photo credit: Adrian College (@acbulldoghockey)

Mental Model

Turning pro is free. When you turn pro is all up to you. It’s the Resistance that is keeping you an amateur from important work. As life passes you by, your hope of turning pro diminishes each day. All it takes is a mindset shift to act like a pro and leave the amateur ways behind you. Decide to turn pro and you will find the power to experience your true potential.


The idea of, “turning pro”, was conceptualized by Steven Pressfield in his books The War of Art and Turning Pro. The core tenet is adopting a mindset, habits, and work ethic to symbolically transition from amateur to professional.

In The War of Art, Pressfield defines Resistance as the force that stops us from committing to the important work of our lives. We live in fear with addictions to soothe our self-doubt. We’re asleep as life passes us by. The strategy of “turning pro” is a mindset to overcome this debilitating force.

The decision to turn pro is free. All it takes is a mindset shift to act like a pro and leave the amateur ways behind you. You will leave your current self-identity and other aspects of your life behind.

Decide to turn pro and realize your life’s work that you have been called to do but have been putting off. The forces of life may also choose this for you. You simply have no alternative.

Turning pro is a monumental decision.

You will never forget when, why, and where you were with it happened.

When you turn pro, you will find your power. You will find your will, voice, and self-respect.

You will overcome the fear that has been holding you back.

Get ready to leave your amateur ways behind and turn pro.

Your life gets simple.


Take these actions, synthesized from The War of Art and Turning Pro, and you will turn pro by adopting this mindset.

1 – Act Without Permission.

This is your life.

You can be whatever you want to be.

You get one shot.

Act confidently without seeking permission from anyone.

2 – Act With Courage.

Listen to the small voice in your head.

Find the courage to identify your secret dream that you have known all along was your passion, your calling, your destiny.

Find peace by acknowledging that is what you have been afraid of.

Go and do what you have to do.

Remain courageous as this is a solo journey.

3 – Step Out of the Shadow.

A shadow career is what we pursue when we are terrified of embracing our true calling.

The years of repetition and living in the shadow can make you comfortable.

The longer you live the shadow life, the farther away you get from realizing your true calling.

Embrace your ambition to act on your unique calling.

Let go of the addictions and habits that consume your shadow life.

Failure to act is to turn your back on yourself.

The world needs your superpower.

4 – Live in the Present.

Let go of the thoughts of your past – these events can’t be changed.

Don’t spend energy and cycles dreaming about what may happen – you don’t have control of that.

Focus on the work of the present and nothing else.

5 – Allocate and Protect Your Time.

Eliminate the non-value-added activities that do not support delivering an important work product.

Dedicate yourself to focused, uninterrupted days to be alone and work on your shit.

Structure your day to confront fear and overcome it.

Show up every day and stay on the job all day.

Start your day early and protect your sleep time.

6 – Connect with Other Pros.

Resist spending time with amateurs fleeing from their fears and trying to entice you into wasting time with them.

Distance yourself from particular work contacts and friends if your intention is to evolve into the life you wish for.

Don’t spend energy or have a concern about what they think – they are envious of what you will become.

Seek new friends that are facing their own fears and conquering them.

7 – Practice as a Pro.

Compete against yourself not others.

Find a place of peace and stillness to do your best work.

Eliminate the distractions that can interrupt your focus and depth of work.

Embrace compassion that it will take time to deliver the fruits of being a pro.

Commit to the long haul like a pro.

Be ready to go on the game field today – not tomorrow or someday in the future.

Dedicate yourself to mastering your technique.

8 – Be a Teacher.

Seek opportunities to share your expertise and teach others.

Refuse to be seen as an icon to those you teach – this is destructive to the student.

Teach only those that have the mindset and work ethic to turn pro.

9 – Act Humble.

Do not hesitate to ask for help to improve your game.

You are a pro when other pros recognize you.

Don’t show off – that is the amateur trying to be something they are not.

10 – Protect Your Power.

When you envision someone as an icon, you give away your power.

You are hoping to possess the same qualities as the icon.

Be courageous to embrace the reality that you likely already possess the quality of the icon you worship.

Seek instruction and wisdom from those farther down the path of mastery.

But do this without surrendering your sovereignty.

11 – Re-Commit Every Day.

Look in the mirror to love yourself and who you are working to become.

Understand the Resistance is there to greet you every morning.

Formulate a daily process and set of habits to remain a pro.

Reinvent yourself over the course of your life.

Be the hero of your journey.

Experiment With This

  • Turn your smartphone on mute or leave it in another room when you need to focus on deep work.
  • Allocate a large block of the morning to the deliverable(s) that is most important to you.
  • Think about what changes you can make to your workspace to do your best work. Make it clean, uncluttered, and free of distractions.
  • Commit to your workspace at the same time day after day.
  • Adopt one new pro habit this week that is essential to turning pro.
  • Identify and work on eliminating one bad habit that is keeping you an amateur.
  • Challenge yourself to determine if you are really a pro in the field of your calling. To be completely honest with me, am I living a shadow career or a shadow life? If I am, what is my true calling? What is stopping me from turning pro?
  • Who are the amateurs in my life that I must distance myself from?
  • If I had a stretch of months that was mine alone, I would …..?


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – by James Clear