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Going Pro

"Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we are thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don't show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up. He does his work. He keeps on truckin', no matter what."

Steven Pressfield

I'm going back to the basics right now. In my training, I am going back to some very basic workouts, back to fill in some cracks in the foundation. My mind chatter got really loud and was clogging up all the space in my head, so going back to some level 1 workouts was a good plan. I decided a few days back to immerse myself in watching the pro athletes and races that get me excited about my training, hoping this would help to override that chatter. While I was watching runners bomb down hills and race each other through obstacles and achieve amazing feats, I thought, I wonder what it would feel like to win? I wonder what it would feel like to be a pro? Almost immediately that thought was followed by this one: Uhhh, maybe you can win a race, maybe you can't, but you can behave like a pro in everything.

Aside from the bigger question of Who is that talking to me?!, the sentiment couldn't be more true. I LOVE watching pro athletes. I love reading about pro athletes. I love researching what they eat, how they live, how they train, and mostly how they think. And now I'm on the same bender with writers. But am I doing what I can day in and day out to be a professional of my own life? Am I behaving like a pro in my pursuit of athletics and writing? At the end of the day, am I making the podium of living a good life? Or am I just wandering around the festival area looking for the beer tent? OF COURSE I'm not going to make the podium every day, and it still could have been a good day. But that's not the point. The point for me is this: Am I designing and living my life in a way that sets me up for success?

There is a lot written about the habits of professional athletes and professional writers, some of which they share. Over and over again people who are professionals in these fields talk about taking care of themselves well: good sleep, good nutrition, good exercise, good thoughts. Drink water, track your progress, create routines, set goals. Unplug from your devices, visualize what you want, be a student of your craft, start before you're ready. Do the work whether you feel like it or not. Years ago I decided to be the best housecleaner that I could be. I got the Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook and read it cover to cover, and had a pretty darned good housecleaning business. I didn't know it then, but I was thinking like a professional. I did the same thing with gardening, parenting, and raising golden retrievers. I had some successes in all of it, but also some big, gaping holes. But it all set me up to ask this question that I didn't know to ask back then: Am I behaving like a professional? And how can I level up to do so?

Bottom line: I think the pros--athletic pros, writing pros, mom pros, housecleaning pros, student pros, etc, etc, etc...-- take responsibility for and hold themselves accountable to everything that is within their control. Which, as it happens, is a lot. (See list above!) Everything else, you leave to fate. Being a pro isn't about outcome, it's about mindset and behavior.

So in this new era, I am becoming a pro at my own life--personally, professionally and athletically. Call me cheesy if you like, but I'm going to be the best Diane I can be. So long amateur--I'm going pro.