Over the last couple years, the services I’ve offered have expanded beyond the original QuickBooks setup/training, bookkeeping and payroll into more consulting work.
At first, the consulting work was for the same clients I’ve always worked with - small businesses. It was pretty much what I’d been doing since I started, only this time I was being called on to not only provide recommendations on the technology and setup, but to also evaluate existing processes and recommend improvements ALONG with applications. Easy peasy, right? Right! I thought: I GOT THIS.
Then things sort of changed a bit. I started writing more blog articles, doing more live and online training for other accounting professionals, and things turned a corner. All of a sudden, I was being asked to do consulting and coaching for my peers. My colleagues. People and companies that did the same thing I do. They were looking at me, at Kildal Services, and asking me to teach them to do what I’d been doing.
No problem right? Wrong.
Want to know a secret? I was terrified. Only that’s not really a secret, because I happen to know that almost all of us experience that terror when we’re about to do something new and different. The only thing secret about it is that, like many things, most of us aren’t too willing to admit it.
The thing is, it’s okay to admit that we think things like I did. Before my first consulting call with a fairly large accounting firm, it was running a loop in my brain: “I hope I don’t have to BS my way through this.” In other words: I hope I have the chops to deliver the goods. I hope that I don’t have to answer every single question with “I’m not sure, but I’ll find out.” I hope they don’t think I’m a fake. I hope this isn’t a total disaster and I hope I don’t end up living in a van down by the river.
That first call went great, and about 10 minutes in, I almost laughed out loud at myself, as I thought “See? I know stuff!”
Arianna Huffington is going to be a speaker at the upcoming QuickBooks Connect event, and as I was planning this article, I ran across a great article by her that addresses this insecurity. She calls this thinking the “obnoxious roommate in your head” - the one that’s always trying to tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. She recommends redefining success and finding a message that you can tell yourself (and that nasty little roommate) to negate these negative feelings.
I’ve stumbled across redefining success on my own, although I don’t know that I ever would have used that phrase. On a personal level, I gave up a long time ago trying to be the type of mom that I thought I was “supposed” to be: dinner on the table every night, PTA meetings, homemade treats for birthday celebrations at school. We regularly have cereal for dinner, I usually can’t make PTA meetings because I’m doing the QB Show or traveling, and my kids get store bought cupcakes to take in on their birthdays. I’m just the mom I know how to be - I have pink in my hair, I encourage my kids to share my love of reading, I swing on the swings with them every chance I get, and I’m honest when I tell them that sometimes, I have no idea what I’m doing.
On a professional level, this was harder. It took years of experience (and some missteps) for me to understand what is important is that I know enough to know that I don’t know everything, and I have no problem telling a client when I don’t know the answer to a question they’ve asked. However, I always follow it up by telling them I’m taking notes and will find out as much as I can after our meeting. They respect me for being honest and for understanding that I value them enough to make sure they get what they’re paying me to do.
What I hadn’t stumbled across on my own, until I found her article, was that message that Arianna Huffington suggests we find. The message she says that she keeps “repeating it to myself until I am bathed in this calm and reassuring message”. I love this idea. Because sometimes… Sometimes it’s hard to shut that little voice up.
What will your message be?