The title of the presentation I used to give was scandalously titled, “Everyone Wants to be a Professional: Not Everyone Can. Defining Yourself Between an Amateur and a Professional. Josie Koler uses examples from the Cut Throat World of Broadcast News to drive points home.”

A day does not pass in Key West where I do not reflect on this topic and the wealth of which can be useful for any individual or company to define themselves or their business.

Plus, I enjoyed many compliments Keys wide from my last editorial entry blasting those of you who expect our Chamber’s V.P., Virginia Panico to diaper you and dry your eyes when you can’t keep up with the competition.

Ask yourself, “Am I a professional?”

How you look, talk, write, act and work define whether you are a professional or an amateur. Society does not emphasize enough the importance of professionalism. People tend to believe amateur work is acceptable and that there are businesses that expect less than professional results.

To be a professional requires extensive training, study and mastery of a specialized knowledge. The designation is not defined only by white-collar positions.

You can be a professional waiter, a professional publisher, a professional attorney, a professional dive master, a professional stylist or a professional pedi-cab driver.

You can also be an amateur dabbling in any of the above.

If you are confused about what your customers, clients and those around you are seeking, I will supply you with the simple information.

Every professional is looking, hoping and often praying to work with someone who can carry-out orders, who delivers what they promise, a person who doesn’t make excuses, accept mediocre work or ever pass the buck to someone else, (worse case scenario – their boss) and who finishes projects on – if not ahead of – time.

Throw in some enthusiasm and today, your calendar will read, “full ‘til 2012.”

If you dabble in anything, you are essentially dabbling in life. You will never be satisfied because you will never produce anything for which you can be truly proud – a project you poured your heart and soul into and made those around you pleased.

Professionals see situations, and they handle what they see. The only successful beings are those who have a professional viewpoint.

Here’s how to avoid landing in the longing league of amateurs:
• An amateur skips the learning process whenever possible. A professional learns every aspect of the job.
• An amateur assumes what is needed and wanted. A professional carefully discovers what is needed and wanted.
• An amateur has a messy and confused look. A professional looks, speaks, and dresses like a professional. (Ok…so this may not be applicable in the Florida Keys!)
• An amateur is confused and distracted. A professional is focuses and clear-headed.
• An amateur ignores or hides their mistakes. A professional does not let mistakes slide by.
• An amateur tries to get out of difficult work. A professional jumps into difficult assignments.
• An amateur is surrounded by unfinished work. A professional completes projects as soon as possible.
• An amateur gets upset and assumes the worst. A professional remains level-headed and optimistic.
• An amateur gives up at the first opportunity. A professional persists until the objective is achieved.
• An amateur produces just enough to get by. A professional produces more than expected.
• An amateur has lower emotional tones: anger, hostility, resentment, and fear. A professional has higher emotional tones: enthusiasm, cheerfulness, contentment.
• An amateur earns low pay and feels its “unfair.” A professional earns high pay.

I place this questionnaire onto our islands because I am on the receiving end of much rambling about how life is “unfair.” I hear those around me bewildered at their standing in society. I beg you to ask yourself, “Why is my situation one where I am working two jobs? Am I not putting enough effort, commitment, and passion into just one? Do I blame my lack of success on those around me?”

Ask yourself these questions.

Call me at (305) 517-6844 if you’re a “Pro.” 

The Key West Weekly readers and our clients need someone who takes pride in being called “a professional.”

You should never let it be said that you led the life of an amateur.

Josie Koler is the Key West Bureau Chief for the Weekly Newspapers. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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