Are You a Professional or an Amateur at Work? (and my favorite planning tool!)


I mentioned on Instagram the other day that one of the things I’m working on in my business is being a Professional as laid out in The War of Art, Steven Pressfield’s LIFE-CHANGING book, (you can hear an abbreviated version in this interview with Marie Forleo). Seriously, no more Amateur Hour for me.

What does this mean exactly? Well, basically I act like I have a J-O-B instead of a hobby that I can either do or not do. When you’re a Professional, you honor your commitment to your work by showing up, hitting deadlines, and actually following through on what you say you’ll do.

And, OMG, IT IS HARD. ????Which is why I have been an Amateur for such a long time. It’s so much easier and less scary and Mom Life conducive to work when it fits my life, but it also means I am constantly annoyed with myself because I’m not making work a priority. I let kids’ vacations and doctor’s appointments and, you know, life, derail me, and then it’s hard to get the momentum going again so I hang around when I actually do have time to work and then feel bad that I can’t seem to get anything done and, finally it’s like, omg, woman, will you quit with everything and JUST DO THE WORK?!?!

Total Professional. ????

(I also feel like I need add this is the right time in our family for me to turn Pro. Even six months ago, it would have caused a huge amount of stress for everyone so I’m trying to be easy on myself and cool with where we are.)

One of the best ways I’ve found to keep me on track is my Daily Greatness Planner (this is a link to the new one, which looks like they’ve updated it a bit). You gals, it is so good! I tend to be all over the place and have a bazillion ideas and am really bad about working a little bit on a lot of things and this cuts through all of that. Instead, you determine your biggest priorities for the year and then break them down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals.

For me, keeping my expectations realistic has been the biggest change. I tend to overestimate what I can get done and then get so overwhelmed I just stop. Laying everything out so succinctly forces me to be more realistic about what I can actually get done and helps me focus on activities that actually support my goals.

I’ve noticed the more I use it, the more I see patterns that have tripped me up in the past (I’m going to blog 5 days a week! And start a weekly podcast! And launch four courses! And do it all tomorrow!) and am able to head them off before I get stuck (Quit thinking about the podcast, Self. You are doing that in Q3!).

Now, it takes quite a lot of work to set up in the beginning. So, you’ll want to be sure this is actually something you’ll use and not just an Amateur distraction. But, as one Professional to another, I can tell you, if you do the work and really commit to using it, it can be a true game-changer.

Just because I’m curious – do you feel like you’re a Professional in your work life right now or an Amateur? And, no judgment at all! This was such a brain opener for me I want to talk about it ALL THE TIME.

If you are looking to get motivated, War of Art will seriously kick your bootie – I can’t recommend it enough!

I used an affiliate link above, but this post is in no way influenced by that. If I met you in real life I would talk your ear off about my Daily Greatness Planner until you finally conceded to buying one just to shut me up.

Photos by the Super Pro Milou and Olin Photography.

  1. Hillary says:

    Hey Kara –

    It’s very comforting to know that someone else has this pattern: ” I tend to overestimate what I can get done and then get so overwhelmed I just stop.”

    THAT. IS. ME.

    I do have a planner that I use (of course, I’m always open to new suggestions) but I find that having young children (3.5 years old and 10 months) makes EVERYTHING so unpredictable and even when I get on a roll, I get sidetracked because you know, family takes over. The derailment is REAL!

    I feel like an Amateur on my WAY to being a Profesh; I’m still learning the ropes of my own business, I tend to undervalue myself and what I know I’m capable of doing, and I get caught up in a stream of “…but I’m trying to build trust and confidence with people to build potential long term relationships so I guess I should just give them EVERYTHING and ask for VERY LITTLE money for it…until I’m established.” And then I realize what I’ve done and I’m so mad at myself.


    • Kara says:

      FIrst, YOU ARE IN IT!!! One of my friends told me when my kids were first born to just keep moving forward while they’re little. You just do whatever you can to keep things moving and one day it’ll ease up a bit and you’ll ready to launch. I feel like that was great advice because when they’re so small, your bandwidth is limited, but now that they’re older I really do have more time and energy.

      And, I think the whole learning to value yourself and ask for what you deserve is such a journey! I feel like even when I get it I have to relearn it… ❤️

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