I found out this weekend that I have Covid.
(Ever heard of it?)
To start, my symptoms are mild(ish) and I’m fine. By no means am I suffering at the level of others I have known. I’m lucky and grateful.
Having said that, everything is harder.
It is taking significantly more effort and to do the things I want to do: read, play chess, have conversations, get work done…
Naturally, I’m going easy on myself. I’m not holding myself to the same productivity standards as usual. I’m taking breaks and resting.
BUT…it still comes back to one simple mindset:
I am a professional.
According to Steven Pressfield, an amateur is someone who does the work when they feel like it; a professional is someone who puts in the time no matter what.
Working out when you don’t feel like it. Getting things done when you’re sick. Practicing your passion/hobby when you don’t feel motivated.
This is all very familiar to the professional.
An amateur would hear this and go, It’s okay to take days off.
Yes and no.
Yes in the fact that rest is necessary to refresh your mind and body.
No in the fact that most amateurs say this and really mean, It’s okay to take a lot of days off.
The people who tell me it’s okay to skip the gym are usually people who aren’t in great shape.
The people who tell me I don’t have to worry about being productive are typically people who don’t run their own businesses.
The people who tell me I don’t need to spend so much time on the things that interest me tend to have no real passions of their own.
I’m aware that this is sounding a little mean. I don’t mean to insult anyone. I’m just pointing out the patterns I’ve noticed over the years.
My point is: Being a professional is not about killing yourself to optimize every second of every day. It’s about working on the things that are important to you even when you don’t feel like it.
I’m sick. Everything is foggy, but I can still see.
I’m grateful to not be in a hospital. I’m grateful to have access to food and internet. I’m grateful to have a bed to take naps in.
I’ll take advantage of all of that when I need to. But until then…
It’s back to work.