TURNING PRO: LESSONS FROM STEVEN PRESSFIELD

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Have you got a book in you? A story that laps for your attention because it wants to be seen and better yet, heard? Or perhaps a painting is stirring in the orbit of your mind or a business venture that you know deep down will serve many people.

There’s something stopping you though from fully immersing into your idea and bringing it to life and into form. Steven Pressfield, American best-selling author and screenplay writer calls this internal enemy Resistance with a capital R because of its all-pervading and stubborn attempts to sabotage your art; your creative genius (and we can all probably agree it’s deserving of the uppercase!)

And Steven would know – he’s one hell of an expert when it comes pursuing your calling in spite of Resistance. His technique for combating such foes is what he first dubbed ‘turning pro’ in his book The War of Art and then follow-up with the self-titled book Turning Pro, which navigates the passage from amateur life to professional living. As Steven puts it, “You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.”

If you’re new to the world of Steven Pressfield, it’s worth knowing that this man wrote for 15 years before he got his first paycheck as a writer. He worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout and attendant in a mental hospital. He picked fruit in Washington State, wrote screenplays in Tinseltown and was homeless, living out of the back of his car with his typewriter for a while there too.

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Steven’s commitment to his passion runs deep and there is much we can learn from this bonafide literary boss on turning pro.

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Art is war. The artist is a warrior

Art is a war between yourself and the forces of self-sabotage that would stop you from doing your work. You, the artist, are the warrior. In Do the Work, Steven states: “On the field of the Self stand a knight and a dragon. You are the knight. Resistance is the dragon.” Sleigh the dragon!

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Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

When you turn pro, let it be said, it won’t be easy. It will take your commitment and re-commitment on a daily basis because when you decide to turn pro, you give up a self that you were extremely comfortable with and could identify with. Turning pro raises the bar infinitely high, and the closer you get to the bar, the higher the bar rises.

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 You will make countless sacrifices 

The journey from amateur to professional comes with a cost. You will face trials and tests along the way, which will push you emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. When you surpass these check points, you will be on your way to turning pro. Be warned though, it will get messy and scary at times, but once you’ve tasted the sweet reward of professional living, there’s no turning back.

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Make home in your circle of power

When you turn pro you find power, your power. Within your power you will find your will, your voice and your self-respect. You become who you always wanted to be, but was too afraid to own and live out. Welcome your power. Invite it in and encourage it to stay (tea party anyone?)

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You are a pro when you believe it

You are a pro when you tell yourself you are. No one else’s opinion matters. Screw them! You are pro when you say you are. You just have to believe it! Remember, it’s all a matter of changing your mind.

Are you ready to turn pro?

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