05 Sep The Professional’s Pain
How to create a good and productive life
Professionals face the sharp edge of acceleration – productivity, technology and connection with meaningful work. At the same time, they seek Eudaimonia (a good life). The pace has become overwhelming. How does one solve this paradox?
After 28 years working for Professional firms, here are some perspectives and solutions.
1. You are the elite operators of business
The 21st century professional is an elite business expert. Stacked with skills, driven by relentless targets and thrust into truly risky engagements, professional life has become tough. You can no longer rely on genes and intellect. You must master your biology (body, emotion and mind) and continually refine your skill to expert levels and beyond.
This takes training, coaching, courage and relentless discipline. You must professionalise your life, your family and your practice. There is no way back. Think. Act. Improve.
2. To accelerate you have to impose discipline and rhythm
As all elite performers discover, there is a required routine of life mastery. The key factors of high level fitness, daily contemplation, excellent sleep and smart nutrition must be built into your day. By the way, you have to stop the dumb stuff. For practical suggestions:
- Master your day like a Resilient Professional.
- Develop your rhythm – presence, flow, rest and Eudaimonia. You have to cycle through these phases on a daily basis.
3. Learn from the elite operators of our time
Admiral Bill McRaven, Navy Seal and commander for 30 years has an inspirational speech at the University of Texas Commencement address. It’s worth a brief watch. Make your Bed is his book. Get curious about how people like Roger Federer keep going.
If you want to build this into your operating practice, your team and your leadership read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. The leadership lessons are very powerful and the applications to professional engagements transformative.
4. Reflect on singularity. The answer is innovation
As cities and organisations accelerate and grow in a super-linear (exponential) way, we are reaching finite time singularity. In a nutshell, that means things are going so fast, the only way to avoid collapse is innovation. The cycles of innovation are compressing. This is the pain you feel. It is a sense that the improvements you make are absorbed in a flash. To explore this idea and the consequences for sustainability read Scale by Geoffrey West.
On one hand, professional firms have become their own worst enemies. On the other, it is the place to be for meaningful work, excellence and a fulfilling career. You are the elite. The science and practice are well worked out. Show bounce, courage, connection and creativity.
The professional’s pain is the crucible of success.