What it means to be a true professional

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One of the best lessons I’ve learned in life is this:

Professionals always find a way to put in their best effort.


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All the time.

Please, don’t confuse this with the best performance. Or a masterpiece. Nope.

I’m talking about what 50% of the battle truly is: showing up.

Then, simply mustering up the energy, effort, heart, soul, attitude and grit to get the job done. Whatever that job may be.

So, I ask you, wherever you are in your career right now:

Are you showing up and doing your best every day? The reality is, you have complete control over this. But that doesn’t make it easy.

Some of us end up in jobs we don’t like.

Some of us end up doing work we love, and yet still struggle to bring our best everyday. Sure, there are a litany of reasons. Maybe, depending on your point of view, excuses. Some more valid than others.

Too tired
Anxious
Competing priorities
Don’t have the time

In the end, if you want to be the best professional and have a long-lasting career in whatever you do, you really need to bring it every day. Even when you don’t want to get out of bed (I know, that’s most days for many of us!). When you’re not in the right mood. When it would be so much easier to just “mail it in.”

Take it from someone who spent far too much time earlier in his career mailing it in. It’s not worth it. The hard way makes the journey that much better. Learning to give your best even when you don’t have your best is the mark of a true professional. You owe this to yourself.

This is what builds character. 
This is what makes you stronger. 
This commitment and effort literally does more for your continued development and evolution than anything else.

We don’t admire this consistency and longevity enough as a society. We’re always looking for the big bang. But what do we do when we’re not firing on all cylinders? Like a baseball pitcher without his best fastball, you have to dig in to the arsenal and see what else you have.

Be willing to find a way. To keep moving forward when you don’t have it. When you’re hurting for confidence and doubting yourself. To get to where you really want to be, you’ll do so quicker when you do your best each day, even when everything is telling you to give in to the path of least resistance.

That’s pro.

This article first appeared on Medium

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