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SL Life Lessons: “Try Just One More Time.”

Filed in Inspiration by on 05/25/2015 Comments • views: 2374

Life's Lesson BulbIt was 1990. I’d spent the last two years working at KPMG after graduating from the University of Hartford with honors in accounting. One of my primary career objectives was to attain my CPA. The CPA exam was one of the most grueling exams on the planet. Two and a half days of testing ones knowledge of accounting principles, regulations and laws. The first two days consisted of approximately seven hours. Whatever psychological and emotional strength remained after the first two days was fully exhausted by the three and a half hours of testing given on the third day.

Preparation for the CPA exam would be equally grueling, particularly given the long work hours I maintained at KPMG. I enrolled in Becker CPA review. A course that crammed four years of college accounting principles, regulations and laws into three months. Classes were held each night for three hours per night and six hours per day on the weekends. I’d highlight so many pages in my review manual that the pages looked like that of a coloring book. To memorize certain accounting principles and regulations, I’d write hundreds of principles on 3×5 cards and memorize every mnemonic known to mankind. I’d often sit for hours hunched at the kitchen table with books piled up high and 3x5s everywhere. My mother would often say, “ Sloan, you are going to hurt your brain studying like that!”

After taking the two and a half day exam, I’d have to wait almost six gut-wrenching suspenseful weeks for my exam results. I’d finally receive my exam score. A 62. I had failed the exam. I was shocked given how hard I’d prepared for the exam. There was only one thing worse than failing the exam. Telling my mother, father and close friends that I failed. After sharing the bad news, I didn’t want to talk about the exam or my results for months. Finally, I thought to myself ‘ so what are you going to do, quit?’ I knew within my self that I could live with failure. But I couldn’t live with wondering what would have happened if I’d only tried one more time. I changed how I referred to the exam. When others asked me had I passed the CPA exam, I no longer answered, “I failed” but instead answered “I hadn’t passed, yet.” I had made up my mind that failure would’ve occurred only if I hadn’t tried at least one more time.

Despite the disappointment of not passing the first time, I re-enrolled into the Becker CPA review course. Attended the late-night classes, highlighted pages, and wrote tips and mnemonics on many 3×5 cards. I passed the exam with a score of 88. If I hadn’t tried just one more time, I would’ve never known that I had the capacity to pass this monumental exam.

The only way for us to accomplish our goals, even in the face of failure, is to never give up. As Thomas Edison, who had his share of failures, so eloquently stated “ Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

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