If you’re following along, I mentioned maturity as my guess for what is behind turning pro really means. I did this, seriously, without looking ahead at today’s assignment. As if Mr. Pressfield has telepathically  given me the cliff’s notes, the very first chapter in today’s reading said just as much.

“Becoming a pro, in the end, is nothing grander than growing up.”

In the chapters that follow, we’re presented with a very powerful “character” to illustrate amateurs – the addict. Powerful because I (and probably you) can identify wholeheartedly with him. He’s described as the “egoist”- turning everything into self-promotion.

In contrast to the addict, we are given an equally provocative character to represent the professional – the artist. Steven uses these two personas to illustrate the point because they are dealing with the same struggles, but tells us that the difference is a willingness to do the hard work; endure the sacrifice; make the difficult decisions.

Yep…spot on. In the areas where I’ve stepped up to the big leagues, it has not been easy and, if I think about it too long, threatens to overwhelm me. One area is being a dad. An adoptive dad to three kids. An adoptive dad to a multi-racial set of kids.

My own childhood was hard…full of being shamed and not quite fitting in, but one that has been the driving force to ensure that my dad card said “professional-grade” across the top. Nothing has produced a willingness toward self-sacrifice than ensuring my kids know real love and are able to grow up without the hurt of being shamed.

Professionals leave themselves behind and strive to live and love for the benefit of others. Their lives gain clarity in the pursuit of the greater good.

They are grounded in the present; the here and now; letting the past be in the past and the future worry about itself.

They make mistakes and learn from them. They embrace their frailty and realize the collection of masks has hindered more than helped and readily throw them in the face of fear, from which they came in the first place.

Courage gained through the valleys and peaks of life and forged over time. Kick fear in the teeth and move forward; toward professionalism.