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A Successful Wave Takes Goal-setting and Persistence

Blogs Laura Soileau, CIA, CRMA, CPA Aug 28, 2019

Internal auditors may face setbacks, but recommitting to their goals can set auditors in motion toward achieving them.​

As you have probably gathered from my previous posts, my family is very into sports, essentially following all the major U.S. sports from season to season. With that in mind, my family made our way to several Major League Baseball games this year when we found ourselves in the area of various local teams for conferences or work.

Earlier this summer, we were at a game in which the home team was not doing well. They were really struggling, and as sometimes happens, the few fans who were still left in the stadium toward the end of the game found things other than the game to entertain themselves.

One group of fans was very determined to get the "wave" started in the stadium. For those who aren't familiar with the wave, it involves fans in a stadium who stand up briefly, raise their arms, yell, and sit back down. The goal is to move the action continuously around the stadium.

Obviously, with the limited number of fans still present at this point in the game, getting the wave started proved to be a challenge. However, this group of fans was undeterred and persisted in trying to get the wave started even though their first 10-plus attempts were not successful. Finally, at some point between their 10th and 20th attempts, they got the wave to make its way around the stadium — no small feat with the limited number of spectators who were still there at the time.

Understandably, there was a lot of excitement when the wave was finally successful. Again, the game wasn't much to see, so this was one of the limited things that was keeping people at the game. As I watched all this take place — and participated when the wave came to my section — I reflected on both their persistence in getting the wave to take off and their enthusiasm when it finally succeeded.

As I observed the wave, it occurred to me that if we were to apply this same level of persistence to our internal audit careers, we could accomplish much more than we would otherwise be able to achieve.  On the flip side, if we quit after our first or second unsuccessful attempt, we will never reach our goals. 

While I've previously blogged about goal-setting, it is such an important topic in positioning ourselves for career success that it is worth revisiting. Particularly with the end of the calendar year quickly approaching, it is a good time to look back at the things that we had hoped to accomplish this year (passing the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) or another certification exam, mastering a new technical topic, obtaining a promotion, etc.) and evaluate if we are on track to achieve those items.

The good news is that even if we aren't as far along the path as we had hoped to be, if we set our mind to the things that we want to accomplish and continuously push ourselves to attain those goals, we will best position ourselves to successfully complete them. If you find yourself with a goal that you'd like to accomplish, or maybe a goal that has fallen off track, I recommend recommitting yourself to the goal and then following the steps outlined in my January 2018 blog post, "Going the Distance."

For anyone who may be struggling with a goal — perhaps you sat for a section of the CIA exam and didn't get a passing result — persistence will ultimately best position you for success. Also, just like the baseball fans who tried several times before their wave finally took off, when you are finally able to achieve your goals, an enthusiastic celebration is a great way to reward yourself.

Laura Soileau, CIA, CRMA, CPA