Most of us are Amateurs

Most of Us are Just Amateurs

I am borrowing this from Brain Food and wanted to have it up on my Blog for posterity. I intend to use it in my work as both a counselor and executive mentor, for I have found that much of the hubris I encounter in others, and in myself, is misplaced.

Do you strive to be a Professional? Then, you need to know what differentiates most of us, as amateurs, from the professionals around us. What are the differences? Well, there are many …

  1. Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.
  2. Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.
  3. Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence (I will cover this in a future post).
  4. Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
  5. Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw. Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?
  6. Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.
  7. Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do.
  8. Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.
  9. Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.
  10. Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.
  11. Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.
  12. Amateurs focus on first-level thinking. Professionals focus on second-level thinking.
  13. Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.
  14. Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term.
  15. Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.
  16. Amateurs make decisions in committees so there is no one person responsible if things go wrong. Professionals make decisions as individuals and accept responsibility.
  17. Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.
  18. Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.

There are a host of other differences, but they can effectively be boiled down to two things: fear and reality. Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to work. Professionals realize that they must work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared — scared to be vulnerable and honest with themselves. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything.

Luck aside, which approach do you think is going to yield better results?


About Dr Joseph Russo

Born and raised in Woodland Hills, California; now residing in Laramie, Wyoming (or "Laradise" as we call it, for good reason), with my wife Cindy, our little schnauzer, Macy Mae, and a cat named Markie. I hold a BBA from Cal State Northridge and an MBA from the University of Nevada at Reno. My first career was in business, for some 25+ years. In 2007, I shifted gears and entered the helping professions as a mental health counselor. I earned an MA in Educational Psychology and a Doctorate (PhD) in Counselor Education and Supervision. In my spare time I enjoy mentoring young and not-so-young business and non-profit executives as they go about growing their businesses and presence. I also teach part-time at the University of Wyoming, in both the Colleges of Education and Business.
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One Response to Most of us are Amateurs

  1. Cindy Brock says:

    This is powerful, Joe! Thanks for sharing it!

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