Many accounting professionals realize that in order to be successful in their careers and to help build their firms, certain initiatives must be achieved. A good mix of leading the firm, nurturing and serving clients and building business is the key to the long-term success of the organization. The truth is, successful people have adopted habits that enable them to be so. Adopting powerful habits can be a game changer for you.
If that is the case, how can you add something else to your overly busy days in order to accomplish MORE?
Simple answer: you won’t have to add anything. You can simply change current habits in order to create new ones. The key here is to change the way you are working instead of adding more to your overly full plate. You can build one or two new habits into your routine so you can achieve better results.
According to Wikipedia, habit formation is the process by which a behavior becomes habitual as behaviors are repeated in a consistent context. Habits can either benefit or obstruct the goals a person has set for themselves.
Your days are already filled with established habits. We operate in autopilot with so many of the things we do. These activities range from brushing our teeth to checking our email. They also might include surfing the internet, procrastinating on important activities or eating that delectable greasy cheeseburger at that burger joint around the corner on Wednesdays.
So, how can we flip the switch and begin a new set of habits that will pay off in our professional careers? Here are a few ways:
- Know why you are committing to the change. Remind yourself daily of the benefits of making the change. (For example, by committing more time to business development, I am reducing risk for the firm, creating opportunities for advancement in the firm, and could land more interesting work, job security and possibly a larger paycheck.) Another example is by committing to updating our workflow, I am saving time, energy and improving the client experience.
- Commit to a short-term goal initially. About three to five weeks is all of the time you need to make a habit automatic. Making it through the initial conditioning phase is many times the hardest part. After you achieve this, commit to the habit for another time period. Eventually, it will become routine.
- Make it a regular activity. The consistency will be key in creating a habit. If you are focusing on growing your practice, then set aside time each day to review your opportunities and pipeline and make calls to schedule meetings with prospects. Block it out on your calendar.
- Take small steps. Set one or two goals at a time. If you commit to completely changing the way you work, it is easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed and then just stop doing all of it. (A good starting goal could be, I will commit to setting aside time on my calendar weekly for building relationships with my team and my clients, and I will also commit to having two lunches a week with potential referral sources.)
- Surround yourself with people who also have the habit. Spend more time with people who model the habits you want to create. Their encouragement and coaching will help you create more sticky habits. Plus, you can see how their habits are paying off.
- Reward yourself for your progress. Celebrate your success. Continue to recognize the positive steps you are taking by celebrating with a small reward for your efforts. This will also encourage repetition. (An example of this might be a new watch or a pair of nice earrings reminding you of your efforts.)
After you have started working differently and see the fruits of your efforts, encourage others to adopt these habits as well. Having encouragement from those you admire is invaluable. With everyone taking small steps to improve, just think what you can do for your practice in a year.
The following poem is a nice illustration:
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper 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 turn over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – you must 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 great people, 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 plus the intelligence of a person.
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 am Habit.
– Author Unknown
About the Author
Angie serves as President of The Rainmaker Companies. She advanced from her previous position as Director of Consulting, which she held for over ten years. Her role in the firm involves high-level strategy, thought leadership, consulting, and program and curriculum development. She transforms the lives of clients through innovation, goal setting, coaching, training, and accountability development.