Much of the work you do in accounting, you handle on your own -- much, but not all. As people have known for ages, there is something encouraging, stimulating, and even inspiring about being affiliated with others who are seeking to achieve the same goal or types of goals that you are.
The following factors need not be present on your quest to affiliate yourself with others, but they can certainly help:
1. Striving for the same goal at the same time. The classic example here is two students studying for an exam. They're in the same class with the same teacher and thus obviously have to take the same exam at the same time.
A similar phenomenon is at play among a yacht crew racing team, a presidential candidate's aides, or a special task force assembled by the head of an organization to achieve an established goal.
2. Same intensity. When affiliating yourself with others, it helps if members of the team, whether it is two people or more, proceed with the same intensity toward pursuit of the goal.
If you and I are studying for a CPA exam and your goal is to ace it, but mine is to simply pass, it's likely that we won't be as much help to each other as if we were both trying to ace it or both simply trying to pass. Not that some benefit can't be derived from such team work, but going with the odds, equal intensity serves affiliates best.
Likewise, the yacht crew racing members will muster their greatest strength if each member individually as well as the team collectively has as his goal to win the race.
3. Geographic proximity. The closer you are geographically to those with whom you are affiliated in pursuit of a goal, the more support you can derive from one another.
Of all the possible others with whom you could affiliate yourself, your peers are your easiest to identify and join in partnership. Your peers consist of friends, co-workers, relatives, people in your neighborhood, people in your line of work, and generally anyone with whom you have a rather natural and easy communication channel.
Peer group affiliations tend to be more fluid, though potentially as powerful as any of the other types of groups. Undoubtedly you already belong to one or more peer groups consisting of two or more people.
Take a minute to list at least two different peer groups you belong to and the members in the peer group. It's possible for someone to be in two different peer groups. The groups might meet for different reasons at different times with different pursuits.
At work, you might find that Marguerite is one of the people you naturally hang around with, and also happens to have expertise in a certain area that concerns you. Hence, you need to draw upon her knowledge frequently. In that regard, Marguerite is part of your informal peer group, and part of your professional peer group.
Depending on what goals you're pursuing, you might have a fabulous array of resources in your life right now among members of your peer group. You might not, however, previously have drawn upon these precious human resources.
Ask yourself what you're facing right now that members of your peer groups might be facing as well. Ask yourself who can help you by virtue of the fact that he or she has already been down that path.
The Unbroken Circle
At a seminar once, long ago, the seminar leader said to draw a circle on a page. He then said to put a dot in the middle of the page. The dot represented me, and the circle around me represented everything I knew, everyone I knew, and all the influence and connections that I had in this world.
He then asked that we draw another circle and put another dot in the middle. That represented another person, presumably anyone else in the room. He then went on to say that every time you encounter another person you potentially open yourself up to a world of opportunities, knowledge, contacts and influence that you simply can't notice based on a brief encounter.
Among funeral home directors, it is known a deceased person who lived in the same geographic area for most of his/her life will "pull" about 250 people to his/her funeral. As society becomes more transient, and perhaps as people become even busier, that number is bound to drop. Nevertheless, this is a dramatic indicator of the power that you tap when you affiliate yourself with another person, particularly a like-minded individual.
People can surprise you! You might have co-workers, peers, of friends whom you've known for years and but have not yet discovered some of their key strengths and capabilities.
Jeff Davidson, a.k.a. “The Work-life Balance Expert”®, speaks to accounting firms and associations on increasing their work-life balance so they can be more productive and competitive, and still have a life away from work. He is the author of Everyday Project Management, Breathing Space, and Simpler Living. Visit breathingspace.com.