The Skill of Self-Coaching For Accountants

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):

  1. Seek pleasure;
  2. Avoid pain;
  3. 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:

  1. Circumstance
  2. Thought
  3. Feeling
  4. Actions
  5. Result

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:

  1. 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.
  1. Enhanced Decision Making: By learning self-coaching techniques, you can clarify your goals, values, and priorities, leading to better decision-making in financial matters.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Continuous Learning and Growth: By engaging in self-coaching, you cultivate a growth mindset, fostering a desire for continuous learning and professional development.
  1. Better Communication Skills: Self-coaching helps you improve your communication skills, allowing you to convey financial information more effectively to clients, colleagues, and stakeholders.
  1. Increased Confidence: As you gain clarity and develop strategies through self-coaching, you become more confident in your abilities and judgments.
  1. Goal Achievement: Self-coaching helps you set realistic and achievable goals, increasing your motivation and focus on accomplishing targets.
  1. 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:

  1. Increased Employee Productivity: Self-coaching equips employees with effective goal-setting and time management skills, leading to increased productivity and efficiency in their work.
  1. Enhanced Problem-Solving Abilities: Self-coached accountants become more adept at analyzing complex financial issues independently, resulting in quicker and more effective problem-solving.
  1. 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.
  1. Empowered Decision-Making: Self-coaching fosters confident decision-making in employees, allowing them to make informed choices without excessive reliance on supervision.
  1. Adaptability to Change: Self-coached accountants develop resilience and adaptability, enabling them to navigate changes in financial regulations, technology, and client demands more smoothly.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Positive Workplace Culture: Embracing self-coaching promotes a positive and proactive workplace culture, fostering collaboration, creativity, and open communication among employees.
  1. 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 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 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.

Mastering Boundaries And Detaching From Work

Welcome back to The Smarter Accountant Podcast.  This is the podcast that not only teaches you how to be a smarter accountant, but also how to have a sustainable career if you are an employee and a sustainable business if you are an entrepreneur.

I am Dawn Goldberg, author of “The Smarter Accountant” and a CPA in public accounting for over 30 years.  I have the privilege of teaching smart accountants how to work smarter and I have to say that mastering boundaries is one of the most requested topics that clients want to work on.

So, let me start by asking you – have you ever found yourself working late into the night, sacrificing weekends for your job, or feeling the weight of burnout?

Are you struggling to strike a balance between your professional ambitions and your personal well-being?

Do you feel like work constantly spills over into your personal life through emails, notifications, and never-ending to-do lists?

In this episode, I’m going to take a deep dive into a topic that’s essential for anyone striving for accounting career success while maintaining a harmonious personal life: setting boundaries and mastering the art of detaching from work.

In the fast-paced accounting world we live in, where work often spills over into our personal time through emails, notifications, and never-ending to-do lists, finding that delicate balance between professional ambition and personal well-being can feel like an elusive goal. 

In this episode, I’m going to discuss boundaries in a way you may have never heard before and I’m going to share the story of Gina and her quest to redefine the boundaries of her career while honoring her personal aspirations.

So, if you’ve ever found yourself juggling work commitments late into the night, sacrificing weekends for the job, or feeling the weight of burnout, this episode is tailor-made for you. 

Believe me, I get that boundaries can sometimes seem elusive and confusing.  They can be hard to define and even harder to incorporate into our lives. 

We’ve all been there, wrestling with questions like, “What exactly is a boundary? When is the right time to set one? And how can I assert myself without feeling like I’m building a fortress around my world?”

In this episode, I’m going to explore the truths behind boundary-setting, the pitfalls of work martyrdom, and most importantly, provide you with actionable insights to empower you on your path to becoming a Smarter Accountant – one who thrives both professionally and personally. Let’s dive in!

Gina’s struggle with boundaries and detachment

In my book, “The Smarter Accountant,” I shared the story of Gina.  Gina was a third-generation accountant who carried a legacy of hard work and dedication. 

Growing up with the tales of her grandfather’s and father’s achievements in the world of finance, Gina was instilled with a strong work ethic and a drive for success. Honors in college eventually led her to a well-paying job as a tax manager at a local mid-sized firm.

The issue was that Gina faced a number of challenges balancing her family’s revered work ethic with her own aspirations for a fulfilling personal life.

As Gina mentored younger interns and entry-level accountants, she realized the importance of guiding the next generation while acknowledging the toll her work-centric approach was taking on her own well-being. Late nights at the office, constant availability to colleagues and clients, and the pressure to always go the extra mile had become her norm. 

With marriage and thoughts of starting a family on the horizon, she began to understand that the boundaries she sets now would profoundly impact her future.  She wanted professional success but not at the expense of a fulfilling life outside of work.

She knew that if she didn’t change things now, she would pay the price later. Unfortunately, she was afraid of how others would react once she set a boundary and how that would affect her career.  

Obviously, Gina’s dilemma isn’t unique.  The truth is that, no matter what stage you are in your career, the struggle to define and establish boundaries can be both challenging and liberating. 

Unfortunately, Gina’s story is not unique to accountants; it’s a universal dilemma faced by countless professionals in various fields. It’s a dilemma that brings us to a critical realization: we need to begin to focus on the significance of setting boundaries and the art of detaching from work.

The truth about setting boundaries and work martyrdom

If you can relate to Gina’s story, you’re not alone.  Many of the accountants I speak to and coach are dealing with the issue of setting boundaries and detaching from work.  

While the struggle with work/life balance is not unique to the accounting profession, it has been an ongoing issue that isn’t getting better. Obviously, there are many factors that have led to things like the “Great Resignation” for accountants, but it’s also important to understand how a lack of boundaries and the ability to detach from work have contributed to the issue.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is what I refer to as “work martyrdom”. This can show up in various ways, such as taking work home so that you can get a jump-start on everyone else, not taking all your paid time off because you’re afraid it will look bad, or not being able to delegate because you’re worried that no one else can do the work as well as you. 

Work martyrdom is also sneaky because it’s often perceived to be normal, necessary, or, even worse, rewarded.

As I shared in a previous episode on the overworked accountant, the issue with work martyrdom is that it hurts you and your career more than you realize. The perceived need to work harder than everyone else actually creates less productivity.

I want you to hear this—the person who stays the latest, works the most hours, or has no time boundaries, doesn’t necessarily get more work done than everyone else. More hours spent working does not equate to more work done or higher-quality work done.

To get even more real with you, you could have the most billable hours and that still doesn’t mean you’ll be the best or that you will necessarily be considered valuable. What typically accompanies work martyrdom is frustration, resentment, and burnout, none of which will help you achieve the success you want.

The issue is that we can often get swept up in the tidal wave of other accounting overachievers and perfectionists, believing that more and more sacrifice is necessary while gasping for air as the wave takes us under, leading to full-blown burnout. The issue is that what’s left when the tidal wave of work martyrdom subsides is often health issues, damaged relationships, overwhelm, unhappiness, and resentment.

When work martyrdom seeps into your life, it can become like a poisonous gas that is undetectable until after it’s done its damage. Just like we have carbon monoxide detectors in our homes because humans cannot smell deadly carbon monoxide, you should know the signs of work martyrdom and be able to detect it before it’s too late.

It’s important to understand that, if you struggle with self-confidence, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome, the chances are that you’re also probably being a work martyr to try to overcome that insecurity.  Feeling inadequate and insecure then leads you to take on more, believing that working harder will somehow alleviate those feelings of insecurity.

Setting time boundaries

When it comes to setting boundaries, it’s also important to understand that it’s not only about setting boundaries with people—you also need to learn to set boundaries with yourself and with your time. One of the biggest issues that I see for accountants is setting time boundaries.

When you can learn how to set time boundaries and commit to them, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel about your day. When you set time boundaries, you improve your relationship with time, you honor your values, you get clear about your priorities, and you create a balanced life.

By learning how to set and commit to your time boundaries, you make it much easier to have a balanced day, week, or year, and you lessen the fatigue that comes with making too many decisions about how you spend your time. And one of the best benefits is that you also improve your relationship with yourself because, when you honor your commitments to yourself, you strengthen your self-confidence.

If you feel like you can’t detach from work, that your time is not your own, or you’re constantly wishing there were more hours in the day, time boundaries might be just the thing you need. Not only will you have much better control over your time, you’ll also be able to get more done in less time, making it possible to add even more hours to your day.  

Thankfully, by becoming a Smarter Accountant, you can learn how to set better boundaries with everything—with people, with yourself, and with your time—as well as learning how to detach from work. The best part is that, when you understand why you do the things you do, you’ll also understand how to change that.

Our brain’s role in setting boundaries and detaching from work

Now it’s time to talk about the fascinating realm of neuroscience to understand the intricate interplay between our brain and the challenges we face in setting boundaries and detaching from work.

Our brain, the control center of our thoughts, emotions, and actions, plays a significant role in how we approach the concept of boundaries. It’s wired to respond to external stimuli and is influenced by our experiences, beliefs, and societal norms.

Consider Gina’s journey – growing up in a family with a strong work ethic, she internalized the idea that success is linked to constant dedication and long hours. These beliefs became ingrained in her brain’s neural pathways, influencing her perception of what it means to excel in her career.

As Gina faced the challenge of setting boundaries and detaching from work, her brain’s responses were shaped by these established patterns. The fear of how others would react, the worry about potentially compromising her career – these emotions stemmed from the brain’s attempt to protect what it has learned and reinforced over time.

It’s also important to understand that our brain’s natural tendency to seek pleasure and avoid discomfort can lead us to resist change. The idea of setting boundaries and detaching from work can trigger feelings of discomfort, as it challenges the brain’s familiar patterns and comfort zones.

However, there’s a powerful aspect of our brain that we can harness – neuroplasticity. This remarkable quality allows our brain to rewire itself in response to new experiences and intentional practices.

By understanding the brain’s role in our challenges and successes, we gain the tools to navigate the process of setting boundaries more effectively. We can consciously reshape our neural pathways, gradually shifting our beliefs and responses to align with a healthier work-life integration.

The truth is that a Smarter Accountant recognizes that the brain is both a powerful ally and a potential obstacle. By combining awareness, intentional thought work, and the principles of the tool I teach, called The Model, we can reframe our relationship with boundaries and transform the way we detach from work.

Overcoming boundary challenges

When it comes to overcoming boundary challenges, the first thing we need to talk about is the fear of judgment. We’ve all been there, right? Worrying that if we set a boundary, we’ll be seen as the “difficult” one or somehow jeopardize our professional image. 

But here’s the thing: boundaries aren’t about building walls; they’re about creating a framework that supports your well-being and productivity.  Setting boundaries can make you a better accountant, if you let them. 

Believe me, I get that setting boundaries can sometimes feel like stepping into uncharted territory, and discomfort can sneak up on us faster than an unexpected tax audit. However, embracing discomfort is often the first step toward growth and empowerment. 

Think about it this way – you’re either going to temporarily experience discomfort now or you’re going to experience long-term discomfort if you don’t learn to set better boundaries.  The choice is really up to you.  .

What might be helpful is explaining what I teach about what a boundary is NOT and what it IS.

A boundary is NOT:

  • Just saying no
  • Expecting the other person to change their behavior
  • Threatening someone with consequences so that they will change
  • Standing up for yourself out of anger or frustration
  • Intended to manipulate anyone’s behavior
  • An idle threat that you do not intend to follow through with

A boundary IS:

  • A powerful form of self-care
  • Something you do for you, not to them
  • Something you create for yourself to honor yourself
  • Something you will do; not something they need to do
  • Said from a place of calm
  • Set with the intention that you are ready, willing and able to follow through with what you said you would do
  • You only set a boundary when there is a boundary violation
  • Requires you to not care what other people think of you

Boundaries aren’t about policing someone else’s actions; they’re about deciding what works for you and being clear.  The truth is that boundaries can be your allies, not your adversaries.

For example, a number of years ago I decided that my father’s emails to a large group of people, including me, weren’t appropriate or what I wanted to read.  I asked him to remove me from the list when he sent those kinds of emails and if he didn’t, I would just block all his emails.

I didn’t tell him he couldn’t send them; I just said I didn’t like them and what I would do if he continued to send them.  Because he didn’t need to do anything if he didn’t want to and it was about what I would do if he crossed my boundary, it made it easier to set the boundary.

The best part about setting better boundaries is that once understood and implemented, they can become your secret weapon for creating a work and home environment that’s conducive to your success and well-being. 

If boundaries are an issue for you, you’re not alone. Most of us have issues with setting boundaries for good reasons—we’ve never been taught how and we’re worried about what other people will think if we do, or, worse, what the repercussions will be.

The issue is that we can feel uncomfortable setting boundaries because we believe that we then need to control others once a boundary is set. Many of my coaching clients in the 6-week Smarter Accountant Program are reluctant to set boundaries because they feel that, in setting a boundary, they then need to try to monitor and change another person’s behavior, exhausting themselves in the process.

They feel uncomfortable drawing a line in the sand and are confused, or emotionally drained, by the idea that they then have to police that line and stop others from crossing over it, or they fear other people’s reactions to them setting a boundary as well as the idea of having to confront someone. When this happens, it just seems much easier to not set a boundary and then deal with the consequences.

The problem is that this perception of setting a boundary and then needing to control other people’s behavior is understandably exhausting and futile, but also unnecessary. If you haven’t already realized, you cannot control other people—they have their wants, needs, and preferences that are often not in alignment with yours.

The good news is that the way that I teach the subject of setting boundaries is that it’s not about what others need to do or not do, it’s about what you will do if, or when, a boundary is crossed. It’s not about needing to control anyone or anything other than you.

Another thing I want to point out is that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve dealt with something and not set a boundary.  When you decide you want to set a boundary, that’s all that matters.  The decision to set boundaries should not be hindered by the past.

For example, you might have known your friend for decades, but if something is bothering you in the friendship, it’s never too late to set a boundary. Your feelings matter.  Or even if you’ve been working overtime for years without complaint, remember that your well-being should always come first. When you decide to set limits on your work hours, it’s a healthy choice, regardless of your past habits.

Whatever your issue is with setting boundaries and detaching from work, again, the tool I teach my clients called The Model, will be the key because your actions are always within your control based on the feeling that’s fueling those actions. The Smarter Accountant uses The Model to become aware of why they’re not setting boundaries and detaching from work, and then uses The Model to take the actions necessary for them to have the results they want.  

As a Smarter Accountant, you’ll be able to set better boundaries, know what to do when a boundary is crossed, and also be able to manage your brain afterward. Other people can make requests of you and try to cross your boundaries, but you’ll know how to create the confidence you need to support yourself and your decisions. 

The Smarter Accountant way: Setting better boundaries

I think one of the most uncomfortable things about setting a boundary with someone other than yourself is preparing to have the conversation to verbalize the boundary. While it isn’t always necessary or feasible to have a conversation with someone when you’re setting a boundary, it’s still helpful to know how to handle a possible conversation so that you don’t feel so awkward.

The first thing to do before verbalizing your boundary is to understand that a boundary is what you will set and presumably abide by, not what the other person needs to do or stop doing. This is such an important distinction because it will allow you to keep the focus on yourself when getting clear about your boundary, but then also when you have a conversation to share what your boundary is.

Basically, a boundary is not about what the other person needs to stop doing—it’s about what your preference is and what you’ll do if the boundary is crossed. Thankfully, it’s not your job to control or change other people’s behavior, but the beauty in setting a better boundary is knowing that the boundary is for you, not to them.

For example, you’re not telling your friend she can’t be late for your lunch dates anymore when you set a boundary with her. You’re just letting her know that her lateness doesn’t work for you and what you will do the next time she’s late—she doesn’t need to change, you just have a plan if it happens again.

You’re not telling your boss that he shouldn’t send emails to you over the weekend when you set a boundary with him. You’re just letting him know that you have chosen the weekends to be email-free time with your family and that you won’t be answering emails until Monday morning—he can keep sending emails but you have a plan if it happens again.

The beauty in this approach is that your friend gets to continue being late as much as she wants without you needing to change her behavior or getting angry with her, and your boss gets to send emails whenever he wants. Other people have the power to do whatever they want, but so do you.

Again, the boundary is about what you will do if your boundary is crossed, not what the other person has to do.

When setting a boundary with yourself, you have to understand why you’re setting a boundary and then expect that you’ll probably try to cross your boundary as well. For example, just because you set a time boundary that you’re going to leave the office by 5 p.m. doesn’t mean your lower, Toddler brain won’t say, “Just one more minute. I need to finish this.”

A Smarter Accountant knows the power of setting better boundaries and they’re prepared as to what to do if they, or someone else, tries to cross the boundary. It’s not about being difficult; it’s about having a compelling reason and liking your reason—that’s what leads to setting boundaries and detaching from work.

If you have difficulty with setting boundaries and detaching from work, let’s talk.  Schedule a quick, free coaching session with me and I’ll help you understand what to do.

The truth is that work-life integration doesn’t just magically happen.  You have to be willing to set boundaries, feel confident, and have difficult conversations.  I can help you do all that.  

Just go to 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 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.

The Guide To Tackling Imposter Syndrome And Self-Doubt

Welcome to The Smarter Accountant Podcast, the show where I dive deep into topics that affect every accountant.  Today’s episode is all about self-confidence, self-doubt, and that challenging topic of Imposter Syndrome.

In my book, “The Smarter Accountant,” I shared the story of Adam, a seasoned CPA who seemed to have it all together on the surface. Graduating with flying colors, securing a prestigious job right after college, and gaining a wealth of experience, it’s easy to assume that Adam would exude confidence in every aspect of his life. 

However, beneath that impressive exterior were struggles that many professionals in the accounting world can relate to.

Adam’s inner battle with self-doubt and the fear of being exposed as an imposter left him feeling stuck in his career, unable to make crucial decisions both personally and professionally. He wrestled with the idea of leaving his current job, doubting his capabilities to succeed outside of his comfort zone.

Have you ever experienced moments of doubt about your abilities, even when your track record suggests otherwise? Have you ever felt like you’re just waiting for someone to realize that you don’t truly belong or deserve your achievements?

If this resonates with you, just know that you’re not alone. Research has shown that many accountants and finance professionals grapple with imposter syndrome, often driven by the analytical and perfectionistic nature of our work.

In this episode, I’ll be exploring the truth behind self-confidence, why achievements alone don’t necessarily guarantee it, and the importance of understanding and mastering our own minds. I’ll be diving deep into imposter syndrome, uncovering its common signs, and exploring its roots in social conditioning and parental influence.

But don’t worry; I’ll also be providing you with powerful tools and insights to become a Smarter Accountant. With these tools in hand, you’ll be able to conquer self-doubt and imposter syndrome, unlocking your true potential both in your career and personal life.

The truth about self-confidence, self-doubt, and Imposter Syndrome

In the world of accounting, self-confidence is often perceived as an elusive trait that can only be achieved through external validation. Many of us believe that our self-worth and confidence are directly tied to our achievements, professional designations, and the recognition we receive from others. 

However, the truth about self-confidence goes much deeper than surface-level accomplishments.

The key to understanding self-confidence lies in recognizing that it isn’t dependent on the number of degrees or accolades after our name, the prestigious university we attended, or even our IQ level. True self-confidence is rooted in how we manage and master our own minds.

It’s easy for accountants to fall into the trap of trying to fix a lack of self-confidence by pursuing external achievements. We might work longer hours, take more continuing education courses, or try to please everyone around us in an attempt to gain validation and confidence. 

However, this approach is inherently flawed because external accomplishments do not create lasting self-confidence.

Imagine achieving a coveted promotion or earning a prestigious certification; you might feel a momentary boost in confidence. However, if you haven’t addressed the underlying beliefs about yourself, that fleeting sense of confidence is likely to dissipate quickly. 

The truth is that the root cause of self-confidence lies within the realm of our thoughts, beliefs, and mindset.

As I mentioned earlier, in my book “The Smarter Accountant” I shared the story of Adam who was struggling with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Despite his impressive career and academic achievements, he struggled with thoughts of inadequacy and fears that he didn’t deserve his success. 

This internal struggle was a clear indication that external accomplishments alone aren’t enough to foster self-confidence.

It’s also important to understand that Imposter Syndrome, a phenomenon experienced by many high-achievers, compounds the issue. I’m going to talk more about this in a minute, but Imposter Syndrome is that nagging feeling of being a fraud, of fearing that one day, someone will uncover the truth that you’re not as competent as others believe you to be. 

Unfortunately, the constant feeling of self-doubt can lead to avoiding challenges and undermining our abilities.

Studies have shown that accountants and finance professionals are particularly prone to imposter syndrome due to the nature of our work. The analytical, data-driven nature of accounting can create an environment where perfectionism and self-criticism thrive, which then fuels imposter feelings.

To break free from the feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, it’s essential to understand that our beliefs about ourselves drive our confidence. External achievements are merely effects, not causes, of self-confidence. 

If we want to build lasting self-confidence, we must address the core beliefs that underlie our self-perception.

The key is that the path to overcoming self-doubt and imposter syndrome starts with your accountant brain.    

Why you need to understand cognitive dissonance

Understanding how our accountant brains work is important because they hold the key to conquering self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome. But sometimes, a tricky thing called cognitive dissonance can get in the way.

Cognitive dissonance is when we feel uneasy because we have conflicting thoughts or beliefs. Imagine it like having two different ideas pulling you in opposite directions.

Here’s a simple example: Let’s say you got promoted to a senior position. On one hand, you doubt if you’re good enough for the role. On the other hand, your promotion shows that others think you are capable.

This mismatch between your doubts and the promotion creates discomfort. You end up questioning yourself a lot, which affects how confident you feel at work.

Cognitive dissonance doesn’t stop at work. It can impact how we make choices, what we believe, and even how we see ourselves. Recognizing it can help you understand why you might resist change or hold onto beliefs that aren’t helping you.

So, understanding cognitive dissonance is like having a tool for self-awareness, helping you make sense of why you might feel conflicted and how to deal with it.

Understanding Imposter Syndrome

As I shared earlier, imposter syndrome is when you doubt your achievements and worry that others will find out you’re not as good as they think. This happens even when you’re actually good at what you do. It’s also common in jobs where people expect a lot, like accounting.

People with imposter syndrome often feel like they’re not good enough, even when they’re successful. They might think their success is just luck or that they’re fooling everyone. 

In the accounting world, where accuracy is key, feelings of imposter syndrome can be incredibly common because we tend to set high standards and criticize ourselves too much.

While feeling this way is normal, it’s better to deal with it sooner rather than later. Recognizing the signs is the first step to overcoming it.

Some common signs include:

  • Feeling like a fraud despite accomplishments and qualifications.
  • Downplaying successes as luck or timing.
  • Difficulty accepting praise or recognition.
  • Fear of failure or making mistakes.
  • Overworking to prove one’s worth.
  • Constantly seeking validation and reassurance from others.

The interesting thing is that imposter syndrome can have its roots in various factors.

Imposter syndrome can come from different places, like pressure from parents or teachers to be perfect, society’s focus on being the best, comparing yourself to others, or fearing failure or rejection.

Again, there’s no shame in experiencing imposter syndrome, but it is important to address it so that it doesn’t become a bigger issue.  .

Our brain’s role in self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence

Understanding why we doubt ourselves and lack confidence involves looking at our brain’s role in shaping our thoughts about who we are. Your brain is like a filter for how you see yourself and the world and it’s important to understand its role in self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence.

First, your brain tends to focus on the negative; a bit like an “inner critic.”  While this was useful long ago when humans lived in caves and we needed to spot danger, now it makes us overly critical of ourselves.

Second, your beliefs about yourself are often formed during childhood through interactions with parents, teachers, and other significant figures. If you received consistent messages that emphasized perfectionism or unrealistic standards, you might have internalized these beliefs and now struggle with imposter syndrome and self-doubt.

Third, societal and cultural norms can also contribute to self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence. Living in a society that places a high value on external achievements and compares individuals to societal standards of success can create pressure to constantly prove oneself, fueling imposter feelings.

Fourth, there’s this brain part called the Reticular Activating System that decides what you pay attention to. If we have a belief that we are not good enough or lack certain abilities, our Reticular Activating System will actively seek evidence to support this belief, reinforcing our self-doubt.  In other words, if you think you’re not good enough, it looks for proof that you’re right.

Fifth, there’s something called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is our brain’s tendency to actively seek or interpret information in a way that confirms our existing beliefs.  For example, if we doubt our capabilities as an accountant, we may unconsciously focus on instances where we made mistakes or encountered challenges, overlooking instances of success and competence.

And the last thing to understand is that our self-talk matters.  Our internal dialogue, or self-talk, significantly impacts our self-confidence. If we engage in negative and self-critical self-talk, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, reinforcing feelings of inadequacy and doubt.

The good news is, you can change your brain. It’s like a flexible muscle. You can train it to think differently and feel more confident. It takes a little practice, but it’s absolutely possible to transform how you see yourself.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant

There’s no shame in feeling a lack of self-confidence, self-doubt, and suffering from imposter syndrome, but thankfully, there’s also something you can do about it.

The good news is that the tool I teach my clients called The Model shows you the process for self-coaching.  The Model was created by Brooke Castillo and is a cognitive framework designed to help individuals understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. 

I will be explaining the process of self-coaching in an upcoming episode, but for now, just know that developing self-awareness is the key to breaking free from self-doubt and improving your self-confidence.

The truth is that self-doubt is a feeling caused by your thoughts, not by any circumstances or facts.  The only thing causing you to feel self-doubt are sentences in your brain.

Let me illustrate how this works – for example, let’s say your boss asked you to do a presentation for the team and your thought is “I’m going to fail at this.”

Of course you’re going to feel self-doubt, but it has nothing to do with the boss asking you to do a presentation for the team.  Your feeling of self-doubt only came from the thought, “I’m going to fail at this.”

That sneaky thought is the only thing that can cause you to feel self-doubt. Your accountant brain had that thought and that thought led you to feel self-doubt.

But here’s why this is so important to understand – because of what the feeling of self-doubt leads you to do or not do.  

In this example, if you felt self-doubt you might immediately want to say no; spin in confusion about what to say; procrastinate coming up with ideas for the presentation; worry about what others will think of you; think about the times you didn’t do well in presentations; don’t come up with a plan; don’t look for ways you can add value to the team; don’t get your other work done because you’re obsessing about the presentation; don’t believe in yourself.

And the result of all this?  You actually fail ahead of time. 

The truth is that failing ahead of time happens when you’re so afraid of failing that your actions, inactions, and reactions lead to an unwanted result—further proof of the thought, “I’m going to fail at this.”

The best news I can give you is that since your brain is the reason you feel self-doubt in the first place, it’s also the reason you can feel self-confident.  The key is that the feeling of self-confidence is within your control by what you choose to think about yourself.

As a Smarter Accountant, you can learn why you’re feeling a lack of self-confidence, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome and, more importantly, be able to do something about it. It’s important to understand that, although the lower, Toddler part of your brain is always going to offer you negative-biased thoughts, by becoming a Smarter Accountant you know how to use the higher, Supervising Parent part of your brain more often, improving your self-confidence in the process. 

A Smarter Accountant understands that self-doubt is always an option, but it isn’t going to lead to the results they truly want. With the awareness of how much control they have over what they think and feel, a Smarter Accountant intentionally chooses believable thoughts that produce a more useful feeling.

It’s important to understand that you don’t need to know how to do something—you only need to trust in yourself and your ability to figure it out. A Smarter Accountant accepts that change and growth are possible because they know that they can rewire their brain to create self-confidence on purpose.

Unfortunately, if you think that something like getting a promotion will build your self-confidence, you will most likely wind up still feeling insecure in the new position, often faced with more imposter syndrome. The reason this happens is that your outer circumstances don’t create the feeling of self-confidence.

Getting a promotion, finding a mate, or receiving a positive yearly review are the effects, and not the cause, of your self-confidence. The truth is that, If you didn’t have self-confidence before going after these achievements, you’d quickly fall back into your old belief system because beliefs don’t change without some work. 

That’s why achieving the professional status of CPA, or any other professional designation, won’t build self-confidence if you haven’t changed your underlying beliefs about yourself. If you struggle with self-confidence, it’s because you haven’t addressed the cause.

As I tell my coaching clients, changing circumstances to feel better won’t work because you’re taking your brain with you.  You have to learn the simple process of self-coaching so that you can tackle self-doubt and imposter syndrome, once and for all.

If you have difficulty with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, let’s talk.  Schedule a quick, free coaching session with me and I’ll help you understand what to do.

Switching jobs or going after more professional designations isn’t as helpful or useful as you might think.   I can help create lasting self-confidence in a matter of 6 weeks..  

Just go to 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 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.

When Your Work Is Affecting Your Health

In today’s episode, I’m going to explore the impact of work on accountants’ health.  Let me start by asking you how you’re doing, healthwise?  Are you struggling physically, emotionally, or mentally?  Is stress and overwhelm taking a toll on you?

As accountants, we’re often praised for our attention to detail, our analytical skills, and our ability to navigate complex financial landscapes. We pride ourselves on our dedication and commitment to delivering accurate and precise work. 

Yet, beneath the surface, there can be a hidden cost to our professional success – our health.

This episode is dedicated to shedding light on the challenges accountants face when it comes to our well-being. I’m going to be sharing some stories, insights, and strategies to help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of the accounting profession while prioritizing your health and happiness.

In a minute I’ll be sharing Heather’s story, a hardworking accountant and devoted mother. Heather seemed to have it all – a promising career trajectory, a supportive family, and the appearance of work-life balance. 

But beneath the facade, she was grappling with health issues that she kept hidden from those around her. Heather’s journey will resonate with many of us who have found ourselves silently struggling while putting on a brave face.

Heather’s story will serve as a reminder that appearances can be deceiving. In the accounting profession, where precision and perfection are valued, the pressure to perform at our best can take a toll on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. 

The demands of long hours, tight deadlines, and the constant need to stay updated with ever-changing regulations can leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

In this episode, I’ll dive deep into the truth about accountants’ health. I’ll explore eye-opening statistics and studies that reveal the prevalence of mental health challenges, burnout, and substance abuse within our profession. 

It’s an important conversation that needs to be had, as the first step towards finding solutions is acknowledging the problem.

But this episode isn’t just about raising awareness; it’s about empowering you to take control of your own health and well-being. I’ll be discussing what it means to become a Smarter Accountant – a mindset shift that will help you develop the skills and strategies needed to thrive both professionally and personally.

By becoming a Smarter Accountant, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how your thoughts and beliefs impact your health and overall happiness. I’ll share practical techniques to manage stress, avoid burnout, and cultivate a healthier work-life balance. 

Together, we’ll challenge the notion that sacrificing our well-being is the price we must pay for professional success.

So, whether you’re an accountant seeking ways to prioritize your health or someone interested in gaining insight into the unique challenges faced by those in our profession, this podcast is for you. It’s time to have open and honest conversations about work-related health issues and collectively work towards creating healthier and more sustainable work environments.

My goal is to empower you to rewrite the narrative of your professional life – one that celebrates success, well-being, and personal growth.

Heather’s story: Health issues

To shed light on this topic, I want to share the story of Heather from my book, “The Smarter Accountant.”  Heather was a hardworking accountant and dedicated mother who found herself caught in the relentless cycle of work and its impact on her health. .

Heather was known for her ambition and drive. She had set her sights on becoming a CPA and was willing to do whatever it took to achieve her career goals. 

But her aspirations extended beyond her professional life – she wanted to excel as a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and active member of her community.

From the outside looking in, Heather seemed to have achieved the perfect work-life balance. She managed to balance her work obligations with her family commitments, earning admiration from her colleagues and loved ones alike. 

Her boss valued her contributions, and her family loved her. Heather appeared to be the epitome of success – a shining example of how one could seamlessly navigate the world of motherhood, accounting, and personal fulfillment.

However, beneath her composed exterior, Heather was grappling with serious health issues. Heart palpitations, sleep issues, poor eating habits, and a lack of follow-up on medical check-ups were just a few of the signs that something was wrong. 

Yet, she kept these challenges to herself, unwilling to burden others or admit that her health was suffering.  Heather’s commitment to her work often took precedence over her well-being. 

She would brush off her symptoms, attributing them to the demands of her profession. Whenever concerns arose, she would reply with, “I’m an accountant. I just don’t have the time. I’ll get to it after this deadline.” 

Unfortunately, in the world of accounting, there always seemed to be a deadline looming, leaving little room for self-care.

To cope with her mounting anxiety, Heather resorted to unhealthy practices. She relied on prescribed medications like Xanax for emergencies, popped energy drinks like Red Bull to combat sleep deprivation, and used distractions such as binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through social media to temporarily escape from her stressors. 

Heather had become adept at putting “Band-Aids” on her health issues, hoping they would magically resolve themselves.

However, one fateful day, Heather’s health reached a tipping point. She found herself in the emergency room, experiencing symptoms that resembled a heart attack. 

Although it turned out to be a false alarm, the doctor on call delivered a sobering message – cardiac issues were becoming increasingly dangerous for women who neglected their work-related stress.

As Heather’s husband drove her home from the hospital, she couldn’t help but question herself: “If I’m so smart, why is work affecting my health?” This moment of introspection marked the beginning of Heather’s journey to uncover the truth about the impact of work on her well-being and seek a healthier, more sustainable approach to her profession.

The truth about your health as an accountant

If you can relate to Heather’s story, even on a small scale, I want to shed light on an often overlooked truth – the impact of work on accountants’ health. I believe it’s something that has been swept under the rug for too long.   

In 2013, the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA) reported survey results showing that around 30% of participants admitted to a drinking problem. The key is the word “admitted”; if 30% admitted to having an issue, imagine how many were unwilling to.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just an issue for accountants. In a 2016 study of lawyers, nearly three out of four participants reported problematic use of alcohol and drugs to cope with stress, starting as early as at law school.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an accountant, a lawyer, or in any other field of work because stress, long working hours, and an imbalance between work life and family life can be a breeding ground for overusing things to cope. It could come in the form of sitting with a pint of ice cream once everyone’s gone to bed or needing that second glass of wine after dinner; the inability to handle stress has become a bigger issue than ever.

The truth is that mental health has become such an important health crisis that every year during the first week of October the National Alliance on Mental Health participates in raising awareness of mental health issues all across the country. They work to educate the public, fight mental health stigmas, and support those with mental health issues.

While the conversation about mental health is becoming less and less taboo, it’s still an issue for many people. The subject of workplace health and well-being is being addressed more because it’s becoming an even bigger issue in the accounting and finance professions.

In one study, 30.4% of accountants admitted to suffering from mental health issues and 51% admitted that depression and anxiety leave them dreading going to work. When you add the anxiety accountants feel in their professional life to the guilt, anxiety, and exhaustion most feel in their personal life as well, you have a recipe for potential disaster.

Your accountant brain’s role

Since there can be a lot of confusion and shame when dealing with anxiety, it’s important to understand why you feel this way. There is nothing wrong with you if you feel anxious or overwhelmed—you just haven’t been aware of how your problem-solving brain has been creating your life.

One of the big issues when it comes to how work affects your health is that you may have become so accustomed to feeling anxiety and overwhelm that it can become just a normal part of life. Unfortunately, you may have normalized the symptoms or, worse, ignored them altogether. 

Depending on how long you’ve been working in the accounting profession, you may have also experienced the normalization of anxiety from most of the people you work with. Attending an in-person continuing education seminar with other overwhelmed, anxious accountants can seem like a “we’re all in this together” club.

The good news is that anxiety is a natural response that your primitive brain has when it senses fear, and it uses this response for your survival. There is nothing wrong with you when you feel anxious because your brain is only trying to protect you from perceived danger.

The bad news is that your brain interprets danger in many more non-dangerous situations than you realize. A tax deadline, a client email, or a change in the tax code can create the same feeling of danger that a saber tooth tiger did when humans lived in caves.

The real problem for accountants is that, from the time you went to school to study accounting, you have been trained to think in very specific ways, and these ways can often create unnecessary stress and anxiety. Your “accountant brain” has been trained for the problem-solving work you do and, when it goes unchecked, it can become your default way of thinking about everything.

If you’ve ever been told that you are thinking, talking, or arguing like an accountant, that’s what I’m talking about. You have been trained to think in ways that non-accountants don’t think and don’t understand.

The issue is that being surrounded by other people’s problems trains your accountant’s brain to see more problems. Because your brain is already a problem-solving machine, when you add that capability to the accounting profession’s pressures and expectations, it’s no wonder that over 50% of accountants feel anxiety and overwhelm.

No matter how work has affected your health, it can be improved by learning how to manage your brain better. When you become a Smarter Accountant, you can have the awareness of how work is affecting your health and be able to do something about it before it becomes an even bigger problem.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant

The irony when it comes to work affecting our health is that many accountants resort to overworking as a form of self-medication for their anxieties.  They believe that it fuels their productivity or demonstrates their dedication to their work.

As I shared in a previous podcast episode on the overworked accountant, the accounting environment, with its external pressures and expectations, often perpetuates this unhealthy mindset. The need to conform to the “accountant mold” in our thinking, behavior, and even appearance can exacerbate the pressures and expectations we face in our personal lives. 

Before we know it, we find ourselves reaching for that extra glass of wine, succumbing to imposter syndrome, and catastrophizing even the simplest tasks.

It’s crucial to recognize that catastrophizing, a cognitive distortion where we envision worst-case scenarios, does not make us more careful or meticulous. Instead, it creates additional stress and anxiety, leading to distraction, oversight, and mistakes. 

The very thing we believe will help us succeed ends up hindering our progress.

However, the good news is that by becoming Smarter Accountants, we can develop healthier ways of thinking and approaching our work. It starts with understanding the power of our thoughts and their influence on our emotions, actions, and results.

For example, let’s imagine a scenario where you open your email inbox to find 50 new unread messages. You might think, “There’s no way I can get all this done.” This thought then triggers anxiety, leading to a range of unproductive actions and feelings, such as complaining, feeling overwhelmed, procrastinating, and even snapping at loved ones. 

The end result? You make it less likely that you can accomplish everything.

Now, consider the alternative – the Smarter Accountant way.  Faced with the same scenario, you might think, “I just need to focus on one message at a time.” This thought cultivates patience and a more proactive approach. 

You prioritize important emails, delegate when necessary, allocate dedicated time for responding, and create a plan to tackle the remaining messages systematically. By managing your thoughts and emotions, you’re able to focus and get things done more effectively.

By adopting a Smarter Accountant mindset, we can gain control over our reactions, reduce stress, and improve our overall health. It’s about shifting our perspectives, questioning our default ways of thinking, and embracing strategies that promote balance, well-being, and productivity.

Remember, as accountants, we have been trained to think in specific ways that others may not understand. But it’s essential to recognize that being surrounded by problems all the time trains our brains to see more problems. 

By embracing a managed mind and adopting a Smarter Accountant approach, we can navigate our professional lives more effectively, reduce anxiety and overwhelm, and foster a healthier, more balanced existence.

Accountants and burnout

No discussion dealing with health issues for accountants can avoid the elephant in the room—burnout. As a profession, we are in big trouble when it comes to burnout, especially in the post-pandemic world that we live in.

Because accountants tend to normalize their struggles, here are some of the signs of burnout that you might want to be aware of:

  • Beginning to feel a lack of energy.
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Lack of focus or forgetfulness.
  • Prone to catching whatever cold is going around the office.
  • Feeling on edge.
  • Feeling hopelessness.
  • More tense and irritable than usual.
  • Loss of enjoyment.
  • Noticing a good deal of negative self-talk.
  • Isolating yourself.
  • Not able to be as productive as usual.

For all the highly intelligent, often high-achieving, perfectionistic accountants listening to this podcast, the road to burnout can happen at any time in your career, whether you are in public or private accounting. For those of you who are afraid to acknowledge that you’re getting burned-out, it’s okay: it doesn’t need to be a dirty little secret any longer.

There is no shame in the fact that you are experiencing burnout, but I also want you to know that it doesn’t have to be as normal as you may have been led to believe. There is a way to reduce burnout so that you can live the happy, balanced life that you desire and deserve, without having to give up on the career you’ve worked so hard for.

Thankfully, the coaching clients who go through the Smarter Accountant Program learn hands-on that, when they believe something or someone is going to be the solution to their feelings of burnout, they’re setting themselves up to fail because it isn’t anything outside of them that’s creating the feeling of burnout. Therefore, by getting a better handle on what causes burnout, they can avoid it.

The truth is that, because your body is only doing what it’s supposed to do, which means that it’s responding to your brain—all those beliefs about how accountants are supposed to be busy, and all those conversations and justifications for why you feel burned-out, are wrapping you up in a tight web of what I like to call “burnout advocacy”. Whenever you or others legitimize burnout, you strengthen the neural pathways in your brain, causing your brain to look for more reasons why you should feel burned-out.

I promise you that, although burnout appears to be normal, it’s unnecessary.

In order to reduce burnout, you first need to pay attention to how you think about the people, places, and things in your life, and question what you are indulging in, in your mind. What is the story that is on a rinse and repeat cycle in your brain?

The second thing that will help you reduce burnout is to stop avoiding and procrastinating in making decisions, whether they’re big or small. Nothing is more draining to you both mentally and physically than a lack of decision-making skills.

The third thing that will help you reduce burnout is an expression I heard on a podcast – “overworking in an unproductive effort”. What it means to overwork in an unproductive effort is knowing you have things you need to get done but then allowing yourself to get distracted by other things. 

And the last way that will help you reduce burnout is to have better boundaries. When you’re overly available, overly accommodating, or trying to please everyone, you are the one who suffers in the end with burnout.

So, no matter how work is affecting your health, just know that, by becoming a Smarter Accountant, you have much more control in managing your brain.

If you have difficulty with how work is affecting your health, let’s talk.  Schedule a quick, free coaching session with me and I’ll help you understand what to do.

Sweeping health issues under the rug, especially as an accountant, isn’t helpful or useful.   I can help.  

Just go to 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 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.

The Surprising Impact Of Relationships On Accountants

Today we’re diving into a topic that often gets overlooked but has a profound impact on accountants: relationships.  How are your relationships right now?  With your family, your spouse, or your kids?  How’s your relationships with your co-workers or your clients?

Whether you’re a seasoned accounting professional, a fresh-faced graduate starting your career, or even an entrepreneur managing your own practice, relationships are an integral part of your journey. From clients and colleagues to partners and loved ones, the connections we form can significantly influence our overall well-being and success.

As accountants, we are often hyper-focused on numbers, deadlines, and deliverables.  But have you ever stopped to consider how your relationships affect your ability to perform at your best?

The truth is, relationships play a crucial role in our professional lives.  The state of our relationships impact our stress levels, productivity, and even our health.

Think about it for a moment. Have you ever had a difficult client that made you dread picking up the phone or responding to their emails? Or perhaps you’ve encountered conflicts with a team member or employee that affected your ability to focus at work.  

These relationship challenges can not only drain your energy but also impact your ability to excel in your role as an accountant.

But it’s not just about work-related relationships. Our personal connections, such as those with our spouses, children, or close friends, can also have a profound impact on our overall well-being. After all, life isn’t just about spreadsheets and balance sheets—it’s about finding fulfillment, happiness, and genuine connection.

The good news is that addressing relationship issues and improving the way we relate to others is a skill that can be learned and applied. By becoming a Smarter Accountant, you can take control of your relationships and create a positive ripple effect in both your professional and personal life.

Throughout this episode I’m going to explore practical strategies and insights that will help you navigate the intricacies of relationships as an accountant. I’ll explain the power of your thoughts in shaping your relationships, discuss how to let go of control and expectations, and empower you to become the driving force behind positive change.

So, whether you’re seeking a harmonious work environment, stronger client relationships, or a more fulfilling personal life, you’re in the right place. Get ready to dive deep into the world of relationships as a Smarter Accountant, and let’s unlock the secrets to transforming your professional and personal connections.

Rob’s story: Relationship issues

To shed light on this topic, I want to share the story of Rob from my book, “The Smarter Accountant.”  Rob was a CPA who had a deep passion for his work at a small accounting firm. However, despite his professional success, Rob found himself grappling with various relationships in his life.

It seemed that no matter where Rob turned, there was always some sort of struggle with the people around him. Some of his clients grew frustrated with him because he couldn’t always respond to their emails as quickly as they desired. 

His business partner became a source of annoyance due to disagreements over billable hours. Even his wife seemed to underappreciate the hard work he put in, leaving him feeling unnoticed and unacknowledged.

To make matters worse, Rob carried a sense of longing for a closer connection with one of his brothers. They had been inseparable during their upbringing, but over the years, their relationship had gradually drifted apart.

He also felt bad about the contentious relationship he had had with his dad growing up. His dad was a decent provider but was never really there for him in the way that Rob tried to be with his children.

Although his dad passed away years ago, he couldn’t help but wonder if things could have been different between them. He wished his dad had been different and that they could have been closer.

Rob’s story is not unique. Many accountants often find themselves wrestling with relationships, feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and uncertain about how to bridge the gaps.

The truth about relationships

Whether you’re an accounting employee, an entrepreneur, an introvert, or an extrovert, relationships are an inherent part of life. They form the connections we have with others, and believe it or not, they play a crucial role in our role as accountants.  

Relationships not only bring us joy and pleasure, but they also have a profound impact on our long-term health. To be at your best, both professionally and personally, your relationships matter more than you might realize.

On the one hand, a good relationship can trigger our brains to release feel-good hormones like dopamine, which make us feel happy and satisfied. On the other hand, they can also release stress-producing hormones like cortisol, which can lead to anxiety and tension.

The truth is that, as humans, we are hardwired to form relationships with others. This instinctual need for connection and belonging has been ingrained in us throughout our evolution. 

From primitive cave dwellers to modern-day professionals, we have always relied on relationships to increase our chances of survival, learn from each other, and support one another for the greater good. In today’s world, relationships remain just as vital. 

Whether it’s a personal relationship with a partner, child, or friend, or a professional relationship with a colleague or client, chances are you have a multitude of relationships in your life. And it’s highly likely that not all of them are exactly as you would like them to be.

You may want a less stressful and more connected, supportive, and loving relationship with your partner or spouse. Or perhaps you wish for a more harmonious and collaborative relationship with a particular client or colleague. 

Whatever the case may be, ignoring relationship issues doesn’t make them magically disappear.

The impact on your time management

Here’s something interesting to consider: as accountants, we often prioritize improving our time management skills, striving to optimize our calendars and work processes. We meticulously plan our tasks, allocate time slots, and employ various techniques to increase our productivity.

However, what many accountants fail to recognize is the significant influence our relationships have on our ability to accomplish more in less time.

Think about it for a moment. Have you ever found yourself caught up in a conflict with a colleague or client? Maybe there was a breakdown in communication, differing expectations, or unresolved issues. 

These relationship challenges can consume a substantial amount of your time and energy. Instead of focusing on the tasks at hand, you end up dealing with tension, misunderstandings, and even arguments, which only further detract from your productivity.

On the other hand, consider the impact of positive relationships. When you have strong connections with your colleagues, clients, and even your superiors, it creates an environment of trust, support, and collaboration. 

These relationships foster effective communication, efficient teamwork, and a shared sense of purpose. As a result, you can accomplish tasks more seamlessly, reducing time spent on unnecessary back-and-forth or misunderstandings.

The truth is, the quality of your relationships can either fuel or hinder your ability to work efficiently. When you have positive relationships, characterized by open communication, mutual respect, and a shared understanding of expectations, it creates a conducive environment for collaboration and productivity. 

Unfortunately, when your relationships are strained, marked by tension, disagreements, or unresolved issues, it can lead to a significant drain on your productivity. You may find yourself caught up in unnecessary conflicts or spending excessive time trying to manage or navigate difficult relationships. 

This not only impacts your ability to complete tasks promptly but also adds unnecessary stress and mental burden, further hindering your overall performance.

So, as a Smarter Accountant, it’s crucial to recognize the far-reaching impact of your relationships on your ability to accomplish more in less time. While time management skills and optimized calendars are important, they alone cannot guarantee optimal productivity. 

Your brain’s role in transforming your relationships

Now, let’s dive into a powerful concept that can transform your relationships: understanding the incredible influence of thoughts. It may sound simple, but the truth is that our brains shape our relationships.

Consider this: every relationship you have, whether it’s with a person, a place, or even a thing, is based on the thoughts you have about that person, place, or thing. Your thoughts create the foundation of your relationships. 

They form the lens through which you perceive and interact with others, influencing the emotions you experience and the actions you take.

For example, imagine you have a co-worker who consistently challenges your ideas during team meetings. Your thoughts about this individual will shape your feelings and subsequent actions. 

If you perceive their challenges as a personal attack, you might feel defensive or irritated, which may lead to strained interactions and unproductive dynamics. However, if you view their challenges as an opportunity for growth and collaboration, you’ll likely approach the situation with openness and a willingness to find common ground.

The key takeaway here is that your thoughts about someone or something directly influence the quality and dynamics of your relationship. This realization is immensely empowering because it means that you have the ability to shape and improve your relationships simply by shifting your thoughts.

It’s important to note that while we often attribute our feelings to the actions or words of others, the truth is that our emotions are generated by our thoughts. The only thing that ever causes you to have a feeling is a thought, not a person or a situation.

We tend to believe that someone else has the power to make us happy, angry, or upset. But in reality, it is our interpretation and perception of their actions that determine how we feel.

This understanding flips the script on traditional relationship dynamics. Instead of relying on external factors or expecting others to change in order to feel better, we can take control of our own emotional well-being by intentionally choosing our thoughts.

Now, you might be thinking, “Does this mean I have to disregard someone’s actions and pretend everything is fine?” Absolutely not. 

Acknowledging and addressing behavior that is incompatible with your values or detrimental to the relationship is essential. However, it’s important to recognize that your thoughts about the situation will heavily influence how you approach and navigate these conversations.

The power of thoughts in relationships extends beyond just our interactions with others. It also encompasses the relationship we have with ourselves. 

How we think about and perceive ourselves influences the quality of our relationships with others. When we cultivate self-compassion, embrace our strengths, and work on personal growth, it positively impacts how we engage with those around us.

The incredible part is that you don’t need anyone else to change in order to improve your relationships. It all begins with you and the thoughts you choose to entertain. 

By taking responsibility for your thoughts, you gain the freedom to shape your relationships in a way that aligns with your values and desires.

The concept of “The Manual”

As I mentioned before, your relationships affect more of your personal and professional life than you might realize. I can tell you from my experience, and the experience of my coaching clients, that putting the effort into understanding how to improve your relationships will improve so many aspects of your life.

When I work with clients on the topic of relationships, the tool I teach them is “the Manual”. Let me briefly explain this concept. Just as we have instruction manuals for various things we own, we also have instruction manuals that we’ve unintentionally created for the people in our lives as well.

We have these unwritten manuals in our brains describing what people should and shouldn’t do because we believe that, if they followed our manual, then we could feel a certain way. Honestly, there’s no shame in having manuals for people because we all have them. 

Here are some examples and reasons why we have manuals for others:

Spouse—your instruction manual for your spouse might state that they remember significant dates in your relationship. The reason you have this in your instruction manual is that you believe that, if they did remember a significant date, you would think “He loves me” and you would feel love. But, on the flip side, if he doesn’t remember a significant date, you might think “He doesn’t care about our relationship” and feel unloved. 

Boss—your instruction manual for your boss might state that they praise you when you go above and beyond at work. The reason you have this in your instruction manual is that you believe that, if they praise you, then you would think “She really appreciates me” and you would feel appreciated. But, on the flip side, if she doesn’t praise you, you might think “Maybe I’m not doing as good of a job as I thought” and feel unappreciated.

Children—your instruction manual for your children might include them always making their bed every day. The reason you have this in your instruction manual is that you believe that, if they made their beds every day, you would think “I’m doing a good job raising them” and feel proud. But, on the flip side, if they don’t make their beds every day, you might think, “I’m not doing a good job” and feel discouraged. 

In each example, you have a thought about them, their actions or inactions, and you feel certain emotions. But, when you base your feelings on whether people follow your manual or not, you are at the mercy of everyone else and are likely to become quite controlling.

The truth is that the only reason you want someone to follow your manual is so that you can feel a certain way. But thankfully, the great news is that you can throw away your instruction manuals because the only thing that needs to change is your thinking—and you are 100% in control of that!

You don’t need anyone to do or not do something to feel a certain way because your feelings were only ever created by your thoughts, not by what other people do or don’t do. That is the best news I can give you.

When you take responsibility for meeting your own emotional needs, you can let go of the need to change what others think, say, and do. It doesn’t mean you can’t or don’t make requests of others but, when you throw away your manual, your feelings aren’t hurt when they don’t honor your request.

Becoming a Smarter Accountant: Improving your relationships

As a Smarter Accountant, you hold the power to transform your relationships. By consciously examining and managing your thoughts, you can create a positive ripple effect that elevates not only your interactions but also your overall well-being.

The secret to taking control of your relationships and cultivating the connections you desire lies in understanding that you are the creator of your relationships, and you have the power to shape them according to your vision.

It’s common to believe that our relationships are determined by external factors—how others behave, what they say, or the circumstances we find ourselves in. However, the truth is that our relationships are created within our own minds. 

The thoughts we have about others, the expectations we hold, and the beliefs we carry influence how we perceive and experience our relationships.

This realization is incredibly liberating because it means that you don’t need to wait for someone else to change in order to improve your relationships. You have the ability to initiate the change within yourself, starting with your thoughts and perspectives.

Taking control of your relationships begins with self-awareness. It’s about examining the narratives and beliefs you hold about others and challenging them if they no longer serve you. 

Ask yourself: Are my thoughts and assumptions about this person accurate? Are they helping or hindering the relationship? By shining a light on your thought patterns, you can uncover hidden biases or limiting beliefs that may be negatively impacting your connections.

Once you’ve identified unhelpful thought patterns, it’s time to intentionally choose new perspectives. This doesn’t mean denying reality or pretending that challenges don’t exist. 

Instead, it involves adopting a more compassionate, open-minded, and understanding approach. It means viewing situations from different angles, considering alternative explanations, and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

Remember, taking control of your relationships doesn’t mean trying to control or change others. It’s about taking ownership of your own thoughts, emotions, and actions. 

As a Smarter Accountant, you can apply these principles not only to your professional relationships but also to your personal connections. By adopting a proactive approach and cultivating self-awareness, you can transform even the most challenging relationships into opportunities for growth and connection.

If you have difficulty with some relationships in your life, let’s talk.  Schedule a quick, free coaching session with me and I’ll help you understand what to do.

Sweeping relationship issues under the rug, especially as an accountant, isn’t helpful or useful.   I can teach you how to improve any relationship.  

Just go to 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 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.