I read Steven Pressfield’s, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, in an afternoon. It’s a quick read at only 146 (Kindle) pages. 146 pages packed with powerful thoughts and words. Words that’ll shake you up if there’s anything you know deep down that you want to do but haven’t had the courage to do.
Turning Pro follows, The War of Art, and was written before, Do The Work, and if you haven’t read any of these, Turning Pro is the best place to start.
So what is Turning Pro about?
It’s about the fundamental struggle of what it means to be human – trying to fulfil our potential. Turning Pro’s premise is that it’s only when we transition from amateur to pro that we’re able to fulfil our potential. Turning Pro is a guide to this process.
“The thesis of this book is that what ails you and me has nothing to do with being sick or being wrong. What ails us is that we are living our lives as amateurs.” Steven Pressfield
The book consists of three parts. The first is all about the amateur, stuck in bad habits and unable to reach their potential. The second gives us an idea of what it’d be like to be a pro, and where the amateur falls short. The third is all about professionalism.
“Ambition, I have come to believe, is the most primal and sacred fundament of our being. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.” Steven Pressfield
The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. For an amateur, there are addictions, obsessions and displacement activities. For me that manifests in procrastination. Activities that distract you from what you’re called to do. And why are these distractions necessary? Because an amateur is terrified.
“Fear is the primary colour of the amateur’s interior world. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish, fear of under-achieving and fear of over-achieving, fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, fear of death. But mostly what we all fear as amateurs is being excluded from the tribe.” Steven Pressfield
The pro is just as terrified as the amateur. But when you decide to stop running from fear and turn to face it. That’s when you become a pro.
“What happens when we turn pro is, we finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads.” Steven Pressfield
And then everything changes. Things get really simple. No more empty distractions, we choose between the life we want for our future and the life we have left behind. This means facing that fear every single day and still showing up. Showing up and avoiding the distractions and displacement activities. Showing up to do the work, getting better at it every day, bit by bit.
“You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.” Steven Pressfield
Turning pro is free, but it’s not easy
When we turn pro, we push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice
Transitioning from amateur to professional often only happens when you reach a low point emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. A proverbial epiphany.
“Epiphanies hurt. There’s no glory to them. They only make good stories at AA meetings or late at night among other foot soldiers in the trenches.” Steven Pressfield
When we turn pro we find our power and become who we always were but had been too afraid to fully become. I aspire to turn pro and take my hat off to everyone who has.
It doesn’t matter what you want to create, a book, a new business, or a coaching program. Whatever it is that you’re being called to do, Turning Pro will help you get there. Read it!