A couple of weeks ago my friend Steve Pressfield’s new book Turning Pro came out. I did get a review copy in the mail as well, but that’s not important because I had already bought it myself and gave the review copy to a good friend who’s turning pro. Oh and in case you like disclaimers, I am not only a huge fan of Steve Pressfield’s but also have the pleasure of having breakfast with him from time-to-time which I consider to be a huge fortune.
So, here we go.
To me turning pro is about the process of going from living an inauthentic life to walking down the path meant destined for you. If you’re really passionate about writing fiction, and you’re an Advertising copywriter – that means you’re living an Amateurish live. If your passion is teaching children how to write, and you work in HR at IBM – that makes you an amateur.
Turning pro is about shutting everything else off, waking up earlier, taking responsibility, putting your shin guards, tuning out your FB stream, getting your shit together and then doing whatever it takes to do what you’re meant to do.
Turning pro is not easy. Turning pro oftentimes involves hitting rock bottom. Turning pro comes with huge sacrifices. Turning pro is something that Steve did himself, going from failed writer to apple picker to living out of his car to ad copywriter to failed writer again to being a true professional (I bet I have the order wrong).
I once had an old boss who told me that if you wanted to be a successful entrepreneur, you needed leather balls. Turning pro is about having leather balls, and whatever the female equivalent would be.
My name is Mario, I am the founder of IdeaMensch, and I am an amateur. I’ve spent the last 10 years working in Advertising, even though my path is helping people with ideas. I’ve built IdeaMensch over nights and weekends, I’ve done an Ironman, I’ve worked remote from Europe and pretty much have done everything in my power to avoid turning pro.
Why? Because I am scared. Because I was marginally successful in Advertising and that meant comfort. Because I don’t want to hit bottom. Because it’s the path less traveled. Because it might be lonely. Because I don’t know if I am good enough to be a pro. Because, well, the list goes on and on.
Now I am turning pro.
I am quitting my job. Friday is my last day. A week later I am hitting the road with three strangers/soon-to-be lifelong friends to go on a 48-state road trip across America. We’re organizing an event in every single state with the goal of inspiring as many people as possible to start turning pro themselves. Or as we say at IdeaMensch, to bring their ideas to life.
But really, this journey is as much about me turning pro as it’s about inspiring others. My path is your path.
Turning pro is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. I’ve been trying to turn pro for the last year. While there’s been considerable momentum for the IdeaMensch road trip, I’ve also ruined a relationship with a wonderful woman, regularly wake up at 4am worrying about something, became a shitty friend and gotten out of shape. When I read the Wikipedia entry on both depression and bipolar disorder, there’s a check mark or two.
If I wasn’t turning pro, I should probably go seek help.
Turning pro is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.
I am trying it.
I am all in.
Then read this book.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.