Your career growth is influenced by many different factors over the course of your life. From location to education to opportunity, any number of influences can change the trajectory or the speed of your career growth. But one thing that doesn’t get discussed too often is simple professionalism. What’s the difference between a tried and true professional and an amateur looking to prove themselves? The difference may be the change you need to get your career going in the right direction. Here’s the difference in three key attributes.
A true professional is someone who has the patience to stick with a project and make sure the work gets done and gets done well. Professionals stay in the process. They don’t need or expect random inspiration to strike or motivation to come from an external source. Patience and persistence are what differentiates professionals from amateurs. The seasoned leaders in an industry know that with any job comes ups and downs, both fast and slow periods. But through all the ups and downs, a company will count on their most professional employees to drive the business forward, and it is their careers which reap the benefits of those opportunities. So, to prove yourself to be a true professional, don’t be reactive or thrashy in your workflow. Be patient. Be consistent. Be steady and your career will slowly but surely grow to reflect that sense of professionalism.
Similarly, true professionals have a deep sense of accountability that they bring to their career day in and day out. They want to get better. They want to learn how to improve processes or projects to be more effective in the future. With that in mind, they actively seek out feedback (both the positive and the negative) and avoid taking it personally so they can adjust as needed to always improve. Professionals know that the work will be there, but the opportunity to do their best will come again and again. In comparisons, Amateurs just want the status of completing something. Professionals own their work and understand the importance of that accountability.
Everyone struggles with failure at some time or another in their career. It’s an important part of growing within a role because rarely do you learn or stretch yourself professionally without risking failure. The difference between a professional and an amateur is in the ability to overcome failure and learn from the experience. Failures are like stepping stones to greater success. If you are never willing to take a leap and try something new, then you are only doing the work and not growing in your career. That leap indicates leadership, something that employers truly look for in their long-term employees. But it’s the response to the fall that really designates the professionals from the amateurs. Resilience is key and it will help grow your career in the long term and give you a stronger outlook on life to boot.
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