What, or who, do you think about when you hear the word “professional?” You may think of an athlete, business owner, corporate tycoon, etc, but what is a professional, really?
I used to think that you were considered a professional if you were getting paid, and making a living doing something. Maybe that was just my ego or something I heard from someone else. I’m not sure, but that was the definition I used for many years.
I had an epiphany recently about what it means to be a professional, rather than just what the definition of professional was. The main difference, to me, between a professional and an amateur is the mindset.
Let’s think about it from the standpoint of an athlete. Do you think Micheal Jordan, Tom Brady, or Derek Jeter take sick days or don’t go to work just because they don’t feel well? I don’t think so. They know that they have to play when they are hurt or sick during a game, so why should an off day be any different? If you ask a teammate, they will tell you that each of these players, arguably the best to play the game in their given sport, are at practice before and after everyone else. That dedication and persistence are what propelled them to the top.
That’s good news, right?! That means that it’s not necessarily who has the most money, or talent who get to the top. It’s the one that works the hardest at doing the right things. That’s right. It’s not just about working hard. It’s about working hard and getting ready to take on opportunities when they present themselves. That hard work doesn’t guarantee that you will get the opportunities, but it does guarantee that you will be ready if one comes along.
I have used the excuse so many times to goof off and not do what needs to be done that day, but that just makes it easier to do the same thing the next day, and the day after that. So the next time you are thinking about giving up, or not following through, remember that if you want to be considered a professional, you must get in there and get things done. I know I will.