.
  4. The stakes are high and real. It’s about survival.
  5. You are committed to mastering the technique of your job.
  6. You have a sense of humour about it.
  7. You allow yourself to be judged in the real world.  You accept that your work will receive praise or criticism.

Now compare this to an amateur:

  1. He does not show up every day. Just when he feels like it.
  2. He does not show up no matter what. Just when it’s convenient.
  3. He’s committed for the short term only.
  4. She is not interested in mastering the technique.
  5. She does not have a sense of humour about failure.
  6. She does not expose herself to judgement in the real world.

Whatever your ambition, approaching it from a professional perspective will give you the best possible chance of success.

You can stay on the sidelines as an amateur, or get in the game as a pro. You decide.