with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this episode I challenge you to take a deep mindset shift that can lead to meteoric improvement in performance. And that is the difference between viewing yourself as a professional or an amateur.

In general terms, an amateur is someone who turns up and has a crack. They go through spurts of increased interest and their performance spikes and troughs. They don’t take their pursuit as as an art form they’re looking to master. And that is where the big line is drawn. Mastery.

Being a professional executive means learning to love the fact that this is YOUR art form. You want to build yourself into the sharpest professional you can possibly be. This is how GREAT chiefs view themselves. But it isn’t something they start doing once they’re in a big role.

In fact, they do this from the outset, before they earn the big bucks and have the big job. Because they know that the adoption of this mindset is why they will end up getting the big job over their competition.


By following these powerful practices, you will start to shift yourself into the professional mindset and the pathway to being a GREAT Chief:

  1. ALWAYS REINFORCE AND LEARN NEW SKILLS – This is a foundational element of being a pro. Your skills as an executive are the rock that your career is built on. A pro continuously accumulates new skills that allows them to nail their current position. And they ensure that they practice the base skills that made them successful without cutting corners. Remember, skills aren’t just technical. As you rise up the ranks you’ll need to learn more about things like strategy, commercial, leadership and culture, systems and processes and executing change. It never ends – that’s the beauty of it.
  2. METICULOUS PREPARATION TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS – I remember watching a professional musician preparing for their performance. They had everything meticulously prepared in advance. Everything in its right place, everything practiced a hundred times over. And then in the hour or two leading up to their performance they went off on their own and got their mindset right. They ensured they had clarity. And this is what it means to be a professional executive. Every morning keep the discipline to set yourself up for the performances you have that day. Do your preparation for meetings so you’re clear, superbly effective and sharp.  
  3. GET COACHED – Have you ever noticed that ALL the best athletes in the world have coaches? It’s no coincidence. Try reversing the situation for a minute, what do you think would happen to an athlete without a coach? A few key points about finding a good coach… Firstly, take the search seriously. Meet three or four and pick the right person for you. Always consider your education an investment that you will reap both financial and personal reward over your entire career and remember, if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
  4. WORK ON EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR PERFORMANCE – A pro understands the symbiotic nature of their body, mind, spirit and the world they live in. From an executive perspective this means staying healthy through fitness and nutrition, looking after your brain by keeping it clear and staying connected to your deeper spirit through meditation or similar practice. It also means ensuring relationships and your living environment away from work are positive and revitalising. Any executive who just goes hard all day while sacrificing other key elements of their life and performance isn’t a pro.
  5. MEASURE YOURSELF AGAINST THE OPPOSITION – All professionals know how exactly how they stack up against the competition. And then they do everything they can to raise the bar. This might mean doing a competitor analysis by checking out the LinkedIn profiles of other executives. Or better still, why not do our Chief Ready Scorecard here.
  6. PLAY HARD – Professionals have full commitment when at work. They don’t fool themselves into thinking it can done half-arsed, without being bold and pushing. That’s not life and that’s not business. This doesn’t mean being an arsehole or not having fun though. It means pushing the boundaries, helping your team really extend themselves and pushing yourself to be the best version of you everyday.

Some of you may be thinking, “that sounds intense man!”. Well, yeah it is. But it can also be the most exciting and energising way to operate.

Having a foot half in your career means you’ll likely get half of what you’d dreamed. If you really, really want to have a crack at a career you’re proud of and to exceed your potential, then this mindset is where you start.

Righto Chiefs, remember as always to stay epic.