Putting yourself first

July 2021

The exams are over – now it’s time for a bit of self-care, says Pantelis C. Fouli
Congratulations to all who showed up and gave it their best shot at the ACCA’s June exam sitting. They say just showing up is half the battle. I would take it one step further and say: “Showing up isn’t half the battle. It’s not 90% of the battle. It is the battle.”

I remember when I sat my ACCA exams. I don’t think there was an exam session that I did not want to drop out. I would try to talk myself out of attending a session and picking it up again after the holidays (Summer or Christmas), but most times than not I would show up.

Having said that, there were times when I would not – but I did not give up.

This article is for us all; those who showed up and smashed their exam sitting, those who showed up and would have rather not, and those of us who pulled the plug at the last minute.

Guys, there is nothing wrong with deferring your ACCA success, because that’s what it is.
A no from an examiner (fail mark) just means not now. Not getting that pass means you’re just pushing it down the road, deferring it. We are all human, there are no unicorns and there is no perfection.

Lessons learned

A quick story about me – I registered as an ACCA student in May 1994. I qualified as an ACCA (believe it or not) on 17 July 2017, six days after I turned 43!

You read that right. Even though I passed all my professional exams at the first attempt while in full-time employment and married with two wonderful girls, I left huge gaps and periods of not taking advantage of the exam sittings.

Do I have any regrets? No! My experiences over the two decades I was fighting the good fight to qualify taught me hundreds of lessons that money cannot buy. In turn, I chose to use those experiences to help and support for free and in my spare time aspiring accountancy students, so they know that they are not alone on this path.

If there would be one thing I would ask from you all is to take time for some self-care now that your exams are over.

Six types of self-care

Emotional self-care: activities that help you connect, process and reflect on a full range of emotions. Examples include seeing a therapist, writing in a journal, creating art, playing music, etc.

Practical self-care: tasks you complete that fulfil core aspects of your life in order to prevent future stressful situations. Examples include creating a budget, taking professional development classes, organising your wardrobe, etc.

Physical self-care: activities you do that improve your physical health. Examples include taking a walk during a lunch break, sleeping eight hours a day, staying hydrated, etc.

Mental self-care: any activity that stimulates your mind or your intellect. Examples include reading a book, solving a puzzle, playing chess, going to a museum, etc.

Social self-care: activities that nurture and deepen the relationships with people in your life. Examples are brunch with friends, going on a date, making time to call your family regularly, etc.

Spiritual self-care: activities that nurture your spirit and allow you to think bigger than yourself. Spiritual self-care does not have to be religious, although for some it is. Examples are meditation, yoga, going to a place of worship, being in nature, dedicating time for self-reflection, etc.

Until next time.

Pantelis C. Fouli is ACCA qualified and an ACCA Advocate and Student Mentor. Anyone wishing to get in touch can connect with me via LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/pantelisfouli), but please mention in the personal message that you are a PQ reader.