Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE was recently welcomed as a new member of the Intuit Tax Council. The Intuit® Tax Council, a group of forward-thinking tax professionals who help lead positive change in the professional tax community, and provide inputs and insights that help shape the Intuit ProConnect™ business strategy. You can read Dawn’s interview about why serving on this council is so important to her as she works to help other accounting professionals succeed.
A colleague of mine recently shared a text thread from an accounting profession peer. Wow, did it strike a chord (more like a whole symphony) with me! In the author of the text, had shared a “Tip for working with accountants: Yes, tax season was extended, no we didn’t get all of our work done, no we haven’t been on a great vacation, no we are not all rested up. We are still physically, mentally and literally exhausted. Get a grip folks!”
Yowza! The frustration and pain of that text hits my heart—and I am sure it resonates with many of us who have tax preparation as a significant part of our practices. We can likely sympathize with these feelings of burnout and exhaustion. The feeling that the work is never going to end and that we are going to be crushed (literally and figuratively) by the IRS deadlines coming at us head-on like a runaway train. I know I certainly can.
The truth is, over the past two tax seasons the impact of Covid-19 has morphed what is typically a stressful and intense work period at best, to a completely new form of twisted tax torture.
Have we calculated the true cost of Covid on the accounting profession?
If this situation didn’t have such a serious impact on the physical, emotional and mental health of my colleagues, I might add some levity by imagining the 2020 and 2021 tax seasons as a special accounting edition of the show “Survivor.” Like contestants on that show, we’ve all had to draw on our inner strength and professional capabilities to make it through the daily IRS changes, shifts in the ways we have to work with our teams and our clients, as well as the extended (and extended further in some states) nature of the tax seasons that seem like they will never end. To say that the process has been a challenge might just be the biggest understatement of our professional lives.
What’s even more concerning to me is the impact it is having on accounting professionals on a personal level. Although the standard tax deadlines have passed for the most part, I don’t think they are really behind us. Consider how the text chain I referenced at the beginning of this article began with this snippet below. This is the same accounting colleague bravely opening up to his peers about the way he is really feeling:
“Glad I am not alone in this. I am honestly in a place I have never been—no motivation. I just don’t care anymore. The epoch that has been our life since March 2020…has me in a funk. Truly has me rethinking it all, at 41, what now, the same?”
This is truth. This is vulnerability. This is the real life “stuff” that we as professionals deal with—the human side of our work. This is exactly why I felt called to write my book “The Designated Motivator” at this particular time, in this particular year. In the burning fire of tax season.
Why every accounting professional needs a Designated Motivator
It’s for the accounting colleague who is questioning his profession, his purpose, and his life in deep ways—he is asking for someone to help him see there is more than just what is in front of him or on the immediate horizon at this moment. He needs someone to step in to be his Designated Motivator (DM)—the person I define as, “An individual who has the passion and ability to give others the greatest gift of all: the realization and mobilization of their true potential. Using their superpower to empower others to believe in themselves so they can achieve at higher levels than they thought were possible.”
Maybe you could be his DM. Maybe it’s me (I sent him a complimentary copy of the book). I hope that even if you don’t read the book yourself, you’ll take the DM Philosophy with you as work through the aftermath of this tax season.
This is The Designated Motivator philosophy in a nutshell: We all have a superpower within us—the ability to encourage and lift up others, to help them see their true potential and help them take action to get to a better place so they can realize it. Some of us feel that this is more than a latent desire. It is our passion and purpose. I know it is mine.
The DM Philosophy is about using your superpower to motivate others (or yourself), to help them (or you) to take action and to hold them (or yourself) accountable for making good on using their greatest gifts to reach their highest potential. You can read more about the DM Philosophy, Mindset and Toolkit here.
Imagine if we all did this for each other as professionals, but more importantly, as people. What would our daily lives be like? Imagine if we did this for someone and they paid it forward…the ripple effect across the world would be infinitely amazing!
Are you a Designated Motivator? Or do you need one?
By reading The Designated Motivator, you’ll have a solid framework for actually making positive change in yourself, others, and the world (if you so choose). I deliberately wrote this book to be an action planner and an accountability framework that you can use for yourself and others, because we all know that action is the only way to truly make a change. Just thinking about it doesn’t cut it.
Some of you might dismiss this DM book and philosophy as “motivational mumbo jumbo” and that is okay. Being a DM is not for everyone. But if reading this blog has sparked something in you, the desire to reach out to someone like the accounting colleague I mentioned here for example, or perhaps even reach out to find a DM for yourself, then I will consider it successful.
I decided a long time ago that I wanted to make a difference. It’s how I started down this DM path. I felt the desire in my soul and the fire in my belly to do what I could to make people realize how gifted they are and to help them see and seize the possibility they held within them.
Now that tax season is “over” yet for many of us not really behind us, I encourage you to take on the Three Key Responsibilities of a Designated Motivator to help a colleague, friend, family member, or anyone else who may need you to:
This is where the magic happens.
I hope you’ll join me and learn how to seize your DM superpower and make a significant and lasting change in your firm, your profession and in time, the world. Consider being a guest on my new podcast The DM Disruption starting this July. Complete the guest form here and get ready to join me with your DM story or a request for a DM!!!