Secret #4: “Know the Ways of All Professions” by Scott Sonnon
Develop Professionalism par excellence!
The principle actually describes understanding the “job” all people do in order to appreciate their lives and perspectives. But going deeper, we discover that this relates to appreciating the value of seeing the total project from the quality of its individual components.
This relates to Sun Tzu, another great martial philosopher, who advised, “know your self and know your opponent and never in 100 fights shall you walk away unvictorious.” But this actually isn’t the whole truth. It misses one of the most critical arenas of knowledge: you must know your yourself, your opponent, and you must know the rules of engagement. Only all three give you a full 3D understanding of the entire game.
In martial art competition this manifests glaringly. As an athlete, coach and referee, I was given a bird’s eye view of the event. I knew my technique, what I excelled at, and how well I was conditioned. My game plan, tactics and rituals were all grooved. As a coach, I realized that I needed to select which voices to listen to when I became fatigued, overwhelmed or made mistakes, which buttons to push based upon the type of energy I needed to access, and how to change strategies 180 degrees when obviously working harder at the same thing wasn’t working. As a referee, I appreciated that even when you do everything perfectly, if it’s not visible to the officials, performed without the right obvious intent, or even if the referee wasn’t aware of particular rules, sometimes things won’t go your way regardless of your performance.
This translated into my understanding of multiple varieties of combative engagements: military close-quarters combatives, law enforcement hostile subject control, civilian self-defense, correctional, executive, celebrity and dignitary protection. Each domain had its own rules of engagement, which shaped the strategies possible, the tactics crafted and the techniques adapted. This in turn formed the mental awareness needed and the emotional control required.
Three-dimensional professionalism of course applies in business. As an author, you must learn your voice, as well as the audience’s ear. But you must also learn the delivery system, the medium and its capacity, potential, quirks and tricks. A product and its marketing are one and the same, seamlessly interwoven, internally contiguous. Education is insufficient. You need inspiration as well: in the 21st century, the broadcast noise is so pervasive that all but the strongest signals become buried.
In your daily exercise, each task has to accomplish a specific job: the Technique (good mechanics), the Effort (not pain) and the Discomfort (not difficulty), or T.E.D. The TED must be properly balanced in order for you to achieve the “product” that you intend. To produce great results, you cannot sacrifice form, waste effort, or avoid discomfort.
In your daily nutrition, this becomes the “job” performed by your proteins, your fats and your carbs. How they are interdependent and intertwined determines your healthy energy.
To understand someone’s job is to lift the most lowly position’s nobility and expose the most lofty position’s humility. As a professional, I pour excellence into every task I do, for every act has value, and as a result each deserves the greatest quality possible. Certainly it may be seductive to try and “cut corners” and perhaps in the past economy you could get away with that (but ultimately, did they get away with it?)
Each task is integral. Each job critical to the overall function.
Chief Operations Officer