Lockdown-Life Lessons

It’s been 7 weeks of #LockdownLife here in Palm Springs…life has become incredibly simple, yet complex at the same time. During one of my recent quarantine walks, I jotted down my thoughts on a few things I’m seeing and hearing through my social channels, so I decided I’d share my “Lockdown-Life Lessons” with you all!

IMG_1850.jpeg

  1. Set (or reset) expectations – I see so many people (Instagram fitness influencers are most guilty) saying “oh just be ok that you’re not going to make gains right now” or “just stop looking in the mirror”. While I 100% agree we need to be kind to ourselves most of all, I don’t think we have to throw in the towel on reaching goals. Maybe you need to change your mindset? Set a new goal? My April commitment was to get 20,000 steps a day & I’m proud to say I did it. Even if it meant walking laps around the kitchen at 11:30pm, or walking for 2 hours in the rain, or bribing my husband to escort me around the pitchdark neighborhood with a flashlight when it finally cooled down below 100 degrees.
  2. Be kind – everyone is dealing with SOMETHING. Some more than others, but even if it’s small things like missing the gym or your morning coffee house ritual, it matters. Don’t have a short fuse – cut everyone a little extra slack.
  3. Unpopular opinion – if you don’t feel like dressing up, doing your hair & makeup, and setting up a proper “home office”, then don’t. Do what makes sense for you. If you’re working in a strange location (because you’re home, or perhaps, like me, are out of your typical away from home routine), it’s ok. You’re going to be just fine. Figure out what works for you & just do it one day at a time. Even if that means living in workout clothes with a headband on and your laptop at the kitchen counter.
  4. You can never have too many headbands!
  5. Find a way to give. My heart has been so filled during this time of disequilibrium by doing little things for people. It may seem like an insignificant gesture considering the grand scheme of what’s going on in the world, but I promise you it’ll be repaid by the joy you get by pouring into someone else right now.
  6. To the mamas & daddies out there: You’re. Doing. Great. Don’t be afraid to lock yourself in the bathroom with a box of Kleenex for a “parent-teacher conference”. I was homeschooled K-12 (as were my 3 brothers), so I know what you’re dealing with right now, even if I was on the other end of it back in the day. Your kids will bounce back just fine. If you keep them alive, you get an A+!
  7. I’ll never complain about going to Costco ever again…I miss Costco.
  8. Move – you’ll be amazed how good it feels to walk around your block. Don’t let this be an excuse to permanently assume the Netflix & chill position. If you want to watch 2 hours of TV, force yourself to move at least half that much.
  9. Be an encouraging voice – even when you might not think you are, your words, and actions, are being amplified during this time. The impact you make might surprise you.
  10. You get out what you put in – if you decide this is a time to sit back on cruise control, by all means, take advantage! But if you have a mission to come out the other side of this better than you came in, don’t let anything stop you. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

Help for the Co.

Ivy&Co

Meet Ivy, the name & face of Ivy & Co., a small boutique filled with unique handmade accessories & gifts located in a revamped warehouse space on Kauai. Ivy’s mom, Rebecca, and I go back to our college days in Orange County, when our paths crossed at Chapman University. After graduation, she moved overseas briefly, but then returned to her hometown of Maui. She eventually met & married her husband, Kit, and they’ve settled down & built their family on Kauai. 15 months ago, they expanded the Co. by adding Ivy’s little sister, baby Teak, to the team. Over the years, we’ve only seen each other a handful of times, but we’ve kept in touch in big part because of Ivy & Co., which is my go-to source for some of my own favorite accessories as well as adorable baby gifts. I’ll forever hold a special place in my heart for Rebecca as a friend who has been there for me when I needed it most. When this opportunity came up to do just a little something for a small business, I knew I had to pick Ivy & Co.

I’m beyond grateful to work for a company that’s made a tremendous commitment by launching our #SmallBizRelief initiative, in partnership with Yelp & GoFundMe. Intuit gave each and every employee the ability to sponsor a small business of our choice, which means up to 9,000 small businesses around the globe will be supported & highlighted during this uncertain time. It’s such a great commitment to our mission: Powering Prosperity around the World.

I’m typically a fixer, a doer, a problem solver. The impact of Covid19 on me personally is frankly quite minor: I don’t have small children, Brian & I already work from home, and as I have learned the past month of being in social quarantine, I’m apparently not very social in person anyway. Most of my relationships & interactions (by nature of my normal life traveling), wind up being online, via text/ FaceTime, etc. The hardest party of all this is missing my daily workouts at the gym (but I’ve gotten creative with that too, and I’ve settled into my new normal routine).

My heart aches though for everyone around me – here in our small town & around the world – who are struggling personally & professionally. We’ve seen the doors close, we know the owners who are scared that they won’t be able to reopen. We know those who have lost their jobs & are just hoping their employers make it out the other side & rehire them. I know moms who are desperately trying to keep up with their new roles as teacher on top of everything else they’re holding together. And I have friends with new babies, or sick babies, or who are sick themselves & carrying heavy loads with very little help.

While I know I can’t save the world, as my great grandmother always said, “if everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot”. So even if it’s just a little, I’m thankful that it’s something. If everyone can make a little difference, then together, we’ll make a big difference – who knows, maybe we can even change the world?

GoFundMe – Ivy & Co. in COVID-19

 

Thanks to @IntuitBrad…

This post comes a bit belatedly. Technically, Brad Smith’s last day as Intuit’s CEO was December 31, 2018. But this past week we had a chance as an Intuit family to come together & celebrate Brad’s impact on each of us that wear Intuit blue. He may not be sitting atop a Silicon Valley org chart anymore, but his inspiration, influence, and imprints will remain in and on each of us forever.

img_4195

So, before it’s too late for me to have an excuse to do so, I wanted to say a quick “Thank You” for some of the lessons I’ve learned from our amazing leader these past 5 years…

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for teaching us to have empathy. There’s no question in my mind as to why Brad’s 2nd number in his SOI is a 5. He literally radiates empathy for everyone around him: his employees, his partners, his customers. This is quite possibly the attribute of his that I admire most, as I firmly believe if we don’t have empathy for those we serve, then our relationships can never truly flourish.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for leading us by example each day. Since my earliest exposure to Brad, I was always impressed by his approach to serve with his team. I’ve seen him roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty, and walk through the mud with all of us in order to bring us out the other side stronger, together. When you hear “We Care & Give Back”, Brad doesn’t just mean that from an air-conditioned office in Mountain View, but from his hands & knees in a public park in lower Manhattan where he shoveled dirt, pulled weeds, and raked leaves with all of us.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for reminding us to never forget where you come from. The photo that so many of us have seen of Brad on his mom’s front porch is about as authentically Brad as it gets. No matter who you become in life, you’re still just someone’s son or daughter & we need to always remember our way home.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for prioritizing physical fitness. I’m someone who works hard each day to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while also showing up as the best possible employee I can. It’s been such a huge inspiration to have a leader to look to who also makes time to take care of his physical health, and has cultivated a culture where I don’t have to feel bad for taking a lunchtime break at the gym. I know it’ll make me a better asset to Intuit in the long run.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for refusing to get cocky. Years ago, during a Global BDM team summit, we had a Q&A with Brad. I remember asking his advice on how we could always stay hungry in the US even though we were the front-runner in our region (unlike several of our fellow country teams). His response to me was so humbling & I’ll never forget it. He said that we’re not #1. There are more businesses in the US using something else, or nothing at all, than there are using QBO. So, he said, never forget that we’re still chasing #1.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for showing us to never treat your spouse like you’re married. I know I’m not the only one who adores the way Brad looks at his “girlfriend”, Alys. She’s absolutely his rock, and he never passes up a chance to say it. It’s such an important lesson that he’s shared with all of us to never stop pursuing your significant other.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for instilling in us that life is a team sport. There’s no question that Brad was our quarterback, but Intuit was his team. He didn’t just sit on the sidelines calling plays, he was on the field, with us, leading us, each step of the way. But through it all, it was all about the team.

Thanks to Intuit Brad, for leaving us wanting more. I admit I’ve shed more than a few tears since the first email announcing his passing the torch (however, we’re so thrilled to be in amazing hands with Sasan!), but it’s Brad’s gentle reminder over & over these past few months that have brought me so much comfort: “Being Intuit’s CEO has been the job of a lifetime…but it’s not the job for a lifetime”.

img_9993

Brad – you’ve been the most amazing leader, and I count it such a privilege that I’ve been on your team. I can only hope that the wisdom I’ve picked up from you over the years will somehow continue to rub off on everyone around me. Thank you, thank you!

IMG_9917.JPG

Cherish the Moments

I wish I could say I didn’t need that reminder, but I think once in a while, we all probably do. I’ve always been a self-proclaimed workaholic – and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as I keep my priorities in order. As TSheets ran their #MinutestoMoments campaign this holiday season, I’ve found myself stopping a little more here & there & really focusing on why I work as hard as I do, and ensuring I put the same amount of passion & effort into the non-work areas of my life too.

I feel like I blinked and 2016 is gone – heck, the last time I even blogged was in August, and I’m pretty sure I said the same thing about a year of being married passing by so fast. For the most part, I feel like I’m pretty good at living in the moment & not constantly wishing for days to go by, but this year especially, I got glimpses of exactly why that is so important…

I remember last New Year’s Eve driving up to see my little nephew & spending what turned out to be the last day of his only-child life with him while my sister-in-law got some last minute baby-prep done at home. Little did we know, that January 1 would never be the same for our family…now New Year’s Day fireworks will always be “Happy Birthday Oliver” fireworks for us.

picture1onh

As a married couple, we’re two for two. A few weeks after celebrating our first anniversary, we unplugged (mostly) and escaped for some R&R in Hawaii. I can say that spending 5 days with my best friend in one of our favorite places on earth brought several memorable moments to add to our collection.

picture2bk

As work continued to be as busy as ever, it was also one of the most rewarding years of my career. Our typical slow season while accountants are busy with taxes turned into the busiest season to date for our Business Development team. That rolled into a crazy summer, followed by a hectic fall, which culminated with a trip to New York courtesy of Intuit celebrating our successes with Brad & company. It was such an amazing chance to reflect on the blood, sweat & tears (literally) that the past 3 years have brought. As we circled the statue of Liberty that October evening, all that work became worth it in that moment.

picture3kabs

Sometimes you don’t realize how important moments are until after they happen…In November, I was asked to speak at a conference over a weekend, and it meant I would have 36 hours to kill somewhere between Chicago & Atlanta. I decided to head to Detroit to visit my Grandma & took the chance to go see my other grandparents while I was in town. Little did I know it would be the last time I got to see my Grandma Jan, as she passed away just weeks after my visit. The sense of peace I had in knowing that I took the time to go share some laughs & hugs with her will be something I’m grateful for as long as I live.

picture4kjan

I couldn’t do what I do day-in & day-out if it wasn’t for my amazing support system of (work) friends. As Gail Perry pointed out, the only down-side of the holiday break is that we have to go so long without seeing each other. From early morning on-the-road workouts with Kelly (#FriendsThatLift), unexpected dinners in Vegas with Donny & Chelsey, Philz runs with Seth, countless adventures with so many others, and above all this year watching our entire accounting community rally around Matt Rissell. There are too many moments to list, but I’m thankful they’re all etched in my mind.

This holiday season was one where I chose to go offline for the most part. I could blame it all on spending 24+ hours in the kitchen over Christmas week making family dinners two weeks in a row, but honestly it was also intentional. It was so great to put the phone away, not even open Facebook, and spend some time with my boys. We don’t get nearly enough quality time with our son, but over Christmas we made epic breakfast sandwiches, his favorite snickerdoodle brownies, there were new Nikes all around, and we even got in a family workout. I was on cloud 9, and I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

picture8family

As I look back on this year, it’s easy to see why the reminder is needed. Life tends to fly by all around me and at times the only thing I can do is keep going for fear that if I stop I’ll never get caught back up again. So as we welcome in 2017, my goal is to remember to really cherish each moment, whether it’s work or play. I’ll always be a workaholic, but I will also be a wifeaholic, step-momaholic, auntaholic, and friendaholic. I have a feeling I’ll be putting my new workout gear to good use this coming year, because things aren’t slowing down one bit!

Wishing you & yours a very Happy New Year & all the best in 2017!

Earning Customer Loyalty

This time last year, my amazing fiancé (now husband) surprised me for my birthday with a 6-month coaching package from an online fitness coach I’d been obsessed with following for several months through various Social channels. For once, a fitness persona who uses hashtags like “#TeamPants” & “#MyMomFollowsMe”, and is 100% focused on bettering herself and anyone who will follow. It’s not an overstatement to say that Sarah Bowmar has changed my life.

Upon first look at the program (meal plan + cardio + weight training routines), I was completely overwhelmed & remember telling Brian “there’s no way I can actually do this while traveling like I do”. But for anyone who has spent any time with me on the road this past year, it’s clear that where there’s a will, there’s a way – and I’ve made it happen. Even if that means living out of a cooler in a hotel room, or eating MRE-style tuna pouches while driving across Southern Illinois.

But I promise, this isn’t a blog about fitness – in fact, one of the things I respect so much about Sarah has nothing to do with fitness at all – it has to do with her ability to earn customer loyalty – and that’s something we all can agree is a highly sought after skill…

From the moment I discovered Sarah, I was hooked – skimming through all her Instagram posts, Tweets, YouTube videos, and diligently saving her newsletter workouts to cobble together some of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever done – all with material she provides to followers for free. I remember for a split second thinking “why do I need her coaching package, I have everything she does already?”, but I underestimated her – and myself.

I know for many accountants, they’re doing things on their own as well – I’ll often meet a firm who has a great start to their online practice, and I’m so impressed that they’ve done it with little to no resources from Intuit, but it’s clear they’re struggling (and often frustrated). It’s so fun being the one who gets to break the good news to them by sharing everything we can provide to them as part of our managed account team. Ultimately, It’s an opportunity for us to really earn the loyalty of our partners, who have put their trust in us, by putting their clients on our platform.

As I’ve watched Sarah & her husband, Josh, build their businesses over this past year, I’ve seen myself go from “freemium” user, to client, to supplement user, to elite member of their bowmarfitness membership website. I’ve seen her soar to over 1 million Instagram followers (giving back regularly to loyal followers by doing weekly – sometimes daily – giveaways). And I’ve caught myself feeling such a sense of gratitude for what she’s done for me…and through that, an amazing sense of loyalty. There are millions of places I could go online to find more workouts, but I choose to come back to the Bowmars, because they invested in me, and earned my loyalty.

There’s such a sense of accomplishment when I know that partners who previously recommended other solutions have now shifted to QuickBooks Online. Accounting software is just a tool, and they all have debits & credits, but what can set a tool apart from another is the people behind that brand. I only hope that I can be a similar inspiration to the accountants I work with every day. I hope that my managed firms feel valued, appreciated, and even inspired by me as they make huge strides and move closer to the daunting task of taking their practice online. I imagine when many of them first hear my  pep talk, they feel a bit overwhelmed too, but I’ve seen some of my firms make amazing progress this past year, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Throughout the year, I’ve sent progress check-ins to Sarah, and she’s been an amazing encouragement, as well as providing me guidance on things to do differently. Anything worth doing in life is challenging, but having a cheerleader rooting you on sure helps. She constantly makes me feel like she feels proud of the difference she’s made in my life.

In the same way, I absolutely love getting the call or email from my partners telling me “got another QBO for you”, and I love that we’ll often do a virtual happy dance together when a big one comes across. It’s such a great privilege to represent a company like Intuit, and help earn customer loyalty for QBO. I love feeling like I’ve helped make a difference in my partners’ careers…and lives.

#FriendsThatLift

This past week was a whirlwind trip to #QBConnect…an amazing time with so many awesome people. I knew before I left that I would blog about the trip, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that I realized it wouldn’t be a real QBC 2015 blog without it including Kelly Bistriceanu (Kelly B to some of us). So we got together & jotted down our thoughts on how we got through the last crazy week. Without further adieu, here you have, a View From OUR Shoes…

We’ve both been on the road nonstop for weeks, and constantly doing “the best we can” to stick to our programs – eat right, sleep enough, workout as much as possible. But anyone who travels like we do knows how difficult this can be during conferences.

CTEj0UlUsAAz-ek.jpg-large

We’ve traveled together enough to know that it’s entirely possible to implement the buddy system for the greater good. Instead of slacking off together, sleeping in & sneaking back to our room with dessert, we’ve often held each other accountable and gotten up before the sun to get in our morning workouts, and have made many impromptu Trader Joe’s/ Whole Foods pit stops to ensure we’re sticking to our healthy eating plan. Heck, even when we’re not together we still manage to spur each other on.

txtphoto

It’s always possible, it just requires a little planning & a lot of commitment. Our #QBConnect plan of attack actually started weeks ago, as we emailed & texted each other, strategizing about shelf-stable portable meal ideas to take with us in the car for our 10+ hour journey to San Jose. We even spent our weekend in Palm Springs in the gym getting pumped up for the big show…

CSrIfvwUwAAlSZn.jpg-large

We were prepared to succeed and we stuck together to make it happen. #QBConnectOrBust didn’t have to bust our program.

Looking back on the past year, working out & eating right are just two examples of the Kelly & Kim strategy to building a solid partnership. It is our work worlds that have brought us together, after all, and we’ve taken full advantage of that whenever possible. From mutual introductions to industry contacts, to co-presenting at national accounting firms, to driving across the country to meet with more firms, to Friday night email conversations, to weekend strategy calls in airports while traveling to our next event, the partnership we’ve built has evolved from professional colleagues to “work friends”, and ultimately friends – no strings attached.

CSvqIwzU8AA4K2K.jpg-large

As hectic as life on the road can be, having someone who’s there to lift you up (or wake you up), bring you coffee (or pre-workout), give you a hug (or share a backseat of an SUV for almost 11 hours), and cheer you on to the finish line (or crawl over it right next to you), can be the most amazing gift. In a world where so many people try to keep personal-life/ work-life in two distinct boxes, for us there’s really no separation of the two. Now that we’ve helped each other survive & thrive when it’s needed most, we’ll always be #FriendsThatLift.

CSvRBW2UkAAm5Sq.jpg-large

About Kelly…

Kelly Bistriceanu is the Accountant Program Director at TSheets Time Tracking.  An avid competitive runner, fitness competitor and group exercise instructor, Kelly thrives personally and professionally by ensuring her passion for fitness integrates seamlessly into her road warrior life style. When not traveling the globe, helping accounting professionals become successful TSheets PROs, Kelly and her husband Daniel call beautiful Boise, Idaho home base.  Follow Kelly’s #TSheetsWorldTour adventures on twitter and Instagram @KellyTSheets.

6 Ways We’ll Know if #QBConnectOrBust is a Success

That’s right – we’re doing it again! Why fly when you can spend the entire day driving to QuickBooks Connect! As you can imagine, a lot can happen when you put 6 people in a Ford Expedition for 445.5 miles, but here are 6 ways that we’ll know the trip was worth our effort!

  1. If we get there & Wally World is open
  1. If we avoid the need to intentionally drive the car off a cliff while holding hands and humming aloud Hans Zimmer’s “Thunderbird”
  1. If we don’t have to leave Richard’s luggage on the roadside to make room for our dead uncle in the trunk area
  1. If nobody strips down to their tighty-whities and succumbs to the invisible fire after crashing into a ravine alongside Interstate 5 near the Grapevine
  1. If we don’t find out in Bakersfield that there’s a bomb in the car that will go off if Brian lets the car go below 50mph
  1. If we arrive in San Jose safely in our rental car and not a Las Vegas PD squad car with a tiger in the back seat

QBConnectOrBust 2015 copy

Be sure to follow all of us for #QBConnectOrBust updates! We’ll be tweeting from the road as we make our way to #QBConnect on Sunday, November 1.

Kim Austin | The Hostess with the Mostest | @Kimtuitive

 QB_IntuitLogo_Horiz_RGB21

Brian Austin | The Transporter | @AustinNexus

Avalara

Kelly Bistriceanu | The Party Starter | @KellyTSheets

logo-we-heart-employees

Gail Perry | The Documentarian | @GaPerry

CPA-Practice-Advisor

Jan Haugo | The Troublemaker | @JazFun

ICB

Richard Roppa-Roberts | Curmudgeon | @NeverCallMeRich

Results-logo1