As an accountant, I've achieved financial stability, but I'm still not satisfied with my life. How can I use my financial skills to improve my personal well-being and find more fulfillment?
Signed – Seeking Fulfillment
Would it help to know that I have been exactly where you are? At the wise age of 15, I decided I wanted to be a CPA and my life from that point forward always included a plan for doing just that.
For the most part, my jobs were in accounting or accounting-related. ✅
I got my accounting degree ✅
I eventually got hired by a public accounting firm. ✅
Studying for the CPA exam and passing wasn’t easy and took work but I made it happen. ✅✅✅
Yet, I had many more goals on my list by then and I kept charging forward, checking one after the other.
Fast forward 10+ years into my career, and I decided to add a Master’s in Taxation. ✅⭐
After all those boxes were checked, I reached a point in my career where I should have been feeling fulfilled, elated, and successful.
So, what gives?
Speaking personally, I lost sight of myself and what it was that gave me the feeling of joy. No longer feeling fulfilled at a deep soul level. Since then, I have come to believe you can live a life of success without leaving your soul behind.
How does this help you? Because I know you can find personal well-being and more fulfillment without having to use your financial skills.
What does fulfillment mean to you?
Really take time and explore this one. Can you designate 5 minutes of your day to journal on it? It doesn’t have to be full sentences or in a special book. Post-it notes work too. Creating a collage of words and images cut out of magazines is just as powerful as writing. If you spend time thinking about it on a walk or driving to work be sure to write it down.
Once you have your fulfillment details it is time for a review.
- How many things are tangible items?
- House, car, no debt, travel
- How many things are feelings?
- Rested, Excited, Clear, Zen, Strong
There is nothing wrong with having tangible items on your list but those are goals and the intent is to discover what fulfillment means to you along the way to achieving those goals.
If you are struggling with this, then let’s start where you are.
- What are you feeling right now? The you that is seeking more fulfillment.
- Example, anxious
- What is the opposite of that thought or emotion?
- Example, excited
Once you have the answer, expand from there. Fulfillment differs for each of us and reflects one’s values and beliefs so don’t be too hard on yourself if it takes time.
Fulfillment is an inside job
Through a quick internet search, Fulfillment is defined as (1) the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted; and (2) satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character. Pop over to Merriam-Webster Dictionary and it is (1) the act or process of fulfilling; or (2) the act or process of delivering a product to a customer. Let’s go one level deeper.
What is the definition of fulfilling?
- To put into effect (Execute)
- To meet the requirements of (a business order)
- To measure up to (Satisfy)
- To bring to an end
- To develop the full potential of
- To convert to reality
- To make full (Fill)
The first six on that list sound more like a manual for a widget factory and have nothing to do with a breathing, living, amazing human being. Most importantly, none of them focus on the “feeling.” Ahh, but the last one is worth exploring. To make full. In an industry centered around deliverables and deadlines (both attached to review notes), it leaves little room for acknowledging any or all of your accomplishments that would lead to feeling full. Full of joy, happiness, satisfaction, or contentment.
What, if anything, are you doing to acknowledge tasks when complete?
Not taking time to even say “good or great job” at the end of a project is like continually moving the finish line of a race. It can feel like your work is never complete. If you already have a process in place to say “great job,” then it may be time to shake things up and implement something new. Do you tell others when they do a great job, do something nice or unexpected? The feeling it creates can be contagious.
Have you taken the time to list out your accomplishments?
Please do. You already gave us the first three. We know you are an accountant, financially successful, and have financial skills. Can you add three more? Once you have a small list together, the next step is to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be a huge party with a DJ but with all the music apps and a little creativity, a celebration is never far away. Short on time? Look in the mirror and say, “Thank you for all your effort and work to become an accountant. I am so proud of you.” It may seem silly, but try it and see what happens.
TIP: Keep your list of accomplishments handy and refer to it often. Get creative and write it in different colors, on a napkin, or get a marker and put it on a soccer ball. Add to it as you do something new. GOAL!!
Make acknowledging your hard work and dedication a common practice. Even the smallest wins (like getting your timesheet done each day) are worthy of celebration.
Finding gold on the path to the rainbow
You may be wondering when I am going to get to increased well-being without financial skills. Knowing what fulfillment means to you and creating a practice of self-love (celebration, acceptance, acknowledgment) are essential elements to transforming the way you feel about your current situation. You don’t have to change your career to find what you are seeking. Happiness and satisfaction don’t have to do with the job as much as it does with how you show up for it.
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” – David Steindl-Rast
When I realized my career no longer held the spark it did for many years, the easy belief would be that it was my job. My goal was to feel happier, and blaming work wasn’t going to do that. You may love your job but still looking for the extra dazzle at the end. Regardless of where you are on the joy spectrum, what is working and what can you be grateful for it? The practice of gratitude towards your job, life, home, or relationships can help you rediscover what lights you up.
Can you find one day each thing to be grateful for? What about the life you have created outside of work? The hardest or smallest tasks each have something within to be grateful for. Gratitude can even be found in socks left on the floor by kids.
What is your “and”?
In the pursuit of a career and life, the extra-curricular activities that once filled spare time can fall to the side. Do you have something else you are known for or love to do? Hiking, cooking, drawing, comedy, or crocheting? In John Garrett’s book, What’s Your And? he states, “a personal passion improves work performance, builds culture, and strengthens relationships with colleagues and clients (and bosses too). If you haven’t given time to your passions, it may be time to relight the flame and dust off your clogs. You may even find you have hidden talents that come in handy for conversation, water cooler talk, or connecting with a client.
The above doesn’t guarantee that you are going to wake up each day and bound out of bed excited for what lies ahead. Though it is possible. Take small actions and repeat them often. Each day holds new potential for you to:
- Define what fulfillment will feel like on that day
- Celebrate wins and accomplishments (regardless of size)
- Practice Gratitude
- Do something you are passionate about
One final thought, if you have any coworkers feeling the same sense of longing, it is a great opportunity to encourage them to reflect on the items covered above. You may find your passion is supporting others, and people will be writing to ask for your advice.
I wish you the best, my friend, and appreciate your courage to ask a question so many seek the answer to. As an incentive to light the flame, I would be happy to send you a copy of John’s book. All you need to do is send me your AND here. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you directly.
Feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions on the above.
Robina is a Soul, Self, Wealth Doula, Certified Money Coach, and retired CPA. She works with successful leaders to guide them as they transform into Soul-cess-full leaders, Each of these journeys is unique and the alignment of goals and reality allows for authentic relationships across all spectrums of one’s life, including money. If you want to know more about Robina, you can visit her at www.robinabennion.com.
Do you have questions about business, navigating a career, how to create work/life alignment, money types, and mindset, goal setting, mid-life career changes, or curious about mindfulness? Soul, Self, Wealth, Relationships, and Spirituality too? Yes. Business is more than employees, technology, and deadlines. If it is important to you and you want to find a way to incorporate it into your business/career or are curious about what that looks like. Submit your question to Ask Robina HERE!