[IMGCAP(1)]Last week, my team was able to achieve the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We celebrated in acquiring a new client that we sought to work with for the past two years. And we booed (or sighed in despair) when a colleague advised the firm that he would be transferring to a company in a different city. We hooted and hollered when the U.S. scored a goal to go up 2-1 on Portugal and we cried (literally for some of us) when Portugal scored in the last 30 seconds to tie the game.
As a CPA or a soccer player, we are on a continuous ride of emotions—some very happy, some very sad and some indifferent. In any case the soccer player or the CPA is still required to perform regardless of the emotion. Just because your office made an error, or your review was not as great as you would have liked, does not mean that you have the opportunity to not perform for your next client or your next job.
If you find that your work (or game) suffers from the exhaustion that emotional highs and lows bring to the table, consider the following suggestions to minimize the impact of these natural emotions to sustain a high level of performance:
1. Be mentally tough: Good, bad and the ugly. It happened. It’s over. You aced a project? Way to go, go do it again! The client expected nothing less than the results you provided! You failed miserably on a project? It happens to everybody! Learn from it. We budget for mistakes and errors. We recognize that you are learning and will make mistakes along the way. Now it is time to move on and work on being great! Long days, difficult projects, difficult people, hard deadlines, and even incredible success can lead CPAs to poor performance. Fight through the adversity, positive or negative, and come back reinvigorated with your future goals in mind.
2. Set a game plan and goals: It is a rare occurrence that an accountant attempts to take the CPA Exam and passes all the parts on their first sitting without studying. Set the markers or steps you expect to achieve your goal. As you monitor yourself through the process, assess if you are ahead or behind schedule as planned. Celebrate (briefly) in being ahead of the plan; and evaluate your markers upon the realization that you are behind the ball. Before you reach your goal, set a new goal so that you are constantly motivated to make yourself better.
3. Find a mentor: Mentors can help you recognize gains and losses in the interim. They can be a monitor or a scorekeeper for how you are progressing through your career. Ensure that they give you honest feedback and positive reinforcement so that your emotions do not lead you astray in the worst of times.
Do you think the U.S. soccer team can check their emotions at the door? Will they be mentally tough? Will they lean on their team for support? Or will they wilt over the emotion that comes with the game of soccer? I sure hope to yell, “GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!” in support of the U.S. over the next month. At the same time, that excitement or despair will not carry over to the performance in my office.
Adam Blitz, CPA, is a tax and consulting manager at Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP in Fresno, Calif. Along with his CPA, Adam has a Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University. Adam authored a thesis entitled, "The Leading CPA—the value of the leading CPA." Adam is focused on working with his clients, colleagues, and industry professionals in enhancing the value of the CPA. For additional information, he can be contacted at Adamb@whhcpas.com or via Twitter @getblitzed.