Final Thoughts-Jim (North Carolina), “Pay Forward”

I have seen all the pictures posted on the website, read the daily blogs posted at MSCPA by our compatriots from Massachusetts, and read the emails from Randy, Rick, James, and others.  The key words that come to my mind about this entire experience are: inspiring and humbling.

Believe it or not, I had as much trepidation about going on this trip as many of you have eloquently expressed in blogs and emails.  My career path has been so focused on tax issues the past twenty-plus years that I wasn’t sure what I could tell our clients in Louisiana about how to develop business plans, run their businesses better, or straighten out their records with Quickbooks.  What I leave with after our week together is an affirmation of something that I have always known but rarely have a chance to experience first hand.  Namely, I don’t have to know everything myself and be all things to all people, I just have to know someone who knows the things I don’t.  I was awed by the breadth and depth of the expertise of our entire team.  That is inspiring and humbling at the same time.  It was truly a team effort by everyone.
Likewise, the dedication and perseverance of our Louisiana clients was enlightening and inspiring.  My expectations were dashed with every client meeting.  I expected to hear lots of doom and gloom stories all week and pledged to myself to be compassionate, lend a kind ear, and help where I could.  I never heard one single client whine.  Not one.  All they wanted to do is look at the future and get their lives back better than ever as soon as possible.  Everyone I met was fired up and raring to get on with business.  Such optimism was inspiring and h umbling for me . 
For the past twenty-plus years my primary business has been continuing professional education.  Since I retired from that business in January I have come to realize that teaching is who I am, not what I do.  When Tom called me about this project early this spring, I saw it as a natural extension of who I am and an opportunity to do what I love most – teach.  Whether you realize it or not, you are the same as me – every day.  You are all here because you are ‘givers’ and give to your clients daily.  You may sell time and expertise; but you give your best to your clients.  You want them to succeed, you take pride in helping their businesses grow or you would not have signed up for this project.  You are and always will be givers.
I read Rick Dupree’s email about ‘talents’ and his understanding of the lesson in the parable last Sunday at his church.  The same parable on talents was also the serm on in our church last Sunday.  The message I left with is that you should not bury or hide your talents.  They are meant to be invested and that you must trust in the talents you possess.  How prophetic and inspiring this sermon would have been for us all – just one week earlier.  How awesome to hear it with my own ears on the Sunday after our return.
We all volunteered to share our talents last week.  We knew that going in.  What I learned, and I believe you will all agree, is we all left town with more talents than we arrived.  We lived the lesson of the parable – our talents multiplied.
Several years ago I decided to do something to payback to the CPA profession that h as provided me with a wonderful and rewarding life.  The more I thought about it, it became clear that I didn’t want to pay Back, I really wanted to pay Forward.  Pay Forward to the next generation of CPAs.  Pay Forward to the community.  What better project to accomplish both objectives than to volunteer last week.  I am truly honored20to know each of you and to have shared the experience of last week.
The absolute easiest part of last week was the afternoon client meetings.  I cannot say thank you enough to Tom, Oliver, Bill, Rita and everyone at Operation Hope for all the planning and advance preparation that made our jobs so much easier and so much fun.  I have learned to love non-linear.
What brought us together, binds us together.  Tom told us that, but I didn’t b elieve him until it happened.
Warmest personal regards to my new friends.
Jim McCoy

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