Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield is a succinct, powerful book for those of us wondering why our efforts aren’t generating the results we desire. I read the book this summer and loved the picture painted in the comparison of addicts and artists. The addict is the distracted person who is doing shadow work. The artist is doing the real work. The addict is the amateur. The artist, well, they’re the pro. How does an addict kick the habit and become an artist?
They decide to. Then they do the work of a professional. Deciding to turn pro, followed up with real work, makes one a pro. Permission isn’t necessary. Just decide, then do. Daily.
Not deciding is still a decision. It’s the decision to continue the shadow work, to remain an amateur. Shadow work is starting a business, but treating it more like a hobby. It’s wanting to write a book, creating a high level outline, writing furiously every morning for a week and then petering out to a slow trickle, letting words wither on the vine. Shadow work happens when blogs are started, fed for a season and then promptly abandoned. The worst type of shadow work is talking about work, but then never taking it any further.
Information overload affects us all. Every day there’s more to do and new information to consume. We have to set limits on what we will do and not do, what we’ll read and what we’ll ignore. We can often use technology to help curb the tidal wave technology has generated.
I created the video below for a meeting of the Ultrasound Marketing team at GE Healthcare. It’s a high level overview of how much information is generated online and tools we can use to find meaningful, relevant content. The list of tools mentioned in the video is also included below.
Recommended Tools for Fighting Information Overload
When we don’t play the blame game and take responsibility for our life we are able to be proactive in where we are going. To grow, being accountable and proactive must occur together.
Consider the alternatives:
- If we take responsibility for our lives and are still reactive, allowing life to happen to us, we find ourselves in situations with little chance things will improve. We’re accepting responsibility for something we didn’t initiate, often becoming the scapegoat.
- If we don’t take responsibility for our lives and are reactive, we passively wait for whatever life hands us. It’s as if the ball is always in someone else’s court. To me, this is the recipe for a miserable life. Trust me, I know this from experience.
- If we don’t take responsibility, yet are proactive, we make things happen but don’t accept the results as ours. This usually only occurs when things go wrong. When our intentions produce the results we want, we’re quick to accept the credit, however. When we blame others for the results of our actions, we’re delusional. And it definitely doesn’t make us popular with others.
Being proactive means knowing the future we want and putting things in place to get us from here to there. We simply take action of our own volition.
It’s not always easy and we often have further to go in some areas than in others. But it’s preferable to being miserable, delusional or a scapegoat.
Do you consider yourself to be proactive? If not, what’s one thing you could do today to affect a change?