We often make the mistake of trying to control every aspect of our lives. Many of us have a morning routine we follow religiously. For some, it is waking up in time to enjoy a cup of coffee outside on the deck, catch up on news or stop by Chick-fil-a for your regular #1 meal with two strawberry jelly packets and an orange juice. For others, it is going on a morning jog, getting the children ready for school or having a fashion show in the mirror to find the perfect outfit. Hey, no judgment here!
Regardless of what you do to get going in the morning, it is your routine, and it seems like something you have full control over. That is viable, right up until disaster strikes (insert scream here)! Now it seems the rest of your day is thrown off. We can control the amount of coffee we consume or our morning workout; however, we cannot control the unexpected events that prevent us from sticking to our routine.
A couple of months ago, a few team members and I were on a two-week external audit engagement with a first-year client. With it being a new client, we really wanted to make a good impression by getting the job done and adding value by utilizing the Growth Mindset (how we serve our clients—unrivaled and anticipatory) to assist in improving their processes. However, the first week was everything but “routine.” We were not receiving the requested items we needed in a timely fashion. The client lacked a sense of urgency and gave us the cold shoulder when questions were asked. By the end of week one, the engagement team was stressed and frustrated; therefore, we decided to take a different approach.
Although we were dealing with a difficult client, we would not let that discourage us. We made it a goal to engage on the Wise Firm enGAUGEment Meter (our place for sharing positive energy across the firm) every morning. We also made it a goal to start every morning with a bible verse. When frustrations would creep in throughout the day, we would refer back to our morning bible verse and enGAUGEment meter status. By the end of the audit, we were ecstatic not only at the results we provided to the client, but how our level of productivity increased, how the team's relationship was strengthened and how our cups were running over with fulfillment. I do not think I could have gotten through those two weeks without such a dynamic team.
Despite the adversities we faced, our team room was filled with positive vibes and encouragement. We did not allow one another to speak negatively. It can be difficult to collaborate with your team, build relationships with clients and provide excellent client service when you are carrying a load of negative energy. Negative energy can affect your thoughts, actions and your work ethic. It also affects your team members and eventually your friends and family because at times you carry those burdens home. That is why culture matters! A great working relationship increases productivity and longevity.
When the going gets tough, I am reminded of the saying, “When something bad happens, you have three choices, 1) you can let it define you, 2) you can let it destroy you or 3) you can let it strengthen you.” During this engagement, we chose to be strengthened. We cannot control when things do not go as expected. What we can control is our energy, attitude and how we respond. We can also control the effort we give on client engagements. Lastly, we can control the way we treat our team members when they are not feeling their best.
I challenge you to accept the things you cannot change, have the courage to change the things you can and pray for the wisdom to know the difference. I challenge you to remain positive despite how your day is going. The bible teaches us to cast our cares on the Lord and I am confident that when anxiety and stress creep up and try to steal your joy, He will grant you peace and direct your path.