Today’s episode is going to be a game-changer. I’m going to be talking about a concept that every accountant should know. In fact, time and time again, my coaching clients tell me, “You do know that this is life-changing, right?”. To which I answer time and time again, “I know! That’s why more accountants need to know this”.
If there’s one thing I see repeatedly, it’s accountants arguing for their limitations. What this means is that you believe that things like stress and overwhelm are just par for the course for accountants, and you tend to argue that that’s just the way it is. I’m here to tell you that that is a lie.
When you learn the process of self-coaching and become a Smarter Accountant, you’ll see through the lies you’ve been telling yourself about what is “normal” for accountants. You’ll be able to have the career and the life you want.
Once you learn what I’m going to teach you, you’ll gradually be able to see how much control you have over things in your work and personal life and how to achieve any goals you’ve set.
Once you understand the step-by-step formula that I’ll be teaching you and you learn how to apply it, you can expect to:
- Feel less stressed and overwhelmed, especially during deadlines.
- Not work so many hours because you’ll get more done in less time.
- Have a more balanced life (whatever balance means to you).
- Be more productive and efficient,
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
- Be able to handle criticism.
- Make more money.
- Improve your relationships.
- Improve your health by reducing stress and overwhelm.
- Feel more confident.
- Be able to set better boundaries and detach from work when you’re not at work.
- Feel happier/better.
What I shared in my book, “The Smarter Accountant,” and I’m going to share in this episode, has literally changed every area of my life, and I know it can change yours too. I hope that in learning how to be a Smarter Accountant, you will not just tolerate your career, but thrive in your career.
I hope that you become the person others say, “Wow, you’ve changed (for the better). What’s the secret?”.
I hope that by listening to this podcast, you’ll see how you are currently underutilizing your brain, how there’s so much more you are in control of than you realize, and that understanding how to be a Smarter Accountant will change how you work and live.
I also hope you become an example of what’s possible for other accountants who have the same struggles you had; that learning how to be a Smarter Accountant opens the door to more options than you previously had. No matter where you are in your accounting career when you learn to become a Smarter Accountant, you also expand your options as well.
The best part is that once you understand and learn how to apply the formula, you’ll see it affecting every other area of your life, not just your accounting career. I promise you that once you understand how you have been underutilizing your accountant’s brain, and how to start utilizing it in a smarter way, everything will change for the better.
Learning the skill of self-coaching not only benefits accounting employees, but also benefits accounting entrepreneurs and accounting firms in many ways. Stay tuned because I’ll be discussing the top benefits in a few minutes..
The Motivational Triad – Why your brain does what it does
As I shared in episode #2 “The Place Where Brain Science Meetings Accounting,” it’s important to understand something about your human brain – we have two main operating systems going on in our brains that we need to get familiar with. Knowing the difference between the two and understanding how to manage them is going to be the starting point to help you become a Smarter Accountant.
In the simplest terms possible, System 1, your primitive brain, the part that I refer to as The Toddler, is the part of your brain that runs the show more than 80% of the time. This part of your brain is referred to as the reptilian brain and has anatomically been with us since before we were cave dwellers.
One of the key elements to understand is that this primitive part of your brain is motivated by three things (also referred to as the Motivational Triad):
- Seek pleasure;
- Avoid pain;
- Be efficient/save energy;
System 1’s job is to keep you safe and alive, and it takes that job very seriously. It releases feel-good chemicals when it interprets that pleasure is present, it releases fear-based chemicals when it senses danger is present, and it likes things to be in familiar, comfortable patterns.
As a species we had to figure out how to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and do it all with the least amount of effort in order to be comfortable, fed, connected, and alive. But those days are mostly gone.
Since we no longer have to put much effort into being safe, fed, warm, and connected our next evolution needs to be purposeful. That’s where System 2, your higher brain, comes in; the part of your human brain that has evolved since those cave dwelling days.
As humans, we have the incredible ability to think about what we are thinking about. We have the ability to learn that our thoughts, not our circumstances, create our feelings.
That our feelings are the most important thing to know and pay attention to. Because our feelings drive our actions.
Learning how to utilize your higher brain more often is the foundation of self-coaching for accountants. This is why I say that I help smart accountants work smarter; understanding how your lower brain is run by the Motivational Triad will make it easier to become a Smarter Accountant.
Self-Coaching basics – What you need to know
Here’s the key – instead of letting System 1, your primitive brain, the Toddler, run your life, you need to start using System 2, the higher part of your human brain more often and more intentionally.
This is the part of the brain that I refer to as the Supervising Parent because when the Toddler brain freaks out, the Supervising Parent can take charge. You want to use the Supervising Parent part of your brain much more often.
As I explain to my coaching clients, you do not want a Toddler running your career, your business, or your life. In order to use the Supervising Parent more often and become a Smarter Accountant, it all comes down to learning how to coach yourself.
So why would a coach want to teach you how to coach yourself? Yes, I am a Professional Certified Coach for Accountants, but I am also a student and a teacher. Learning the skill of self-coaching has made it possible for me, and my coaching clients, to improve every aspect of our accounting careers and our lives.
I teach accountants to become Smarter Accountants so that, no matter what issue they’re dealing with, they have the skill to manage their mind. As I said before, learning, applying, and mastering this skill is a game changer for accountants.
Here’s the best news – to coach ourselves, we only have to understand five things. Just five. The truth is that all aspects of our lives are categorized into five things: Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, and Results.
There is nothing in this world that can’t be categorized and understood within this framework. Once we see how things are categorized, we can very easily see how our interaction with these five things determines the whole of our lives.
In other words, how we think about things determines how we feel about things. How we feel about things determines what we do or don’t do.
What we do or don’t do creates our results. The sum of the results creates our lives. Period.
Here is how the five categories are defined:
Circumstances: Things that happen in the world that we cannot control. They are the facts of a situation. For example, what someone said, the weather, the state of the economy, what’s on your to-do list, the fact that it’s tax season. Circumstances are the neutral facts of our lives.
Thoughts: Sentences that happen in your mind. This is where you self coach. We each have over 60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them we are unaware of. More times than you may realize, it’s the Toddler part of your brain that is offering you thoughts. You want to be more aware and in control of your thoughts than you are right now.
Feelings: Vibrations that happen in your body – caused by thoughts, not circumstances. They are one word emotions. For example, stressed, overwhelmed, happy, sad, confused; they are incredibly important as you’ll understand in a little bit.
Actions: Behaviors – what we do or don’t do in the world. How we act and how we react. It’s also important to understand that not taking action is an action. For example, procrastinating is the action of not getting something done. Yelling or complaining is an action because it’s a reaction.
Results: What we see in our lives as an effect of our actions. The result will always be evidence for the original thought. Every result you have in your life is because of your action and inactions. For example, the result of having to work late is because you procrastinated or didn’t set boundaries with your time.
In a second I’ll explain the formula I use and teach in order to self coach, but first you need to understand that the fact that we have the incredible ability to think about what we’re thinking about means we also have the powerful ability to self coach. Becoming a Smarter Accountant simply comes down to learning how to self coach and manage your mind.
The tool every accountant needs to learn – The Model
To learn how to self coach, I’m going to share the formula, The Model, that I explained in my book. This tool was created by my mentor, Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School.
This tool has changed hundreds of thousands of people’s lives and has become the backbone of some of the most successful businesses to date. This is why I’m so passionate about teaching it to accountants.
You can apply this awareness tool to work on anything that you’re struggling with, anything you’d like to improve, or any goal you have. The Model will show you why you currently have the issues you’re experiencing and more importantly, what to do about them.
As I shared before, in order to self coach, the only thing you need to know is one of 5 things – what’s the situation, what are you thinking, what you are feeling, what you are doing or not doing, or what results you currently have. That’s it.
The Model is the formula that puts those five categories of things into their respective order:
It seems simple, right? Don’t be fooled by its simplicity because this formula will bust those myths you have about what’s “normal,” and will help you become a Smarter Accountant in the process.
The Model is like a magnifying glass that helps us to see what’s going on with us; why we feel how we feel, why we do or don’t do certain things, and why we have the results we have in a different way than we usually do.
Let me give you a quick example of The Model at work: let’s say you need to get quarterly financials done for a client in 2 weeks. That would be the Circumstance because it’s factual.
And let’s say your thought about that circumstance is “I don’t see how I’m ever going to get this done.” That thought would likely create a feeling like self-doubt.
And because of the feeling of self-doubt, your actions would probably be complaining about the project; procrastinating; beating yourself up; spinning in self-judgment; questioning whether you have what it takes; spending time indulging in confusion; working too many hours; and not creating a plan of action.
And the result of those actions? You’re less likely to get it done. As you can see, the actions, including procrastinating, were fueled by the feeling of self-doubt.
But the key here is that it wasn’t the circumstance of the quarterly financials for the XYZ client that were due in 2 weeks that created the feeling of self-doubt—it was the thought, “I don’t see how I’m ever going to get this done” that created the feeling of self-doubt.
First there’s a circumstance, then your brain has a thought about that circumstance which causes a feeling. That feeling drives your actions, and your actions create your results. That’s how The Model works.
The #1 reason we do Models is to become more aware of what’s happening with us and to understand what we have control over. The Model is not only an awareness tool, but it’s also a formula to help you understand everything about your life.
Like any formula, it helps you see the components that lead to a particular result. It gives you so much information and perspective.
The Model allows you to take a birds’ eye view of what’s happening in your life, as opposed to feeling like you have no control. It helps you live intentionally instead of being a victim of your circumstances.
Once my clients learn how to effectively use The Model so that they can self-coach, they start choosing their life more intentionally. They can see the components of the equation that give them an unintentional result and the components of the equation that can give them an intentional result.
They become Smarter Accountants by understanding the power of managing their brains.
The top benefits of self-coaching for accountant employees and entrepreneurs
Self-coaching skills are highly advantageous for accountant employees and entrepreneurs because it enables you to enhance your personal and professional development. Here are ten benefits for accountant employees and entrepreneurs to learn the skill of self-coaching:
- Improved Problem-Solving: Self-coaching helps you develop a structured approach to identify and solve problems, making you more efficient and effective in handling complex financial issues.
- Enhanced Decision Making: By learning self-coaching techniques, you can clarify your goals, values, and priorities, leading to better decision-making in financial matters.
- Increased Productivity: Self-coaching empowers you to set clear objectives, create action plans, and manage your time more efficiently, resulting in increased productivity and reduced time wastage.
- Personal Accountability: Self-coaching instills a sense of personal responsibility, enabling you to take ownership of your actions and results, which can lead to improved performance and better outcomes.
- Stress Management: As accountants, we often face high-pressure situations. Self-coaching equips you with tools to manage stress, build resilience, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Continuous Learning and Growth: By engaging in self-coaching, you cultivate a growth mindset, fostering a desire for continuous learning and professional development.
- Better Communication Skills: Self-coaching helps you improve your communication skills, allowing you to convey financial information more effectively to clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.
- Increased Confidence: As you gain clarity and develop strategies through self-coaching, you become more confident in your abilities and judgments.
- Goal Achievement: Self-coaching helps you set realistic and achievable goals, increasing your motivation and focus on accomplishing targets.
- Client Relationships: Accountants who practice self-coaching are better equipped to understand their clients’ needs and concerns, leading to stronger and more trusting relationships.
By harnessing the benefits of self-coaching, you can continuously evolve as a professional, positively impact your clients and organizations, and lead fulfilling careers in the financial field.
Top benefits to accounting firms for their employees to learn the skill of self-coaching
From an accounting firm’s viewpoint, encouraging their employees to learn the skill of self-coaching can yield several benefits for the firm as a whole:
- Increased Employee Productivity: Self-coaching equips employees with effective goal-setting and time management skills, leading to increased productivity and efficiency in their work.
- Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities: Self-coached accountants become more adept at analyzing complex financial issues independently, resulting in quicker and more effective problem-solving.
- Improved Client Satisfaction: Accountants who practice self-coaching are better equipped to understand client needs, communicate effectively, and deliver tailored financial solutions, leading to higher client satisfaction and retention.
- Empowered Decision-Making: Self-coaching fosters confident decision-making in employees, allowing them to make informed choices without excessive reliance on supervision.
- Adaptability to Change: Self-coached accountants develop resilience and adaptability, enabling them to navigate changes in financial regulations, technology, and client demands more smoothly.
- Reduced Employee Burnout: Self-coaching emphasizes work-life balance and stress management, reducing the risk of employee burnout and turnover, which can be costly for the firm.
- Personal Accountability and Responsibility: Accountants practicing self-coaching take ownership of their professional development and performance, contributing to a culture of accountability within the firm.
- Continuous Learning and Development: Self-coached employees have a growth mindset and seek opportunities for continuous learning, staying up-to-date with industry trends and innovations, benefitting the firm’s overall knowledge base.
- Positive Workplace Culture: Embracing self-coaching promotes a positive and proactive workplace culture, fostering collaboration, creativity, and open communication among employees.
- Leadership Development: Self-coaching can identify and nurture potential leaders within the firm, as individuals take the initiative to develop their skills and take on more significant responsibilities.
Thankfully, encouraging employees to learn self-coaching skills creates a workforce that is more motivated, self-reliant, and adaptable, leading to improved client service, increased employee satisfaction, and overall success for the accounting firm. It also contributes to a culture of continuous improvement and growth, positioning the firm as a competitive and forward-thinking organization within the financial industry.
Becoming a Smarter Accountant: How I have stress-free tax seasons
When I learned The Model and how to self-coach, I applied it to every area of my life except my accounting career. I honestly didn’t think it would apply since, like most accountants, I had normalized so many aspects of being an accountant.
And then one day, everything changed. I was working with my own coach and I flippantly said, “Tax season is so stressful.” She said to me, “You know that’s a thought, not a fact, right?”
In my head I thought, “Oh you silly woman. You clearly aren’t an accountant or you would agree that tax season is stressful.” But then she reminded me that a fact, or a circumstance in The Model, is neutral and everyone on the planet would agree.
So I pushed back and said, “Well, if the sentence ‘tax season is stressful’ would go in the thought line of The Model, then what would go in the circumstance line? What would be the neutral fact?”
She explained that the deadline like April 15th, the actual work that had to get done, or how many days were left until the deadline could be factual circumstances. But my brain’s interpretation of any of those facts would be an optional thought like “Tax season is so stressful.”
The key that changed everything for me that day was getting clear that “Tax season is so stressful” was an optional thought and it wasn’t helpful or useful. In other words, when I had the thought “Tax season is so stressful” it made me feel overwhelmed, complain, stress out, look for relief in the form of distractions, and not manage my time effectively.
From that day forward, I began self-coaching during tax season and catching my brain thinking the typical unhelpful thoughts that most accountants think. I’m happy to say that I now get more done in less time, I don’t complain about tax season, and I don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed.
I now have stress-free tax seasons. That my friends is the power of self-coaching for accountants.
As my coaching clients have discovered, the power of learning the process for self-coaching is a game changer, both professionally and personally. By learning how to properly use The Model, you learn how to manage your mind and become a Smarter Accountant.
The truth is that your brain is the most important asset an accountant has; you’ve just been underutilizing yours. Every client I’ve worked with has said, “Why aren’t we taught this sooner? This is a game-changer.”
Thankfully, I can teach you The Model, but as you already know, learning something is one thing; implementing it is another.
This is why I have created a 6-week program called The Smarter Accountant Program. It’s where I can personally teach you and guide you on your way to becoming a Smarter Accountant.
Once you have a clearer picture of your unique accountant brain, you can use the formula of The Model to take back control.
If you have difficulty with any area I’ve discussed, let’s talk. Schedule a quick, free coaching session with me and I’ll help you understand what to do.
The truth is that learning the skill of self-coaching will be a game-changer for you both professionally and personally. And thankfully, it only takes 6 weeks to learn
If you want to learn how, just go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com/calendar and book a free session with me.
That’s what I have for you, but make sure you check back each week as I help you go from being a stressed accountant to a Smarter Accountant.
Make sure you go to www.thesmarteraccountant.com and take The Smarter Accountant Quiz. You’re going to want to know if you’ve been underutilizing your accountant brain so that you have a starting point for becoming a Smarter Accountant..
Also, I would appreciate it if you could get the word out to other accountants about this podcast. The more accountants find out about it, the more we can begin to change the narrative in the accounting profession.
The truth is that you’re already smart, but this podcast will show you how to be smarter.