In his book, Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield teaches us how to navigate the passage from the amateur life to professional practice.
These are my takeaways from reading the book.
A professional is courageous.
When we are merely a cog in a huge system, we can find places to hide. The professional has no such luxury and must face criticism, blame, and indifference from others by herself. The professional must also confront her own doubts and demons from within. The professional must display the courage in embracing the role she has chosen and committed to doing.
The professional will not be distracted.
The professional carries the water, chops wood, and do her work heads-down. The amateur spends time on social media instead.
The professional is ruthless with himself.
The professional is very aware of the standard and the level of excellence his work needs to achieve. More importantly, the professional holds himself accountable for achieving the standard. When his work falls short of that standard of excellence, the professional does not hesitate to call himself out to do better work.
The professional has compassion for herself.
While the professional holds herself to a high standard, she also realizes that the work is not just a serious business alone. The professional takes steps to ensure that she gets the serious work done and feeling fulfilled at the same time.
The profession lives in the present.
The amateur spends more time reliving the past glories or living under the fear of the unknown future. The professional wants none of those distractions and focuses only on the work at hand in the present.