Last week, I had to listen to Jeff Goins. He’s the one drilling me in the art of writing. As I listened, he was dissecting the differences between an amateur and a pro.
Why do I think you need this?
If you want to build a niche for yourself in a career, my dear, you can’t afford to be an amateur. You can start from there. Everyone does. But remain there? Mba (no in Igbo language).
Let’s see what I got.
1. Amateurs wait for clarity while pros take action.
Now I’ve learned that clarity comes with action. We must perform our way into professionalism. We must first call ourselves what we want to become and then get to the work of mastery.
Hmmm… My tongue almost went dry when I got this. One of my quotes illustrates it as this: Purpose is never clear. It only gets clearer.
This does not mean wake up and just move in blindness. Have you noticed that we tend to take more time waiting, in the name of clarity, that we don’t act for years?
I’ve applied this especially with this blog. I didn’t become a blogger by becoming a blogger “first” before starting this platform. I knew I wanted to share something. Then, Chuks started…
(Personal Message: If you want to start a blog, stop waiting to save $10. Start with the free plan like me while you write and plan your way to a paid plan. If you have the cash, go ahead.)
See his line again“… We must perform ourselves to professionalism.”
2. Amateurs want to arrive while pros get better.
For the longest time, I just wanted to be recognized for my genius. It wasn’t until I started putting myself around teachers and around the teaching of true masters that I realized how little I knew and how much I still had to grow as a writer.
One major reason this is so is the amateur most times is not vision-driven. He wants to make money. The pro is vision-driven. Yes, he wants money but it’s beyond money.
Where I work now is a result of a passion to be better. Sure, we observe milestones but we don’t settle for it. Pros have growth mindset.
3. Amateurs practise as much as they have to while pros never stop.
I used to write a few hours on a random Saturday every third week of the month. I never got better, and I couldn’t understand why. Then I started writing 500 words a day for as little as twenty to thirty minutes per day. Within a year, I had found my voice.
I’ve always wanted to spend time with teens. It’s been a dream. But, I just hung there.
Howbeit, when I started having trainings, every Thursdays for an hour, apart from daily one-on-one coaching sessions with them, I saw the difference it made. Talking with adults and talking with teens are not the same. I didn’t get it until I practised it for at least two years and I still do it today and more.
Since this year began, I’ve started lists of online training packages for teens like Teens Career Chat with Chuks amongst others. Why? Continuous practice.
4. Amateurs leap for their dreams while pros build a bridge.
You have to put the time in, but it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. I took a leap every time I started a new blog. I did this eight times, every time I had a new idea. But none of those blogs stuck until I decided to stick with one, which is the blog I write today.
Why do amateurs leap? What happens when they leap?
Most times it’s because it’s not a long-term vision. They want to learn to run before learning to walk. After the leaps, if they fail, they quit. It’s meant to be a step at a time.
Don’t confuse this with Grant Cardone’s 10X. 10X is possible, and it takes time. Even if you want to start the 10X journey, you’ll discover that you have to do 1X, 4X, 5.8X…
You build the bridge and up you go.
5. Amateurs fear failure while pros crave it.
What professionals know that the rest of us don’t appreciate is that failure can teach you more than success ever will. Failure is feedback, and truly successful people use it to move forward in their careers.
This is why they take actions and not wait for the perfect day. They know it doesn’t exist.
Most times the thought of amateurs is that failure shouldn’t be part of the journey. John Maxwell, one of my most treasured, got it so well that he wrote two books on it: Failing Foward and Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn.
You’ll make mistakes along the way, and that’s fine. How do you feel when you post on your blog and a reader reads it, chats you up, and tells you there is an error in your post?
I received that either last week or last two weeks, and I was so grateful.
Sometimes, I remain inactive because of fear.
6. Amateurs build a skill while pros build a portfolio.
This doesn’t mean you have to be Jack of all trades, but you must become a master or some. For example, all the professional writers I know are good at more than one thing. One is a great publicist. Another is really smart at leadership. Another is a fantastic speaker.
Do you just want to be a salesman? Or a programmer? Or photographer?
I see this the same way we talk about the 4Cs in education. The 4Cs are core skills every student is expected to have to be effective in the 21st century world.
One major skill I’m trying to build is leadership skill apart from speaking, writing and mentoring skills. Why? It will distinguish me wherever I work. And sure, I know I’ll work with people along the way.
Pros build more than a skill.
Just one more…
7. Amateurs want to be noticed while pros want to be remembered.
You have to care about legacy more than ego… The professionals I know whose work reaches a lot of people and truly matters aren’t just thinking about the quick win – the big book deal, the next speaking gig, the new product launch. They’re thinking about the long game, about what they want to work on that might endure for the next 100 years.
I remember when I was learning to play the drums and piano and bass guitar. It was so funny how we “fought” to play.
To show ourselves in church. Maybe for the Pastor to see us or the girl we’re crushing on to notice us. So we play for hours without asking the next guy to help. In fact, asking the next guy to help is like allowing him steal your show 😁.
Although I’m no real pro on the piano, I don’t focus on impressing.
To end this, I’d add mine too:
8. Amateurs are ego driven while pros are vision-driven.
Where do you stand? Where do you want to stand in 10 years time? A pro or an amature?