In his book, The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield provides a blueprint for overcoming resistance and fostering creativity in a productive manner. He uses the term, Professional, for those creative people who are effective in doing so. Those of you who have worked with me as a psychologist have probably heard me use the same term – and advising you to be a professional, specializing in your self.
Many of us know how to be a professional on the job. A true professional who enjoys his/her work, is excited by the challenges that the job brings, knows the job demands, and works to exceed expectations. When patients come to me for a therapy session, they have expectations that they deserve to me meet – regardless of what kind of day I’m having or how I feel physically or what else I have to do before I call it a day. Both my patients and I should expect that they are getting the best that I have to offer. I have the right to expect similar professionalism from my physicians, dentist, accountant, continuing education instructors, salespeople, mailman, and others.
In professional sports, they call it, “Bringing your ‘A game’.” It’s not unusual for a team that brings its A game to come out the winner against a more talented opponent that isn’t as motivated. A coach that always brings his A game is Geno Auriemma, coach of the record-setting UConn women’s basketball team. I once heard him interviewed a few years ago when Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick were starring in The Producers on Broadway. He said that he had his players see a performance of the show so that they could observe and learn from the professionalism of the actors who gave the audience their best every night that they went out there.
It’s also important to bring our A game when we are dealing with our selves. Too often do I see highly competent people know how to be professionals when they are serving other people – but really falling short on professionalism when it comes to taking care of there selves. How about you? A professional embraces the process of personal growth and development. A professional recognizes that s/he is made up of pluses and minuses, and doesn’t look for signs of imperfection to justify a total putdown of the self. A professional looks forward rather than dwelling in the past and builds fun and enjoyment into the lifestyle. A professional is positive and proactive and persistent. And a professional doesn’t allow setbacks to defeat him/her because the professional knows that bringing your A game is not a guarantee of always being successful – but it increases the chances exponentially. Are you yourself experiencing your A game?
As usual, I welcome comments, questions, examples, etc.