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How to Meet and Exceed Expectations when You're Overwhelmed

by Jen Mueller | Feb 27, 2018
Allison McClure

Member Insights from Allison McClure

The pressure to get things done and rise to the next challenge keeps mounting. Do you ever wonder how you’re going to continue meeting and exceeding expectations?

Allison McClure, CPA, a senior in Peterson Sullivan LLP’s audit practice and WSCPA Seattle Chapter chair, shares advice she received from a mentor that still inspires her today.

“A former supervisor of mine sent me a Roald Dahl quote at a time when he knew that I was feeling uninspired and, as a result, unmotivated.” McClure says.

“The quote read: ‘I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life… If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.’

“Here was the point,” McClure explained. “No matter where you are in your career journey, everything you do should serve a purpose. Naturally, it’s not all going to be fun or glamorous or exciting. Reframing the things you focus on in your work and personal life should be the goal. Not excited about the goal? Figure out how you can pivot to get there, and find good people to accompany you along the way.”

When it comes to finding those people, McClure suggests starting a conversation on LinkedIn. She established relationships with many of her mentors by reaching out to people in interesting positions and asking about their roles. She described it as her version of “cold-calling.”

“People tend to love to talk about themselves and their journeys,” McClure notes. “You just need to be willing to listen and learn!”

Roald Dahl quoteShe also makes it a point to meet face-to-face. She’s been engaged with WSCPA since becoming a member in 2015 and makes sure to attend events in industry areas of interest. But don’t just show up and expect to make an impression, McClure advises. Be selective and have a follow-up plan in place.

“Time, energy, and money are finite resources,” McClure says. “Don’t think you have to attend every event. Prioritize ones that are a good match for you and your goals, and then follow up after the event. Even an email with a quick recap of a topic you discussed makes you more memorable than the person who couldn’t even bother to personalize the generic LinkedIn request.”

Plan time in your schedule to follow up, and if you really want to get the most out of your day. McClure offers this suggestion, block time to schedule your week.

“Part of my Sunday routine is setting aside 30 minutes to map out the rest of my week,” McClure says. “I plan where will I be working (typical auditor life), note the business connections who need to be contacted, and determine how much ‘me time’ I need for hobbies and personal commitments. I also evaluate what’s on the overall radar for the upcoming month and rebalance my schedule accordingly. Doing this pulse check prior to getting into the office helps me to avoid the distracting barrage of emails and to-do lists on Monday morning. As a result, I’m able to stay focused on important ASAP items, set better expectations and communicate them, and identify areas where I should potentially reprioritize my time.”

Thanks, Allison, for the great advice and the reminder that having the right people around you helps keep you inspired.

Jen Mueller headshotJen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and the founder of Talk Sporty to Me. She is an expert in business communication and can be contacted at Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.

Find great companions for your journey with the WSCPA! Volunteering is a great way to meet enthusiastic, engaged colleagues. Check out all volunteer opportunities with the WSCPA here.

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