Excellence Over Perfection

A few months ago, while doing my morning cardio, I heard a quote from an entrepreneurial YouTuber that has really stuck with me. She said “I’ve learned that sometimes done is better than perfect”. On the surface, this goes against every instinct in my body, but I’ve tried so hard lately to remind myself of this mantra & remember one little detail: I’m not perfect. But the good news is nobody else is either.

So here I sit, December 31, 2017 – and in typical Kim fashion, I’m going through my mental list of things that I didn’t get done this year (because they weren’t perfect)…like writing this holiday blog. To say I’m a perfectionist is just about the understatement of the year. Even when I hit new goals or milestones, I’m always pushing myself further, or picking apart what I could have done better. When I set a new PR in the gym – what’s my first reaction? “I need to work on my form”. When I hit 100%, that usually isn’t good enough – why wasn’t it 110%? I tend to dwell on the things that I didn’t make happen – like hanging my vintage Christmas wreath on our front gate this year, instead of the things I did conquer – like the fact that we got our roof redone this month in time for the upcoming rainy season in the desert, and I managed to put on 2 family Thanksgivings AND 2 Christmas dinners, plus traveled 13 days of December.

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I partially blame this on “Growing up Hogan”, where a level of excellence was not just expected, but demanded. I’ll always remember getting my first college Spanish exam back & going straight into my professor’s office after class asking her how I could bring up my grade. She looked at me, looked down at my test, & looked back asking “How exactly do you want to bring your grade up?”…it was the first time in my life that I received an A followed by a minus sign, and I knew, that was just not going to fly.

2017 has been one of (if not the) most challenging years of my life – filled with moments of uncertainty where I’ve been completely out of control of the situation (frankly, my biggest fear). I’ve had plenty of reminders that I’m not perfect. I’ve started far too many emails with “Sorry for the delay…”. I’ve beat myself up for leaving laundry lists of “to-do’s” undone. I’ve looked back on more than a few situations & wished that I had handled them differently. From this standpoint – I’m actually glad to see the year go, and I’m anxious to ring in a new fresh start in 2018!

When we train in the gym, we tear down our muscles so we can grow them bigger, stronger. Similarly, 2017 challenged me & stretched me in ways I probably really needed to grow. As I look back on the things that I did accomplish: over 500 visits to the gym; our first family vacation; found an incredible professional mentor (thank you, Simon); was privileged to speak at QuickBooks Connect; was honored professionally by several industry trade publications; and possibly something I’m most proud of, made sacrifices that put my family first, even when that meant accepting that I’m not a super hero, and wasn’t going to be able to do it all perfectly.

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While there’s still plenty of room between me and perfection (and there always will be), I think what I learned more than anything this year is that I’m harder on myself, and expect more of myself than anyone else, and, even I need to cut myself some slack. In the fitness world, you often hear the importance of setting realistic goals that are obtainable & reachable. By shifting my expectations from that unreachable perfect, to striving for excellence, I know I can tackle 2018 with all the enthusiasm I need to make it the best year yet.

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Happy Holidays to you & yours – and best wishes for an excellent New Year!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

grat·i·tude

grat·i·tude
n.
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

There’s something about this time of year that makes people step back and evaluate life. Perhaps it’s because we’re looking at another year drawing to a close, or maybe it’s just good old holiday spirit. For me, year end serves as a time of reflection as well as a pressure cooker, as I try to juggle everything at once: work, family, shopping, cards, baking, etc. etc. etc.! I constantly have to remind myself that these are good problems to have, yet I always catch myself racing through this final month of the year hoping I can wake up tomorrow and have it be over.

2013 was a year of milestones for me (and not just when it comes to frequent flyer miles). This year in particular, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness for where I am in life…so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share just a few of the reasons I’ll look back on 2013 as a year of gratitude.

For starters, I turned 30 this Summer. For some, this would be traumatic, but for me it was almost empowering. As a young female professional in a still male-dominated industry, I’ve always felt like I had to prove myself a little more than peers who had more experience.  Suddenly, I can actually see a generation coming up behind me and the opportunity to pay forward some of the wisdom and advice I’ve been given is exciting.

In September, I was privileged to make “Cover Girl” status along with two industry colleagues, as we were featured in CPA Practice Advisor’s cover story: The Changing Face of Accounting & Technology. Needless to say, it was a true honor to represent the accounting vendor community – especially in a story about something so near to my heart.

On the heels of that, I got the amazing opportunity to join the Strategic Accounts Team at Intuit, and have the chance to work in such a great organization with a wonderful team. From Marty who takes great care of all of us rookies, to Mr. Bergstein who is a constant motivator – and Jim, who ensures that even though I’m usually at least a minute late to internal meetings, I’m never the last one to dial in. I’m also thankful for a terrific leader, who reminds us everyday that his job is to help us meet our goals. Thanks, Ray!

I’m beyond grateful for all of the friends I get to meet along the way as I serve the accounting community I love so much. Thanks to all of you who inspire, advise, encourage, and motivate me – and even to those (Matt Kantelis) who give me (um) much needed constructive feedback to help me grow. When you’re a self-proclaimed workaholic, it makes all the difference in the world to love not just your job, but also the people with whom you work.

This year I watched as friends & family faced incredible struggles, which would give anyone an entirely new perspective. I’m incredibly thankful that my dear Grandma has arrived back home safe & sound and is walking here, there, & everywhere for the first time since Easter. And, in August, I posted Reality Check, the story of little Luke. While most 3-year-olds write letters to Santa asking for toys, Lukey prayed that for Christmas he could go home and be with his big brother…which is exactly what he got. Luke went home for the holidays last week, he’s 100% done with treatment, and is in remission after spending most of the past 5 months in the hospital. Leave it to a toddler to remind us all what really matters.

I don’t doubt that 2014 will bring a whole new set of adventures, challenges, victories and most likely a few defeats…one thing that I hope to carry forward however, is an ever-present state of gratitude. 

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. And all the best in the New Year!