In the accounting industry, we’re taught early on that our jobs are really important…that they matter. Our ethics matter. Our choices matter. We’re protecting the public interest.  We’re told to take our work seriously. And we do. Our industry attracts people who are dependable, conscientious and trustworthy. We attract high achievers.

But, do you ever find yourself going too far with how serious you view what you do, your job, and what you have on your to-do list?

In my own experience, when I take it too far and see myself and my work as overly important, I rob myself of the power of now. When I take myself too seriously, I can’t be present in the moment. It’s hard for me to connect in human-to-human interactions. In fact, I can’t even enjoy what I’m doing one bit. I’ve stripped myself of all joy. And that’s a shame because life can only be lived in the now. Joy lives in the now.

What can you do when you notice you’re moving too high up the “serious meter” – to the point where it’s stealing the joy out of your life?

First, and most important, remind yourself that you aren’t perfect. Nobody is. Nobody has everything totally under control at all times. That’s impossible because so much of what happens in this world lies outside of our control. I bet you know that, deep down. You may just need to remind yourself from time to time.

Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. As more than one accountant has told me, “Nobody dies when we make an error.” When you give yourself permission to make mistakes, you can accept your imperfect self and be present to and for your own journey.

Need some ideas on what to do instead of taking yourself so seriously? How about one (or all!) of these?

  • Laugh!

    Find the humor in things. Think of a funny story from your past – we all have one of those! Watch a comedy. Google hilarious accounting memes. Humor is waiting for you, on demand – all you have to do is look for it.

  • Do something that gets you out of your head.

    Dance. Or, if dancing isn’t for you, find something physical that brings you pure joy. Listen to your favorite song. Ride your motorcycle. Play the drums. Jog. Whatever physical activity brings you joy – do that!

  • Choose kindness.

    Be kind to yourself. Find some self-compassion. When you feel like life is beating you down, ask yourself, “What self-love can I give myself right now?” Treat yourself to a massage, or a nice dinner. Grab a treat on the way home. Think of one thing you appreciate about yourself. Love on yourself!

  • Express gratitude.

    Think about all you have in your life, and express gratitude for one thing. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why. Send a thank you note. Write down something you are grateful for and why. Gratitude is simple, yet powerful – it can help shift your perspective from scarcity to abundance.

  • Take a step back.

    If life is really stressing you out, take a deep breath. Ask yourself whether or not this situation should have this much power over you. By doing that, you separate yourself from your thoughts and the situation. Now that you have distanced yourself from the situation, you can decide whether or not you’re taking yourself too seriously. You cannot always control what happens to you (far from it!), but you can always control your perspective.

See you in the DoP (Dimension of Possible),

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” – Oscar Wilde