When it comes to making change, there are two types of people: the amateur and the pro.
The professional shows up on time, and does the work. It may not be totally excellent, but the job gets done. It’s workmanlike.
The amateur says they don’t feel in the mood today. They have an achy neck. The weather is too nice. When on the job, the pro barely notices the weather.
The amateur writer says they don’t feel inspired to work, whereas the professional says, as William Faulkner did: “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired every day at nine o’clock.”
You tell your mind that you’re a pro. It’s as simple as that. You take your challenge – your One Big Change – seriously.
As a professional you deal with setbacks as they happen, and fix the problems. You don’t give up.
There are no excuses. Not tiredness: you work through the night if you have to. Not aches and pains: you disregard them. Not lack of resources: everyone lacks resources. And not fear: everyone has fears, but the professionals accept them and push past them.
|Excellence versus sloppy I generally leave my work colleagues to get on with their work, because they know best and they don’t need me to micro manage. But there are a few exceptions. We send out boxes of course material. And the label has to be on straight. It tells the recipient that we’re professionals. The contents will be of a high standard. The label is a proxy for excellence. Similarly, the label shouldn’t be creased. If you slap it carelessly on to the box, it doesn’t stick down perfectly and is liable to get crumpled. That’s another sign of amateurism. And any letters that go into the box shouldn’t be creased. They should be as pure as when they came from the paper manufacturer. If you hold paper by the corner, you get a crease. It’s like opening a new book and finding someone has already flipped though it, and creased the spine. It may sound like nit-picking. But it’s about dong a job properly, because we’re professionals.|
The pro mindset has come from sport and athletics, where the most successful are the committed. They’re purpose-driven and focussed. And that’s what you need to be. You’re self-disciplined, resilient, and competitive. You’re ready to accept suggestions for improvement (what amateurs call ‘criticism’). You’re a pro, not an amateur.
And why is this important? Because it’s hard to create change. It’s difficult. That’s why you need to flip your mind, and say I’m not going to do this as amateur. I’m not going to cave in. I’m a pro.
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