To practice a profession one must have acquired mastery of an academic discipline as well as a technique for applying this special knowledge to the problems of everyday life. A profession is therefore intellectual in content, practical in application.” – H. G. Rickover
There isn’t one accepted profession that seems to appropriately “fit” what it means to be someone who is driving change. Whatever the profession is or should be called, I can wholeheartedly agree with Admiral Rickover’s statement that a profession is both intellectual and practical. You need to know something and then you need to do something with that knowledge.
And, if you subscribe to Peter Senge’s description of personal mastery then you won’t read “acquired mastery of an academic discipline” in the narrow sense of “got a degree in X all those years ago,” but rather as a continuous building upon past learning toward greater intellectual mastery which then provides the ideas to carry forward to greater practical mastery in application. Keep learning. Keep doing. You’ll be a professional.
Now, even if other people don’t know what to call you as you drive change, be sure to take the job seriously, and act as a professional anyway. Study. Apply. Study more. Apply more. Keep driving. Keeping winning. If they have to call you something, let them call you great for all you’ve accomplished.
Join me in the ranks of the professionals.
Why not try?
Just last week I learned that the ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos (the unfeeling time that flies by before us) and kairos (the human time of creating an opportunity for something important).
Often each week I’m asked how I get so much done. I used to reply with a shrug of my shoulders. Now I reply, “kairos.”
In the last week I prepared a command-wide presentation for our top executives, supported my son (he’s 2-and-a-half years old) through his fourth emergency brain surgery of the year, ran a half marathon, orchestrated a 70-person off-site session, attended a retirement celebration and an Elks club spaghetti feed, worked four days (plus 2 hours on the weekend) and read two books. Oh, and I blogged some too and did four loads of laundry. I also read books to my children every night, helped them with their prayers and kissed them before they went to bed. And, I think I got in a snuggle while watching a movie with my husband.
I get so much done because I am constantly making time work for me. Now, granted, I’ve been practicing at this for years and I’ve got some natural energy that I attribute to a genetic gift from my grandmother, but I also look at time as kairos not chronos. Time doesn’t control me. Time works for me.
Whether you read Covey’s words about “first things first” or Drucker’s Effective Executive, the gurus tell you that harnessing your time to your purposes is the sure route to improving your performance and gaining the success you desire. They believe in the power of kairos.
I think Peter Senge would tell you that you have a flawed mental model if you only assume time is chronos. Break that mental model. Add kairos to time and see what happens after you believe that you can create time.
Seek out kairos. You’ll be surprised how much time you find.