Acting Like a Pro Eight Minutes at a Time Episode #32

Aaron McHugh


What does a professional athlete, achiever, or expert do that separates them from the pack? A professional in any category uses every narrow opportunity they can find to close the gap between where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow.

I want to share this story with you about how I learned to act like a professional eight minutes at a time. A while back I shared about a conversation my friend Neal and I had about how professional athletes become elite. This podcast unpacks more of that conversation and how my life is different because of one simple equation.

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  • The difference between acting like a pro and becoming a pro is not neglecting narrow windows of opportunity.
  • Take the opportunity that’s right in front of you.
  • Small margin plus consistency over time equals accumulative benefit.
  • The gap between the life, marriage, income, adventure, fitness level, or anything else we wish to have can be closed over time with even small, intentional investments.
  • Show up, invest your time, be consistent, and enjoy the benefits of your investment.


The original post from August 2013

Act Like a Professional Eight Minutes at a Time

Yesterday I ran for eight minutes.

That’s it. That’s all the margin I had left between meetings and work obligations.

I slept five hours.

I started at 7 a.m. and finished after 11 p.m.

It was raining outside and I decided to strap on my running shoes and go anyway.

For years I neglected these narrow windows of opportunity and skipped the few minutes of exercise available to me.

It felt too small a fraction to account for anything productive.

A good friend of mine walked me through a simple math equation that pros use:

[Small Margin] + [Consistency] x [Time] = Accumulated benefit

Meet Neal

He is a decorated runner, triathlete, and marathoner.

Here are the results related to running over time:

8 Minutes x 4 weeks x 12 months = 40 to 50 miles a year

What Neal decoded for me that day was that the best of the best, the elite athletes on the cover of magazines, choose to run for eight minutes instead of skipping it all together.

Don’t get stuck on this as a running story; running is only the metaphor.

Start acting like a pro

We believe the pros have:

  • More time than us
  • More margin than us
  • Fewer conflicts than us

The truth is that a pro chooses to go for it anyway.

Whether it is running, investing in your marriage, trying to find a new job, or saving $3.22 at a time…

It all adds up.

Are you willing to act like a pro and go anyway?

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