I am a member of a peer group of other coaches. Each month, one of our members poses a thought question to the group. Recently, he asked, “How do you define professional?”.
As intended, both the question and the answers caused me to pause. The answers included:
- Respectful and honest
- Speaking candidly while being kind
- Keeping my self-awareness higher than my self-confidence
- It depends on the circumstances; what may be professional in one case may be considered unprofessional in another
- Showing up and doing your best even when you are tired, stressed, or otherwise dealing with challenges in your life
This last response triggered a memory for me.
Years ago, a woman I knew told me she learned her father had suddenly died just as she was about to go on stage to give a speech. She proudly told me that she put on a smile, went on stage, delivered her speech, and afterward sat down and cried.
I felt unsettled about her choice, and her comments stayed with me.
- Was this “professional” or something else?
- When does our desire to “be professional” overtake our responsibility for self-care?
- How do we recognize the difference and apply the “it depends on the circumstances answer?”