Growing Pro

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P

rofessionalism. We want a result; we get a result.

Amateurism. We want a result — excuses.

The excuses try to explain why we didn’t get the result we expected.

Sometimes those excuses sound like complaining. Because they are.

Other times, we realize that we simply had great expectations, as in overly ambitious goals we never hit.

“I didn’t close the deal because the market is soft.”

“They lied and cheated their way into my promotion.”

“I can’t do that because I’m too old … too young … too rich … too poor.”

Try this exercise to start replacing excuses with action.

Step One

Take a sheet of paper and fold it in three as you would a letter in an envelope. Open it back up and focus on the left most section.

Step Two

Make a list of all the characteristics, planning, and daily habits of a professional in your line of work. How do they walk, talk, dress, and interact with people? How do they react to adversity?

Step Three

In the middle section, across from each item, write a list of how you specifically do each of the things you wrote down.

This is your gap.

The difference between your professional list and your current list reveals where you can improve.

Step Four

Finally, in the right section, what is one thing you can do to move toward the professional column?

Make daily progress toward implementing each change.

A simple one percent improvement per day toward these changes can compound into a complete transformation over a year.

Each time you notice something new about how a professional shows up in the world, add it to your gap list.

One caution: this practice is a marathon, not a sprint.

The moment you despair while gazing into the gap, you replace confident action forward with worry.

If you are a professional already, you do this exercise instinctively.