Hi, I am Gem and I’d like to share my humbling story of how I learned that one’s value will never be determined by titles or accreditations or letters after your name. What really matters? It’s truly knowing your own self-worth and the impact you leave on other people’s lives.
My journey somehow ended up inextricably wound up in my Dad’s. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and had always been aiming for a CPA title but the school he was enrolled in did not offer such a course. It was his ‘I should have been’ memory which is why he fervently and passionately wanted at least one of his children to become a CPA - and get the three letters behind their name that he never did.
He first introduced this dream to my eldest brother and then to my elder sister but they both refused to even start down an accounting career path as they knew from the get-go that it wasn’t for them. And then it came my time to choose a career path. My dream had always been to become a kindergarten teacher - I super-love kids! I thought then that maybe Dad would come to me and ask me to take an accounting course. But this wasn’t the case and my heart was sore for him. I started to believe that I could be the one to finally fulfill his long-held dream - and this made him very happy.
After graduating with relative ease, I spent a fair few years battling to pass the CPA board exam. Several unsuccessful attempts - in between stints of working - did me no favours. No one warned me just how arduous and expensive it would be. Frustration consumed me and every time I failed, my self-esteem sank a little lower. I found myself completely consumed in trying to pass the exam - in trying to make my Dad proud and happy - and in trying to become the accredited CPA I thought I needed to be. I walked away from jobs that offered me many great responsibilities and opportunities. I ploughed through my savings paying for yet another attempt at writing the exam. I stepped away from being able to help my family financially - all in the relentless pursuit of three letters after my name. My obsession led to anxiety and depression. I was teary and emotional, I couldn’t sleep and the fact that I wasn’t living with my family at the time made me feel even more lonely, isolated and unsupported.
Sometimes you really have to hit rock bottom to be able to start to pull yourself out of the abyss. I eventually realized that enough was enough! My Dad hadn’t been pressurizing me this whole time - in fact I had received nothing but love and moral support and the assurance that he would always love me and be proud of me no matter what. He knew I didn’t need those three letters to be successful - I was the one who didn’t. All of this pressure. All of this pain. All of this lack of self-worth. There was no one to blame except myself! I realized my ego had been driving me. That I had been trying desperately to prove something to myself and to my family - something that I didn’t need to. Maturity hit me like a ton of bricks! Suddenly I saw how much time, energy and money I had been wasting to achieve a goal that wasn’t really mine. Suddenly I realized that I was enough - even without ‘CPA’ behind my name.
I now finally understand the true value of my talents and the experience I have gained along my journey thus far. I know how I can use these to my advantage - as my true and authentic self. Once I made the decision to stop pressuring myself, I cannot even begin to describe the relief! As though this wasn’t enough, I am blessed to work as an Accounting and Inventory Officer with a company where I feel welcomed, valued, nurtured and which will give me the training and coaching I need to develop my skills even further. My self-worth and value come from nowhere except myself. This does not mean that I am giving up on my father’s dream - it has now become my dream, as well. This is just a detour on my journey - stopping at stations that will fuel my success even further. Change your thinking and you change your life. It’s that simple!
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