I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this before, but I like to read and research a lot for this podcast. I typically borrow anywhere from 2 – 4 books every few weeks from the library, and I listen to podcasts or audiobooks all the time.
I love learning concepts, breaking them down into manageable pieces, and then sharing them with you all. When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher, and after having the podcast for a year and coaching for several years, a friend pointed out to me that I was living that childhood dream of being a teacher, just not in the traditional way I had initially thought.
I have the opportunity and the privilege to not only help change my own professional and personal life as a CPA and a mom but to hopefully have an impact on yours as well. I believe that when someone in a group finds something that changes or improves their life, they should share it with others, so they have the opportunity to change theirs as well.
That’s what I feel this podcast is for – you are part of my group, and when I find different things that change my life, I have to share it with you so that you have the opportunity to change your life as well. I believe that women need to support each other on a deeper level and that we need to lift each other up, pay it forward, and help each other to succeed.
I think it’s too easy to see other women as competition or to secretly not want them to do better than us. Unfortunately, we have had to struggle so much over the years to have a seat at the table that we can become disconnected from the ability to make each other’s lives easier and empower one another to be the best working mothers we can be.
So with all that said, I want to share some things that I recently learned from John C. Maxwell, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker. John has sold more than thirty million books and has been identified as the #1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the world’s most influential leadership expert by Business Insider and Inc. magazines.
He has also received the Mother Teresa Prize for Global Peace and Leadership from the Luminary Leadership Network, and his organizations have trained millions of leaders from every nation in the world. So when I come across someone with so much expertise, I’m not only going to learn what they have to say, but I will also share it with you.
John C. Maxwell’s message for leaders is as important for working mothers as it is for world leaders. If you think about it, we are all leaders in some capacity or another; whether you’re an accounting employee and a mom or an accounting entrepreneur with a team, others look to you for guidance and support – so let me share the 6 changes that John encourages us all to make, that I believe every accountant and mom should consider making sooner rather than later.
This week I’m going to discuss the 6 changes you need to make soon, why they are so crucial for you as an accountant and as a mother, and some questions you can consider as you make these changes.
#1 – Changing your thinking changes your beliefs
Let me first confess something – when I read or listen to something for research for this podcast, I feel like I’ve found a new friend if an author understands and teaches concepts in a simple, easy-to-follow way. Nothing turns off my interest more than someone who chooses to make simple things more complicated.
I have found this especially frustrating in continuing professional education classes for accountants. Even though we all have a good amount of intelligence, or we wouldn’t be CPAs taking a CPE class, I find that accountants tend to overcomplicate things, sometimes intentionally and other times unintentionally.
Again, I love authors who simplify things, and I love trying to do the same for you as well. So that’s why I will attempt to explain this first change you need to make and why it’s so important.
The human brain has the ability to change in ways that scientists are only now understanding. The scientific term is neural plasticity, but in the simplest terms, your brain has the ability to rewire itself, making it possible for things like a baby to develop from infancy to adulthood and for patients who have had brain injuries to gain back what they lost.
Why does this matter to you? Because if you are willing to put in the effort, you can change how you think and eventually what you believe. This is important because beliefs are just thoughts you’ve practiced over and over again, and since your brain can mold, shape itself and rewire itself, you have the power to change your beliefs, thereby also changing your life.
You’ll see more about why this is so important as we go from #1 to #6 in the list of the 6 changes you need to make soon, but for now, just know that a belief is not just an idea that you possess; it’s an idea that possesses you. Your beliefs hold incredible power because they change your expectations and are always responsible for the results you have in your life.
The question John C. Maxwell offers for this first change is – What change in your thinking do you need to make to change what you believe about an obstacle in your life?
#2 – Changing your beliefs changes your expectations
Here’s the interesting thing about beliefs – they are actually optional. You get to decide what you want to believe whenever you choose to, just by virtue of the fact that you have a human brain that can think about what it thinks about.
Just consider that for a moment – you have over 60,000 thoughts a day, some of those thoughts you’ve thought so many times that they have become beliefs, and you get to write down those beliefs and decide whether you want to keep believing them or not. You get to pause, become aware of what you’re thinking and believing, and think about what you’re thinking about.
Isn’t that amazing?! We all take this ability for granted, but it’s incredibly powerful because when you change your beliefs, you can also change what you believe is possible. By changing your beliefs, you change your expectations about the future instead of being stuck in what was possible in the past.
As a practical accountant, it can be challenging to consider changing your beliefs because you often think that what you believe is a fact. Here’s the hard truth – most of what you believe is NOT a fact; it’s an optional thought you practiced thinking so many times that it’s become a belief. For example, tax season is stressful, she needs to stop spending so much money, and he has to do better in Math, or he’ll never get into college – these are all optional thoughts.
Do you know what happens if, for example, you have a belief like “tax season is stressful”? You get what you expect – that thought will make you feel stressed, so you’ll react to the workload instead of planning properly, you won’t be as efficient as you could be, and you’ll complain to anyone who will listen, resulting in you having a stressful tax season.
So if you want to change the results you have in your life, start by changing the thoughts you choose to think. Once you change what you think, you’ll change your beliefs, which will change your expectations.
The question John C. Maxwell offers for this second change is – How does changing your beliefs about an obstacle in your life change your expectations regarding it?
#3 – Changing your expectations changes your attitude
If you haven’t listened to the recent episode I did on losing your negative attitude, you might want to check that out after you finish listening to this one. In that episode, I explained that the single best thing you can do for yourself, your career, and your family, as I said before, is to learn how to rewire your brain.
Unfortunately, it’s so easy to have a negative attitude because our brain is hard-wired with a negativity bias, which means we are more likely to pay attention to negative things and later remember them more vividly than we pay attention and remember positive things. When you learn how to override its negative bias and lose your negative attitude, you gain so much more in the process.
What I didn’t share in that episode is that our expectations also have a tremendous impact on our attitude. Just as your beliefs affect how you feel, your expectations directly affect how you feel.
Think about the last time you had a positive expectation and how that affected your attitude. That positive expectation probably made you feel excited, confident, committed, or energetic.
Now compare that to the last time you had a negative expectation and how that affected your attitude. That negative expectation probably made you feel discouraged, worried, doubtful, or drained.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression “What you think about, you bring about,” but that’s exactly what happens when it comes to expectations and how it affects your attitude. Unfortunately, I see this time and time again with accountants, so make sure you don’t just follow the herd and instead pay attention to expectations and how they affect your attitude.
The question John C. Maxwell offers for this third change is – How does changing your expectation about an obstacle in your life change your attitude regarding it?
#4 – Changing your attitude changes your behavior
Maybe you’ve realized this, or maybe you haven’t, but have you ever noticed how your mood affects the way you act? Whether your mood is good or bad? Happy or mad? Excited or scared?
For example, when you’re in a great mood, have you ever noticed how much more energized you feel, how much more likely you are to be kind to others, and how much you’re able to get done? When you’re in a good mood, doesn’t it seem like things just run smoother, you’re able to be in a flow, and no matter what, you’re able to handle it?
How about when you’re in a bad mood or having a horrible day? Have you noticed how drained you feel, how everyone seems to annoy you, and how you cannot get as much done? When you’re in a bad mood, doesn’t it seem like you’re less patient with your family, your work colleagues get on your nerves, and everything you try to do is a problem?
The thing about your attitude is that people can sense it, even if you’re trying to fake it. You may say one thing, trying to hide what you really think and believe, but your attitude will eventually show up in the way you behave, or you’ll be exhausted trying to fake it.
So if you’re looking to change your behavior and get different results, you need to take an honest look at your attitude and be open to making some changes. As John C. Maxwell shares, “That which holds our attention determines our actions.”
The question he offers for this fourth change is – How does changing your attitude about an obstacle in your life change your behavior regarding it?
#5 – Changing your behavior changes your performance
When I work with coaching clients, this is everything – when you change what you do, you change your results. The problem is that most clients only want to focus on what they need to do to reach a goal or change their life in some way, not realizing that the previous 4 changes MUST be done first.
You must start with changing your thinking, which then changes your beliefs, which then changes your expectations, which then changes your attitude, which winds up changing your behavior. If you just try to change your behavior without changing these other things first, you are missing the key to sustained success.
The truth is that anyone can set a goal, but how many actually achieve it? Reaching new goals or levels of performance, whether in your accounting career, finances, relationships, or time management, always requires change, and change is uncomfortable to your brain.
Thankfully though, just the awareness that change is uncomfortable helps to make it less so. Just know this – if it doesn’t feel uncomfortable, it’s probably not real change. So if you want different results in your life, you must change what’s currently creating your life.
The question John C. Maxwell offers for this fifth change is – How does changing your behavior about an obstacle in your life change your performance regarding it?
#6 – Changing your performance changes your life
So now that we’re at the last change, I hope you can see how the impetus for changing anything in your life begins with the first change – your thinking. If you’re still not convinced, let me give you an example that all mothers can relate to:
You probably strive to be the best mother you can be, even if you’re struggling with various issues with raising children in these modern times. So if you keep improving your thinking about being a good mother, it will impact your beliefs about yourself as a mother, which will change your expectations, affect your attitude, change your behavior, improve your performance, and eventually change your life and how you show up as a mother.
The truth is that how you think affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you act, and eventually, how you act gives you a result. You don’t have to be a Math wiz to see the equation – Thinking + Feelings + Actions = Results.
If you want different results in your life, you have to start at #1 – change your thinking. This is how all change happens. And thankfully, it just naturally flows from there because when your beliefs change, your expectations change, then your attitude changes, which changes your behavior, allowing your performance to change and eventually changing your results.
So no matter what you’d like to change or improve in your life, you have to start at the beginning – with your thoughts. Find people who can help you expand your thinking, find an environment that supports you and encourages you, and find ways to take action. That’s how you create change in your life.
The sooner you accept that this is how your life unfolds, the quicker you’ll be able to make lasting change. I promise you, I’ve done this work myself, I’ve helped my coaching clients do it in theirs, and it is life-changing.
- Beliefs are just thoughts you’ve practiced over and over again, and since your brain can mold, shape itself and rewire itself, you have the power to change your beliefs, thereby also changing your life.
- Here’s the hard truth – most of what you believe is NOT a fact; it’s an optional thought you practiced thinking so many times that it’s become a belief.
- If you want different results in your life, you have to start at #1 – change your thinking.