Today’s Note is the words I shared at my book launch. Thank you, to everyone who supported and continues to support me as I seek to help more accountants, all over the world. This book is for you.
I really like the practice of an acknowledgments at the end of a book. Every book I read, whether it’s fiction or business or personal growth or whatever kind of book, I always take the time to read the acknowledgments. Because every person listed there matters. Even if their name isn’t known to me, it’s known to the author. They matter.
The same is true with movie credits. The Harry Potter studios in London have an entire room of wand boxes, and a label at the end of each box gives the name of someone who worked on one of or more of the eight films.
What I love is that the names are all combined together at random. Daniel Radcliffe is there next to a key grip. JK Rowling is listed but so is someone who was in catering. Every person matters.
I like the acknowledgments because when I’m on the precipice of something big being finished, it’s a good exercise to pause, and think who are my people? Who impacted me, for good? Who said you can do this, I believe in you, I’m excited for when it happens, so even on your worst day you keep going.
Because there are hard days.
And when you’re thinking back, you also think about those who impacted you the other way – those who don’t make it into the acknowledgements. Maybe a disacknowledgement. An unacknowledgement.
Told you that you couldn’t do it, wouldn’t do it. Or even just didn’t seem to care whether you did or not. I’ve had those people, too. Those people aren’t here. Ive actually forgotten most of them now. Because the point is not to dwell on who impacted you negatively but who did positively.
My dad was someone who impacted me positively.
I used to play basketball in high school, and he’d come to my games. I’m old enough now to realise the massive effort that took – when I was 15 or 16 it was just oh there’s dad at my games.
Now I can see how he made the effort to get up early and get to work early and and make plans to finish in time to catch three buses to get to the awkward location of some of those games.
But whether he was there at the start or showed up partway through you could always tell when my dad was there.
He wasn’t a demonstrative man in many ways, but if someone fouled me or stole the ball or made three shots in a row you’d hear dad shouting from the seats : “Make ’em pay!”
I’m not quite sure why that’s the phrase he used the most. Maybe it had to do with caring for me and being ready to fight anyone who tried to take me down: whilst also recognising I had to do the work myself. I was the one who needed to make em pay for it.
Because Dad knew about the disacknowledgements.
The people who stole things from you or, sometimes, were just better than you. Who did what they did and you weren’t wInning, for a while. And he knew there was a way to deal with it as far as it depends on you: Make em pay.
Make the shot. Show up for practice. Shoot the free throws. Grow the business. Write the book. You succeed, partly for your own sake and for the sake of doing something good and helping people. And partly to make em pay.
Dad isn’t with us tonight. Not here on Earth, anyway. And he taught me a lot and showed me a lot in his life – things like keeping it simple and not allowing others to bring you down and being grateful and knowing who you are.
He knew himself. I know myself, and I acknowledge myself.
I’ve come a long way from the high school basketball games, the small Karen who didn’t really know who she was or what she wanted or what she’d achieve. And I’m proud of this book, and I know it’s not the only one I’ll finish and publish. I’ve certainly learned a lot along the way.
I’m still learning it, every day. I was telling someone just last week about a new realisation I’d had about an aspect of my leadership which is my way of doing things, which is different or doesn’t match everyone else’s. Or what might be expected. And I’m still, some days, double checking with myself to see if that’s the kind of person I want to be – and if it is, and for some reason it’s not okay with someone else or match what is expected, I can still be okay with that. In that particular example the other person agreed, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they acknowledge, sometimes disacknowledge.
Either way, you just keep going.
As a spoiler alert, that’s one of the titles of one of my next few books I’m working on now. Just keep going.
Because to achieve something great, you need first to just get started, and then you just keep going. Day after day. One step, one action, one thing at a time. And every once in a while, just stop. Stop to double check where you’re going. Stop to rest. Stop to celebrate , like we’re doing tonight! And then keep going again.
Here’s to everyone in the acknowledgments, and everyone here and who’s not here with us today. Thank you for being here.