When we follow our passion, we all go through different stages. This post will be about the last stage: turning pro. But let me begin with a recap. First we are overly excited about that new hobby of ours. We get hooked on how quickly we improve, we can barely keep up with the progress. Then, we encounter the first road bumps. Obstacles appear in front of us. Our progress slows down. You are in stage two and encounter a first test of will. You could call it a plateau or a dip, and you can check the links if you want to learn more about this stage. This is where most people give up. If you make it past that and persist, you will further progress. It is however no guarantee that you will ever create tangible results. If you really want to commit to your craft wholeheartedly, you need to change your mindset. You need to turn pro.
I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed – Eminem
Amateur vs. Pro
Turning pro is not necessarily about making your passion your profession. Rather, it is about treating your passion like your profession. Steven Pressfield describes the difference brilliantly in his book “The war of art”. Here is how he describes professionals:
- We show up every day
- We show up no matter what
- We stay on the job all day
- We are committed over the long haul
- The stakes are high and real
- We accept remuneration for our labour
- We do not overidentify with our job
- We master the technique of our jobs
- We have a sense of humour about our jobs
- We receive praise and blame in the real world
This is how we all treat our jobs. Whether we enjoy the type of work we do or not, we take it seriously. Pressfield points out that most people will never accomplish anything in the area they are passionate about if they don’t stop treating it like a hobby and acting like an amateur. Instead, turning pro is crucial if you want to further develop your craft.
It is one thing to study war and other to live the warrior’s life – Telamon of Arcadia
Steven Pressfield on turning pro
In ‘The war of art’ Steven Pressfield stresses the importance of battling resistance. Resistance can come in every form, he says that basically everything standing between you and your craft is resistance. Everything your mind comes up with and claims to have more importance than your craft is resistance. Your job is to overcome it. Now, this is where the amateur and the pro differ. The amateur gives in to resistance. There is something interesting on TV, you are tired, you had a bad day, you don’t feel creative right now. All of this is resistance.
After turning pro you still feel this resistance. In fact, you will probably still feel it every day. The only difference is that you let it not stand in your way. You are a professional. You show up and you get the job done. It might be hard; you might get distracted; you might get discouraged. But you show up, day in and day out, and you do your work. This is what it means to turn pro.