Professional athletes lead their lives. Lead like professional athletes who play for a team. If you start thinking about your work as athletes think of their sport, it will affect your approach. If you start thinking of your workplace as a sports arena, it too will affect your approach.

As you visualize your current work role, how does it relate to a player on the field or the court? Are you the star performer? Are you the steady and reliable cornerstone? Are you the team captain? If you can see yourself as one of these, read on.
  1. Athletes care for their physical well-being. They tend to eat healthy, exercise, and build strength where most needed. You may not need oversized biceps, massive thighs, or impressive shoulders but your physical health affects your performance on the job – sooner or later.
  2. Athletes participate in the creation of a playbook for their next competition. To do that, they study the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses while considering their own as well as other conditions like the weather forecast, elevation, fan noise, etc. Here’s what’s even more important… the playbook is created well before the competition and it is discussed, agreed upon, and practiced. The workplace playbook includes things like vision, values, goals, and habits. These elements are transformed into concrete action items that are carefully placed on the calendar BEFORE the week begins. Amateurs allow happenstance and the unplanned and undisciplined requests from others to control their calendars and therefore their work. Professionals are more thoughtful and prepared. 

Truly, the difference between a professional and an amateur is less about talent and more about physical trainingmental preparationdisciplined execution, and dedicated evaluation. These four practices make up the rhythm of a professional.

You might also want to check out Today Counts Episode 46: Do You Work Like An Amateur? for a short coaching session closely related to this topic.

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