Books You Gotta Read

Where Buddha Meets Business

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield

Have you ever felt like your days have become more like a ride on a treadmill, where you’re going as fast as you can, yet you’re not going anywhere? And “Turning Pro” is the last thing on your mind because you’re too buried in your day-to-day.

I’ve had many days like this. My corporate journey of 20 years and now my entrepreneurial life were both like that. I don’t think every day was like that, yet after having a business for more than 10 years, I often think I ought to be further along in my ability to connect and create more income more easily. (Yeah, I’m comparing myself to others. Oh, it’s not a productive or good mindset thing to do.)

At the beginning of this year, I decided to work with a coach and see how quickly I could bang out some of my top goals that have eluded me for a few years now.

Then this book pops into my life— Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield. I think I heard about this book from one of my entrepreneurial groups. 

I devoured it in a weekend. It’s only 132 pages. And it’s jam-packed with so many thought-provoking and profound ideas. It’s a more in-depth read.

What I Loved About This Book:

He talks about the amateur life vs. the life of being a pro. I could definitely relate to this. The areas he talked about, such as what amateurs do and how they think and operate in the world, were spot on for me. 

The amateur is often distracted and not fully committed because they are driven by fear and self-doubt. Where the pro embraces challenges, remains disciplined, and is dedicated to mastery. 

He gives several terrific examples and stories from his own life. His journey felt similar to my own. I’m finally figuring out my true purpose later in life, and this book was so eye-opening for me.

I started out as a salesperson for a publishing company right out of college. The company provided me with a car, an expense budget, and a Louisiana and Southern Mississippi territory. All I would do all day long is cold call on professors at colleges. My car was a rolling university, listening to a of books on tape. Yep, that was eons ago, way before wifi. 🙂

While I didn’t like the schlepping of the books and the brochures (My shoulders are still paying the price for that.), I did meet some pretty amazing professors and learned a lot of stuff. It taught me terrific habits of organization, scheduling, and the art of connection and conversation. 

I also learned how to handle the cold shoulder and doors being slammed in my face. Learning that at 22 was pretty instrumental in guiding me to my next career path. It also taught me terrific habits of organization, scheduling, and the art of conversation. 

I lasted in that career for 14 years. To this day, all those years, it wasn’t really my calling. Yet, I do think it was preparing me for my life as an entrepreneur that would happen 6 years later. 

During my time in publishing, I was laid off and hired again at least 3 times. I had various jobs in publishing. All were equally as stressful, and some were even as enjoyable as the last, like traveling internationally and training our staff in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Australia, Bali, Cannes, Amsterdam, and more. 

So, what does my career have to do with this book?

My earlier career in corporate trained me to go out on my own. My many years as an entrepreneur have given me many habits about creating success.

Being in business for myself for over 18 years, I think I’m doing many things right. Yet, I’m a lifelong learner – I’m driven to learn. It’s in my bones, my DNA. I love reading, learning, and teaching. It’s what I’m doing here with you. 🙂 I needed some inspiration and guidance to declare and become a pro! As an entrepreneur, I feel like I’ve been stuck in amateur mode and serving clients rather than going big, going pro, and serving hundreds of thousands of people, not just 7 – 15 clients in a year.

The other interesting thing is that this book is totally aligned with a book and a movement I’m creating – Soulful Marketing. His book is much like a manifesto as mine. My book aligns with your mission and values so you can be more authentic and growth-oriented, connect more deeply, and create trust with your dream clients. 

You first have to do this with yourself. Hence, I highly recommend getting and reading Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. 

This book touches on so many things that will up your productivity, mindset and motivation in your life. It’s a call to adopt the professional mindset and leave the amateur mindset behind. Such as creating better daily habits, goal setting, embracing failure, and more.

There’s so much good stuff in it. Below is a more succinct summary, and I highly encourage you to read it or listen to it on Audible so you will have your own authentic experience.

A Book Summary to Inspire You To Read It!

Quick Summary:
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield speaks directly to you, the entrepreneur. He urges you to shed the amateur mindset marked by fear and half-hearted efforts and embrace a professional approach to your business or career. He wants you to confront your internal resistance, self-sabotage, and procrastination and pursue your goals half-heartedly. Pressfield wants you to commit deeply to your goals and treat your work with the respect it deserves. He takes you on a transformative journey towards personal and professional mastery. He’s your guide to authentic success, learning continuously, and aligning your personal values with your business goals. Your path to success is as much about Self-discovery as it is about professional achievement. They are eternally linked.

Who Ought to Read this Book and Why:
In Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield’s writing style is such that it feels like you, the entrepreneur, are having a heart-to-heart over a cup of coffee in his kitchen.  If you are at a crossroads and grappling with inertia, maybe feeling trapped in the amateur mindset of unfulfilled potential and lacking a firm commitment, this book is your wake-up call. GPT

It’s vital for you if you’re eager to confront your fears and bad habits, shift your mindset, and seek business success and a deeper, authentic self-fulfillment.

Table of Contents:
The book is broken up into 3  “Books.”

Book One: The Amateur Life
Book Two: Self-Inflicted Wounds
Book Three: The Professional Mindset

Things You Will Discover:

Core Concepts of The Book Are:

1. Amateur vs. Pro – Explain and share the emotional differences between the two when it comes to discipline and mindset.

2. Resistance: This is probably one of the top reasons for the difference between the amateurs and the pros. This force prevents you from achieving your full potential. It’s about self-doubt and fear of success and failure.

3. Turning Pro: This takes a total mind shift from amateurs to pros that he walks you through in the book. It involves commitment, perseverance, and embracing a work ethic that will foster your success.

Practical Takeaways For Entrepreneurs:
Daily Habits – How to establish a routine that includes time for strategic planning, skill development and enhancement, and time to think and reflect.

Goal Setting: Creating and setting clear goals that you can achieve and assessing your progress regularly.

Embracing Failure: The majority of entrepreneur’s mindset around failure needs to change. He shares how you need to start viewing failure as the early inventors did—it’s a learning opportunity, not a setback.

Some Other Areas Pressman talks about:
Mindful Insights: Looking at your own self-discovery, being more authentic (my personal favorite), and developing resilience. 

Inspiring Book Quotes:

The Difference…
“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits.“

Working At A High Level:
“A professional is someone who can keep working at a high level of performance even when he doesn’t feel like it—especially when he doesn’t feel like it.”

The Voice In Your Head:
“Resistance is the voice in our heads telling us to back off, to play it safe, to settle for less.”

This Has No Power Over Us Unless…
“Fears and doubts are just shadows. They have no substance. In the end, they only have the power we give them.”

Your Greatest Growth Comes From…
“The obstacle is not the enemy; it is the path. Our greatest growth comes from overcoming our greatest challenges.”

Showing Up Is Not Optional:
“A professional is committed over the long haul. They show up, day in and day out, no matter what.”

Don’t Wait For This:
“The professional does not wait for inspiration; they seek it out. They understand that inspiration comes when they put in the work.”

Stay Focused On This:
“The professional is focused on the process, not the outcome. They focus on doing the work, not on the external rewards.”

This Is Not A Reflection On Your Ability:
“The professional understands that failure is a necessary part of the journey. It is not a reflection of their worth or ability.”

This is A Core Demand:
“Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice…it’s not easy… it’s not without cost… and it’s not for everyone. ”

What We Get When Turning Pro:
“What we get when we turn pro is we find our power. We find our will and our voice, and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.”

Pursuing a Shadow Career:
“Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, will pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar. Its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at our shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.”

Your Life Metaphor:
“If you’re dissatisfied with your current life, ask yourself what your current life is a metaphor for. That metaphor will point you toward your true calling.”

When Turning Pro:
“What happens when we turn pro is we finally listen to that still, small voice inside our heads. At last, we find the courage to identify the secret dream or love or Bliss that we have known all along with our passion, our calling, our destiny. This, we acknowledge at last, is what we are most afraid of. This is what we know in our hearts we have to do.”

Stop Fleeing From Turning Pro:
“Before we turn pro.. we live in a state of denial. We’re denying the voice in our heads. We’re denying our calling. We’re denying who we really are. We’re fleeing from our fear into an addiction or Shadow career. What changes when we turn pro is we stop fleeing.”

Are You Afraid of Your Tribe?
“The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fears that this new person will be judged by others as ” different.” The tribe will declare us quote “weird” or “queer” or” crazy.” The tribe will reject us. Here’s the truth: The tribe doesn’t give a s**t. There is no tribe.”

About the Author: Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield is the author of The War of Art, which has sold over a million copies globally and has been translated into multiple languages. He is a master of historical fiction, with Gates of Fire being on the required reading list at West Point and the recommended reading list of the Joint Chiefs. His other books include A Man at Arms, Turning Pro, Do the Work, The Artist’s Journey, Tides of War, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Last of the Amazons, Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign, Killing Rommel, The Profession, The Lion’s Gate, The Warrior Ethos, The Authentic Swing, An American Jew, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, and The Knowledge. His debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was over 30 years in the making. He hasn’t stopped writing since. Steve lives and writes in California. You can follow him on IG @steven_pressfield. Sign up for his weekly writing newsletter at

Where I Would Recommend Getting Your Copy:

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield

Other Books By Steven Pressfield I’d Recommend:
The War of Art 

Put Your Heart Where Your Ass Wants to Be 

The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of The Hero’s Journey And The Lifelong Pursuit Of Meaning

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t And Other Tough-Love Truths To Make You A Better Writer

Other Books I’d Recommend:
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon 

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it for Life by Twyla Thorp

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 

A Technique For Producing Ideas by James Webb Young

A Still Small Voice by Echo Bodine

Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marlee Adams

The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday

The Four-Hour WorkWeek by Tim Ferris

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

Atomic Habits: An Easy Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

The Success System That Never Fails by William Clement Stone

Good to Great By Jim Collins

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

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Turning Pro Book Summary

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work by Steven Pressfield


Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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