The fixed vs. growth mindset for moving from amateur to professional

I have been reading Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art and I’m seeing some of his principles pop up in my thinking.  One concept, amateur vs. professional is easy for me to relate to and can be seen in the picture below (click to enlarge).


The amateur’s ego is locked into her performance – there’s very little distance between who she is and what she does – many times there’s no distance.  The professional, on the other hand, is able to distance her ego from her performance.  This results in objectivity, a concept that is right in line with the fixed vs. growth mindset concept.  Take a look at the picture below (click to enlarge) and notice the differences between the two mindsets for each of the categories.


As you look through the descriptors under each of the columns, think of a situation and decide which mindset you were in.

Here’s an example that just happened to me.  I will be participating in a couple of triathlons this year for the first time since the late 80’s.  A friend of mine has offered to help me with my swim stroke – she is a former collegiate swimmer, current triathlon competitor, and my spin instructor.

We had talked about meeting Thursday night … long story short, I chickened out.  I was in amateur and fixed mindset mode.  My ego was inseparable from my perceived performance because I was thinking that I should already know what to do.  Not true … it’s ok not to know how to do everything … it’s fun to get better, to learn, and to change.

How about you?

  • Where are you an amateur?
  • A professional?
  • Need some help figuring it out and making a plan to train to become a professional with a growth mindset?

Click the Let’s Talk! Leave Your Details button on the right.

See you on the court,
Coach Cheri


Note: The Fixed vs. Growth Mindset diagram is adapted from Trevor Ragan.