Not long ago in another article in The Woodard Report, I asked a series of questions about just how happy you are with your accounting or bookkeeping practice. As I heard back from you, it was clear that, for most of you, there was a gap between where are with your practice and where you want to be.
Building Your Ideal Practice
As I mentioned in that introductory article about building your own ideal practice, there are seven key areas of your practice that you'll want to assess and focus on, and potentially create a plan to bridge the gaps between where you are and where you say you want to be. Of course, there are always more things to fine-tune, but if you'll put your first efforts into these seven topics, you'll have an incredible structure to build on.
- Ideal You
- Ideal Service
- Ideal Client
- Ideal Technology
- Ideal Business Process
- Ideal Engagement
- Ideal Team
The first three ideals - Ideal You, Ideal Service and Ideal Client - make up the proverbial three-legged stool, meaning each of them requires the other two in order to function properly. These three ideals answer these questions. Who are you? What do you really want to do? Who do you really want to work with? These three concepts are intrinsically interwoven with one another. Today, I'll start with the ideal you, but as we explore the ideal service and the ideal client in the next articles, you will see how these three intertwine.
Being the Ideal You
Being the Ideal YOU means much more than being a great business leader, a great friend, a great parent or even a great human being. It's about reaching deep inside and unraveling the threads that make up the tapestry that is you, identifying that special gift you've brought to the world, and intentionally incorporating that gift into everything you do, both in life and in business. It's not just about WHO you are, but WHY you are.
It's about why you are.
I know, I can hear you saying, "What!? C'mon Patricia. Get your head out of the clouds. We're running a business here, and it's about getting the work done. It's about making money and being profitable. It's about the American Dream. Isn't it?"
And I ask you, is it really about the work? Is it about that sense of completion that comes from a clean set of books or a return filed? Is it about the client? Their business, their happiness, their family? Is it about the impact you are having within your sphere of influence? What ripples are you sending out into the world? Are you making a difference? Do you want to make a difference? What legacy are you building? What story will be told about you when you're gone? Why do these things REALLY matter to you?
What is the "real" calling behind WHY you do what you do? Ultimately the things we do, the way we react, the way we conduct ourselves, the clients we serve, the friends we have, literally everything we've created around us is a reflection of who we are and where we've come from.
How do you find your why?
"How do I figure out my WHY?" you might ask. I say, let's play the 3-year-old child's game, "Why? But Why? But Why?" That child won't let you stop with the easy answers.
You need to do the same to figure out your why. If you keep pressing back on each why, you discover another layer behind the last one that helps you to better understand yourself. Somewhere back there, at the beginning of all of those whys is a point of impact in your life that you either want to help other's replicate, or avoid. This is your motivation. This is your WHY. I can tell you that even as I’m writing this article, I uncovered another why behind what I thought was my originating motivation.
We heal by helping others, and somehow growth opportunities seem to keep coming around until we understand them and take mastery over them. Look for the clues to help you identify them. This will help you uncover your originating motivation - your why.
Where do you see yourself gravitating? What type of clients do you find yourself engaging with? What type of service gives you the most personal satisfaction. Are you cleaning up messes and creating order out of chaos? Are you particularly focused on preventing fraud? Do you have toxic clients, those with never-ending scope creep (ie., boundary issues) who are demanding, perfectionist clients?
Look for the trends within your client base and your services. Look for the services and people you love to work with and those with high cringe factors. These are all clues to your story and your why.
How to build your personal and business vision statements.
Once you uncover your motivation and bring it to the surface, you'll be able to articulate a vision for your life that will define the legacy you want to build; the story you want to tell. Let's call this your "Personal Vision Statement."
Once you've defined your personal vision statement, you can incorporate it into a vision for your business that tells the same story, but through the lens of the clients you serve and the services you provide. This is how you build your business vision statement.
If your business vision is not based on, and in full alignment with your personal vision, then you will not find fulfillment and purpose doing what you do for the majority of your waking hours. On the contrary, build a business vision that your entire psyche and every fiber in your body resonate with, and you will build a business that cannot fail.
How to build your business purpose statement.
Now that you have clarified WHY you do what you do, it's a small step to write down WHAT you do. Again, begin with your personal life and think about your personal vision statement. What do you do in a general sense or what is infused into your daily actions that align with your vision? This is your PURPOSE statement.
How to build your business mission statement.
Finally, using three to five, describe HOW you do what you do. This is your MISSION statement. Keep these bullets high level and broad in scope.
What are the relationships between you as a person, your business, and your team (if you have one)?
Your personal Vision/Mission/Purpose (VMP) statements must align with your business VMP. If you work for an employer, then it is also imperative that your personal and business VMPs align with your employer's VMP. At the bottom of this article I have include my own personal and business VMPs as an example, and you can see how at every level they align perfectly with the Woodard VMP.
If you are a business owner in pursuit of the Ideal Practice, you should consider having all your employees go through this exercise and ensure their VMPs align with your business' VMP.
Here is my challenge to you.
I challenge you to write your personal vision/mission/purpose statements to put into words WHY you are, WHAT you do, and HOW you do it. Then, move on to write your business or career VMP statements to fully infuse your life purpose into your work. This is how to create true work/life harmonization.
If you're struggling with this exercise, I invite you to join me for some small group coaching in our Ideal YOU workshop which runs several times throughout the year. The next workshop begins on May 23rd.
I hope you join me in the next article in this series on building your ideal practice when I'll be exploring ideal services to help you find what you really wish you were doing!
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