I am three quarters of my way through an Introduction to Financial Accounting. I would be lying if I said that I was enjoying it. But that is not the point. The purpose of My Personal MBA is professional growth by filling my professional gaps as I perceive them to be. It would be fair to say that financial accounting is one of those gaps.

If my developing understanding of financial accounting is the measure, the course itself is good. I am finding it a bit of grind but I have already been able to connect what I have learned so far to my current leadership role. However, while my effort appears to be worthwhile, I would still rather not be spending a Friday evening calculating a fictitious company’s EBITDA.

As many of us are inclined to do when faced with tasks that they would rather not do, I busy myself with tasks I would rather do. This explains my Friday night financial accounting sessions and the two books on mindset that I bought last week.

Fortunately, one of those books called me out on what I knew I was doing as I was reading it. Bounce is a very enjoyable book on what the author calls the myth of talent and the power of practice. In it there is a telling quote from legendary golfer, Sam Snead:

‘It is only human nature to want to practice what you can already do well, since it is a hell of a lot less work and a hell of a lot more fun. Sad to say, though, it doesn’t do a lot to lower your handicap … I know it is a lot more fun to stand on the practice tee and rip drivers than it is to chip and pitch, and to practice sand shots with sand flying back in your face, but it all comes back to the question of how much you’re willing to pay for success.’

This sporting example resonated with me. I played age-group cricket to a reasonable level. I spent a lot of time practicing cricket shots that I had already mastered. Looking back, I would have progressed further in the game had I spent more time having someone throw balls at my head from 10 metres. But that was not fun. The same goes for squash. I would spend hours hitting balls. That was fun. But you would not find me doing a lot of fitness work. It is very hard to hit winners when you can’t catch your breath.

I am not sure if talent is a myth but I do believe in the power of practice. After reflecting on my sporting ambitions hitting a wall, I now find myself again reflecting on my professional ambitions.

This blog came about as I was deciding whether to continue studying what I am most passionate about (motivation and organizational citizenship) or to fill professional gaps that I know I have. It has proven inevitable that I will continue reading and experimenting around my passions but I have chosen to focus on filling my professional gaps. Sam Snead would seemingly agree with my decision. It must be said, however, that chipping and pitching sounds a lot more fun than financial accounting…

Sam Snead