The sophisticates

Every profession creates them. Doctors and lawyers, sure, but also speakers and programmers and rodeo riders.

The sophisticate is on one side of the chasm, and the hack, the amateur, the self-defeating noob is on the other.

The sophisticate knows how to walk and talk and prepare, but mostly, to engage with us in a way that amplifies her professionalism. We spend months at business school or med school or at boot camp teaching people to be part of that tribe, to establish that they are, in fact, insiders.

The people at the fringe booths at a trade show, the ones who get rejected from every job they apply to without even being interviewed, the ones who don't earn our trust or our attention–this isn't necessarily because they aren't talented, it's merely because they haven't invested the time or found the guts to cross the chasm to the side of people who are the real deal.

It's fun to make a fish-out-of-water TV show about the outsider who's actually really good at his craft. But in real life, fish out of water don't do very well.

Yes, acting like you are a professional might be even more important than actually being good at what you do. When given the option, do both.