[IMGCAP(1)] Do you believe that success is something to be achieved in the future only after a number of milestones have been reached, or can it be experienced along the way? The secret is to learn how to experience success now, and the future will take care of itself.

Sound daunting? It’s actually much easier than you think.

Over the course of my career, first as a practicing CPA and then as a consultant and trainer, I’ve been privileged to work with some very successful CPAs. Not just financially successful, which of course is great, but they’re also doing work that’s rewarding and enjoying the people they work with. They have the time and freedom to do what’s important to them in life outside of work. They’re living great lives. I call them Masters of Success.

Our definition of success needs to change over time. In the early stages of our career, it’s about becoming good technicians and learning to work effectively with managers and team members.

Later on it’s about moving up the in the firm, taking on more responsibilities. As we face different challenges, the internal dialogue we have about our capabilities, our weaknesses, what’s possible, what’s in the way, and so on, all have a huge impact on how we deal with these challenges and the eventual outcome. That’s because our thoughts about success tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Enjoying success at every stage of our career is easier if we examine and modify our inner dialogue in a way that allows us to win. For example, setting realistic expectations for ourselves, giving ourselves permission to not be perfect, to learn and grow, to ask questions, to make mistakes, and so on.

Rethinking success in this way allows us to enjoy the success that exists right where we are. There’s no doubt that success requires working hard, building skills, and the like, but that’s not all it takes. There are many people who work very hard doing the “right” things, and they’re still struggling. That’s because their inner dialogue is not allowing them to experience the success of what they are accomplishing.

Inner dialogues always feel right to us. In reality, they represent just one point of view. When we recognize that, it opens the space for other possibilities. I know this to be true, because the Masters of Success I referred to above changed their internal dialogue, and their worlds changed. The good news is that anyone who is open to it can rethink their dialogue, and create a different outcome.

I’d love to get your perspective on this, and also to know two things: 1) For where you are right now in your career, how would you define success? 2) What, if anything, is in the way of you experiencing that success?

As a consultant and trainer for the past two decades, Rick Solomon, CPA, both challenges and empowers accountants to reach higher levels of success. Making more money in fewer hours, doing more enjoyable work, and having an awesome life/work balance are just part of how he defines success. He can be reached at rick.solomon@ranone.com.