Professional Habits That Make You Stand Out From The Crowd

Rowan Blair Colver
5 min readApr 26, 2021


Lucid Leadership by Rowan B Colver

A Whole New Game

The difference between amateurs and professionals is money. An amateur does a thing because they love to do it. A professional does something because they want to get paid. Professionals are best when they were once amateurs and they continue to love their trade. Loving our trade means a lot more than just fantasising about our career and dreaming of future successes. It means actively living the occupation in every moment.

Here we look at a series of professional habits that put quality and consistency into the equation. It’s these two factors that truly define a service and its worth.

Uplifting Music

Uplifting music puts us in a good mood, it gives us energy, and provides a positive bonding experience with our colleagues. Avoid the really morbid and depressing bands out there. These are great for communicating emotions and helping people to communicate theirs. They don’t work well in a work environment. They put a dark shadow over our minds and put us in the wrong mood. Moochy and nihilistic, the depressing side of music can sap our energy, reduce the desire to work hard, and take away our social lubrication. When choosing something to listen to for pleasure, then avoid grating and draining sounds.

Positive Attitude

It is important to maintain a positive and constructive outlook. Catastrophising and worrying will keep you behind. So things didn’t go well before, and you made a lot of mistakes. You didn’t know, you followed the wrong path, you fooled yourself, whatever it was, that was then and this is now. Unless you draw attention to all your flaws people will see a blend of brilliant experiments that they will understand. Who knows exactly what they’re doing? Who wins a tennis match in straight sets without losing a point? Life is full of ups and downs. The same is said for the future. You don’t know if your work will pay off in the direct and financial way that you hope it will. You don’t know what the benefits of your journey or the work you will do will be. All you can do is accept the lessons and wisdom of the past, put your talent into the mix, be conservatively creative, and take notes.

Remember Your Steps

It can be easy to forget how much you have achieved. From income to mindset to training, the path you’ve taken has been long and difficult. You might not feel that you have seen your dreams come true and that there’s a long way to go, you may not appreciate how far you’ve already travelled. This needs to change. So there is a long way to go, if you walked this far then you can do it again. This time your steps are steadier and more directed, you’ll get there sooner than it seems. If we don’t appreciate how far we have come, we may neglect to pay attention to the things we have learned that helped us get so far. We may also forget to help others who are in places we used to be.

It’s A Pleasure

You can often separate a group of people by who wants to be there and who is looking forward to going home. We have all likely been the latter from time to time. There are many reasons, under-confidence, anxiety, intimidation, depression, fatigue, and more. We have to be able to recognise the setbacks to wanting to be at work and set them straight. A period of time off, a change of roles, and even changing jobs are all available to you. Look for the opportunities and take them. When you can honestly say it’s a pleasure then you’re in the right job. Now you’ll be in the top group of people, the ones people want to trust and give responsibilities to.


What’s an initiate? It’s someone who understands the way the work is carried out to a high level. It’s someone who appreciates the pros and cons of various methods and techniques the system employs. Being in the know enables us to make educated choices about our own agenda that makes us more efficient, more capable, and more value for money for those employing us. You know what the employer wants, you know they want it for the best quality and at the lowest price. If you can provide this for them, your personal value will increase. This is what differentiates a person when given responsibility at work. Do they do their job autonomously or do they always look for instruction and advice? A good balance of autonomy and seeking guidance is a sign of a steady and reliable service person.

Make Every Step Count

If you ever studied World War One, you’ll recall the battles in the trenches. Armies fought through heavy shelling and machine-gun fire for mere yards of space. Sometimes work can feel like this. Although in a different sense entirely, we take on all kinds of stress and in the end, there’s not much to show. What might look like a few yards of progress to you is one unit in several. Each step taken is one more step towards the goal. Luckily, we’re just trying to make a living. It’s still a life and death thing for many, as without work there’s nothing to count on. So every stage of progress has to make a difference. Use each standing point as a lever to make a move on the next.

Be A Bit Different

If we take a model from someone and put it to work with our own idea, it will stand a chance of getting off the ground. We’ve seen it works and we know how to put it to use. We’ve had a good demonstration. So has everyone else. We’ve all seen the successful business model and we all have a pretty good idea of the basic formula behind it. As soon as something breaks into big numbers the light turns on for all the students to make a case study. To stand out and really make a significant difference in your field, you have to be different yourself. As mentioned, being conservatively creative means adapting and reinventing, and try not to completely change something. People are naturally cautious of the unknown.

Make Every Minute Count

We all take breaks and put our tools down for a bit. The way we spend our downtime can make a difference in how good we are at what we do. If we can utilise our time to the most efficiency then we can still be productive while not doing our primary role. Learning is an essential part of being a professional. There is an endless river of ideas and philosophies that describe what we do, the effects of what we do, and the subjects related to what we do. We have to be able to take in this information whenever possible. Something I do is listen to Audible. Listening to educational books and non-fiction titles helps people to work better while allowing them to rest. Audiobooks by The Great Courses are intensive degree-level lectures and with many at dozens of hours long, they’re great value for money.



Rowan Blair Colver

Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome.