Sunday, December 7, 2014

So, you want to go pro?

This post is, primarily, a shout out to readers who have always thought about trying to become really good at something (and maybe even make a career of it) but figured it’s just not possible due to time constraints, obligations, limitations, and other “real life” stuff.  That said, the ideas below are just as relevant to you if you work passionately for a company/organization, if you’re an employeepreneur who’s working to climb the ladder, or if you have already found your niche and just want to get even better.  

Hopefully at least one of the categories above resonates with you at least a little bit.  OK?  OK.  Let’s roll.

If you ask me, you’re a certified pro at something if:
  • You’re making or have made a career of it.
  • You make at least a little bit of money doing it.  Or a lot.
  • You rank in the top few percent of the field or hold a pro license.
  • You really like doing it and have set up your life so you can do it a lot.  

So, why would you want to go pro?
  • Maybe you want to spend more time in flowand less in trying to simply make it through the day.
  • Maybe you feel like getting better just for the purpose of growing.  
  • Or maybe you want to be the best. Period.
  • Maybe you want to be proud of yourself.*
  • Maybe you’re ready for a change.

And, most importantly, how do you go pro?

This one’s the key and our focus here because, well, I think it’s important to go pro, in one way or another.  (Hint: one way to start is by thinking of yourself as a pro in something you already do).  Sometimes, people fall into a rut, feeling trapped within a certain job, lifestyle, mindset, field of work, or way of doing things.  They want to go pro with something else, but don’t think it’s possible.  

It is.  Here’s how.  (And even if you are already going pro at something you really do feel passionate about, you might think about applying some of these to your quest therein).

Trav’s Top 5 Go Pro Tips

1. Believe you can do it.
A decade of ultra endurance racing around the world in a variety of sports has taught me that you won't get anywhere without a commitment ahead of time and believing in yourself.  As I say in The Ultra Mindset (for sale now on Amazon), you should, "Have an ego and use it."

2.  Cut the pork.
Going pro is going to take time, and you'll have to get that time somewhere.  They say the average American watches four hours of TV every day.  Four hours per day is enough time to be a pro at almost anything!  Heck, a person could watch two hours of TV and then train for two hours and still be an Ironman triathlete.  You're probably not the average American though (thank goodness).  Could you shift work so that you spend less time commuting?  Could you go pro early in the morning or during lunch break?  Could you go out for a walk or easy run while you're on the conference call?  Could you hire people to do things (housecleaning, accounting, etc.) that are taking time away from your quest?  

3.  Remove choice and make it a habit.
When I was writing my book alongside work, training, and raising kids, a simple if/then rule made putting in the time for writing nice and simple: "If it's between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m., then I will be writing my book."  The rule was set, and all I had to do was follow it.  Pretty soon, I had a book.  What's your if/then rule?  Where do you need to develop a habit?  Or, maybe your key will be to stop doing something that's holding you back.  If you like this thinking, you'll really like "The 4:30 a.m. Rule" in the book.

4.  Be a wannabe.
Here's what John Hanc and I say in The Ultra Mindset: "Get close to the people you want to be like—make the most of goal contagion. By identifying people you would like to emulate in one or more ways, you can find examples of people who are reaching goals similar to your own. Utilize the synergy and push each other."

5. Be vulnerable, ask for help, and get ready to hear "no" more often than not.
I've really been enjoying Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown, Ph.D.  The book is about the significant advantages of being comfortable with being vulnerable.  How does that work?  Read the book.  Or, read my book, which actually addresses the ego topic as: "Have an ego and use it--until it's time to put your ego aside."
If you’re going pro, I’d love to hear about it and support you if I can.  Shoot me a message by replying here or through
I did my best to apply the “go pro” mindset at the USA Track and Field Trail Marathon National Championshipin Moab a few weeks ago.  Race Director Danelle Ballengee, who’s a good friend, put together an awesome course, complete with plenty of very technical terrain and a couple of solid climbs.  I wrapped up the season with a fourth place finish, and I must say I’m stoked for more ultra and trail running in 2015!

Thanks for reading,


*If you ask me, you should already be proud of yourself.  Start with happiness.  Once that's in place, I bet so-called “success” will come a lot easier than when achievement recognized by someone else was a prereq for satisfaction.