AA 3 Mindset Shifts


Are you at a loss right now when it comes to talking to your clients or are struggling to bring in new business?

On this episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast, Denise Mandeau joins me to talk about three mindset shifts you need to make right now to navigate these uncertain times.

Here’s a few things we talked about:

  • The difference between being fearless and being courageous
  • Michele and Denise role play how to talk about “perceived reality”
  • Why doing the opposite of what you normally would do can really change the conversations you’re having with your clients
  • How to ask better questions that will lead you to find solutions and get better results
  • How to shift from contraction to expansion mode to create new opportunities and become a leader for your clients
  • How you can easily start building more trust with your current and potential clients

If you want to thrive and grow even during these challenging times, this episode is for you!

If you’re having a challenging or stressful time in your firm right now, we’re offering complimentary coaching sessions to help you through it! Visit theabundantcall.com to learn more and schedule.

This episode was brought to you by Xero. With Xero’s cloud accounting software, small businesses and accountants can work together and collaborate anytime, anywhere. With real-time financials, bank connections, unlimited users, and online invoicing, it’s beautiful accounting software that’s powered by people.

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Listen to the podcast here


3 Mindset Shifts To Make To Navigate Uncertain Times With Denise Mandeau

We have a very special guest. Our special guest is my business partner, Denise Mandeau. She has proven success as a business owner and financial planner. She’s an award-winning sales professional with over 35 years of experience. I don’t know if you all knew that. She learned what it takes to produce results and has been working with professionals and sales teams over the last few years, helping them generate millions of dollars in new business. She personally closed over $1.8 million in new business in a few months.

Denise and I are passionate about teaching others how to learn and sell without being salesy, pushy, and coming from a place of gratitude, integrity, and authenticity. Before we welcome Denise to the show, if you are an accounting professional feeling a little frustrated because of what’s going on in the world and these uncertain times, and you’re not feeling courageous.

It’s about that you feel like you’re getting a little smaller and contracting, but you truly want to thrive and work with those clients who will pay you exactly what you’re worth, and for high fee engagements, even during these times, it’s not your fault. There’s no one training or teaching you how to fix some of these problems and connect the dots.

If you are ready to continue to thrive and not wanting to be in fear, you don’t want to be in flight mode and scarcity mode and want to thrive and move forward during uncertainty where most people are going to be contracting, then head on over to TheAbundantCall.com and schedule your free coaching session with Denise and myself.

Once again, head over to TheAbundantCall.com to schedule your coaching session if you truly and authentically want us to be a mirror for you to get to the truth of the challenges you’re having with building your firm during a time of uncertainty. If you’re ready to build your dream practice, work less and still have the time and money to enjoy with your family and work part-time, then head over to the website.

Understand The Difference Between Courageous and Being Fearless

Grab a pen and paper, take notes, and here we go. These are the three mindset shifts to navigate these uncertain times and what to say to your clients. The first shift is to understand the difference between being courageous versus being fearless. That’s the first shift we’re going to talk about. You might be wondering, “What is the difference?” Here is the difference.

This is what human beings need in the image. They have esteem, love, and belonging, safety and needs, physiological needs. The first one is self-actualization. Those are all of the needs. The one that screwed up the most in this current time is safety needs, personal security, employment, resources, health, and property. Those are probably the biggest ones that have thrown everyone for a little loop-the-loop. Before people can consider even thriving, flourishing, and prospering during these times, they have to get over being worried about surviving. That’s going to be the first thing that we talk about.

Denise, feel free to chime in because Denise is here too. There’s this thing called the perceived reality. One of the first things that I would start sharing with your client is stating the perceived reality of what’s going on now. It puts this thing at ease in the other person’s mind. Denise, if you and I were to role-play this and Denise was coming in. She heard about me. I’m a CPA. I do tax planning, and she’s sick of her accountant because they aren’t answering phone calls. I might want to say the following to her before we get started. It probably feels like things are changing from one minute to the next. It seems like it’s a scary time for many of us out there, maybe for your clients, too, and your business.

It’s been unsettling, not knowing how long this is going to be, my cashflow, and everything that’s going on. The law is changing.

Everything is changing so fast that I bet that it seems like you have no idea what it will look like on the other side of this when we get back to our new normal.

It’s been even more stressful shifting our office to virtual, working in a new space and having the kids home and all of that.

It sounds like your kids, probably you, your family, your business and your clients are afraid that this pandemic will destroy maybe your business or everything around us.

Hopefully not. That’s the whole idea. That’s why I’m on the phone with you because I’m hoping you can help me so that I could get through this and come out the other side thriving instead of what’s going on.

What I did was that you can do it in your own words, but you’re sharing the perceived reality of what is, so you’re not ignoring it. After that, a good way to, again, shift from being fearless to being more courageous and then open it up to your clients and ask them, “How do you feel about what’s going on now?” Ask them how they’re feeling.

To make a distinction also when we’re talking about the difference between being fearful, being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re fearless. It means you’re courageous. There’s a big distinction there. Courage is about facing fear and doing it anyway in the face of fear. That’s who we all are. Everyone on this call, you are courageous, and that’s who you need to be for your clients. You need to help them find their courage, too, because they’re facing a lot of fear.

Courage is about facing fear and doing it anyway. Share on X

First, it’s accepting that it’s okay to be afraid. That’s what we did when you shared the perceived reality and that you are too. Second is what Denise said, and also, right from the dictionary, the definition of courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Keep that in mind. You can use this when speaking and communicating with your clients. Denise, don’t you have a story about someone you were working with who was scared?

I was having a conversation with someone, and we were identifying where all of these fears were coming from and then came to find out that she was a retired Marine. She said, “What I’ve learned is going into battle and being on the front lines is you have to take risks to win the war. You’ve got to understand what fear is, what there truly is to be afraid of. To win and come out the other side, you have to be courageous to do that and take calculated risks.”

Super important about the calculated risks. I was on the phone with somebody, which is what sparked us to share this with all of you. He’s the New York, very scared in the heart of everything in Brooklyn but knew that there was something better for him and his family, and why not take the time now to make that shift? He was part of a small percentage of people who wanted to move forward in these times. We’ll talk more about that. Know that a percentage of people might leave and disappear on you, and that’s okay. It will open up space for new possibilities. That’s the first shift to consider and think about when you’re communicating with your clients and how you want to be talking to them.

Change The Conversation With Yourself

The second shift is a big one that has to do with you is that we have to do the opposite. Doing the opposite is what Denise and I are going to share, and we will role-play it. It’s asking yourself a different question. How do you change the conversation with yourself to change the conversation with your clients? Denise, I know you’ve got a trick up your sleeve that you like to use when this pop up, even in your own self, because we’ve been talking. Your mom’s going through a lot, and it’s been difficult. For me, it’s been crazy, and I’ll share a little story with you if you haven’t already heard it. It’s not like this isn’t happening to all of us. What is it for you, Denise?

The first thing is when you start to feel and ask yourself questions like, “How is this going to work? How am I going to survive?” When you’re asking yourself that, it’s bringing up those concerns, those fears for you. Things keep changing. There are questions that are coming up for you and your clients. When you’re asking from that point of view, that’s coming from a place of the unknown. If you’re asking those questions, how do you flip the switch? What if the opposite’s true?

What if instead of asking yourself, “How do I make this work? How am I going to get all this done? How am I going to stop the bleeding?” and all of that, you’ll say, “How can I make this work best for my clients and me so that I can serve them during this time, and we can continue to work together long-term?” Do you hear the subtle shift there?

AA 3 Mindset Shifts

Mindset Shifts: What if instead of asking yourself, “how do I make this work? How am I gonna get all this done?” you say, “how can I make this work best for me and my clients so I can serve them during this time and we can continue to work together long term?”


When the fear pops up, even in us, for all of you, the laws change on a daily basis. Something is changing every single day. The IRS does this, this law did that, this loan is no good anymore for these people, unemployment this, and everything is changing by the hour. You’re saying to yourself, “I don’t have enough hours in the day to get this done.” A shift could be, “How can I use this information to create new opportunities to be even more valuable to my clients, and I get to read the internet and the IRS for eight more hours.” It’s a subtle shift. To think about it more from the bigger grandiose picture and what we’re sharing, we had to make a shift in our conversations with people.

That’s why I want to be able to share this with all of you because these subtle shifts have made a big difference. I’ll share it with you real quick. For me, if you haven’t heard yet, I pretty much got stuck in Peru with my boyfriend and had to get out. We could have lived in fear of, “What are we going to do? How are we going to get out of here? Had the government shut down the borders in 24 hours?”

We changed the question we asked ourselves, and that is how we were able to get out with two hours to spare out of the borders of Peru at 10:00 PM when the border closed at midnight. There are still a ton of Americans stuck there. What we thought about was, “How can we make this work for all of us Americans to get out of the country and think about how we can work together now to get us home?”

How did we come up with solutions that a bunch of other people didn’t even come up with? Also, when you’re in the fear mindset, there is this great thing, and I read it, but in fear, we can’t even think straight. The amygdala is on fire. If your clients are sitting in front of you frantic and you don’t do the first shift, which is to state the reality of what’s going on, they can’t get calm. If they can’t get calm, then they can’t even hear you.

I wrote down the survival mode. Survival mode isn’t success mode. If we were going to get stuck in survival mode in Peru trying to get out, we were never going to be successful. Thank God we were amongst a bunch of other Americans that were willing to not be in stress mode, and we could all think properly enough. We had fourteen brains that figured it out.

Denise, do you have anything else on this simple shift? It seems simple. It’s not the easiest to do but with practice, you might need to write these down. Something you might want to write down is, “How can I make this work best for my clients, so we can continue to work together?” When this is over, our new normal begins, or things have lifted, you can choose your wording.

This is for all the law changes that I’ve seen even, and I’m like, “You’re all so smart,” and all this stuff that they’re throwing at you, but how can you use this information to create new opportunities to be even more valuable to your clients now and in the future with the new norm? There are going to be so many opportunities with other consulting engagements and higher-value work coming out of this because there’s going to be a new tax credit.

I can’t even imagine how many newer opportunities this is going to unfold for a lot of you. Lastly, every day we put off not getting the support or helping our clients move forward, we are having them move backward. It’s also something for you to think about when we get in our own way. Trust me. It happens. That first week when I was back, we were supposed to start another sales class.

That had to get put on pause because everything shifted so fast for our many accountants and all of you. Your clients must do the same and make pivots and changes. Denise, anything else on this? If the phone’s ringing, if you’re sending an email out, if you’re in a meeting with a client, anything else you can think of?

To reiterate, when you’re in that fear space, it might not be fear. It could be anxiety. It could be an upset. It could be frustration. That’s what we call your primal state. When you’re in all of those upset, fear, anger, sadness or frustration, it cuts off all your problem-solving ability. To identify and acknowledge it, be like, “I’m frustrated.” Dig backward and go, “What’s causing that?” Maybe you feel helpless. What’s causing that helplessness? Reverse engineer back and see, “Is that true? What’s causing this feeling?” Feelings come from beliefs. You have to look at, “What do I believe about this? We’re never going to get out of this,” or whatever that belief is. What we’re pointing to is to flip that to the opposite.

The last thing I want to say about this second shift and that I invite each of you to share this with all of your clients. In every email, every phone call, and anything that you do, share with them. In your own words like, “We’ll get through this together. I’m on your side. This will all be fabulous in the end, and we’ll get through this together. I’m here for you.” If you recall, think about sitting on the same side as someone’s table at a picnic or think about yourself in their shoes. Similar concept.

Thrive Instead of Contract

Going to the third one is very important because each of you will want to work with people who want to thrive instead of contract in a time like now. Anyone who is on a contracting wavelength is not probably going to be on the thriving wavelength. We’re going to talk a little bit about the flight, fight, fear or thrive and think about which you think most people are operating from. It’s probably obvious, the three Fs. Which do you choose to operate from?

Another one similar to the second shift is to think about the question you’re asking yourself. If you find yourself in fear, go, “Which place do I want to operate from? Do I want to operate from flight or fear? Which place am I going to choose?” Those are the four places we have found people are operating from. If you read any article from 1918, it is stating the exact same stuff, anything from September 11th for those of you in New York. It was the whole country but specifically, a lot of people in New York. Same stuff. If you think about the time when the market turned around in 2009, the same stuff happened.

Any time there is a downturn or financial-global crisis, this is the time when you’re going to see a small percentage of people. We want to share these mindset shifts, so your clients can also move into the thrive because it’s a choice. It’s a mental choice and decision. My first week being back in Peru, I was in a fight, flight and fear mode. I had no idea what was going on with the business.

Part of my business and what I do for some other work also comes from professional sports. That all came to a screeching halt on March 12th. I was not in the thrive department. It took me about five days to shift over there by asking myself different questions. Denise, when the market and people are contracting, can you share a little bit about that so we can all make sure that you understand clearly what we’re talking about?”

During times when the market is contracting like it is now, I don’t know if you guys know this, but every time we’ve been in a global crisis like Michelle was talking about or some event like this, while the rest of the world is contracting, if you can push through and expand and be in expansion mode instead of contraction mode, this can act like a slingshot to sling you past. Even you could be in a year like this, more billionaires and millionaires are made during these times and any other time in history. Even for you, like Alexi, you were saying there are other offices closed, but you’re open. You’re rising to the surface.

While the rest of the world is contracting, if you can push through and expand and be in expansion mode instead of contraction mode, it can act like a slingshot. Share on X

People who maybe never would’ve contacted you before are contacting you now. What if that’s the new normal? What if that’s a new truth, and you’re shifting your beliefs? Looking for opportunities and new ways to shift the business that weren’t available before, like helping people fill out their forms for applying for loans or helping them see new opportunities for them. This is an opportunity for you to flourish, prosper, push through all this, and be the leaders for your clients to do the same. That’s what they need.

It is important that you share this information with them so they understand that you want to work with the percentage that wants to thrive and move forward. Look for solutions, and pivot their business if they need to. Fill out all the paperwork or you guys get them the documents they need so they fill it out themselves. It’s super stressful for a lot of your clients. By doing the first shift and sharing exactly what you’re thinking, they’re thinking. That’s what it is.

If you read Chris Foss’ book, you will hear what I’m talking about, but it’s stating the predictability of what they’re probably thinking, which puts somebody at ease and calm so they can hear you. What I invite each of you to do is that make sure, Alexi, if you’re going to be working with new clients, that you consider working with only those who are willing to thrive during a time like this and almost adjust how you’re picking and choosing the clients that you want to work with.

Think about your current client base. There are a lot of people that I’ve talked to that there’s a percentage of clients you don’t want anyway. People’s true colors are going to show up here but you have to help them through this process because a lot of people won’t be able to process this on their own.

If they’re a client worth having and sticking around, take them through some of what we talked about for them to see what’s possible, how they can push through, how they can thrive, how they can pivot to still generate some revenue and have a loan to subsidize the lost revenue. What can they do? Think about it for yourself. You’ll get through this together. You’re on their side and having them feel that. One bonus thing I want to share, and Denise, I don’t know if you have anything else. I want to hear your story, and then I’ll end it with one thing.

I was on a call with some people. There was somebody in the group that has a business. They do manufacturing, and he does digital printing. What he saw was the opportunity. He could digitally print the face protectors for the medical people that they could wear. They’re wearing these protective goggles that are hurting their face and all that. He put it out there, and he’s getting orders like crazy now. He’s busier than he was doing what he was doing before.

It’s all about being open to seeing what’s possible, and then things will start to align and show up. That’s how we all have to look at what we’re doing. Creating that excitement and that energy and being like, “It’s almost Christmas. There’s so much here. I can’t wait. What’s going to pop up?” Having that energy, that’s what you’re going to start seeing things that you didn’t see before, and so will your clients.

AA 3 Mindset Shifts

Mindset Shifts: It’s all about being open to seeing what’s possible and then things will start to align and show up.


The one last thing I want to leave you with is that now is a great time to continue to build trust with prospects that you haven’t worked with. Maybe you’ve met with them, and they told you they wanted to think about it. Maybe you met with them a year ago, and you didn’t follow up with them every week, every 30 days or 90 days. Maybe it’s a current client, and you want to continue to build that trust for them to still have them see the value in you. One of the ways to do that, and I don’t take credit for this. It was Chris, Brandon or Derek who got credit for this, but trust is also built on predictability.

What I mean by that, and it was so cool because, let’s say, Alexi, you’re filling out a PPL something, whatever that thing is called for a client, and you took responsibility for the client. The client is relying on hearing from you. They want updates. They’re nervous. Their business is closed, and they got to make payroll. They’re so confused about all the different rules and regulations and laws.

They need updates. To build trust, the predictability is if you pick up the phone and call them with an update. The best bet is when you call them and, let’s say, you don’t have an update, but you call them to check in, “Joe and Suzanne, I hope you’re well today. You’re still healthy. You’re at home. I wanted to let you know it’s about 4:00 Eastern, and I don’t have any updates, but you’re going to hear from me tomorrow. I hope you have a restful evening.”

That’s the type of predictability that I’m talking about. I’ll give you an example of what not to do. I went through this for four and a half months. I have a rental property in Arizona. My guy moved out on December 31st, and I was the one that had a call from the real estate agent asking her for updates like, “How many showings did you have? Is it rented?” For four and a half months, it was vacant. It’s never happened in years.

There’s a new time for everything, but I didn’t gain any trust from her. We got it done, but it was so annoying. You could have easily sent me an email or had to state the expectation first, like, “Michelle, I’m going to email you every week with exactly how many showings I’ve done and what the update is on all of them.” There was no sequential system. It was a hot mess. A hot mess does not create trust. That’s an example of what not to do. Think about your clients in a world of uncertainty and need some certainty. By giving them expectations, it will create certainty. That’s what I wanted to leave you with.

Thank you all so much for joining Denise and I here. Talking about these mindset opportunities that exist for you, it is a simple shift that you can make in a split of two seconds. Remember, are you going to choose to be courageous or fearless? Where are you going to choose? How are you going to think and ask yourself a different question to do something of the opposite of whatever you’re thinking?

It is a choice that you might have to make every hour. Are we going to thrive together or are you going to contract on your own? One of the things to share personally, I can’t even remember if I already talked about this. About a few months ago, I was in Peru. I’m not going to lie. I was in the fear department. We were escaping. My adrenaline was so high that I didn’t even realize that a fifteen-hour bus ride had gone on, and we ended up in Bolivia to cross the border with two hours to spare.

In those moments, I had to choose to thrive instead of contract. If I were to contract, I’d still probably be in the mountains in Peru with the Yamas, the llamas, and the horses. Looking at the beautiful scenery and not being able to be here to help each of you show you the ways and the different shifts to make when communicating with your clients or with yourself. The self-talk and what we say to ourself is the biggest thing that is a game changer. I got home. It took me about a week from that moment. It was about a Sunday to Sunday when I was in fear.

I was in flight mode. I was in flight mode. I was like, “How the heck am I going to get to a somewhat normal? You get to choose where you want to operate from. We all have that choice. Ultimately, like I said, what do you want to choose now? Think about that. What do you want to choose for this hour? What have you inspired to move forward in the face of uncertainty? If you read history, especially during 1918, it was the flu. History repeats itself. Most millionaires and billionaires were created during times of uncertainty. Keep that in mind. If you want to get to the truth in your business, what should you be charging? I know for a fact that some of you probably don’t believe you can get a high monthly fee engagement client.

Maybe you think you need to do some work for free or you want to think about what your clients can afford, and that’s all they could probably pay you. None of it is your fault. There’s no one teaching or training on how to fix these problems and connect the dots, especially during these times. Maybe you are committed to getting to the truth, reflecting, and moving forward during a time of uncertainty and thriving through this, coming out the other side into the new normal with a level of clarity and opportunity that exists. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to schedule your complimentary coaching session.

That’s one hour long with myself or Denise. All we require is that you are a firm owner and you’ve been in business for at least two years. We would love to talk to you again. Head on over to the website. I hope you got a lot out of it. Use what you learned in communicating with your clients and also leave a written review on Apple Podcast. The review helps this show grow, and share with me the one mindset shift you’re going to make. Keep thriving, keep growing, and have a beautiful day. I’ll see you in the next episode.


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