When things go wrong, it’s ok to be angry but be a pro

When it comes to athletics, there’s a big difference between being an amateur and a being a professional.   Some amateurs can be highly capable and every bit as good as a professional. What separates them from professionals is that they do not get paid. While people know this already, being a true business professional is much more than simply “being paid”.

Professional athletes (and professional artists for that matter), don’t always act professionally both on and off the playing surface. But what almost all manage to do is show up for ‘work’ and put up a 100% effort. They know that nothing else will suffice.

Think of a basketball or tennis player not giving his or her all. Spectators will know pretty quickly, teammates and coaches even more quickly. Performing artists are in the same boat. Nothing else but their best efforts can be displayed lest the paying public think that they are ‘tanking’ it, or ‘mailing it in’.  There’s something special about being called a ‘pro’ and to me it’s one of the highest forms of praise.

During sporting events there are numerous occasions where an official’s call might not go in a player’s favor. You’ve seen many players get upset. But what you also see is their ability to have a ‘short memory’ of what was unfair so they can get back to playing at their highest level during the game. There’s not time for whining and complaining and that’s not going to help the team or the player win the game.

Being a true business professional calls for some of the same ‘short memories’ that professional athletes have to exhibit. Things ‘happen’ at work between co-workers, managers and employees (and vice versa). Sometimes those things make people angry. How people deal with those things are indicators of their professionalism. You are not soon going to forget being wronged (in your view) at work, so the short memory is only evidenced in how you interact with your team members after the fact.

It’s highly frustrating to realize the motivations for what may have created any particular circumstance, and then not be able to do anything about it. That happens frequently. What you might consider doing is to assess your options going forward, try to reach a decision on how you are going to proceed, set that course and do everything you can to make that happen. This is easier said than done but at least you will feel as if you yourself are taking positive steps to change the status quo. And don’t be surprised if doing NOTHING is the best immediate action, which can be even more frustrating.

In your career there will be any number of occasions when your patience and professionalism will be tested. As I tell my kids, it’s ok to be upset but always, always, be a pro.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Best business practices, Career Development, Professionalism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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