I was given sage advice as a young man, "Whatever you do in life, be a Pro, because there are so few Pro's". Like much advice I’ve received in life, it was given without asking; but this once I was happy to receive it. I was on a balcony, outside a classroom where I was taking a class for my Master’s, taking a break. The instructor’s elderly husband had come along with her for some reason and was also enjoying the afternoon sunshine outside the room with me, and we were chatting.
He was a successful man; although, the details of his success I’ve long forgotten. He saw an opportunity in our conversation about the class I was engaged in to share a wisp of wisdom with me.
“Be a garbage man,” he said, “Be anything you want to be, but be a Pro at it”. Be a professional. I thought a lot about that conversation over the past 25 years or so that have gone by and I’ve tried hard to live my work life as a Pro. I haven’t always succeeded, I’ll admit. At times I get lazy, distracted, unmotivated, timid, or dissatisfied; and it is at those times that I merely plug along at my work. When I merely plug along, I am never doing my best work.
To be a Pro means the following to me:
- Be honest (with discretion)
- Show Up (always and on time)
- Work until the job is done right
- Be brave enough to take risks
- Constantly grow and seek opportunities to improve
- Attend to the details
- Be well-groomed and well spoken
- Keep petty personal events private without being cold
- Be supportive of the growth of others
- Contribute positively to the professional climate
- Be loyal
- Be helpful
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