Back in May 2017 I took the decision to speak to a counsellor.
Today, I know it’s the reason behind some of the most positive things I have my life. And for that reason, I’m a huge advocate of what counsellors do for people.
Where it began
In my personal life, I was fortunate to have a solid big bunch of mates (who I haven’t managed to shake off for many years), a good upbringing, and continue to have a supportive and open family whom I’m close to.
Work-wise, I was doing well with the firm I worked for, with a view to succession within that firm, which was something I’d been striving to achieve for years. So far so good, it seemed.
But, something about it all didn’t sit quite right.
Being Orcadian / Scottish, I had that typical “I’m not speaking about my emotions” attitude.
I had never felt depressed or anxious or anything like that – and I wasn’t – but I found there were times at work when I got more frustrated about smaller issues than I knew was rightly reasonable. I knew that’s not what I’m like, but I couldn’t pinpoint the issue.
Some people are naturally very in touch with their emotions, and find it easy to show empathy. Whereas, I’m naturally rather more black and white – just ask my family and friends!
It wasn’t that I simply didn’t care about certain situations; but I was aware that I found it difficult to truly feel any deep level of emotion about it, never mind showing any emotion.
Whilst this slightly emotionless state might be good for making certain business decisions - and indeed I could always make those with some clarity - it wasn’t a trait which was standing me well with personal relationships. Well, to be specific, I hadn’t been in a long-term relationship for a very long time!
Being Orcadian / Scottish, I had that typical “I’m not speaking about my emotions” attitude. “Ach, it’ll all be fine, and will come good yet”, I thought.
I’m a big fan of the TV shows Billions and Suits. In those shows, many of the lead characters have long term ongoing relationships with their counsellors. They work through both their business and personal issues. I had been watching these shows for a long time without the counsellor-client relationships really registering as important, or at least registering as relevant to me.
However, the more I reflected on all of the above, I began to think perhaps it might help me. That, coupled with increasing knowledge of folk I knew who had had positive experience of counselling, got me starting to search online.
If nothing else, I thought it would satisfy my ever-present craving for knowledge, and would allow me to understand who I really am.
I had nothing to lose.
And so it began
After a week or two of hunting online through the numerous counsellors who are out there, I found who I hoped would be ‘the one’. Not that I knew what ‘the one’ would actually do, but the website info mentioned that they would be quite frank with me; ideal!
We did things over Skype, purely due to geographical logistics. For me, the right person was more important than being face-to-face – and I quickly found that you can in fact have a very strong connection even when you’re not sitting in the same room.
in the end, handing in my notice was an incredibly easy decision.
After a few weeks, and a lot of ‘frank-ness’, I was beginning to open up and discuss things which I didn’t even realise were still relevant. From all of this, I began to feel more clear about certain issues, including my position within the previous firm.
Long story short; I realised that no amount of promotion and money was ever going to make up for certain factors which would prevent me from having true long-term happiness.
Far from being a quitter, and despite various efforts to change those factors - as an attempt to be able to stay with a firm & staff I had cared deeply about for many years - I could see the situation was still the same.
Although I had nothing else lined up, in the end, handing in my notice was an incredibly easy decision.
And was incredibly liberating.
Megs and Angus
During the above, most importantly, and surprisingly quickly after starting working with the counsellor, I met my partner, Megs.
Sure, we might have been destined to meet anyway, but I honestly don’t believe we’d be together if it wasn’t for me having allowed myself to get back in touch with my emotions.
This privilege was completely due to the work done with the counsellor.
Together we now have a dog, Angus, a cat, Mali, and things are looking pretty damn good for the future!
With Megs and the zoo in tow, and notice having been handed in, I soon realised that I care too much about working with clients and their businesses to simply stop working with them. This brought me to setting up CRC Accountancy.
Emotions and the business
CRC doesn’t serve merely as something to pay the bills. From my previous role, above, I know now that I couldn’t go through life purely doing a bill-paying job.
CRC doesn’t feel like work. I really bloody enjoy it.
Instead CRC plays a much more important role. It gives Megs and I the flexibility to spend time together, working around her shift patterns in a way that works well for us. This will continue to play a leading role in how CRC develops going forward.
The best thing of all though, is that CRC doesn’t feel like work. I really bloody enjoy it. The clients I get to work with, seeing their businesses develop and work around their lives, and helping them work towards achieving a position of financial and time wealth, is massively rewarding.
The ongoing process of discovery and change becomes very enjoyable.
Nowadays, my relationship with clients goes much deeper than the numbers.
- From my end - like every business owner, each of my clients ultimately forms part of my emotional portfolio. So for my continued happiness, I ensure that our mindsets are a good fit. If they are, working together is effortless, which in turn makes the benefits greater – for both me and them. Ideas flow, and there is a true mutuality of understanding.
- From the client’s end - now that I have an increased awareness of the importance of being truly happy in the workplace, and finding out what that happiness looks like, I've found myself much better positioned to help clients find that for themselves, and all those involved in their business.
When that is known and understood, working together to design and alter a business so that it works both financially and emotionally for the client, their family, and their 'business family' becomes easier.
The ongoing process of discovery and change becomes very enjoyable.
whoever you decide to find impartial counsel in; keep them close.
Counselling is not a closed book
I feel very lucky to have come to the above realisations when I did.
Even more lucky to have found the frank counsellor who then helped me discover the meaning behind those realisations. Any later, and forming CRC might not have happened at all.
However, even though I find myself in a pretty cool place now, counselling doesn’t need to be a closed book. Bending the ears of Megs, family and friends certainly has its place (sorry, guys - you're not off the hook yet!), but the impartial advice of the counsellor also bears importance from time to time.
Our discussions might be more infrequent, but I know they can be had should the time arise.
So whoever you decide to find impartial counsel in; keep them close.
Discovering the things you didn’t know your brain knew, may be the most important lesson you’ll ever learn.