If you are like most working moms, you probably spend money on the essentials for your family, like groceries, your children’s education, housing, transportation, clothing, health care, etc. You also might spend money on things like your pets, on entertainment, or on vacations.
Most women, no matter where we live in the United States, have somewhat similar things that we spend money on even if our wants and needs differ based on various factors. In addition, being a working mom in the accounting field, that can also play a factor in what we spend money on, especially when it comes to our education, our appearance, and any costs associated with childcare, if needed.
If you think about it, we’re all trying to make a living so that we can provide the best life possible for ourselves and our families. It doesn’t matter whether you are an employee or a mompreneur, a mother of one or a mother of many, you are most likely spending or investing your money as wisely as you can.
The issue though is that we’re often more encouraged to spend money on a faster laptop than we are on our emotional health and self-growth. For example, as accountants we’ll spend hundreds of dollars on continuing education classes, but not on what will actually help us navigate our personal and professional lives in a way that creates more balance, much less stress, and more overall success and happiness.
Honestly, I was a lot like most of you, trying to figure out how to have an accounting career and a family, how to make it all work, and basically how to feel less stressed, less overwhelmed, and overall happier with my life and my life’s choices. I assumed that those things would happen over time when things changed – like when I either switched jobs, maybe got remarried, or when the kids got older and needed me less.
But unfortunately the career and the life I wanted just wasn’t happening, or I’d have fleeting moments of peace, where all the chess pieces seemed to be aligned. As we all have experienced, something would invariably happen that would flip over that chessboard, leaving me trying to figure out what to do now.
Just like you, I was doing various things that I thought would get me the results I wanted, but they were short-lived. For example, I’d finally get the kids schooling and after school activities dialed in and then something would change with work; or I’d get better control over my calendar at work and then the kids or my clients would need more.
I was trying to make everyone else happy in my professional and personal life, but behind the scenes I was becoming unhappy and more burned out than ever. I knew there had to be a better way, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what that could be – until I found coaching.
What I discovered working with a coach is that I was trying to solve my problems with an unmanaged, accountant brain and that I was creating a lot of unnecessary stress, wasting a lot of my time, and was missing the best investment I could possibly make in myself as an accountant and as a mom. While I had already studied to be a coach, being coached myself has literally changed everything for me.
Being coached has given me the incredible ability to get clear about the solution to any problem I face, and to be able to have the professional and personal life I always wanted. Now I know how to move the chess pieces around in any configuration that I want or need.
As hard working women, I think we owe it to each other to be honest and vulnerable about the struggles we’ve had, and if we find something that helps, we should share it. There are just too many accountant moms suffering in silence, not knowing that they don’t have to suffer or succumb to overwhelm and burnout; spending their money on things like doggie chew toys when they could be investing in themselves and their own growth and happiness.
Hopefully by sharing the top 5 things I learned being coached as an accountant and a mom, you’ll also see the power of coaching in your life as well. As I share the things I’ve learned, see if you can relate to the issues I’ve experienced so that you can see the difference that being coached has made.
This week I’m going to count down the top 5 things I learned from being coached as an accountant and a mom, and how coaching might also help you.
#5 – How to create self-confidence
Self-confidence has been a tricky thing for me my whole life, often feeling like I was on a crazy roller coaster ride of ups, down, and many twists and turns. I believed, possibly like some of you, that getting a good education, passing the CPA exam, and getting a good accounting job would finally give me the self-confidence I had always wanted.
I longingly looked at those confident women in movies and thought “I want what she has”, wanting to emulate what I believed these women possessed. They seemed to be able to stand up for themselves, go after the impossible, not care what others thought of them, and marched to the beat of their own drum.
I remember working with a particular Senior manager years ago at Deloitte who seemed incredibly confident so I began to observe her, sometimes as if I was a scientist doing a study on the workings of a confident accountant and mom. I wanted to know where she bought her clothes, how she handled childcare while she worked, and how she advanced her career.
The issue was that behind the curtain of this Senior manager’s expensive designer clothes and a full-time nanny, there were cracks in the facade due to her own insecurities. What I believed created self-confidence, was the outer trappings of what appeared to be a confident working mom who actually suffered with a lack of self-confidence just like me.
But it wasn’t until I started getting coached myself years later, that I learned exactly how to create self-confidence in a way that was super helpful and, more importantly, lasting. This type of self-confidence was strong, resilient, and in control – it didn’t have the ups, downs, twists, and turns that I had dealt with all these years.
Working with a coach showed me how to create self-confidence for myself based on what I chose to think, instead of needing to pretend to be someone else or needing some achievement to create it for me. Each time I got coached on the subject of self-confidence I got a deeper understanding of all the ways my brain was creating a lack of self-confidence and why.
My struggle with self-confidence was actually my brain’s way of protecting me from what it perceived as dangerous because if I was feeling self-confident I would go after bigger dreams. If I felt confident I would start a coaching business while also working as a CPA, I would learn everything I could about building a coaching business myself, I would start a podcast, and I would write a book, to name a few.
By investing in myself and being coached, I learned exactly what my unique brain was doing that created a lack of self-confidence, giving me the opportunity to choose better feeling thoughts that created self-confidence. Thankfully, I’ve taken on all those challenges that my brain feared and I’m no longer afraid to take on more. That’s the power of coaching.
#4 – How to make decisions
I would say that one of the most challenging and exhausting things for working moms is the fact that we have to make SO many decisions in our professional and personal lives. Whether it’s what to make for dinner, how to enforce the rules in the house, or what to write in an email to a difficult client, we have so many decisions that we have to make all day, everyday.
In addition to the number of decisions we have to make, sometimes those decisions are small, like what to order when you go out to dinner, but sometimes those decisions are big, like whether to get divorced or not. When you also add all the decisions we’ve needed to make due to the pandemic, it’s no wonder we’re exhausted.
We are faced with not only making decisions for ourselves, but also decisions that will affect other people as well, especially our children. The issue is that with decisions often comes confusion, overwhelm, and decision fatigue.
As I’ve shared on the podcast before, the reason so many of us, especially working moms, are experiencing decision fatigue is because when there are so many more options and choices to make, it requires so much more of our brain’s energy to make decisions. Our tiredness, irritability, lack of focus and desire to escape with a glass or wine or chocolate, is most often caused by the overload of choices and decisions we are faced with day after day.
Thankfully being coached has taught me, not only how to make better decisions, but also how to reduce decision fatigue. What I learned was how important it was to use my higher brain more often, in order to not only make decisions ahead of time, but to edit my life by using the power of constraint and not getting distracted by too many things.
Just like you, I would often have so many things swirling around in my head, putting undue pressure on myself to make the “right” decision. What I learned is that what makes something “right” is what I decide to make it mean, no matter what the outcome of a decision is.
I cannot tell you how much that has freed me up to make more decisions ahead of time, to decide what to think about my decisions, and to constrain my decisions to what’s really important. Being coached on how to powerfully use my higher brain more often, made decisions so much easier to make, and then gave me so much more of my energy back that had been wasted in decision fatigue. Coaching can absolutely help you learn how to make better decisions and reduce decision fatigue.
#3 – How to get more done in less time
I don’t know about you, but it’s always been my goal to get more done in less time. Unfortunately, living in our modern time of information overload and information disorganization, that can be quite challenging, especially for accountants.
We’re getting all this information coming at us from different channels all the time – email, text messages, FB messenger, Instagram, Slack, Trello, phone calls, Zoom meetings. As I’ve shared before on the podcast, it’s like we’re having a dozen or more hoses of water being aimed at us and we don’t have an umbrella, a raincoat, or any proper method to channel that water off so that we don’t drown in chaos.
The issue is that when we feel disorganized, distracted, anxious, and overwhelmed, we can often feel like a failure. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel like you’re behind on so many things at work and at home, never seeming to be able to catch up with it all.
Back in the early days of my career I would carry around a leather bound Day Planner book that I would take with me everywhere, always jotting down an ever-growing to-do list, checking my calendar, and trying to keep up with all the hoses of water that were pointed at me. The problem was that perfectionism was so ingrained in me through my accounting work experience, that I often spun in confusion and overwhelm.
Thankfully when I got coached on better time management, one of the areas I am most passionate about coaching other accountant moms, I learned how to organize and execute, as well as reduce perfectionism and procrastination. By working with a coach I learned how to manage information overload in an organized way and to handle all the mental drama of procrastination and avoidance.
The best part is that my ability to get more done in less time has made a huge difference at work, especially when I’m dealing with deadlines. By understanding how my unique accountant mom brain works and then managing it in a way that has drastically reduced stress and overwhelm, I’ve been able to get way more done in much less time than I’ve ever been able to before. If you’d like to manage your time better so that you can spend more time doing what you love, coaching can help.
#2 – How to set boundaries
As I was writing down all the things I learned being coached as an accountant and a mom, there were way more than 5 things but the funny thing was trying to place them in order of importance in my life. It really was a toss up between what I’ll be sharing for #1 and this lesson of learning how to set boundaries.
As you might be able to relate, making other people happy was instilled in me at an early age. My mother was an incredible woman, wife, mother, and friend, but she was also a classic people-pleaser, rarely saying no to requests or setting boundaries when necessary.
My dad would often tease her (Lina was her name) that all anyone had to do was dial L-I-N-A and she would drop everything. While it was amazing to have a mother who was so loving and caring, it also set an example that made it very challenging for me to say no, to stand up for myself, and to set boundaries around myself, my wants, my needs, and especially around my time.
Thankfully setting boundaries was one of the first things I got coached on and it made such a huge impact on my life professionally and personally. What I learned was that a boundary wasn’t about what someone else needed to do – it was about what I would do if someone crossed a boundary of mine.
The magic in learning to set boundaries this way was that I learned to be okay with people being who they are because they didn’t need to start or stop doing something in order for me to feel better. A boundary was only for me to decide in advance what I would do or not do if someone behaved a certain way, or if something happened.
The freedom that I experienced when I was coached on setting boundaries is unexplainable. It gave me all my power back to have the work life and the personal life that I had always wanted, allowing other people the freedom to be and behave how they chose to without making either of us wrong.
I highly recommend learning how to set boundaries the correct way, especially as an accountant and a mom. You’ll be amazed at how much freer you’ll feel and how much easier it is to navigate your life professionally and personally.
#1 – Circumstances don’t cause feelings
So now we’re finally at the #1 thing I learned being coached as an accountant and a mom. The reason this is #1 is because everything we do or don’t do, every experience, and every result we have in our lives is driven by our feelings, but most of us aren’t aware of how important our feelings are.
I’m sure you can relate to blaming things like other people, work deadlines, or even the weather for your feelings of frustration or stress. For most accountants, we tend to blame the time of year, the amount of work, the deadlines, the work environment, or the clients for the pressure we feel.
As I’ve shared before, I’ve been in public accounting for over 30 years so I have had decades of experience with tax deadlines, plus I’ve been a mother most of that time as well. I’ve been divorced, remarried, and just like you, I’ve dealt with many ups and downs throughout my life.
For most of my life I was trying to control the people, places and things in my life in order to feel happier and valuable. But that just wound up having me more frustrated and disappointed when things weren’t the way I wanted them to be.
The game changer for me was when I started getting coached and learned that the circumstances that I was blaming for how I felt, were not responsible at all. The life changing moment for me was when I realized that tax season didn’t cause stress because tax season was just some dates on a calendar.
What I was able to see is that, not only do circumstances not cause our feelings, but that we are 100% in control of what does – our optional thoughts. Once I got clear on the thoughts I was having about various circumstances in my life, I was able to address the thoughts I was having and decide whether I liked them or whether they were serving me or not.
Honestly, being coached on how circumstances don’t cause feelings has changed my entire life by being able to work with someone and unravel all the thoughts and beliefs I had about the various circumstances in my life. Being coached on this has improved my relationships, my health, my finances, my time management, my self-confidence, and especially my level of happiness.
This is something that I want every accountant and mom to know so that you don’t have to spend decades trying to have a better career and a better life. Hopefully the fact that circumstances don’t cause feelings can be as eye opening for you as it’s been for me.
Now that you know the top 5 things I learned from being coached as an accountant and a mom, I hope you also know that there is a way to have the life you want. I believe we owe it to each other to share the things that are making a difference in our lives and being coached is on the top of my list.
So whatever you choose to spend or invest your hard-earned money on, I hope you now consider investing in your emotional health and growth. The greatest return I’ve ever gotten on any investment I’ve made, was when I invested in myself by being coached and getting help creating a life I had only dreamed of.
- What I discovered working with a coach is that I was trying to solve my problems with an unmanaged, accountant brain and that I was creating a lot of unnecessary stress, wasting a lot of my time, and was missing the best investment I could possibly make in myself as an accountant and as a mom.
- As hard working women, I think we owe it to each other to be honest and vulnerable about the struggles we’ve had, and if we find something that helps, we should share it.
- Being coached has improved my relationships, my health, my finances, my time management, my self-confidence, and especially my level of happiness.