I want you to cast your mind back to when you were a little kid. What did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor? A space cowboy? A ballerina? A builder? Or just happy?
Now I want you to look at your present self. What do you do? Do you have a job? Do you do something you love? Or are you meandering forward with no real direction, but just seeing where life takes you? Did you really dream of being a tax accountant in school? Or did you want to change the world through advanced mathematical algorithms?
A while back, I attended a seminar where a young woman asked, “How do I become a professional author?”
What she was implying, was that all the writing she was currently doing made her still an amateur, as it was a secondary job, or perhaps just a hobby. She vied to write a novel, and be taken seriously as a professional author, but how did one actually achieve this? How would she possibly make the transition between writing and being a writer?
What did the speaker tell her? Print out a label, stick it to the top of her computer and read it everyday: I am a professional author.
The only thing she needed to do to become a professional, was to give herself permission to become a professional. She was waiting for everyone else to grant her the title, when in actual fact, the only person who needed to grant her that permission for becoming an author was herself.
How to Become a Professional Professional who is Good at Professionalling:
Name yourself the title you want.
LinkedIn is fantastic for euphemisms if you need inspiration. Sick of being a call centre operator? Why not name yourself a “frontline customer relationship strategist”? Would you like to sell the craft items you make? Call yourself an “artistic developer”.
When I worked in fast food, I told people I was a manager in a multi-million dollar food corporation.
Don’t even get me started on social media “influencers”.
Give yourself a social media page and a brand.
If you don’t know what to affiliate yourself with, just call yourself a “public figure” for now. This is like an informal resume: Write who you are, what you love and what you’re aiming to achieve. It’s the first step to building an online platform, which in 2017, yes, you definitely need one.
In terms of your brand, find a theme for your colours, fonts and style, so when people think of you, they connect the association. Stick with the same colours etc. every time.
Print business cards
Even if they’re not for your actual everyday job, have them to prove you are winning at life. All you need is your name, digits, email and social media profiles (if you have a page). Put you awesome embellished job title on there too if you’re feeling brave.
Learn more about what you want to do
You can only fake it until you make it to a point – you have to be constantly learning about your field. Read articles, follow blogs, go on short courses and attend conventions. Keep a spreadsheet of everything you read / do / attend and you’ll be amazed what you have achieved each year.
Set goals and actually work towards them.
I love SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. You can’t just say, “I want to sell these cookies” you have to say, “By November 2017, I want to sell 500 chocolate chip cookies per week to Johnson’s Bakery”. This goal can have the success measured (500 cookies per week), is attainable, is specific, and sets a target date. Boom! Then you just have to work out how you’re going to do that.
How are you actually going to sell those cookies? Write a specific marketing strategy, beginning with your key objective. If you want to sell 500 cookies per week, how are you going to actually get cookies into mouths? Be so specific that any idiot could do it – Phone Johnson’s bakery (tick). Meet with Baker Johnson on 03 January 2017 (tick) etc. I say “tick” because you should tick off your achievements as you go. It may seem simple, but you will need that reassurance that you’re achieving your goals.Keep a checklist and tick things off as you achieve them! - Emma Zeta Skinner #StayMotivated Click To Tweet
Believe in yourself
This is the most cliché advice in the world, but it goes back to not seeking permission to be successful. If you truly think know you can do it, you can do it. Print off a label that says, “I am a professional cookie baker and salesperson” and stick to the top of your computer and your toilet. You laugh, but if it’s on your toilet, you’ll see it every day – several times a day in fact.
Note: only write that you want to sell cookies if that’s your dream, otherwise you’ll just want to eat cookies. It’s advised you write your own dream on the label. The cookie thing is an example. I’m hungry.
Now unfortunately this tactic doesn’t work in all careers. No one is going to call you a doctor unless you’ve been to medical school, done years of training, studied your butt off, practised your butt off, lost your legible handwriting (and your mind) and still train and study forever to keep up with advances in the field.
No one is going to trust you as their legal advisor, unless you’ve been to law school, done years of training, studied your butt off, practised your butt off, lost your legible handwriting (and your mind) and still train and study forever to keep up with advances in the field.
No one will support you as a national politician unless… oh wait. Actually, some people might. Never mind.
The point is, there is one thing that all hugely successful people have in common: They just did it.Hugely successful people all just did it. Don't wait for permission - Emma Zeta Skinner Click To Tweet
Madonna didn’t wait for someone to tell her she was a singer, she just sang and told everyone they needed to listen. Do you think she cares if she gets a bad review? No, she just works harder for the next album.
When Stephen King wrote his first book, he would have been writing it, not knowing if it would ever be read, or if he’d ever get paid, probably thinking it was craptastic (every author thinks their own writing is a bit crappy) – but he just did it!
It took me a long time to realise that I am capable of anything I set my mind to. It’s true. There is no reason why I couldn’t be Hollywood famous, or a billionaire or anything which seems out of reach right now. You can too – in anything you like. You just need to really work hard at it and make it a priority. We’re all given the same time in a day – twenty-four hours – but it’s what you do with it which matters!
I could be/ should be asleep right now. I’m typing away, because it’s contributing to my greater goals. Instead of watching the telly or scrolling though your news feed, take one hour a day to work toward your goal, and for heaven’s sake, don’t let anyone talk you out of it!
Yes, ninety percent of actors are out of work ninety percent of the time, but if you want to act, do it!
Be smart about where you really want your life to go. You can do what you dream of and you do not need permission from anyone but yourself to do it.You don't need permission to do what you want to do - Emma Zeta Skinner Click To Tweet
Emma is a writer, bartender and generally happy person from Gold Coast, Australia. Her career has been predominantly in the hospitality industry as a restauranteur, and she holds a special interest in mixology. Some of her many talents include removing lipstick off wine glasses and replacing coasters which have been shredded into small squares. Emma began writing about her antics and experiences and this has evolved into an online author platform. She began writing her first novel in 2016.
You can find more of her writing on her website www.emmazetaskinner.com or find her on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter!