Where were you when you turned pro?


Steven Pressfield, in his book, Turning Pro, says that, like on 9/11, we’ll remember where we were when we “turned pro”.

To Pressfield, “pro” does not particularly mean “getting paid.” Pro, to him, is a mental shift where you, essentially, get your shit together when it comes to your craft. Where you suddenly have this thing called ‘ambition’ (do yourself a favor and read the book — it’s short and sweet and goes into more depth about the concept).

He’s absolutely right. I remember exactly where I was…

It was the 4th of July of this year (I guess this makes me a rookie).

We were on the first leg of our 10 week European workation (that we just so happen to be flying back from now).

We were high in the Swiss Alps staying at a chalet owned by friends. It was my first time in Europe and here I was, far away from the hustle and busyness of the USA, up, up, and away in fantasy land.

The view was incredible (see the title image). There was no television and no WiFi. Only the sound of cowbells ringing through the mountains (no yodeling, I’m sorry to say).

But the particular moment I’m talking about was when my alarm was going off following our first night there, like it always does, at 5am. Before everyone else. This is my writing time. My introvert fix. My meditation. My time to do my work.

See, I’d been posting to this very Medium publication every day for a few months by then. As my alarm sounded, and my thumb hovered over the snooze button, I remember saying to myself something along the lines of,

“Jonas… You don’t have to get up right now. You’re in the alps, for crying out loud. You’re supposed to be relaxing, remember? You don’t even have internet signal. You can lay right back down, curl up with your beautiful wife and sleep in.”

As fantastic as this sentiment sounded and as tempting as it was, I didn’t hesitate one bit before shrugging it off, putting both feet on the ground, and heading upstairs to brew my coffee and get to work. I write daily. Not just when I’m not on “vacation”. But daily.

No, it wasn’t the most ideal thing to do. Or the easiest. But it was a no-brainer. It felt the most true.

Low and behold, I found a smidgen of a cell phone signal. Two dots. But that’s all I needed to turn on my roaming data and post.

If I was facing any other kind of work, I would have written it off due to vacation.

But there I was. Doing the work that makes my soul sing on one of the most incredible mornings I’d ever experienced. Thumbing my post out on my iPhone keyboard. Pro status.

Just like I’m doing now. On a plane. With no WiFi. Knowing that when I get back to the States, I’ll have to copy and paste these words from my note app on my iPhone to Medium in the back seat of my father-in-law’s car with my hotspot WiFi.

Not because I want to. But because it must be done. Because that’s what a pro does.


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Jonas writes short daily essays and meditations here at Higher Thoughts. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.