Topical Thoughts from MICPA President & CEO, Bob Doyle What About...Bob?

Disseminating Growth & the Power of Gratitude

 

Happy Groundhog Day! Woody, Michigan’s official groundhog made her virtual prediction from the Howell Nature Center and it looks like winter isn’t quite finished in Michigan, according to her innate wisdom. Whether our resident groundhog is right or wrong, today brings the concept of change into focus. Like the coming spring, change brings with it the opportunity for rebirth and new growth.  

After last year, I think we are all something of an expert on navigating change, but what about growth? Personally, the past couple of years have been full of change for me, but how do I tell the difference between withstanding that change and growing from the lessons it affords? Recently, I found myself discussing this concept of growth with MICPA member Alex Drost from Connection Builders on Branch Out, a podcast he hosts.

There were three big concepts that emerged from our conversation: gratitude, reflection, and the simple art of listening. As 2020 came to a close, an overwhelming sentiment of “good riddance” seemed to permeate conversations and attitudes. While certainly understandable, it seems to me that despite its challenges or, perhaps, because of them there are opportunities to be grateful for what 2020 and the pandemic have taught us. Lessons about preparedness, togetherness, selflessness and all the ways overcoming those challenges have helped us grow into a new better.

Only through reflection, however, is gratitude for the thorns that grow along the roses possible. Only by taking the time to reflect upon past decisions and outcomes can we learn what works, what doesn’t and how to take those lessons and apply them to the future for a better result. Reflection and gratitude are two major parts of how I exercise my growth muscle.

Finally, something else that really stood out last year as a positive area for growth for me was the need for better listening. As Zoom calls became the norm, I realized that my own active listening skills required more than a little refining. More than active, empathetic listening is the key to unlocking so many mysteries about the world, situations, and people around us. Asking the right questions and not just giving time to those we speak with us, but ensuring that when we give that time we are also giving our uninterrupted focus. By recognizing this challenge and even undergoing training on how to become a better active listener alongside the MICPA staff, I see it as one more step toward being a better person and a becoming better leader.

As we look forward to the changing season ahead it is my hope that, by sharing these thoughts with all of you, the remaining challenges ahead look less like obstacles and more like the opportunities they so often are. I look forward to seeing what lie ahead for us all in 2021, and I hope you do too!

Bob

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