Find your “can do” attitude
Commitment is the very thing which separates the rising stars from average accounting firms. Yes, unforeseen circumstances will arise and attempt to affect your progress. Growth minded accounting professionals, however, see challenges where others see obstacles. Commitment causes something to switch within you. Of course, avoiding mistakes is impossible. A can do attitude, however, removes the resistance.
Think back to a time in the past when you weren’t willing to take no as an answer. A deeper purpose sparked something within your core. Connections like that instantly remove all the excuses and resistance. Awakening your inner drive transforms obstacles that feel like mountains into stepping stones.
Either grow or scale back
Sue, a bookkeeper, is building a successful solo practice. Doing everything herself worked well in the early stages. Her growing practice eventually started taking a toll on her. Basically two options existed, either she could grow or scale back.
Sacrificing her personal time is not a long term solution. Trading her social time and yoga class for work isn’t sustainable. Consequently, overwhelm became her constant companion. Sue admits being on the verge of burnout. Perfectionism kills productivity.
Barrier to success
Perfectionism turned out to be her barrier to success. Let’s face it, avoiding all mistakes is impossible. Sue readily admits her precious time gets consumed by minor details, but she doesn’t know how to stop herself.
Getting busier, while attempting to fit everything into her day, means things are falling through the cracks. She realized small tasks frequently turned into half day projects.
Sue’s overwhelm is her own doing. Like many high achieving accounting professionals, she is her toughest critic. So instead of finishing the job, perfectionism eats up her time.
Is breaking this pattern even possible? The desire to avoid controversy exhausted her. As a result, her errors increased when she felt tired. The vicious cycle had to be stopped.
Here are the 5 steps Sue took to stop avoiding mistakes.
- Mission. Work becomes more meaningful when you build an accounting practice around your core values. Reviewing her business values was the first step. Her mission was to be a trusted advisor for law firms. She enjoyed helping them achieve their business goals.
- Manage Time. Sue’s all or nothing mindset is exhausting. Nothing is wrong with the desire to avoid mistakes. Spending hours on minute details to perfect a proposal is ineffective and inefficient. Time management is step two. Sue downloaded a timer app onto her phone. When the timer rings, she sets that project aside. This gives her a short break to step away from her computer before moving onto the next task.
- Mornings. Before shutting down her computer for the day, she plans out her next day’s work. Sue enjoys walking into the office with a planned out agenda. Since mornings are her best time to work on complicated projects this is now her do not disturb time of day. She now feels focused instead of scattered.
- Mindset. Mistakes are a concern. People depend on her for accurate financial information. Here’s where we develop new beliefs which are growth oriented. Mistakes are not a personal reflection of her worthiness. It’s possible to transform those limiting thoughts. Yes, things will not always turn out as planned. Dwelling on all that goes wrong is one option. Viewing mistakes as feedback and an opportunity to improve is a new perspective for her. Mistakes offer rich insight regarding her decisions and actions. They are not a reflection of personal worth.
- Mastery. Avoiding mistakes is impossible. A standard of excellence is preferable to one of perfection. Whereas perfection will shut her down, excellence removes the emotional burden to foster growth. Highly successful entrepreneurs seek mastery. Therefore, they are students first. Improvement is a constant process.
Challenges will continue to arise as Sue’s accounting practice expands. Before we started working together, she routinely delayed decision until she weighed all the variables. Now that she trusts herself more, it’s easier to make decisions. As a result, she accomplishes more each day and reports less overwhelm.
Stop avoiding mistakes
Reframing is a way to view something from a different perspective. This tool turns obstacles into challenges. Sue’s desire to grow her bookkeeping practice is stronger than her concern about avoiding mistakes.
Although hiring her first employee is an uncomfortable stretch, she admits it’s necessary. The benefits outnumber the risks. Someone to take things off her plate appealed to her.
Avoiding mistakes is a mistake
Of course mistakes will occur. Sometimes the best plans do not work out as expected. Those are uncomfortable moments.
Most of all, her mistakes continue to be reframed. Although focusing on all that went wrong is still her initial response, Sue doesn’t dwell there for too long. Gaining insight from mistakes requires effort at first. Sue’s expertise will steadily grow since she is now willing to stretch herself.
Yes, some lessons are more costly than others. Her mission to excel opens the door to new opportunities. Sue’s accounting practice steadily grows. Now that she’s stopped avoiding mistakes, she can get out of her own way and enjoy the process.
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