In making my New Year's resolution for 2014, I thought back to a mantra that CPA firm management consultant Rita Keller often repeats in her conference sessions, attributed to business author and speaker Tom Peters: "Whoever tries the most stuff wins"- or WTTMSW.

The sentiment nicely encapsulates most motivational dogma, found in the inspirational quotes of everyone from Wayne Gretzky to Samuel Beckett, valuing the transformative power of failure over the otherwise paralyzing aversion to risk.

I'll admit that I'm afraid to fail. So my resolution was less of a singular objective than a practice in counter-intuitive action -- Eleanor Roosevelt's "Do one thing every day that scares you" writ small.

As we head into 2014, accounting firms struggle against similar instincts. No, CPAs aren't terrified of performing onstage as part of an improv group (as far as I know), but they are self-imposing other obstacles to firm growth.

Technology remains the most obvious area of stagnation, yet its very nature means that adoption, sooner or later, is necessary for survival.

But the skills that we often forget need maintenance are far softer. For instance, 40 percent of students said that technology has killed their soft skills, according to the workplace study in Dan Schawbel's book Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

These skills are not only cited as increasingly necessary to getting hired and promoted in technical fields like accounting, they're a mainstay of the kind of fear-based training I hope to undertake in 2014. Public speaking workshops, writing classes and more will all be attempted in order to win by trying "the most stuff." Firm leadership would be wise to encourage the same, technical and otherwise.

What were your 2014 resolutions? Tweet me @ATomorrow.

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