This week, with absolutely no warm-up or training, I ran a mile in under ten minutes. Which I’m sure is nothing to all you dedicated marathoners, but it was a big deal to me considering the last time I ran a mile was in 8th grade and I’m pretty sure my time was something like seventeen minutes.

Running the mile was the absolute worst day of 7th and 8th grade gym class. (Maybe of middle school in general, come to think of it.) I had childhood asthma, and Asian parents who didn’t understand the American youth sports industrial complex, so physical fitness was at the bottom of my priority list and skill set.

But you know what? Running the mile as an adult wasn’t so bad.

To be sure, I am significantly more active now than I was in middle school, so that probably helped. But I now realize that most of my problem with running was mental rather than physical. Having struggled with using my body athletically since first grade, middle school me believed that I just wasn’t a runner. So I didn’t try very hard. As soon as I got the first stitch in my side, I slowed to a walk.

But now I know that “being a runner” won’t make me run better. Running is what makes me a runner. Action informs identity, not the other way around.

Running a creative business (nyuknyuknyuk) is no different. You can’t wait until you “feel” professional to act professional. You do the things a professional would do so that you feel – and others perceive you as – professional.

The good news is that a lot of professional actions are relatively simple and don’t cost a lot of money. Most of them require only intentionality, follow-up, and a commitment to treating people a certain way. 

I’ve put together a free training on the 3 P’s of professionalism to help you leave impostor syndrome behind. Just enter your email to view the training.

Keep running the good race! (Is this metaphor dead yet?)