A Fraud No More

In March 2009 I walked in a meeting room at the Travelodge in Ottawa, recognizing a few members of an organization called the GradUit Network, the others were strangers.  The GradUit was the first Mastermind group I had ever participated in. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but knew that I would be learning new tools that  would change the way I lived my life.

What I wasn’t aware of at that moment was how I would feel like such a fraud, and actually admit it.

You see, up until that day I lived my life with my “cards held very close to my chest”, never allowing anyone to see what my life was really like. I was embarrassed how I had 2 failed relationships – the first a mentally & emotionally abusive relationship – the other a controlling relationship. I was ashamed to admit that I had filed bankruptcy, not once, but twice – because I always said yes to trying to keep my mates happy regardless of the cost. Yes, I chose to become self-employed to try to get some sense of control over my life financially – something I chose for me and my children. Yet I was afraid to admit that I wasn’t really that successful – when compared to others’ standards of success.

Sure I was working hard, working around my kids’ schedules. I was finding new clients by telling everyone I met that I offered bookkeeping services. But what I wasn’t sharing with anyone, was that I was living in subsidized housing, driving a car that was barely getting me where I needed to be and all of that other stuff I mentioned above.

I’m not sure what gave me the courage to admit that I felt like a fraud that day. But I can tell you it was the beginning of accepting myself as a human who made choices based on what I believed, at that time. That day I realized I could change what I believed, and with that I could change how I would choose to live my life. The first step was becoming conscious of what I was thinking. The second step was reframing those thoughts with a positive twist.  It’s been alot of work, and something I continue to do today.

Entrepreneurship was a decision I made on purpose. A decision I made because someone told me I couldn’t get paid anymore money because I wasn’t working on a designation. An employer who had limited believes about  me. The moment he spoke those words, I knew I had to leave. I knew I could be more, do more and have more. No one was going to keep me down!

I’ve always loved to learn and I still do.  I’m like a sponge.  When my children were babies, I’d take evening college courses.  When I was an employee, I’d work closely with the computer techies and learn everything I could about maintaining computers and networks. And when I became an entrepreneur, I learned everything I possibly could. First out of necessity, second out of curiosity and third because I am a “need to know” kind of gal.  That desire to learn continues to serve me well.

Being a member of the GradUit allowed me to learn skills and strategies for changing my beliefs. I learned that I have gifts to share. What is really cool is that as an entrepreneur, not only do I work with entrepreneurs and share my accounting knowledge, I also share the skills and strategies I learned through GradUit.

When I first heard the phrase “Fake it until you make it”, it really didn’t sit well with me. It made me feel like a fraud – and I didn’t want to feel that way.  anymore. What I did realize is that I had alot to offer.  I realized that my definition of success is not the same as others’, and it doesn’t have to be. But the most important  ah ha that I realized is that I matter, even when I felt I had alot of flaws. Understanding that I matter was huge!

Be you and don’t hide, be proud.  Show the world who you really are, even with all your querks (if you have any), I do. You have gifts to share it, so share them. And most of all, have fun.

Find yourself a tribe that embraces you and supports you.

What have you learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?

Gaining confidence with Accountability

There is nothing worse than telling people about a goal you set or an idea you had and bombing, big time! Am I right?

For years I could talk myself out of things so easily and have some full blown, ass kicking conversations with myself. For fear of others judging me, I spent years digging around in the dirt, setting goals and trying to figure out how to achieve them on my own.  I found myself frustrated and spinning my wheels more times than I would like to admit. But at least no one knew! And more importantly, I didn’t have to be accountable to anyone if I decided to quit!

It wasn’t until that one day I got angry with myself and realized I can’t do everything myself.  I made a conscious choice to take a leap of faith and joined a group of entrepreneurs who worked together to help each other grow personally and professionally. I was nervous as old heck but I knew if I didn’t commit to something, nothing would ever change.

That was the day I was introduced to accountability. Sweaty palms and my heart racing I made my first commitment of taking steps to do something different. To my pleasant surprise, I found people who didn’t judge me, but who totally supported me and help me change my perspective. We each shared skills and strategies that helped each of us achieve our goals. Baby steps that could be taken. The coolest thing I found was that having accountability partners gave me more motivation to work on my goals.  Learning how to chunk them down into smaller, achievable tasks, and having others help me navigate the sticky parts, made all the difference!

Accountability came in various ways.  For a period of 30 days, I had an accountability partner that we would check in with once a week which consisted of a short phone call with 5 simple questions. One of those questions made us think about what we achieved in the week. This was a huge change from focusing on what failed. (If you are curious about the other 4 questions, send me an email, I’d be happy to share them with you). Another way we were accountable was coming to our group meeting with a small presentation. There were so many ways we made it fun and exciting to work together.

Accountability became my way to step out of my world of solitude and into communities where I could share my talents and expertise and build great relationships. This thing called accountability showed me how to become confident and share without the worry of being judged.  Finding my tribe of like-minded, supportive entrepreneurs, has helped me move my business in a new direction.

If you have ever hesitated to join an accountability group for any of the reasons I have shared, I encourage you to be courageous and find your tribe. I know there is one out there for you. I invite you to join my Bookkeeping Accountability Group. This is a safe place, my promise of support, education and an awesome place to build great relationships.

I continue to have accountability partners in different areas of my life and business.  I hope you will consider them too.

Accountability makes a difference

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Accountability… what are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • you mutually agree to check up on each other
  • it can help you keep you on track with your goals
  • it can help accelerate your achievements
  • it helps you measure your progress
  • it keeps you responsible for “doing the work”
  • helps you make sound decisions and receive constructive advice

Cons

  • are there really any cons?? Well only one if you are being lead by someone who is on a power kick.

Ever work on goals alone and realize those conversations you are having are all in you head? You know the ones, the ones where you are talking yourself right out of that goal you set a few months ago.  I know, right eh?

Are you ready to do the work? NO excuses! Congratulations! That’s your first step.

Now, is it a good thing? a bad thing? helpful? Accountability can be all three depending on where you are at in your journey. 

If you aren’t quite ready to have an accountability partner checking up on you regularly, and decide to get one anyway, it can feel like a very negative experience .  You may not realize it until you start dodging their phone calls when you start feeling anxious because you didn’t do what you were suppose to do.

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Choosing the right partner or group is the next step.  This is very important if you want measurable results. Being like-minded, results driven and respectful of each other, ensures great support and goal achievement. What it’s not, is beating each up over not achieving a task.  What it is, is understanding that life does happen, that sometimes we have to choose something else first (without it just being an excuse). And of course, it’s helping each other work through roadblocks or thought processes. It’s offering resources and sharing skills and perspectives that help us achieve our goals.

The first accountability group I read about was also considered a mastermind. Napolean Hill wrote about it in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.

We can create accountability in all areas of life and business.  Choosing to join an accountability group that helps you gain knowledge, receive and offer ongoing support and create goals to achieve success in your business can only be a positive difference.

If you are ready to get accountability with the money part of your business, I invite you to join B.A.G., my Bookkeeping Accountability Group on Facebook