Last week I turned pro. Did you know? You might have missed it if you are not on Linked In. I listed myself as a writer and it felt a bit sticky. Even now I’m cringing on the inside. But I did it.
I don’t know what will come of this besides daily emails inviting me to check out so-and-so’s connections but I do know that doing things that feel uncomfortable is good for the soul. We expose ourselves to the world with a soft-shelled heart and it grows. Our soul grows. Hard hearts cannot grow, that’s what I’ve been learning from Debbie Ford.
This is not a dress rehearsal, this is your life. Your time is now.
Last Wednesday, after watching Marie Forleo interviewing Steven Pressfield, I decided ‘Yes! I’m turning pro!’ All you have to do to turn pro is declare it and do it. Even if you’re a beginner – for anything in your life you desire to excel at, just ask yourself, ‘What would a pro do?’ A pro works when it’s time to work and plays when it’s time to play. A pro doesn’t procrastinate. A pro gets down to it.
Of course, I’m all for being in the flow, but we don’t sit around waiting for the river to come to us. We’ve got to get ourselves to the river!
Some years ago I read advice on being a writer that has kept me on the path to pro ever since. The advice was that if you want to write (and you could substitute it for something else), then make a schedule and stick to it. If you can’t then just stop worrying and enjoy your life!
So I made a schedule and stuck to it and this meant my life had to change. You see, we need to create the right conditions to get the work done, which might mean going to bed earlier or staying up later or getting enough sleep or waking up earlier. It might mean cutting down or giving up or taking up or slowing down. It will mean scheduling in and keeping promises to yourself. It’s a process of evolution of who you are and what’s important to you. It’s about priorities.
Turning pro will mean disappointing others as well but this will be okay if you don’t get caught up feeling guilty about it. Think about a change you’ve made before – maybe you’ve tried to give up smoking or even not drink one night at a party. Other people are disappointed. Other smokers want you to smoke! Other drinkers want you to drink! Cake eaters want you to eat cake and meat eaters want you to eat meat. Don’t be a changer! We like you how you are! So we try to hide it and say nothing – just in case…
It is more than fine to dabble and have hobbies and have fun, but in terms of your dreams or what you really would like to master or give up, being amateur allows us to protect ourselves because we can always say we weren’t really trying if we fail. If we’re professionals (and especially if we dare to declare it) we don’t take any excuses from ourselves. Declaring it could mean buying the guitar instead of borrowing it. It means making ourselves accountable. We turn up with the right gear and with the right attitude, whether we feel like it or not.
And yay! Through focusing on something day after day, energy builds around you. You do become better. Sometimes you suck but it doesn’t matter. Success will come over time if we keep going. If we fail, we just dust ourselves off and give it another shot – because that’s what a pro would do.
Did I tell you about that time a publisher-lady at a writer’s festival ripped into the first ten pages of my novel I had submitted? Oh I was ashamed and without hope. She didn’t care to tip-toe round my big dream. Instead, she screwed it into a ball and lobbed it at my head. And it hurt so. I could have quit then. But I woke up the next morning and kept going, not writing her (or myself) off as an idiot who just didn’t get it but using her feedback to make my work better. That was a proud moment on my journey to prodom.
Writing had always felt safe because I could do it from behind my four walls and no one ever had to know. It was not like taking up golf . But going public with your dreams is a part of going pro. Again, it makes you accountable and gives you even more reason not to quit when it’s tough. Do you want to be a pro? If so, take your dream and declare it to a group of 400 semi-strangers, acquaintances, family and friends and see how that feels, even if it is easier online.
So I went pro, declared it, and then stayed up that night till 3am reading blogs. Totally amateur behaviour. But I just made the commitment again the next day, got up and did the work. The noise died down and peace returned to Mireilleville.
So there you have it folks, a little lesson from the School of Life…Be bold, be brave, take risks.
To be honest, it makes me kind of embarrassed to go on like this (every week). There is a teenage girl inside of me telling me it’s ‘not cool’. There are few people I talk to about this in ‘real life’ but writing this blog has opened that up more. I write this and I am aware who’s reading it but enter the zone of not caring what others think of me to avoid shrinking away. Though I want people to read! Each time I post something, I feel an expansion and I do it because I believe in the message and want to share it.
And I’m telling you this as a warning because I want to end with an explosion of positivity like the fireworks at the end of a nation’s birthday. It will seem like I have robbed the poster collection in a new-age crystal shop, but this is not so. I will sound like I’m Tony Robbins’s little sister, but that is okay. My shy girl will feel exposed but she will recover and I’m going to say it anyway…
I don’t know all the secret desires of your heart but I’m sure you have some. And so to your heart I say,
Find out what makes you happy and do it. Enjoy the journey. Spill your dreams, declare it, be embarrassed – it won’t kill you. Embrace all the feelings along the way. Fail daily and try again. Go easy on yourself. With each second a second chance awaits. The time is now.