The Professional Mindset

The book that I am currently reading is from Steven Pressfield called The War of Art. Over the past year or so, I have heard numerous people in both the business and coaching world give high praise for this short read. For some reason, it sat on my shelf for a few months before I chose it as my next victim. After sitting down with it a few times, I regret not rushing to the store as soon as I heard about it.

This post will not be a book review but rather, I will discuss an aspect of it that stuck out to me. There is a section where Pressfield explains that in order to win the battle against what he calls Resistance (the excuses standing in the way of doing our work), we need to have a professional mindset. Think about the aspect of your day job and what makes you a professional. Whether you are a lawyer, teacher, or a contractor these following aspects apply to you.

A professional shows up every day – rain or shine, they show up to do their job. The professional doesn’t hit the snooze button. They wake up every day ready to tackle the day’s work. The amateur only does the work when the stars are all aligned and they feel like it.

A professional stays until the work is done – the workday doesn’t always end at 5 o’clock. It ends when the tasks are completed. The amateur leaves when they get tired, regardless of what was accomplished.

A professional is committed for the long run – Rome wasn’t built in a day. The pro realizes this and does the daily work. They know that eventually, that building goes up, that book gets written and the project gets done. They don’t get discouraged with doing the necessary, unglamorous work. They know it is essential for the overall goal. The amateur fails to see the big picture. They easily get bogged down with the mundane work and eventually quite or worse, they never start.

A professional realizes that the stakes are high – they realize that if they don’t do their job, they could get fired. No job = no money = no food on the table. It is a high stakes game in the business world and the professional respects that and puts in the effort. The amateur is in it for fun. As soon as obstacles arise, they bail because they fail to see the consequences.

Every one of us possesses these aspects in some form or another with our day job. But what if we could apply these to our training? What if we tried to turn our mindset from someone who goes to the gym for fun into a professional? What differences would that make?

Here’s what our professional training mindset would look like.

We show up every training session. Doesn’t matter if we had a bad day at work or our newborn baby kept us up all night. We find a way to show up.

We stay until the training is complete. We don’t skimp out on accessory work because we’re tired.

We stay until every set is finished.

We are committed for the long run. We have a plan and stick to it. We set goals weeks and months in advance and know where we are going. We aren’t hitting PR’s every day. We realize that they take time.

We know the stakes are high. We realize what a bad week of training can do to the overall program. We put in the work because if we don’t, we get beat.

I wonder how our training and results would change from making the mindset switch from an amateur to a professional.

Try it and let’s find out.


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