You know it when you see friends doing it.
They use words that belittle what they do:
“I’m an aspiring artist.”
“I’m a wannabe writer.”
“I’m trying to be a photographer.”
The problem isn’t them though. The problem is you do this to yourself too.
In this essay I’ll lay out exactly why some people are able to “turn pro” (in a Steven Pressfield kind of way), while others are stuck pretending and failing. Plus, we’ll figure out how you will turn pro today.
Why Amateurs Are More Common
It is perhaps easiest to think about this “amateur vs. professional” mindset in terms of athletics.
When you’re getting paid big bucks to play in front of thousands of people in person and millions on television, it’s easier to be in the professional mindset. Your life is your job and your job is your life. You eat, sleep, and breathe whatever sport you’re a pro at.
Amateurs on the other hand may have to balance two or three “jobs” at a time. While they are striving for greatness in one area of expertise they are also working nights and weekends bartending so they can pay rent. They spend hours distracted and feeling sorry for themselves with mental escapes like television, video games, and movies.
The pro put in the hours at the gym after everyone else had left. The pro made no excuses for why they couldn’t do a particular move. They learned how to do it through repetition, dedication, and practice.
The amateur calls it quits early. The amateur looks at a pro and makes excuses for why they should be that successful too. Instead of working harder to get where they want to be, they get jealous and complain to their peers. They blame other people for their own lack of success.
Lucky for you, there is one simple reason that turning pro is easier for you than it ever is for an athlete: gatekeepers.
Why and How You Will Turn Pro Today
Here is the good news.
Going from amateur to professional as a crafter, maker, or business owner isn’t actually under someone else’s control. In fact, it has nothing to do with revenue, analytics, or subscribers either.
You can turn pro today if you want to because all it takes is a commitment to a single decree.
Today I am turning pro. No more excuses. No more complaining. No more bullshit. From this day forward, everything I do will be in pursuit of perfecting my craft, providing value, and staying focused on one project at a time. Tweet this
It is simple, really. You’re committing yourself to a cause. To one cause. To your cause.
You’re putting away your bad habits and unnecessary distractions so you will put your head down and do the work. You’re creating a mindset for dedication, focus, and clarity.
And if you ask anyone that has turned pro, that shift makes all the difference.
Woo-woo Mindset Mumbo Jumbo
Now, I know this is getting out of the technical and step-by-step list posts that cause people to have aneurisms trying to click the share button fast enough, but this mental shift is both life and business changing.
Repeat: Life. And. Business. Changing.
When you start to view things based on whether or not a pro would do it that way, it will revolutionize how you work.
- Would a pro hire that amazing designer, no matter the cost?
- Would a pro have a strict content schedule that they never miss?
- Would a pro track actionable metrics regularly and use them to make big decisions?
- Would a pro hire an actual accountant instead of wasting a few days each April trying to figure it out themselves?
- Would a pro get wasted every night at a conference or spend extra hours in their room going through their presentation just one more time?
You get the point. This mindset shift changes how you think about every decision in your business. And once you turn pro, there is no going back.
I’d challenge each and every one of you to sit down on a rainy fall evening, spend an hour reading Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro, make the decision to turn pro, and not remember that moment in time for the rest of your life.
I knew where I was when I turned pro. So does my wife.
Where were you?