Success is not a solo sport 

I like to think that I work hard but nothing that I have achieved has ever been done alone. 

Both Hudson Accountants and now Minerva Accountants owe a lot to my fabulous teams. When starting out I learned so much from other accountants and coaches who generously shared their ideas and experience.  

I have used a fabulous business coach to help me clarify those ideas and apply them to my own business. And to hold me accountable for getting things done! 

I’m pretty sure that my books wouldn’t have won the awards they did without the skill of my publisher gently helping me to share my expertise in my own words but also in a form that is easy for you to read. 

As a parent I was fortunate that my children had a wonderful father and, although I chose the traditional female role of primary carer, he did a lot to support me. 

I’m currently doing Couch to 5k for the umpteenth time to recover my running fitness after my operation earlier this year. It’s the first time that I’ve done it with a group of people and it has been great for keeping me motivated on rainy evenings. 

To everybody who has helped me along the way, a big thank you.  

But what can I do for you? I provide individual and group coaching sessions which have helped clients to develop award winning businesses themselves. And, for those just starting out we have free webinars each month.  

A mindset for distinction

Today I learned that I had earned a distinction in a singing exam that I took earlier this month. But it almost never happened.

Mindset fail: I spent too long believing that I couldn’t sing.

After failing to get into my school choir I spent most of my life believing that I couldn’t sing. A few years ago I took a few vocal coaching lessons with my daughter’s singing teacher to help strengthen my voice as I was doing more professional speaking.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could sing better than I thought and I went on to get a merit for my grade 3 Musical Theatre just before lockdown.

With lessons and exams cancelled through lockdowns etc it has taken a while to get around to my grade 4. My exam was in the morning (I’m not a morning person) but I didn’t want to postpone any longer. My daughter also needed to get her grade 7 out of the way so that she can squeeze in her grade 8 and diploma before she heads off to university.

The first two songs sent okay although I could hear that my voice was a bit husky due to hay fever but I carried on as best I could.

Mindset fail: I let one small problem take over my mind

Then we came to the third and final song which I usually sang a whole tone lower than the official score. It’s easy to turn a knob to transpose on an electronic piano but this was a new venue and there was only a grand piano! I had a panicked talk with my accompanist and asked what key I should sing in. There was no choice but to go for the original key. I knew I could only just make the top notes which is why we’d chosen to sing it lower so that I could belt them out with confidence.

I was so fearful that, part way in, I had a complete mind blank and forgot the words! It’s not like when I speak on stage where nobody knows if I’ve diverged from my script; the examiner had the lyrics and score in front of him. I carried on singing some made up words and may have got away with it but then I couldn’t even do that so I had to stop to ask my accompanist for a prompt. I knew I’d blown it and I wanted to leave the room so I could have a comforting cry.

I was cross with myself for letting my terrified thoughts force me into such a simple mistake. But at least I had nothing to lose so I carried on.

Mindset success: I stopped being scared

Just before the belt with the terrifying high notes I remembered my teacher’s instruction to ‘relax’ and her tips on using less breath.

I didn’t just hit the notes, dear reader, I hit them well!

Overall I lost a few marks for the memory lapse but I handled it professionally and didn’t allow it to affect the rest of the performance.

But how many times do we fail just because we’re too scared to try?

Success spirals

I’m a self-confessed procrastinator so I use a number of techniques to get myself focused on doing the RIGHT work. Fellow procrastinators will understand that procrastination isn’t the same as laziness, we’re often busy but doing the WRONG things. My oven was never as clean as when I was supposed to be studying for my accountancy exams!

For me it helps to take the first step towards whatever I’m supposed to be doing. I have seen this referred to as a success spiral but James Clear, in Atomic Habits, refers to ‘habit stacking’ in much the same way.

For me the hardest step is, almost always, getting out of bed in the morning so I often head straight for my office in my dressing gown. Once sat at my desk my day has started and I’ll shower and dress when I’m ready for a break. Obviously I can’t do this if I have a meeting first thing!

When writing my books it is often hard to get started so I break the book down into chapters and sit down in front of a blank page to ‘type some notes’ on the chapter. Once I’ve started typing I’ll often get a complete chapter drafted before I pause to draw breath,

If you’re a fellow procrastinator what is your first barrier and what can you do to remove that?

Secrets of my success

This week I was asked to give a talk on what has made me so successful over the last 6-12 months. Well, I’ve shared a lot of tips here (51 per year) but the biggest non-secret is … ACTION!

It’s no good reading these tips, or my books, or paying for my coaching unless you carry out at least some of the actions. So, go back over the last few months and find at least one thing that you can implement. Preferably sign up for one of my courses 😉 but there were 51 free ideas last year. Tell me which one you found most useful and how it made an impact on your business

If you’re subscribed to my newsletter and you can’t find anything useful in the last 6-12 months then unsubscribe. I’ll be sorry to see you go but these tips need to justify your time spent reading them.

Successful People

“If you’re ever lucky enough to be successful in what you choose to do, don’t ever believe your own hype, and remember it could all stop tomorrow.

Do whatever you can do to the best of your ability. Take the job seriously, but not yourself. And most of all, be nice to work with.”

  • Olivia Coleman