Two weeks ago I had the pleasure (no pun intended) of attending MYOB’s Partner Connect in Sydney. The keynote speaker was a delightful, slightly crazy lady (her words not mine) by the name of Amanda Gore, known on social media as amandagorejoy.

Amanda spoke about mindfulness, about focussing on the things that make a difference in our lives, about the choices we make and the impact those choices have in our lives. Everything underpinning all of these concepts was JOY or as Amanda likes to put it  – the J-spot!

So you might be thinking what is the definition of JOY?

The definition of JOY is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness” and it’s about time we all found more joy as we go about our businesses and our lives.

But what about a definition of the “J-spot”. Well this is a little more difficult to define and perhaps find as it is very much an individual thing so I’ll explain it by a little story.

I started to find my J-spot about 10 years ago when I surrendered to the silly notion of what everyone else thought my life and my business should look like. This is what I did.

  • I had a sea-change
  • I revisited my vision for my accounting firm
  • I started doing business and life my way

The sea-change

When my husband suggested this I thought he was out of his mind.

We had a holiday house an hour away from where my office was and where we lived. We spent practically every weekend there. We used to pick the kids up from school on a Friday and head to the holiday house, returning to school and the office on a Monday. My boys were involved in nippers and then they started wanting to go up on a Thursday afternoon so they could go to board training. Our little two bedroom unit, our newfound community that welcomed us with open arms and the gorgeous beaches of Port Stephens bought myself and my family so much JOY, how could I say no? I am forever grateful that I said YES as it truly changed my life and the way I did and still do life and business!

Re-visiting my vision

Having started my accounting firm from scratch, from home eighteen years ago, I had a pretty basic vision to start with of what I wanted my firm to look like. My firm would allow me to do what I loved, being an accountant and advisor for small businesses and at the same time giving me flexibility as I wanted to start a family and there was no maternity leave policy where I was working. Because I worked from home I was pretty clear on the types of clients I wanted to work with (and bring into my home) and the type of work I did. My business grew as did my family. My first son was born within nine months and my second son fourteen months after that.

Being a sole practitioner I did things a little differently even from the beginning. GST was going to be introduced in twelve months time. Instead of doing everything for the client, I took the time and taught them the basics and what they could do for themselves. I also taught them how I wanted them to bring their work to me. Most of these clients are still clients to this day. I have had some new staff join my firm recently and they cannot believe how organised and well trained these clients are. For me, working with these sorts of clients and with their accounting files brings me so much JOY. I pretty much only get involved in working on the files at tax planning time, but it truly is a pleasure and gives me so much satisfaction guiding and advising these clients on their business journey and inspiring them to have businesses that work for them.

As my business grew, we moved offices, employed more staff and we started to attract even more clients. Some of these clients were hard work. They didn’t want to learn. They just wanted to dump their records to us in a haphazard way and wanted the cheapest fee to sort their mess out. Now we all know that the only one to lose out on such an arrangement is us – the practice owner. It’s not the type of work that brings JOY to the staff assigned to the task and brings us even less JOY as we write off time just to keep the client happy and to ensure they don’t bag us out to their friends. What’s in it for us? Absolutely nothing – I would much prefer to be sunning myself on the beach reading a good book. Sure I may not be making money but I’m not losing it either! So about eight to ten years ago we introduced a policy that we only took on new clients that had all of their ATO obligations up to date – it was the first question my admin staff asked before booking a new client in to see me. The biggest thing about taking on clients with everything up to date is that chance are that these clients had respect for their own businesses, their accountant and the ATO.

Doing life

What is the point in us feeling like we are slaves to our firms, our clients and anything for that matter?

We all deserve to be happy and live our life with JOY!

I started valuing my life and my family more. I started to switch off from the office and my clients. I started saying NO. I started having more “me” time and took up some hobbies – meditation courses, the gym, exercising with friends, regular beauty appointments and a few belly dancing classes (thank goodness my friend fell pregnant so this one was short lived!).

I started doing more things with my family instead of spending my weekend at the office. And guess what? Clients got used to me not being at the office all the time and they actually respected me for it. I don’t now how many clients actually congratulated me on my new way of doing business and life – it certainly had a positive effect on my mindset, my physically appearance and in fact it inspired them to rethink how they were doing business and life. Do not underestimate the effect your leadership can have on people that look up to you. As accountants, we are the trusted advisor and not just in the financial arena. 

I have always been a positive, joyful person but now more then ever I try to live every day with JOY. I’m joyful because of the choices I have made during the years and the life I have created for myself and my family.

If you are curious as to what my J-spot is right now, well it’s working in my accounting firm one to two days a week, it’s coaching and mentoring accounting firm owners and guiding them as to how they can find their J-spot with thriving firms and thriving lives, it’s relaxing at the beach with my family and friends or sitting on my balcony with my husband enjoying a cuppa or a champagne watching the waves roll in and the whales migrating north or south depending on the season.

I hope I have got you thinking about your J-spot, what JOY truly means to you and how you can bring more JOY into your life.