As a CPA in public accounting for over 30 years, I have lived through many financial crises; some were blamed on accountants, while others were helped by accountants.  However, this current health and financial crisis is like nothing many of us have ever seen during our accounting careers.

This pandemic is being felt by everyone, no matter where you live on this planet, or what you do for a living.  As accountants, we are needed more than ever to help keep the ship steady during this perfect storm of financial and emotional upheaval.

However, if being an accountant during a financial crisis wasn’t enough, many of us are also mothers concerned with the safety, health and well-being of our children and families.  As mothers, we already have these priorities to consider, but add a world-wide pandemic into the mix, and we can all be stretched pretty thin.   

Without trying to add undue pressure during these uncertain times, I want to help you see that your role as an accountant is more valuable than ever.  This is your time to take the wheel, make adjustments when needed, and stay the course for the businesses and clients that are looking to you for support.

Even more important during this time of uncertainty, is your role as mother.  Your children are also looking to you for guidance, support and leadership, making your role as mother more precious and valuable than ever.

That’s why this moment in your career and your life can give you opportunities to step up and take the lead, in ways that may not have been possible before.  This financial crisis is going to be handled by strong, capable and creative accountants who can handle the big, crashing waves of change – are you one of them? 

When tough times like these are thrust upon us, we have two options – fall apart or get stronger.  I hope you choose the latter because the businesses you work for, the clients you serve and the family you support, need you to steer the ship through these rough waters right now.

This week I’m going to discuss what’s within your control as an accountant and a mom and how to take back control. 

 
 

What’s within your control

When unexpected things like a pandemic happen, life can feel completely out of control.  One minute you’re just trying to get through tax season, looking forward to an upcoming vacation and possibly planning your child’s graduation party, and the next minute all hell breaks loose and everything is turned upside down.

Right now decisions are being made by worldwide leaders that none of us have any control over.  Whether these decisions are being made to protect our health and safety or they’re being made to manage the economy, we are all feeling a greater and greater sense of a loss of control.  

While there may be a lot of things that you cannot control right now, I also want to give you some good news – there are a lot of things that you CAN control.  When you learn what you can control and how, it doesn’t matter what circumstances you come up against, even a financial crisis.

When you learn how to focus on what you can control, rather than fighting and complaining about what you can’t control, you have the ability to make a difference in all areas of your life.  The best part is that focusing on what you can control will give you all your power back when you are feeling powerless.

It may be true that many decisions are being made that are not within your control, however, there are actually more decisions that are within your control, than not.  When you learn how to take back control, life just gets more manageable, less fearful and you become more valuable and productive.

As I’ve shared in previous episodes, while the circumstances in your life are generally not within your control, the things that are within your control are:

 
 
  • Your thoughts, opinions and beliefs about those circumstances
  • How you feel about anything or anyone in your life
  • The things you do and the things you don’t do; the ways you act and the the ways you react
  • How you experience everything in your life and the results you create personally and professionally
 
 

As you can see, the ONLY thing you may not have any control over are the circumstances in your life, but you do have control over EVERYTHING else.  By focusing on what you can control, you can show up as the accountant and mother who can handle challenges as well as the leader who provides direction when others are feeling confused.

For example, you may not have control over the fact that your rental real estate clients are struggling, but you do have control over how calm and rational you show up when you work with them to come up with a plan.  You also may not have control over schools being closed for the school year, but you do have control over how accepting you feel and how you react to the situation.     

By taking the time to get a handle on what you can control and learning how, you will be in a much better position to help your business, your clients, your family and yourself.

 
 

How to take back control

The reason all of this is so important is because when you believe things should be different than they are, you give all your power away to the people, places and things that you believe should be different.  As I’ve shared before, author Byron Katie explains, “When you argue with reality you lose; but only 100% of the time”.

This health and financial crisis is the current reality that many people are arguing with, but taking a minute to accept what is, is the first step to taking back control.  What is, is for now – so how do you want to show up as an accountant and a mom with your current reality?

Do you want to be so worried that you wear yourself down and lower your immune system?  Do you want to be so frustrated that you avoid returning clients calls? Do you need to be so angry that you snap at your children or anyone else close to you.

The way you take back control is to declutter and organize your mind.  As you would declutter and organize a closet that has become too messy and cluttered, it is paramount that you declutter and organize your mind during a stressful time like we are all having right now.

What you keep shoving into the overloaded closet of your mind is going to make it much more difficult to manage being an accountant and a mom during a financial crisis like this.  Taking back control of your most precious commodity right now, your mind, is how you take back control over situations like the one we are faced with.

Just like the first step in decluttering and organizing a closet is emptying out the contents to see what you are starting with, the same is true when you are decluttering and organizing your mind.  I suggest you do this by spending 5 to 10 minutes each morning writing all your thoughts down on paper.

I encourage you to resist the temptation to type your thoughts on your phone or your computer, because the act of writing with pen and paper actually calms your mind in a way that typing doesn’t.  Once you’ve written your thoughts down, the next step is to look at each thought and ask:

 
 
  • Does this thought serve me?
  • Do I really want to think this thought?
  • Is this thought current or outdated?
 
 

What I discovered when I did this work was how many of the thoughts I had weren’t serving me at all, and how many were outdated and from the past.  I had been storing so many unwanted thoughts and beliefs in the back of the closet of my mind, that it was a shock once I brought them to the light of awareness.

My thoughts from the past had a lot of he/she/I, should have/shouldn’t have stories that weren’t useful to think now.  Thoughts like “She shouldn’t have treated me like that” (from 6 years ago), “They should have known better” (from 20 years ago) and “I shouldn’t have said that” (from 2 years ago) were taking up space in my mind and I didn’t know it until I saw it on paper.

My current unhelpful thoughts also had a lot of judgment about the current people, places and things in my life as well.  Thoughts like “How stupid can he be? Does he really think that’s a good idea?” and “She really needs to stop being so dramatic about everything” were taking up much needed space in the closet of my mind.

Since we all have over 60,000 thoughts a day, and right now most of those thoughts are fear based, it’s more important than ever to take back control of your mind and choose your thoughts wisely.  As accountants we need to be able to focus, plan and produce at a very high level right now therefore, we need as much of our mind’s bandwidth as possible.

Honestly, ALL your power right now lies in your ability to make decisions; especially to decide on purpose, what you are going to think about.  Just like realizing you had outdated clothes or useless appliances in the back of the closet and deciding to throw away or donate them, you also get to decide which of the thoughts you wrote down that should be removed and which ones you want to keep.

The last step is consciously deciding which thoughts you want to keep because they are serving you, and which thoughts you need to let go of.  While many of the circumstances in your life aren’t within your control, what you choose to think about them always is.

As you can decide what to keep in your home based on whether it’s wanted, necessary and useful, you also get to decide what you keep in your mind based on these criteria as well.  This is how you take back your power when you are feeling powerless.

For example, you may have no control over the fact that accountants are essential workers right now, but you CAN decide how you want to think about it in a way that makes you feel focused, strong and helpful.  You may not have control over the fact that your client’s businesses are in trouble, but you CAN decide how you want to think about it in a way that makes you feel calm, rational and valuable. 

I hope that you can see that you have so much more control than you’ve ever realized.  During this time of worldwide powerlessness over so many circumstances in your life, it’s also time for you to take back control over what’s controllable, to ride out the  storm and to get your business, your clients, your family and yourself to your next destination.      

Being an accountant and a mom during a financial crisis offers us all the opportunity to build courage and confidence.  We can all take this time to focus on what we can control which will set the tone for our future success both personally and professionally.

 
 

Summary  

  • As accountants, we are needed more than ever to help keep the ship steady during this perfect storm of financial and emotional upheaval.
  • This financial crisis is going to be handled by strong, capable and creative accountants who can handle the big, crashing waves of change – are you one of them? 
  • While there may be a lot of things that you cannot control right now, I also want to give you some good news – there are a lot of things that you CAN control.
  • By focusing on what you can control, you can show up as the accountant and mother who can handle challenges as well as the leader who provides direction when others are feeling confused.
  • We may not have control over many of the circumstances happening right now, but we do have control over what we think about those circumstances.