sly : marketing

Turning Pro – the journey

I have been reading the book Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, and it has changed the way I have been thinking about my work and it has changed my mindset.

turning pro

I like things to be simple and easy to understand. And that’s why I keep using analogies when I tell stories. To me, marketing and business is not complex, like most things, I see it as something we need to work hard at to master. And that’s why I keep reading, writing and connecting with people every single day. I love my job. And the thing is, because I love my job, I have successfully managed to blend work and life. According to Turning Pro, I have become a professional with a professional mindset.

Turning Pro during a walk to the restroom

It all started a day at work at the University. I had been working at the University for more than 8 years. I was happy. It was a day like all the other days at work, and I had no idea that walking to the restroom would be the start of me turning pro.

I was walking to the restroom, and while I was walking I looked inside all the offices. I looked right. I looked left. I watched people working, and to me, the environment looked identical. The people started to look identical. And I started to think about how much work I had done that day. I was far from turning pro, I hadn’t done much work at all. I started thinking about the past year. And, I tried to figure out if I had done anything important. I attended several meetings every day. I was checking my email every 15 minutes. I was writing, but nothing important. I was doing my best to get my work done, and even though I was happy, I hadn’t realized that I didn’t get much done and what I was doing didn’t make any difference to anyone – me included. I was turning pro that very minute.

I told myself that I had to change. I decided to write a novel. I really wanted to accomplish something that would make me proud. It all started with the novel. I was focused, for the first time in my life. I managed to keep doing what I needed to do in order to finish it. What I discovered during the process is that writing a novel turned me into a more focused and a more productive person. I was turning pro without even thinking about it.

Turning Pro – the book and the mindset

I decided that I wanted to tap my inner powers and create my life’s work, and it all started with writing the novel. During the process of writing, and being a person who loves to make things simple, I discovered that there are two types of people; the amateur and the professional.

When I started writing the novel, I was an amateur, and I didn’t realize it. I was too busy thinking about… just stuff. I had so many things on my mind, from tiny details, to thinking about how people behave. I didn’t realize that nothing that was on my mind mattered. I was about to start my business as a solo entrepreneur, and the most important thing on my mind was my competition, and if I could ever be as good as them.

But, it all changed. I have a completely different mindset today. And, part of the reason for the change is the book Turning Pro:

The amateur sees himself as the hero, not only of his own movie, but of the movies of others. He insists (in his mind, if nowhere else) that others share this view. The amateur competes with others and believes that he cannot rise unless a competitor falls. If he had the power, the amateur would eat the world – even knowing that to do so would mean his own extinction.

I don’t think about my competition. I think about my work, and what I love about my job. I think about getting things done. And I keep hustling. I want to make a difference to the world. I really do.

After I finished writing my first novel, and after I completed a lot more work, and some really awesome projects, I am reading Turning Pro again, just so I won’t forget how it was like being an amateur. Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t that hard to become a professional. All I did was change my mind. I was extremely comfortable with the life I was living, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

Are you changing your mindset and turning pro?

I’d love to discuss Turning Pro with you. If you haven’t read it, what’s your opinion on being a professional vs an amateur?



25 responses to “Turning Pro – the journey”

  1. Adrienne says:

    Hey Jens,

    Okay, I think I’d have to read the book to get the full jest of it but I would definitely consider myself a professional.

    Even when I was in corporate America I had so many responsibilities there was no way I had nothing to do during the day. I’m also very organized in everything I do so even when I started working for myself I took on even more. Okay, half the time was just spent learning but I was bound and determine to absorb it all.

    Sounds like a good book so thanks for sharing this one and so glad you’re enjoying it enough to make it a second time around.

    ~Adrienne

  2. Sounds like something all of us need to read Jens!

    I love the way you share your stories with all of us, and most of them being your own life experiences get us all the more engrossed in it. 🙂

    I agree that we do get caught up with things that are a waste of time, and sometimes even when we know we aren’t acting professional it can’t be just helped, though the answer also lies with us. I guess we are a combination of being professionals, but act as amateurs also at times. 🙂 I liked what you said about not being bothered about competition or your competitors and instead, concentrate on our own work and things that we feel need more of our attention.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂 Have a nice week ahead 🙂

  3. Jens – This really sounds interesting and I think I need to check that book out now. There are many times when I had an urge to start something big, but never really had the plans formed, and organized. As you mentioned, I too have all my thoughts tied up and ready to put forth, but I do not see the direction.

    Maybe this book might change the way I think!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hey Jens,

    Love Steven Pressfield and honestly think the “War of Art” is the best self-help book I’ve ever read. Love what he’s about.

    Of course he owns the term, “resistance.” 😉 Ya know? When dread and indecision take over, leading to self-sabotage? Argggggg, I hate that damn resistance.

    And I’ve always loved this …
    “Resistance is more like the pain-in-the-ass schoolteacher who won’t let us climb the tree in the playground 😉 🙂

    Oh, and thanks for the pizza pic 🙂

    • Hey Craig,

      I have The War of Art right here on my desk, and will read it this weekend. I am not sure if I should have started reading it before Turning Pro or not, but I was more curious about Turning Pro, and that’s why I started with it 🙂

      I been fighting the resistance for a long time, and it’s a constant battle, right?

  5. Khaja moin says:

    I don`t know about Turning pro but your Jens your post is awesome and I now decided to get few novels to read.
    I really miss those days when I used to read stories from books. Now we`ve ebooks!
    But ebooks never ever can compared to books.
    Thanks Jens for taking me back my days.

    ~@Khajamoin1

    • That’s awesome Khaja. I am reading books on my Kindle as well, but I’m really enjoying reading old traditional books much more. I am not sure why, but I feel more calm and less stressed when I’m reading traditional books.

  6. Tim Bonner says:

    Hey Jens

    I’ve not read the book but it sounds like something I should read!

    It’s great that you’ve turned pro and that you love your work Jens.

    I think I’m still an amateur at the moment. I’m not fully dedicated to blogging or marketing yet because I can’t be. I have other things which take priority.

    • Hey Tim,

      You should definitively read the book. But, I probably should have started reading the war of art first. On the other hand, I don’t know if I should, because I am reading that one this weekend 🙂

      By the way, what other things are taking your priority at the moment?

      • Tim Bonner says:

        I may sound like a broken record here so apologies if I do – at the moment my main priority is looking after the kids.

        My daughter will be going to nursery for half a day from September so I will have more time to move things and evaluate exactly where I’m going with all this! 🙂

  7. Josh says:

    Hey Jens,

    I haven’t read the book but I like your description of it. It reminds me about how much of life is contingent upon our attitude and desire. We have so much more influence upon what we do and what happens but many people don’t believe or are unwilling to take advantage of that.

    • Hey Josh,

      I really enjoyed reading it. I’m going to start reading the war of art this weekend, and according to a lot of people (among those people are Craig), that book is even better. So I am really looking forward to it.

  8. Devid says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for sharing amazing book. I am still reading but it already helped. I was looking for for some time now and found it on your website, just great.

  9. Omi says:

    Its a great book and I’m so happy to find worth material to read. Thanks for sharing with us Jens.

  10. Sarah Park says:

    This is very inspiring. Turning pro takes a lot of hard work. It cannot happen in just a flick of a finger, but all the hard work are all worth it in the end.

  11. Lisa says:

    Wow! That books seems to be such a great one! Your review has totally assured me, if a book can change your mindset this way, there must be something. I cannot wait t have my copy and experience the same like you! Thanks for the inspiration;)

  12. Yasir Khan says:

    Becoming a professional requires a lot of patience, time, skills and experience because before you can what you are aiming for you will first undergo with a lot of struggles and first times.

  13. Dan B. says:

    Great review, thansk for sharing. The book is awesome, and it was easy to read and even easier to understand. I’m glad you enjoyed it

  14. Peter says:

    Some people don’t even know what they are doing and when they are about to die they have nothing what they actually want.

  15. Hi Jens – I think I will have to read that book to know about myself. I have also passed your stages and experiences. Few years back I had my own family business, and I had more free time doing nothing, although sometimes I used to be very busy. I always used to think –“will I ever get a chance to keep myself busy like others.” But, today I have a job, I am working with an android app developer company and very busy. Now, I”ve little free time to spare. What should I say to this transformation – amateur turning into a pro, or professional turning more professional.:-)

    • That’s great. I really enjoyed the book, and I have been thinking a lot about it after I read it. We all struggle from time to time, what’s important to me is to understand the process, and to keep focusing on the journey, even though I have the end in mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe: rss | email | twitter | +