Where’s the Love?
There’s an Emotional Side to Passing the Uniform CPA Exam
Love is a word we typically reserve for areas of our personal life. We may use it to describe aspects of our professional life such as loving our vocation, our colleagues or our clients. But, in all of my experiences with the Uniform CPA Exam—including my own arduous journey and coaching others on the path to licensure—I never once heard a person associate the word love with the exam. I offer that love is exactly what one needs during the journey to becoming a CPA.
Love For Oneself
Having love for oneself includes care of your body and mind. Most of us understand the essentials of how to care for our bodies through proper nutrition and exercise. However, we aren’t as adept at caring for our minds by living a balanced lifestyle. Time is always scarce during the path to CPA licensure, so we lose our balance and run up against burnout and exhaustion. Activities that promote balance are rejuvenating and fill up one’s emotional tank. Think of them as investing activities: you initially pay something and later reap interest and dividends.
Activities that support one’s mental wellbeing may include quality time with loved ones, exercise, being outdoors, listening to music, spiritual practices or good old-fashioned rest. Activities that engage the creative, emotional side of the brain are especially valuable because the analytical side of the brain is often in overuse at this time. Another key consideration for candidates is to have a clear mind—specifically regarding why they want to become a CPA.
Their reasons should be greater than doing it because of the opinions of others. Rather, candidates should be able to articulate the importance and value the designation will create for them. Without that, candidates run the risk of being overwhelmed by external pressures instead of being energized by internally generated motivation.
Love for the Profession
A profession, by definition, is more than a job. It is a vocation—a calling—and connects us to a larger purpose in society. Just like with marriage, love and commitment go hand in hand. A love for the profession is a commitment to something greater than any single individual’s work. Candidates who can get altitude on the bigger picture—beyond the immediate career pathways that exist and seeing where the designation will ultimately take them—will be better equipped to see how short-term tradeoffs will reap a lifetime of rewards.
To see the bigger picture, one might ask:
- Who are the clients I will be able to serve as a CPA?
- What unique gifts can I bring to these clients and the profession?
- Once I am a CPA, what will I be entrusted to do that I can’t do now?
- What does my legacy look like and how does becoming a CPA fit into that vision?
Becoming a CPA means joining an elite group of individuals who are viewed by others as trusted advisers in the business world, as well as within their families, communities, churches, organizations, and society as a whole. Having altitude on the higher purpose one is committed to will create the most empowered action and greatest results.
Love From Others
An incredible amount of love and support from others is also needed to pass the Uniform CPA Exam. Because it takes so many hours of preparation to successfully pass, candidates are left with little time do anything beyond working and studying. Therefore, the best support structure for a candidate includes an understanding of the tremendous amount of strain they are under.
At home, candidates who feel the love have supportive partners who pick up the slack with child and pet care, cooking and cleaning. Families and friends show an understanding that a candidate might not have time for play and fun. And perhaps, most important, loved ones are there to provide much needed emotional support when one fails a section or is feeling overwhelmed.
Candidates also receive support from their employers. Financial support is a good start, and alignment of their exam schedule and workloads are important. Supportive employers give permission to take time off and unplug from work during the days or weeks leading up to an exam. Once again, emotional support is key. Having a space to talk with other CPAs and candidates about their experience can be cathartic and allow them to see that others also struggle. The hardest journeys to CPA licensure are often the most inspiring. The integration of the heart and mind creates tremendous access to power and heightened performance. Love may not be all you need, but it can get you farther than you may think.
Learn more about The Initiation– our professional coaching experience for CPA exam candidates.