Grade 11 math class was held in a cold, damp ‘portable’ classroom decorated in wood paneling with missing nails. My winter jacket wasn’t exactly comfortable to write fractions in. “I love pie charts and 90 degree angles,” said no Grade 11 student, ever.
Looking back, I was raised to think “inside the box” of my small-town life. I was taught that it’s who you know, not what you know, so work hard and be happy. But I knew I needed to find my passion in life. I needed to be different.
I did just that, working from A&W to Office Depot to fixing computers, and finally ending up in accounting. I changed the oil industry opportunities for women in my hometown of Provost, Alberta by being the first female to drive a crane picker truck, hauling and unloading drilling pipe to the oil rigs.
The backlash was not pretty in a male-dominated industry, but that motivated me more to keep reinventing myself. How far could I go? I was given one life—let’s do this, people!
Receiving some concerning health news as a new mother changed a lot for me. After raising three children by myself for five years, I decided not to wait around for opportunities. I had to create and achieve my life bucket list.
Others said most of my list was unachievable as a single mother with two six-year-olds and a five-year-old. Luckily for me, I am a person who asks “how will I make it work?”, not, “will it work?”.
Life became even greater than I imagined—swimming the Great Barrier Reef, swimming with stingrays and whale sharks, seeing wild seahorses and big blue jellyfish floating the shoreline…all with my children. When I heard my daughter excitedly say, “Mommy, this is the BESTEST LIFE EVER!”, I knew we would be okay.
After four months of creating a fail-proof, secure business plan so I could travel more with my children, I decided to check living in another country off my list. It was scary, but my mindset was “Lisa, it’s day by day. It’s just an extended vacation. You can always go home.” I had to achieve my goal!
To my surprise, the more I have fulfilled my personal goals in life, I have become a more motivated accountant for my clients. My children were excelling in school in Mexico (where we have our second home), and we created a huge family bond and shared some unforgettable moments.
Living in another country came with its challenges to overcome. I was forced to find ways to make my business work by learning more about technology. When I found out I could securely and safely send a fax from my cell phone, I knew I had to work to change the accounting industry.
I am so excited about our virtual accounting practice, because I personally know that given the freedom to be fulfilled, people can achieve more in their careers, their family life, their well-being and their health.
Work, plan and budget for your retirement. Be smart with your money. But don’t wait for retirement to achieve the life you want. Time is precious! Don’t ask “will it work?”, ask “how can I make it work?”.
To all my clients: do it for yourself, for your family, for your happiness, for your health! Make that bucket list! Take leaps of faith and give a little trust to gain a lot. In the end, wouldn’t it be nice to say you did it all?