I saw a sign on a restaurant the other day proclaiming “The Only Thing Worse Than Our Food Is Our Service.” Unfortunately, I’d already ordered the pancakes.
The sign was right.
“I ain’t no professional” is a phrase I’ve heard once too often in my life in various capacities. I think it’s safe to say that if “You ain’t no professional then there ain’t no need to say it. Everyone already knows.”
The difference between the amateur and the professional is simple. The professional is willing to roll up his sleeves and go to work.
The word professional is defined by Google dictionary as someone “engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.” This means the person is serious about it and is willing to work hard.
My profession for most of my life has been ministry. I’d be lying if I said I was always professional in every position I ever had. I sometimes found myself in places where I didn’t know what to do or who to trust and I often let my insecurities keep me from doing the work that needed to be done. In those moments, I was allowing myself to become an amateur.
The author of Proverbs 22:29 once wrote: “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.”
Some people want to reference the above verse and say that we shouldn’t associate with certain people. Believe it or not, they may be right, but not in matters of race, socio-economic status, or sports team affiliation. We should be careful with associating with those who are going to wastefully absorb our time and keep us from the professionalism we should strive to achieve.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes:
“Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance. They’re the sign of an amateur. The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.”
It’s time to quit whining. It’s time to do the work that’s set before us. It’s time to be professional.