There is a TV show in my homeland that focuses on professionals. It picks up the one individual who is thought to be the absolute crème de la crème of their profession, either by their peers, their clients, or by themselves, and documents what constitutes professionalism in the work that they do. And at the end of every episode, it asks the individual “what does it mean to be a professional, to you?”
I love watching this show because I have always been an avid “professional-watcher.” My eyes light up whenever I come across a job well done, of any sort – it always fascinates me to learn vicariously through their professionalism about the skills and knowledge that go in and the pride and joy that come out. By watching this show, I get to catch sight of many more of them that I would otherwise have missed because I lack the eyes to notice them.
I also love it because I get to dig deeper into my own take on what it means to be a professional. It gives me new points of view and fresh ideas on the appropriate mindset and conduct to uphold in doing my own job well. I have found through watching this show that there is no profession (or individual holding the profession) better or worse than another, just jobs done better or worse… so it is not what you do, but rather why and how you do, that sets you aside from others as a professional.
And after a few seasons of watching this show, I think I am starting to see a pattern in what it means to be a professional.
Maybe it is better to have talent, but it can be substituted to a degree with imaginativeness and uniqueness.
Maybe it is better to have training and experience, but they can be covered to some extent by acquired skills and knowledge from other fields.
Maybe it is better to actually be able to do the job well at all times, but a few failures can be overlooked if there is intention and determination to do the job well at all times.
But maybe one thing that cannot be missing is humility – maybe in order to become, and remain, a professional, you must be willing to accept that there is always more for you to learn.
Maybe it involves setting never-attained-before standards, but it should not involve stubbornly insisting on your way to be the best.
Maybe it involves setting your practices as rules of games, but it should not involve arrogantly nipping all other functional and operable practices in the bud or bloom.
Maybe it involves setting sight on fortune and fame, but it should not involve disrespectfully usurping those entitled to others.
I do not believe that professionals are made in a day just by holding the job, let alone made by God. Instead, I believe they must be made by ourselves and the status must be rightfully earned over time.
So, maybe the epitome in “professional-watching” is finding humility in the answer to the question “what does it mean to be a professional, to you?”
There are some individuals who I truly hope will become professionals at what they will be doing. I will be watching quietly from afar, but I will certainly be paying close attention to every note of their tweets and flap of their wings for hints of humility. How would you like to join me… it requires a great deal of patience, but you might just get pleasantly surprised by their growth and maturation!