I've been a fan of Garr Reynolds for a long time now. His book, Presentation Zen, is a must read in my opinion.
However, the other day he put together one of the best blog posts I have ever read about what it takes to truly succeed in your profession.
Called, "Shokunin Kishitsu & The five elements of true mastery," Garr uses the movie "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" (review here) to illustrate the type of commitment it takes to become a true master. I did the same thing a few years ago, but I think Garr does a better job (see: Sushi and Marketing Mastery).
I just love how he breaks it down.
I've used a far less elegant way of describing it, which I lifted from Nilofer Merchant called "being a student of the game," but it highlights for me (at least in the world of marketing), the difference between people who do marketing for their jobs and the people who ARE marketers.
They eat, drink, and sleep it. They study it in their spare time. They talk about it when they are "not at work."
I wish there was a "Jiro dreams of sushi" test I could give to people, but I do always screen for passion, which you can't fake.
In my hiring, I've long said, "I don't care how skilled you are, if you're not passionate, I don't want you." Because the skills need to stay sharp and only if you are passionate about your craft will you have the desire and fortitude to go back and refine them.
Read Garr's blog post...3 times.
And remember...Never Stop Marketing.