While each of us thinks we live in the “real” world, we actually live in a self-created, mental world of perceptions. At some level we know this is true, yet we continue to believe, based upon a lifetime of evidence, that our view is THE reality when in fact, it’s simply OUR personal reality. If you give this some thought you’ll see the truth of it. It’s actually pretty obvious.
Our views shape our lives
What’s really interesting is that the views we hold shape our lives, which of course includes our practices or careers. Sages, business leaders, as well as current research in psychology and applied neuroscience all confirm that our lives are shaped by thought. While it might appear that our thinking is a result of what happens to us, the opposite is true. What happens to us is more likely to be a reflection of our thinking. Here’s a simple example:
Consider the growth rate of two different firms in the same market – firms of equal size, resources and abilities. One of these firms might be thriving, the other just getting by. What’s the difference? It can’t be any of the factors we just said were equal, nor can it be economy, client opportunity, or talent pool, because those are equal as well. The difference, as you are about to read, is in the thinking of its leaders.
For the first firm, things are not so good. They’re locked into a “scarcity” mindset that says, “It’s hard to attract new clients. We better keep what we have, even if they’re difficult to work with or are not a very profitable client. Something is better than nothing.” The folks in this firm likely work hard to produce a quality product and really do care about their clients. They’re always rushing from one deadline to the next, just managing to keep up with the workload. They feel fee pressure, which doesn’t allow much room for growing profits. When they occasionally have an opportunity for new business they keep their fees low in the hopes of getting the client. They’re on a treadmill and their practice runs them rather than the other way around.
The other firm is thriving. Its leaders have an “abundance” mindset. Their thinking is, “There’s lots of great business out there. If we are smart about how we communicate and deliver value, and differentiate our firm, we can be selective and still take on lots of profitable new business.” Such leaders know there’s plenty of opportunity to attract great clients who will pay well for their value. They know there’s more opportunity for business than they could ever serve. They are selective, only accepting work that is aligned with the firm’s values and business objectives. Such leaders enjoy a practice on their terms, and shape their firm how they want it.
Which firm are you? Which do you want to be?
You can shift your views
Two firms with a seemingly equal set of possibilities are producing two dramatically different outcomes. The difference is in the thinking of the leaders. That’s it. How does thinking affect outcome so profoundly? It’s actually rather simple. As I said, our thoughts shape our world. They guide our decisions and actions, and tend to produce the results we’re expecting. Consider your views about how much clients will or won’t pay for services, the level of engagement team members will commit to, how hard or easy it is to attract great clients, what’s possible for your firm’s growth, the list goes on and on. No doubt there is ample evidence to support your view. The interesting thing is there is ample evidence to support any view. Once you begin to recognize that your thinking can form the biggest blocks, you also see that a genuine shift in thinking can create amazing opportunities.
The world doesn’t care what we believe, it reflects it back as truth. Try applying this ancient wisdom and watch what happens. It’s much easier than you could possibly imagine!
About the Author
The author Rick Solomon, CPA has been a practice growth and profitability consultant for two decades. Rick’s company teaches professionals how to peel away unnecessary self-limiting views to manifest the practice or career of their dreams!