A blog by Peter Stinckens
We all like to think of ourselves as ‘professional’. What that word means is different to all of us. Usually we think of someone just like us. That’s what ‘being a pro’ means to us. But what does it really mean to be a professional in whatever you do?
By the way, in case you’re ask yourself why this question is important, here’s the answer to that. Applying a label to others, or ourselves means that we set a standard. That we give clear definitions of the characteristics to the word and it’s content.
By doing that – even when we do it mostly subconsciously – we limit the efforts and needs we need to meet to become what that word implies. In this case, being a professional.
And, in turn, this allows us to call ourselves no matter what, if we set our standard low enough. The core of communication is that we use words and their meaning in a similar way. If we don’t, we create the ultimate habitat for misunderstanding, miscommunication en deception of others and – more important – ourselves!
To find a way to define what being a professional means, we have to look at those we all agree upon to be professionals. People like top-level managers who rose above their pears. Or professional athletes. Or professional musicians….
If we find the common attitudes of those people, we have something that could be considered as a shared view on what being a professional means.
So here are the five common trades that could be used to define professionalism. Implement these in your way of doing things, and you will be considered a ‘pro’, not just by yourselves, but also by the people around you as well.
Be passionate about what you do, or do not do it at all!
I know it’s easy to say. But it’s the one fundamental trademark all professionals share. They are passionate about what they do. Be it delivering mail, cleaning offices, managing a fortune 500 company, being a doctor or whatever you can think about.
That passion allows them to keep on going when others have already quit. It’s the fuel that makes even hard times bearable. It’s what drives them to get better at what they are doing day after day.
Train and keep on training, all of your life
Professionals are always on the lookout for new insights, new knowledge, new routines… Everything that can help them improve in what they are doing, is welcomed. Training is one of the key disciplines professionals use to grow and become more valuable in their field.
Aim for the absolute top
Professionals are not satisfied with second places. They will always try to become the very best in their field. Even when they know that the chances of becoming number one are slim to impossible, they always keep on trying. They aim for the top.
Perhaps they will not get there, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.
Don’t look for excuses
Professionals never look for excuses. They accept that not everything will work out exactly as planned. They know that they will make mistakes and underperform from time to time. They do not look for excuses; they use these incidences to improve. They talk with their coach or mentor, or pears, or friends about it. They find the root cause of it and train to improve.
Professionals never think that they know best. They are always open for any kind of feedback and input, no matter where it comes from. They know that they do not know everything – even when they have reached the absolute top – and try to fiend new ways of looking at what they are doing constantly. This means that they work with others, just to find a new perspective that could give them an edge.
How doe these attitudes apply to you? Do you fit this picture? If you don you can really call yourself a ‘pro’ in what you are doing. If however you are like most of us, you’ll have to admit that you lack at least a few of these qualities.
And believe it or not, that’s good news. That means that you have room for dramatic improvement of you results. An improvement only you can realize. And now you know how!