With every blog post that I write, every podcast episode that I record, there is always an outcome that I want for you – and today that outcome is to help you to ASSESS whether from time to time, or at times, you may be holding yourself back from building your thriving practice.
To start, let's begin with a riddle:
Who am I? I am your constant companion, so I am your greatest help or heaviest burden. I will push you onward, or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half of the things you do, you might as well just turn over to me and I will do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men and women, and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a machine and repetition of a machine, plus the intelligence of a human. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I?
I want you to think and pause for a second before you continue reading.
So, who am I? I am habit. Whether you've heard that riddle or not, I'm sure that, just like me, you love it or you loved it. A great habit will make us and a bad habit will break us. Good habits must be formed; bad habits, when they're formed, are hard to break. We all have good and bad habits, and this is linked to CHANGE. And change is really what I want to talk about today because when we resist change, when we resist breaking bad habits, when we resist forming new habits, we are holding. ourselves. back.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
This is also about the victor or victim mentality: it's either you're a VICTOR, or you're the VICTIM. The victim is complaining about their circumstances, and I get that sometimes we are all there, but the victor very quickly finds a way to change their circumstances.
When we take responsibility for what's happening in our business, then we have all the POWER to change.
If we externalise the problems, if we blame our clients or the economy or whatever it is (even if there's a valid reason to blame an external force) – if we do blame an external force, we give away our power to change and we can't change anyone except for ourselves.
I remember when I first learned that, I was told, "Jeannie, when you take accountability for anything, something, you have all the power. When you blame, you give all your power away." And so, now, even when something might not technically be my fault, I say, "Hey, I'm accountable. This is my business. I'm 100% accountable," and now I have the power to influence change – small change, big change, whatever it is.
In terms of victor and victim, each has a BED and OAR. So with the victor, we say she uses her "oar" to row herself to success. OAR stands stands for Ownership, Accountability, and Responsibility. With the victim, we say they're lying in their "bed", and B-E-D stands for Blame, Excuses, and Denial.
And in terms of making change in your business, I want to tell you that there's three A's to change. First is Awareness. You need to become aware that change is required, right? Then there's Acceptance – you need to accept that change is required. So, you might become aware of the problem, but you need to accept that change is required. And then there's Action.
I was working with a business owner a while ago in the succession product area of what I do, and I introduced him to the three A's really early on. He identified immediately that he was always sitting in awareness, but never really moving to acceptance. Through really understanding those three A's, he was able to realise, "Okay, I'm aware and sometimes I even accept it, but then I don't take action."
And so, I held him accountable to taking action.
He actually said that the most impactful thing of the succession services that I delivered to him was the accountability piece. That is just showing up, jumping on the Zoom with him and saying, "Right, you said that you were going to do this. These are your goals, and you said you were going to, did you do it?" over and over and over, and just keeping him focused on that. But, moving from awareness to acceptance to action revolutionized his business, and it can yours as well.
Now, this might all be sounding a bit ethereal, so let's put it into practice. I want to give you an example. So we're going to have a bookkeeper, and I'm going to call her Sarah, okay? So, Sarah is a great bookkeeper and she has a chapter of clients, like a list of clients, and she works very diligently, but she's not really pulling the INCOME and the LIFESTYLE that she really wants out of her bookkeeping practice. Her bug bears are that she often doesn't FEEL VALUED, and in fact, she has one particular client who she goes onsite with. This client insists she goes onsite when she doesn't really need and want to do onsite work, but he said, "I want you to come onsite."
So, she goes onsite and she's frustrated and complaining that she doesn't want to go onsite, and she also tells me that this client watches the clock and questions her bill, and she goes,
"He doesn't value me. He questions my bill, rather than appreciating all the hard work I do, and he doesn't even know that after hours I do some things as well, and I don't bill him for the phone calls that he makes, but all he sees is the clock."
If I was to say to Sarah that she has found herself working onsite because she's failed to TAKE CONTROL, and that the client doesn't value her because she's failed to CONVEY VALUE – then I'm making her very much aware of the problems, okay? It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but the problems are the problems. It's not offensive to make a mistake or to get something wrong. Like I've said before, it's a win or a learn. So, if I'm to make Sarah aware of those two things, then the awareness piece is there.
Now she's at a fork in the road, which is the acceptance piece. Her choices are she can sit in the problem and refuse to accept the truth of the situation, or swallow the bitter pill. She can blame the client for those things. She can use blame, excuses, denial, but if she does that, she won't be able to change. Or, she can simply take ownership, accountability, and responsibility and say, "Oh, okay, so I'm working onsite because I didn't take control. I don't quite understand that yet, but that seems to make sense." If she's someone who wants to just take responsibility and take all the power and says, "Oh, I'm not conveying my value. Well, how do I do that?" – she's already taking back her power. So, if we pull back on that blame piece and we say, "I'm going to take accountability for anything and everything that's going wrong in my business," you've just given yourself all the power to change and build your thriving practice. From there, Sarah can sit down and do the work around knowing her own TERMS.
I have made a separate podcast around setting your terms and it's called Know Your Terms, Back Yourself, and then Value the Heck Out of Your VIP Client – do listen to that. And then in terms of Sarah going down a road where she learns to convey her value, I'll point you to a resource now. I would recommend that you read my book for that, okay? A lot of my podcasts deal with that subject as well, so absolutely listen to the podcast.
To rinse and repeat, that story was about the fork in the road, right? So, the three A's to change: Awareness, Acceptance, Action.
You cannot make change if you're just aware but you don't take action, or you're aware and you accept it, but you don't take action.
If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, that's not change. This is about taking back the power. If you've heard yourself complaining about a problem multiple times and you're not doing what you need to fix that problem, take back your power. Take ownership, accountability, and responsibility of everything in your business, the wins, the losses, the successes, the failures, or as I like to say, the win or the lesson.
The triumphs are yours to celebrate, but the losses are yours to take on board as well
– and when you do that, you take all the POWER to build your dream business and life.
Change starts with mindset. So, take some time to just digest this concept of the three A's to change. If this blog spoke to you and you think, "That was a hard read, I feel like I might be struggling with that", then I suggest you re-read this 10 times. Keep absorbing it.
Everything starts with a mindset. Everything starts with the right way of thinking and education. For example, in The Strategic Bookkeeper Transformation Program, I'm so passionate about the formula we use – starting with EDUCATION. We need to teach you what you need to know, and then we need to give you the assets and help you implement everything you've learnt and everything that you've been given, and then we need to help you practice all of that and continually support you.
This is no different.
If you need to improve in these areas of the three A's to change the victim into victor, then you need to educate yourself and improve your mindset, and then you need to implement what you've learned, and keep practicing what you've learned. If this is a big change for you, make it a lap around the sun. You may have heard me say that before. I believe major changes take a year – a lap around the sun. It's how I approach major changes with my clients who are engaged in succession products, because it really takes the pressure off and allows you to really consider how change can be TRANSFORMATIONAL.
We don't make a transformation in a week. Any big change in your business or life, give yourself a year. But, start with education. Start with mindset. Just digest what you've read today, and then practice.