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Why learning new software is like going to the gym

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by
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When I talk to anyone considering change, I always ensure they are in the right mindset and understand the pain this transition might bring. I like to ensure everyone is fully prepared for the change they are about to undertake and ensure nothing has been underestimated. It really is a mindset change rather than anything.

Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face”.

Going to the gym

As a regular gym goer, I compare the move to Xero like going to the gym for the first time.

Take for example the Christmas and New Year period. You have spent the summer eating and drinking, relaxing and enjoying time to yourself. You’ve more than likely gained a few extra kilos and become complacent. Because why the hell not? The sun is shining. Your friends and family are off work for the summer, so you let your hair down. This is comparable to using your current method of accounting; whether that be pen and paper, spreadsheets or some other software. It is familiar and comfortable, as you have used it for sometime.

Then reality hits and it’s time to set New Year’s resolutions. You have all these fantastic intentions and set some huge goals. More than likely one of them is to get back into shape. You spend your Christmas vouchers on new activewear, so you at least look good while working out. You sign up for the 21-day trial at your local gym and pump yourself up for the new you. In the accounting world, this is you realising you can do things better, faster and more efficiently. Perhaps you have heard great things about Xero from friends or other businesses using it. Or maybe you are just fed up with your current method of accounting and know there must a better way.

So, when you finally stop procrastinating and haul yourself to the gym, it is a very uncomfortable experience. You feel super awkward (and a bit fat) in these foreign surroundings. Everyone appears to know what they are doing, looking good and acting all confident. Meanwhile you can’t even find the changing rooms! This is how it feels when you first log in to Xero. It is all very foreign and looks so different to what you’re used to. Perhaps you feel like you’re wasting time and could do this in half the time in your old system.

Back at the gym, you’ve had your induction and you are ready to give it a go. You get stuck in using machines that look familiar, like the treadmill and the bike. You wait until it is a little quieter before you move on to weights, as you don’t want to look like a fool floundering around clearly not knowing what you are doing. Similarly in Xero, you need to do some training and get up to speed on how this new system works. So you jump onto Xero TV and Xero U, and start watching training videos. So far so good. You’re feeling a little more comfortable and you have completed the bank reconciliation no problem. In fact, it was kind of fun.

“Neither of us are what you’d call IT savvy, but we find Xero straight forward.”

Peter & Sonya Jackson

Peter Jackson Plumbing

Following your workout at the gym, it is day two and you struggle to get out of bed. Your muscles ache and you feel tired. You decide to take the day off the gym and relax, running the risk of slipping into old habits. Now is the critical point where you must push on and get through the tough times. When you go back to the gym, it becomes less foreign. You see some familiar faces. You use the machines you are comfortable with and you settle in. Day three and beyond, and it starts to become easier. You start to see progress and, believe it or not, you actually start to enjoy it. After a couple of weeks you see results. You have lost weight, toned up and feel amazing.

Just like anything in life, you have to push through the frustrations and hard times in order to achieve great things. On day two you could have easily slipped back into your old habits and taken the easy road. But what would that achieve? You would stay complacent, comfortable and…let’s face it. A little fat.

You soldier on and do more of the bank reconciliation, and then run a P&L and GST return at the click of a button. You add the new car to the fixed asset register (easy!), then upload a couple of receipts and invoices to your online Files Inbox via your mobile phone. Things look different to what you’re used to, but you realise this is actually pretty cool and you can see how this is going to free up your time and allow you to work anywhere, anytime.

Having the vision to make a change is huge. Acting on that change is the tough part. And sticking to it is even more difficult. It is a really big decision to make a change, but it is even harder to push through the tough times and change old habits.

I’m sure some days Sir Edmund Hilary woke up and thought, “I don’t want to climb any hills today”. But he did and look what he achieved. Making a change is not easy. But man is it worth it.

Taking one step back so you can move two steps forward is often a very hard decision to make. Especially when you are comfortable with your current process and it is not entirely broken.

So next time you think about making a change, I say do it. Take the plunge and get stuck in. Persevere. Because you know what? It will be worth it.

One comment

September 8, 2016 at 8.12 pm

From Xero to Hero

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