Posted on: November 27, 2020 CPA practice development, Grow CPA practice, Self Development


As a CPA trying to build your own practice, I’m sure you’ve seen your share of setbacks.

But if you ever find yourself hoping this hurdle will be the last one, I’ve got a wake-up call for you. The fact is, you will continue to encounter adversity for the rest of your career.

The good news is, setbacks happen to everyone, including the people you might consider the most successful and fulfilled of us all. 

That means your practice – and your life – can still be everything you want them to be. 

The secret is in learning how to bounce back from those setbacks.

Different techniques work for different folks, but in my experience, these four do the most good for most people:


Many of us react to setbacks by going into isolation mode.

We distance ourselves from others, perhaps because we’re experiencing some degree of embarrassment over our failure. But this is precisely the worst thing we can do. We cut ourselves off from a world of possibilities – information, inspiration, and other resources that could have us back on track in no time.

In isolation, however, we tend to go nowhere but downward in a spiral of shame and regret. 

Instead, the next time you trip up, reach out. Connect with others immediately.

This could mean socializing with other entrepreneurs who “get you” (such as in community groups, networking circles, etc.) or conferring with a trusted mentor. 

In some cases, you might get great guidance and ideas for how to make a lightning-fast comeback.

In other cases, you might just get a sympathetic ear and a reminder that you’re not the only person who’s ever been knocked back a step or two – but that in itself is pure gold. 


Yes, people can be a wonderful source of inspiration. But remember that inspiration is everywhere.

So when things go awry, that’s the time to sharpen your senses and heighten your curiosity. 

Look for new ways to learn. Start reading a new book. Listen to a podcast. Watch a documentary. Listen to inspirational speakers. Take an online class.

Be open and ready to receive.


I know – your practice means the world to you. It’s your passion – your dream. I get that.  

But you are more than your practice.

There are other things in life that light you up.

Maybe you love to spend a few hours drifting in a row boat with a fishing rod.

Maybe you paint landscapes or play a mean game of tennis (in my case, its playing a mean game of table tennis). A

t times of adversity, it’s a good idea to check your balance. When was the last time you did something else you love besides grow your practice? 

Balance can clear your mind, cultivate positivity, and put you in a better position to rebound quickly. 

If you find that you’ve forgotten what else you love to do, now’s the time to reflect and remember.

And in the meantime, try enjoying one of your loved one’s favorite activities with him or her. 


The process of writing is a powerful way to work through the problems that led to our failures and dispel any negative feelings we may be carrying about the setback.

Whether you write with pen and paper or on a computer, it doesn’t matter.

Just let yourself write freely about what happened, what you’re feeling about it, and where you’d like things to go from here. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar – no one else has to see this.

Think of it more as a mode of therapy than a writing assignment.

Some people find it helpful to set a timer and write for a specific span of time and not stop until the bell rings.

Some find it easier to channel their deepest thoughts and feelings when they keep their pen (or fingers) moving the entire time.

This might mean you have to write a few words of nonsense here or there until you hit upon something more meaningful. That’s OK.

The writing itself is the exercise – you don’t necessarily have to read your work. You might consider putting it away and reading it again in a week or so, just to see if you’ve gained any fresh perspectives in the interim. 

I make a point of writing in my journal on most days of the week. It’s served me well and it will for you too. 


Wallowing in our embarrassment or regret is always a waste of time.

However, by learning to bounce back quickly from slip-ups, we make more room in our lives for success and spend fewer days being miserable and inert.

The next time you find yourself facing a setback, try one or more of these techniques to get the most out of your time, life, and business. 


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