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Professionalism: The Power of Choice

by Katie Bilbrey

Do you know the stigma behind Accountants?  They’re introverted, quiet people who have a love for numbers, right?  Wrong!  Without a shadow of a doubt, I am an Accounting major through and through.  Yes, I am a lover of numbers. But I am also an extrovert who loves to build connections.  I am a networker and a communicator.  I have a love for helping others reach the success that they desire, and by this, I am fulfilled.   Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern with HCA Healthcare in Nashville, where I worked in the tax compliance department.  My responsibilities included completing corporate tax returns, posting adjusting journal entries, and reconciling financial statements.  But the greatest of my responsibilities included the opportunity to collaborate with my team.  I built relationships with the managers, staff members, and other interns.  In addition, I had the opportunity to network with the Vice President of the Tax Compliance department.  The work was difficult, but the relationships were rewarding.  With each new day, I chose to display a positive attitude.  I have always been a believer in the power of positivity.  On the last day of my internship, the VP of the Tax Compliance department asked that I meet with him before I left.  I knew I had not completed all of my assignments, so I was convinced that our conversation would revolve around that.  When we met, he did not disapprove of my performance based on the assignments I did not complete.  Instead, he expressed his appreciation for the positivity I brought into the office each day. He shared that in the professional world, many people sacrifice this quality for convenience.  Ultimately, I found that my attitude of positivity spoke much greater than the amount of work I completed.

Through this experience, I found value in being positive and authentic in a professional world where many choose to blend in with the organizational culture. With this in mind, I would love to share two lessons that have greatly influenced my professional growth.

The Power of Authentic Professionalism over Perfect Professionalism.

So often, we step into professionalism when it is required of us.  We learn to believe that we must act professional for a certain event, meeting, or gathering, as if being a professional is equivalent to wearing the business suit in our closet a couple of times per year.  I have found that professionalism is something we can carry with us each day.  We can intentionally choose our professional image.  It is more than the attire we wear; it is the words we speak and the actions we take.  Placing professionalism on a shelf to be used when needed is intimidating.  This view places professionalism and perfectionism in the same category. We can shift this view by practicing an attitude of professionalism, which leads to authenticity. Authentic professionalism is far greater than perfect professionalism.  Choose authenticity just as you would choose positivity.

The Power of a Growth Mindset over a Defeat Mindset

Arianna Huffington once said that “failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.” We often allow ourselves to believe that failure is our demise.  By not completing all of my assignments during my internship, I heavily associated my lack of performance with failure.  But I quickly found that situational failures do not foreshadow future success. Alongside professional development, you will not get all of the steps correct the first time.  This provides opportunity for growth and improvement. We should choose to embrace failure, because we learn that our failures are stepping stones to our success.

John C. Maxwell said it best by saying that “we choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice.”  The pattern of our attitudes on a daily basis is an image of who we are.  The beauty in this is that we can choose who to be.  Of the attitudes you can choose, I would encourage you to choose positivity and authenticity.  I would encourage you to choose a growth mindset, and I would encourage you to choose an attitude of professionalism. Throughout my professional development, I have found the power of choice to be the most valuable to me.

 

Professionalism: The Power of Choice

by Katie Bilbrey

Do you know the stigma behind Accountants?  They’re introverted, quiet people who have a love for numbers, right?  Wrong!  Without a shadow of a doubt, I am an Accounting major through and through.  Yes, I am a lover of numbers. But I am also an extrovert who loves to build connections.  I am a networker and a communicator.  I have a love for helping others reach the success that they desire, and by this, I am fulfilled.   Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern with HCA Healthcare in Nashville, where I worked in the tax compliance department.  My responsibilities included completing corporate tax returns, posting adjusting journal entries, and reconciling financial statements.  But the greatest of my responsibilities included the opportunity to collaborate with my team.  I built relationships with the managers, staff members, and other interns.  In addition, I had the opportunity to network with the Vice President of the Tax Compliance department.  The work was difficult, but the relationships were rewarding.  With each new day, I chose to display a positive attitude.  I have always been a believer in the power of positivity.  On the last day of my internship, the VP of the Tax Compliance department asked that I meet with him before I left.  I knew I had not completed all of my assignments, so I was convinced that our conversation would revolve around that.  When we met, he did not disapprove of my performance based on the assignments I did not complete.  Instead, he expressed his appreciation for the positivity I brought into the office each day. He shared that in the professional world, many people sacrifice this quality for convenience.  Ultimately, I found that my attitude of positivity spoke much greater than the amount of work I completed.

Through this experience, I found value in being positive and authentic in a professional world where many choose to blend in with the organizational culture. With this in mind, I would love to share two lessons that have greatly influenced my professional growth.

The Power of Authentic Professionalism over Perfect Professionalism.

So often, we step into professionalism when it is required of us.  We learn to believe that we must act professional for a certain event, meeting, or gathering, as if being a professional is equivalent to wearing the business suit in our closet a couple of times per year.  I have found that professionalism is something we can carry with us each day.  We can intentionally choose our professional image.  It is more than the attire we wear; it is the words we speak and the actions we take.  Placing professionalism on a shelf to be used when needed is intimidating.  This view places professionalism and perfectionism in the same category. We can shift this view by practicing an attitude of professionalism, which leads to authenticity. Authentic professionalism is far greater than perfect professionalism.  Choose authenticity just as you would choose positivity.

The Power of a Growth Mindset over a Defeat Mindset

Arianna Huffington once said that “failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success.” We often allow ourselves to believe that failure is our demise.  By not completing all of my assignments during my internship, I heavily associated my lack of performance with failure.  But I quickly found that situational failures do not foreshadow future success. Alongside professional development, you will not get all of the steps correct the first time.  This provides opportunity for growth and improvement. We should choose to embrace failure, because we learn that our failures are stepping stones to our success.

John C. Maxwell said it best by saying that “we choose what attitudes we have right now. And it’s a continuing choice.”  The pattern of our attitudes on a daily basis is an image of who we are.  The beauty in this is that we can choose who to be.  Of the attitudes you can choose, I would encourage you to choose positivity and authenticity.  I would encourage you to choose a growth mindset, and I would encourage you to choose an attitude of professionalism. Throughout my professional development, I have found the power of choice to be the most valuable to me.