Marie Forleo: Hello there. Hey, it's Marie Forleo and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. Got a question for you today. Have you ever felt like you have a ton of potential inside, but you're not able to fully actualize it out into the world? My next guest says that the key to really unleashing your power, your voice, and your self-respect lies in one simple decision that you can make right now. We are about to talk with one of my favorite authors of all time, Mr. Steven Pressfield about his new book called Turning Pro. I absolutely love it. I think that every human being on the planet should read it, and let's talk to him right now and learn why.
Marie Forleo: All right, everyone. Welcome. I am here with, as I told you, the amazing author of Turning Pro, Mr. Steven Pressfield. And as you'll notice, my book cover is all cranked out. Steven, I've had this book at the beach. I can't even tell you how many people have stolen from me. There's highlights, there's sand in this book.
Steven Pressfield: Great.
Marie Forleo: I absolutely love it. So I built up this book, which again, no hype, everyone on the planet should read this. Let's talk about what Turning Pro really means. What does turning pro mean to you?
Steven Pressfield: There are a lot of us out there, including me in the past, who are amateurs. So we're living our lives as amateurs. And it's somebody that wants to be a writer, but only dabbles once in a while and puts a few words down. If somebody wants to shoot film, somebody wants to be a painter or somebody wants to be an entrepreneur and doesn't really get it going. And I think a lot of times when We try to ask ourselves, "Well, what's wrong? What's happening that won't let me do this?" We can blame ourselves. We think that there's something wrong with us or we're sick or we have neurotic tendencies or whatever. My instinct about the whole thing is to forget all that stuff and just look at it through the prism of, are we a pro or are we an amateur?
Steven Pressfield: And if we're a professional, then we don't accept any excuses from ourselves. And when the day comes, when we wake up in the morning and we don't feel like doing whatever it is we know we need to do, a professional gets up and does it. Kobe Bryant goes to the gym. LeBron James goes to the gym. Every pro does what he has to do. Whereas, an amateur will crap out along the way, they're a weekend warrior that dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. So the whole point of the book, Turning Pro, is to try to encourage people to make that switch in their mind. It doesn't cost any money. You don't have to buy any product. You don't have to take any course. Nobody gets rich off you or anything like that. You just change your mind from being a pro to being an amateur. I tell you a little story that we haven't even talked about, Marie. I had a woman friend a few years ago who took up golf. And people get bitten by the golf bug and they just go crazy, right?
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Steven Pressfield: And she had been playing for about a month and she was absolutely terrible, of course, as anybody would be. So she invited me to go out and play golf with her. When I showed up at the golf course, she was decked out from head to toe. She had the beautiful shoes, she had the beautiful visor and she was terrible. It was terrible. And I said, "What's the story, Kathy?" And she said, "You know what, Steve, I decided to think of myself as a pro." She says, "I know stink. I know I suck. I know it's going to take me years, but I am going to take this seriously. I'm going to have the right gear." And she had got herself on a program of lessons, a program of practice or she put in X number hours a day.
Steven Pressfield: And she was practicing the way a pro practices. In other words, not just doing the fun things, the glamorous things, but the boring stuff the three-foot putts and things like that. And of course within nine months, she was a good golfer. Now she's a terrific author. And I remember when I first heard that from her, I thought, wow, that is really a wild idea. And so that's an example of just somebody who just put the mindset in, I'm not going to be a dilettante, I'm not going to be a dabbler. I may be no good, but I'm going to commit to this full-time, and she did. And so that's what Turning Pro is.
Marie Forleo: I love this idea, and I have to tell you. I'm a huge fan of The War of Art. I'm a huge fan of Do the Work as well. And we've done interviews in the past, which we'll put links below for all of you guys if this is your first time hearing Steven and I talk together. And I remember being struck in The War of Art by the idea of turning pro. And actually, I have talked and talked about it, always crediting you of course and pimping out your book right and left, because the singular concept of turning pro it's magical. It really is magical and it informs everything that you do. One of the ways-
Steven Pressfield: I'm going to interrupt you, Marie. We were talking about this before. Did you have a moment of turning pro? And if so, what was it?
Marie Forleo: I feel like, much like you, which when you read the book, you guys will know this. There was probably several moments. And then there was a period where I was like, I got to do this and it was like a training ground. And I think when I first started out and I knew that coaching and personal development and business growth, they were passions of mine. And I knew I had a message to share, but I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to fit together. I was bartending a lot. That's how I was earned enough money to get my business going during the day. And I was writing my newsletters, but I thought they were crap, which I'm sure they probably were, but I was just putting them out there.
Marie Forleo: And I feel like I was almost like... I was like a baby pro where I would do the minimum work that I needed to do, but then I had so much fear and self-doubt, and I was in my early twenties and I would, at the end of the night of bartending sometimes, totally drink too much and be out until like three or four in the morning. You know what I mean? So like, I would have these levels of little wins and then I think there was too much energy or I couldn't handle it or I wasn't willing to just really stay there and I would self-sabotage a bit.
Steven Pressfield: But was there an actual moment that you...
Marie Forleo: That I decided that this was it?
Steven Pressfield: ... suddenly decided?
Marie Forleo: I feel like it was... I don't remember like an exact moment, but I do remember a specific period in my life. And it was when I met my fiance, Josh, who I'm with today. We've been together for almost 10 years. And there was something around that period of meeting him when I really took ownership of my gifts and I stopped screwing around. And it was about that time that, while I never had a problem with drinking, the partying kind of went away. Do you know what I mean? Doing those stupid thoughts that just throw you off track, those things kind of melted away.
Marie Forleo: And that was the time when I, not coincidentally, started making more money, started receiving some opportunities that never seem to happen before. Things started lining up when I feel like I met him, I owned my gifts. There was something that kind of settled in myself. And while nothing started coming along easily, there was something that changed in me. And it was something about, again, it was around that partying idea of not just saying, "Oh, well, who cares? I'll just stay out all night." You know what I mean? "I don't need to get to that newsletter in the morning. I can push it off to next week." I stopped doing those things.
Steven Pressfield: I mean, in a way what you're doing now, Marie, is sort of form of partying, but it's kind of positive partying.
Marie Forleo: That's totally right.
Steven Pressfield: So it's not as though you went from A to Z, it just, you sort of changed the metaphor a little bit, where you made it direct instead of indirect.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. And I think it was also too, you talk about this in a book a little bit where you change how you treat your body. You change when you go to sleep, you change when you wake up, you change just how you approach everything when you're a pro. And there's this sense for me and my experience of just reverence and honoring the fact that I'm here for a reason and I make a difference to other people and that's important. You know what I mean? And I can't just flitter that away.
Steven Pressfield: Well, there's a story, we were talking about this earlier in Turning Pro that I stole from Rosanne Cash's wonderful memoir called Composed. And it's her moment of turning pro. And it takes a few minutes to tell the story, but I'm going to tell it. It was a dream that she had. And at this time, I think it was the late eighties and she already was a success. In fact, she had an album out called King's Record Shop that had four number one songs off it. But something didn't feel right to her in her life, and one night she had a dream. And in the dream she was sitting, she was at a party and she was sitting on a couch next to Linda Ronstadt who had always been kind of an idol of hers, and she had always admired Heart Like a Wheel and some of the great records that Linda Ronstadt did back in the '70s.
Steven Pressfield: And in between the two of them was an older man named Art, very important. And Art was talking very animatedly to Linda. And Rosanne wanted to break into the conversation. She tried to, and Art just turned around to her in the dream and gave her this withering look of disdain and non-interest, and just said, "We don't talk to dilettantes." And Rosanne said she woke up. And she woke up and she was just shattered to the core, and she realized that it was true. That even though she had had these number one hits, that she always thought of herself as a songwriter, but she'd only written four songs on this album and they were not the big songs. So she said from that day forward, just like you just were saying about how it changes when you wake up in the morning, she said she changed everything about her life.
Steven Pressfield: She got a singing teacher that she had never... real technique teachers that she had never done before. She said she started training like an athlete. She began reading a much broader scope of all different kinds of art. She began studying painting so she could see what a nonverbal, non-musical medium was, and even her marriage had been broke up over this kind of thing, or at least eventually. But she just decided I've been an amateur. I may have had success, but it doesn't feel good to me. So she's totally committed to songwriting and to learning. And she felt, she said, like she went back to being very young, like a beginner. And that was where she wanted to be. And I forgot what the last line of the thing was. Something like, "I traded the morphine sleep of success for the live wire world of the artist." And so that to me is a great turning pro moment in a dream. And it didn't even have to be like waking up drunk in a gutter somewhere or something. It was just a dream.
Marie Forleo: I love that. That's one of my favorite stories in the book. And I think one of the other ones, and I would love to ask you about this. You talk about the moment in New York City for you when you were driving a cab and you're in an apartment and you just couldn't take it anymore and you had to write. And then what I loved, and you painted this picture so beautifully. It was like, you wrote for a little while. And if I remember correctly, it wasn't like it was necessarily any good, but you didn't care. You just actually had beat resistance and you sat down and you wrote. And then you almost found yourself just cleaning the dishes, dirty dishes that were in there for days, and you were whistling. It was like something had broken through, you had broken through your resistance.
Steven Pressfield: Yeah, that was my moment. It wasn't as much fun as Rosanne's moment, but that was preceded by me trying for years to write novels and always crapping out on the one yard line and exploding my life, self-sabotaging and all that. And I had reached the point where the idea of sitting down at a typewriter was, just to me was like shooting myself in the head. But this one particular night, like you were talking about partying. I just kind of sat there. I thought, well, who can I call? Where can I go? What can I drink? What can I smoke?
Steven Pressfield: And I finally just said, "I can't do this. I sat down for two hours typing. Terrible, so I just threw it away but that wasn't the point. It was just when I was finished, I actually felt okay. And that was why when I was washing the dishes after that, I discovered I was whistling, which I never whistle. I thought, I feel okay. And that told me I was going to be okay from then on. Even if it might take me another 30 years to do it eating good, at least that I was going to be okay. So that was my moment.
Marie Forleo: That was really cool. And then you wrote about, in another section of the book, about your year of turning pro. What I loved about that, and I'd love to chat about that for a moment is this idea of turning pro, it's a decision that we make in a moment yet it's a decision that we have to recommit to each and every day and develop that habit. So how was that year for you?
Steven Pressfield: That's exactly it. You hit the nail on the head there, Marie. It's like a moment of saying, I'm not going to drink anymore." Right? You go, "Oh, wow. This is fantastic." Then the next day... you know. So for me, my white whale was to finish a book, to take it from page one to the end, which I never had been able to do. So I saved up all my money, the short version of it, and I moved to a little town in Northern California and I just had a year where I didn't see anybody. I had no sex, no sports, no TV, no music. I was like Rocky. I would get up in the morning, I'd have a breakfast of liver and eggs, and it was just me and my little cat, my cat and Mo.
Steven Pressfield: But it was great because it was a year where I'd had no distractions and I could just focus day after day after day. And when you do that, as you know, energy concentrates around you and you become really a different person. And when I finally actually did finish it, and it never sold, and the two books after that didn't sell either. But in that year, I really knew that I had become a pro and that I could do it. And so it's great, beyond that initial breakthrough, to be able to establish the habits of a professional instead of the habits of an amateur. And the amateur's habit is as soon as any adversity shows up, the amateur just falls out. Right? But the pro, when adversity shows up, keeps going and just builds that as a habit and many, many, many other habits like that.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. I love that. And it reminds me too, of the story you told in the beginning about your friend, where she bought all our gear. I love that, just getting on the gear and going, I am committed to this. The bumps are going to come, the obstacles are going to come, but a professional doesn't run away. A professional stays, does the work, gets it done, shows up the next day. Here we go again.
Steven Pressfield: And that actually, Marie, that leads to another really important concept here. I think is, like when my friend bought all this golfing gear, she really put herself on the line. There was risk now, because if she was lousy, people would say, "What an idiot out there dressing like Annika Sorenstam who can't hit the ball off the tee." So it's the same thing when you mentally... I think a lot of the re the reason why a lot of people remain amateurs is it's a way of protecting yourself where you say, "Okay, I failed. But it was because I didn't really try that hard. Now, if I really had tried, I could have done it."
Steven Pressfield: So when you commit in your mind as a professional, now, if you fail, you're going to really feel it. You say, "I gave it everything I had and I still... " But of course, the real answer to that is that it doesn't work that way. Once you commit, you get so much power out of that, that even if you fail, you just dust yourself off and you say, "Hey, that was just one shot. I'm going to try it again." And you've, you've established the habits of a professional, and that's the most important thing. Success, in my opinion, will come over time if you just make it, create a practice for yourself and whatever it is, and just keep doing it, keep doing it, dedicate yourself to really take it seriously.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. No, I love it. Seriously, I've re-read your books I don't know how many times. They're like soul vitamins to me. It's really good. So one of the things you talk about on page 73 in Turning Pro, which I think is so vital, and it's something I hear from our community all the time, is what happens when you turn pro in terms of who you spend time with and who wants to spend time with you and how everything starts to shift, or can start to shift underneath your feet when you start making these changes. Did you experience that in your own life?
Steven Pressfield: I see it in other friends of mine as I watch them kind of turn pro. And I don't know, did you ever see the movie a couple years ago called the Fighter with Mark Wahlberg as a boxer?
Marie Forleo: Yes, love.
Steven Pressfield: Now, that's like a classic story of this guy who has real talent is a fighter and his entire family is just sabotaging him. His mom is his manager. His brother's is this crazy ex fighter. Everybody's just trying to bring him down because his success would be a reproach to them because they... So when you turn pro, if you're a writer or you suddenly start to really write, your friends are going to try to sabotage you. I hate to say it, but even the people closest to you, because they like you just the way you are. They like you getting stoned with them or whatever amateur habits you have. And if you suddenly start taking something seriously, they're not going to like it either.
Steven Pressfield: I have a friend right now who is really committing as a writer. And he has some friends who are kind of wealthy, and what they're doing to him, it's amazing to see. He's totally aware of it, they keep inviting him to Hawaii. And they would never cop to it, but they're trying to sabotage it, and he's actually struggling with confronting them and making them take him seriously. They're going to have to switch how they see him. And so, yeah, when you turn professional, there are some people that you have in your life now that you're not going to be able to have. But you'll make new friends.
Marie Forleo: That's right. That's really right.
Steven Pressfield: New friends come into your life and they recognize your commitment and the universe draws them to you and draws you to them. Have you found that, Marie, yourself in your... ?
Marie Forleo: Oh my goodness. Well, I've found, just naturally, and I think an important note, for me at least, this has been my experience. It's hardest always in the beginning. And then once you make that switch and you turn pro and this becomes your lifestyle and it's consistent for the most part, it's only that initial shift that's hard. And now for me, I would say I'm probably at least 10 years in, I don't have anyone in my life, thank God, I'm knocking on everything. They fully get who I am. They fully get I'm committed. And if I say no to a social engagement, or I say, "No. I've got to get home early. I've got this thing we're creating in the morning. We have two days of shooting Marie TV in the morning."
Marie Forleo: They get it. They honor that. You're like, "Girl, get home. You've got to get home and do your thing," and there's a blessing there. But I think it's more so in the beginning. If you've had habits going for a while and you've had a crew of friends or people are just used to you treating yourself a certain way, and then all of a sudden you change, it's like that transition period I think is the hardest. And for me-
Steven Pressfield: Yeah. You're absolutely right, yeah.
Marie Forleo: Yeah, but then once you kind of master your new posse and your new crew and you kind of become that different person, you don't really have to deal with it as much.
Steven Pressfield: Sure, you have people that now try to enter your life and you can see that they're not going to be good for you. Am I right? And you block them out right away and don't take the hook and get involved in any way.
Marie Forleo: That's a hundred percent right. I think it's also really important as creators, to take a look at that through even opportunities. I'm sure you'll have opportunities come into your email box or your agents or anyone and say, "Hey, would you like to get involved in this project?" or "Hey, would you like to come to this conference or do this or speak here or do that."
Steven Pressfield: You're absolutely right. These opportunities can really be traps...
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Steven Pressfield: ... if it's not the right opportunity.
Marie Forleo: Yes, and I think that's another form of it where things can look shiny on paper or look like there'll be this great big thing for you, but when you're a pro and when you have your priorities straight... There's this great quote that I love, "Priorities equal prosperity," and I think it's by a woman named Michelle Singletary.
Steven Pressfield: Never heard it.
Marie Forleo: When priorities are clear, everything else becomes really simple. All of those opportunities, you don't feel like they're shiny objects that could save you because you know your path, you know your method of creation and you know what's going to get you the results that you want, the spiritual results, the creative results, the satisfaction, the work that you're meant to do.
Steven Pressfield: Yeah. Yeah, very, very true. And as these opportunities appear, I've been struggling with this myself the last couple years where things come in and they're like you said, shiny objects. You go, "Oh, wow. That really sounds great." And then you say yes to a few of these things. And then you go, "Oh my God, why did I do this?" And you begin to define yourself, and like that quote about priorities, you ask yourself, "What is this important to me? Is making it quick a few thousand dollars important?" No, it's not. And so it is a process of evolution, of understanding who you are and what is important to you.
Marie Forleo: Speaking of that, this is the perfect segue to, I think, talk about your publishing company, with your partner, Sean, Black Irish Books. One of the things I found fascinating when we were having our email exchange, I didn't realize that Turning Pro, that you guys publish this yourself. And I know that you've done so many things. I mean, screenplays and other types of books and movies and everything, but now you have both the experience with traditional publishing and self publishing. Talk to us a little bit about that. Why did you make that choice?
Steven Pressfield: Well, I'm not sure, Marie, if my experience will apply to a lot of other people because the... Like right now I'm working on a big book and I'm doing it with a traditional publisher, and I always would do that. I'm only a believer in self publishing for... Like for me, for the War of Art and for Turning Pro, because it makes sense for me and those books.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Steven Pressfield: The reason is that I was getting screwed so badly by the publisher of... Which everybody does, because the share that the author gets is so small. It was a no brainer. When The War of Art had a 10-year contract and when it ended, Sean said, my partner said, "Let's just republish this ourselves. So I'm segregated 35 cents a copy, we'll get a 3.50 a copy." And instead of on the eBooks where you get nothing a copy, you get at least a certain amount. So that was pretty important. And it's great fun to do, to have control. It's not that difficult. I'm sure you know this yourself.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Steven Pressfield: Books or to do eBooks, it's not that hard. It's just a matter of hooking up with the right people on how to do the technical stuff. But I'm not sure I could really give advice to someone like a first time novelist or a first time a writer of non-fiction.
Marie Forleo: That's okay. I think it's just interesting and cool that we have these possibilities today. Right?
Steven Pressfield: Absolutely. And if you don't mind giving up the dream of making a fortune, if you're willing to live out in the long tail where you don't sell so many, but where you control your own destiny, then there's a lot to be said for this kind of thing. I have a niece, my niece Laura is 22 years old, and she has written four books that are kind of like Twilight, Tales of Arabia: The Last Witch by Laura Freidman. And she publishes it herself and she's got to follow. And so she's not getting rich, but it's certainly something that she's out there so somebody could discover. So I'm all in favor of the barriers to entry have fallen a lot, but I don't think you're going to get rich doing it. It's not the answer to anything. A book's got to be great for it to get out there, whatever it is, or a song or an album or whatever, film.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. No, I think it's awesome. I've done both as well. I actually started off self publishing my book and then we wound up selling it to McGraw Hill. And I'm really grateful because it's in 11 languages, but people have been on me-
Steven Pressfield: Good for you.
Marie Forleo: Thank you. For the past two years, like Marie, "Where's your next book? Where's your next book?" And I have so much fun with video and I create digital courses and digital programs where it's like, I have complete control. I can be the crazy creator that I am and no one is telling me what I can or can't put on any cover. And I think there's many of us out there, this is a really exciting time to live in. And what's really cool is you don't necessarily have to choose. You can live both worlds or several worlds and use it in a way that works best for the content, for the medium and strike the deals that are going to make the most sense for everybody.
Steven Pressfield: And then the other thing that nobody talks about self publishing, is that when you're published by a mainstream company, or I'm sure this is true if you're a label of your band or something like that. There are certain things, a lot of things they won't let you do to promote your own stuff. For instance, they won't let you give away stuff. They won't let you give away the book or give away the song because their model is a scarcity model where it's everything... When you give away, every unit you giveaways is a unit you don't sell.
Marie Forleo: Right.
Steven Pressfield: I'm completely from the other school, which is the real problem is anonymity. Nobody knows you there. So if gave away 10,000 units, at least 10,000 people now know who you are...
Marie Forleo: Right.
Steven Pressfield: ... or have heard of me. So it's beyond just having control of your cover art or anything like that. It's that you're allowed to do, to work for yourself because the main stream, big business model, they won't let you do it.
Marie Forleo: Have you also too... One of the other things that always struck me as a little odd and I got a little protective was the fact that I wasn't going to own my own content. I was like, "What are you talking about? I wrote it. I actually would like to be able to do other stuff with it because I think it's good." And a lot of the older, traditional deals sometimes, that's what you're selling them is your content. And if you have creative ideas about how you'd like to turn it multimedia or other things, it can just get really hairy. And I always say, I'm like, "I am such a control freak." People always tell me at Marie TV, they're like, "Why aren't you on regular television? Don't you want your own TV show?" I'm like, "I have my own TV show. It's this. I can control anything I want. I can say anything I want and we can do anything we want." Not to say that it won't expand at some point, but for right now...
Steven Pressfield: You probably will have your own TV show.
Marie Forleo: But that's, I think, what's so miraculous about our time and to be creators at this point on planet Earth, is the incredible options that if you do want to turn pro, you have something to create music, fine, art books, movies anything of business, whatever you want to create, it's like what you were saying, the barriers to entry have become so low that now the real work is, the inner work, is to overcome those inner demons.
Steven Pressfield: Well put, Marie. Yeah.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. Really, really exciting. So, Steven, I don't want to take up too much more of your time, because I know you are a busy man. But what we love to do, which I told you about on Marie TV, is always challenge our audience. And if you guys have gotten some good stuff out of this conversation with Steven, remember you have to get this book. I have two of them in my house and I'm sure I'm going to be giving away more. We'll put the link to Black Irish Books below this video so you can go right there and get it. What we want to do is talk a little bit about habits. Right, Steven? I mean, you say that the difference between an amateur and a professional really is in the habits.
Steven Pressfield: In the habits, yeah. A pro has professional habits and an amateur has amateur habits.
Marie Forleo: That's right. And we all have habits since we're human. That's the majority of how our lives run, our habits. So it's not like we can get rid of them, but we can upgrade them. So what Steven and I want to challenge you to do right now is to take a look, and take a look within yourself and see, do you have an amateur habit that right now you are willing to commit to upgrade to a pro habit? What would that one habit be? Almost like a keystone habit that would change everything, and write about it in the comments below this video. I for one, am very interested to see, because I think there's going to be some very juicy stuff. And I think all of us have it. I'll take a look for myself as well and see if there's any amateur habits still lingering around that I can upgrade. You like that, Steven?
Steven Pressfield: I like that. And actually, thinking about my friend that turned pro as a golfer, even when she was lousy.
Marie Forleo: Yeah.
Steven Pressfield: Really what she did was she committed to professional habits. And she said to herself, "I'm going to practice every day. I'm going to practice the right way, et cetera, et cetera." So she traded in amateur habits for professional habits in it and it worked for her.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. So we're excited. I want to see everything you have to say. As always, if you like this video, like it, and please share it with your friends. And of course, if you're not watching the marieforleo.com, all the good action happens in the comments back on marieforleo.com. So get your butt on over there and join us because the discussion is rich. If you're not yet on the newsletter list, please join us. Once again, you'll see that at marieforleo.com. And Steve, thank you so much once again for coming on Marie TV. You are awesome.
Steven Pressfield: Thanks for having me. It's great fun to talk to you and to get into this whole thing here. It's great.
Marie Forleo: You're all turning pro.
Steven Pressfield: Keep partying.
Marie Forleo: Okay, you guys. Have a great afternoon. Thanks, everybody.
Steven Pressfield: Thanks, Marie.
Marie Forleo: Bye. B-School is coming up. Want in? For more info and free training, go to joinbschoolcom. My dress is so French. My dress is so French. I did done it. I did done it. Did it, done it, done it, done it. I did done it.