We all want to improve at our craft, boost our productivity, and be more fulfilled by our work. But so often, these worthy intentions go astray: we get distracted or sidelined. How can we become more professional? James Clear, a peak performance and motivational expert, posted a powerful article called “The Difference Between Professionals and Amateurs,” on his wonderful website (https://jamesclear.com), which I am quoting directly here:
“It doesn’t matter what you are trying to become better at, if you only do the work when you’re motivated, then you’ll never be consistent enough to become a professional.
“The ability to show up everyday, stick to the schedule, and do the work — especially when you don’t feel like it — is so valuable that it is literally all you need to become better 99% of the time…. I’ve seen this in my own experiences… When I don’t miss workouts, I get in the best shape of my life. When I write every week, I become a better writer. When I travel and take my camera out every day, I take better photos.
“It’s simple and powerful. But why is it so difficult? The simple fact of the matter is that most of the time we are inconsistent. We have goals that we would like to achieve and dreams that we would like to fulfill, but we only work towards them occasionally; when we feel inspired or motivated or when life allows us to do so. It’s just easier that way.
“Going about your work like a pro isn’t easy, but it’s also not as complicated or difficult as you might think. There are three steps.
“1. Decide what you want to be good at: Purpose is everything. If you know what you want, then getting it is much easier. This sounds simple, but in my experience even people who are smart, creative, and talented rarely know exactly what they are working for and why.
“2. Set a schedule for your actions: Once you know what you want, set a schedule for actually doing it. Note: Don’t make the same mistake I have made, which is setting a schedule based on results. Don’t map out how much weight you want to lose each week or how much money you want to make. “Lose 5 pounds” is not an action you can perform. “Do three sets of squats” is an action you can perform. You want to set a schedule based on actions you can do, not results that you want.
“3. Stick to your schedule for one week. Stop thinking about how hard it will be to follow a schedule for a month or a year. Just follow it for this week. For the next 7 days, don’t let distractions get in the way. Setting a schedule doesn’t make you a professional, following it does. Don’t be a writer, be writing. Don’t be a lifter, be lifting. For one week, do the things you want to do without letting life get in the way. Next week, start again.”
Focus on your actions not on results. Simple, but powerful advice as we all write on!
Be sure to check out Jame Clear’s great tools/strategies on his website — very powerful!