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From CPA to Life Coach (Part 2)

Finding Clarity

In early 2020, the unfolding of the pandemic was another wake up call. I was still working as an auditor, yet I knew that I didn’t want to do the work for much longer. I needed to finish my last few months of practical experience. As there was so much uncertainty in the economy, people around me started to lose their jobs. Levels of anxiety and stress deepened each day as news broke out and government regulations were announced. The world seemed to have flipped upside down.

It became clear to me that if I wanted to see change in my life, I would have to take responsibility and action for myself. My inner work paid off as I built resilience to stay strong during the pandemic. I benefited greatly from coaching and counseling and I got excited about the idea of a change.

Coaching and counseling changed my life. I set my eyes towards becoming a life coach to help others. Self-study was key. I educated myself by reading books and taking online courses on psychology, motivation, self-awareness, mindfulness, and personal development. I began to learn more about coaching through connecting with established coaches. I began to put my thoughts of a career change into words and my words into action. I started to embrace and believe in my purpose. I became fully invested into this journey.

Small steps

At the beginning of the pandemic I decided to start a podcast to share my support for others and challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone. Discovery Session focused on expanding self-awareness and was a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings.

As I learned more about life coaching, I was eager to put my knowledge to the test. I had an idea. I’d simply ask others if I could practice life coaching with them. I ended up spending my weekend mornings during the spring of the pandemic providing life coaching to a couple clients. I had no practical experience in life coaching at the time, but I had relevant experiences from my supervision role at work and my volunteer experiences. I used each and every session with my clients to learn and develop my skills, and help them improve their lives.

Life coaching aligned with my purpose and provided me with a strong sense of fulfillment.

I found my passion!

After a couple months of exploring the craft and having success with my first few clients, I decided to apply for UBC’s Certificate in Organizational Coaching program to enhance my skills. This decision also came with self-doubt. I didn’t think I was experienced enough to be accepted. I was scared of mentioning to my employer that I was wanting to change directions. I was worried about what people would think. I was questioning if this was the right decision. I mean, I put so much time towards my profession already. I know the theory of “sunk costs”, but emotionally it was hard to wrap my head around it. Am I really making the right decision?

I procrastinated in my application, but followed through with courage. Later in the spring I got accepted into the program. I was surprised and grateful at the same time. This career shift was in action.

In the summer of 2020 I decided to resign from my senior accountant role at KPMG. My plan was to focus on school part time and build my own coaching business with the rest of my time. It felt risky. People at the time were worried about losing their jobs, yet I was willingly leaving without a secure job lined up. It was definitely uncomfortable. I had to put a lot of belief into myself. Once I resigned it became real. My vision of starting a business after getting my CPA was materializing.

The unforeseen opportunity

My final two weeks at the firm would be spent saying farewell, wrapping up my engagements and passing along any unfinished work to other team members. I even participated in teaching a workshop to the CFE writers to prepare them for their exams.

As the days went on I got more excited and confident in my decision. I made this decision for myself and felt extremely confident.

A week before my departure, I received a phone call. To my surprise, I was asked if I was interested in staying and taking on an internal coaching and development role. My responsibility would be to onboard, coach, and develop nearly 100 junior staff joining the firm. It would be the first cohort of staff accountants joining during the pandemic, meaning all the training and work would be delivered virtually.

“The job is yours if you want it.”

I was at a loss for words. I didn’t have a clear response. I had been so enthusiastic about my decision to leave and this was a total surprise.

I brought the opportunity to my coaching session and became clear on my next steps to take up the challenge. I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to support our new staff during these unprecedented times. I had one condition, I needed to take a couple months off from work to focus on myself and my wellbeing.

I was excited to spend 80% of my job doing the work I love, and 20% on administrative tasks.

My mindset shifted. I would take on the role at the company with the mindset of an intrapreneur. I will take every opportunity to align myself with my purpose to help others and continually grow as a professional and an individual.

I spent the next year deepening my coaching skills both in the workplace and in school, starting my own coaching practice, initiating leadership and developmental opportunities for our junior staff, creating a mental health resource group, managing the CPA program, and coaching the leadership team of a non-profit in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside.

I look back at the year and ask myself, “how in the world did I have the capacity to do all of that?”. My initial doubts were trumped by the action and commitment to my vision. I share this not to brag, but rather to show you that your dreams can become reality. It’s incredible what you can achieve when you are truly coming from a place of passion, strength, and curiosity.

When I was working as an accountant, I was narrow minded in only searching for accounting and finance roles. I lacked the self-confidence and self-belief that I have now.

I was in alignment with my purpose, loved what I was doing, and 100% invested myself into the journey. I was fortunate to have the support of my family, community, and coaches. I had new energy. I was motivated. I was fulfilled. I was exactly where I wanted and needed to be. Each and every day felt like a gift. I had the dream job.

Committing to entrepreneurship

After a year of learning and delivering impact to others as a corporate coach, I was ready to take the next step in my personal and professional development journey. I decided to leave my dream role and step away from the corporate world to start my own coaching practice.

I am happy and excited to help CPAs build fulfilling careers.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first Newsletter article!

Subscribe to Casey’s Corner for more of my journey, practical tools, motivation, client stories and more. I hope to empower my readers to start to take lead in their lives.

I believe that we all have hidden talents and untapped potential that are waiting to be unlocked. I can help you break the mold and become the person you want to be!

I’d like to extend my support to CPAs across the world. If you can relate to my experiences as a CPA and are struggling to find career fulfillment, let’s connect! I’m happy to have a conversation!

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