Trevor is a tax associate and crossfit junkie
Trevor Halcomb is a USMC veteran and aspiring tax professional who currently works as a tax associate at Howard, LLP while finishing his Masters in Taxation at the University of North Texas. He plans to begin sitting for the CPA exam in February of 2020.
Trevor talks with John on how the Green Apple message has affected him and his realization that his passions for CrossFit and yoga help him stay productive as an accountant! Trevor and John also talk about a LinkedIn post he shared with his colleagues and the positive reception he was given!
• How he got into CrossFit and yoga
• How yoga helps with his work and stress management
• Why his passion for CrossFit provides opportunities to network with people in the office
• The benefits of CrossFit towards his career
• Why he feels it is on the individual to make a difference in workplace culture
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Hello. This is John Garrett. Welcome to Episode 189 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work and just by sharing that in the office or talking about it or even being that, it makes them stand out like a green apple in a boring, stereotypical red apple world. I’m always so fascinated how we usually try to stand out by talking about our technical expertise. And I’m here to shine a light each week on someone who understands that expertise isn’t always earned in degrees and certifications. Sometimes, it’s experiences from your passions outside of work that’ll also make you better at your job, but only if you share them.
And really quickly, I’m doing some research. It’s a super short, one-minute anonymous survey about corporate culture and how the green apple message might apply in your world. So if you’ve got just 60 seconds, please head to greenapplepodcast.com. Click on that big green button there. Answer a few quick questions. Again, it’s totally anonymous. I really appreciate the help for the book that I’m launching later this year. And thanks so much for subscribing to the show so you don’t miss any of the cool guests like this week’s Trevor Halcomb. He’s a tax intern at Howard in Dallas Texas where we first met after I spoke and did a little consulting at their all staff event. Trevor, thanks so much for taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.
Trevor: Thanks for having me, John.
John: I’m super excited and especially after seeing that LinkedIn post that you showed, sharing your passion with everyone. It was really inspiring to me to be like, “Wow. That’s awesome that the message hit home that much that you’re taking it to social media even.” So thanks, man. I really appreciate that.
Trevor: Oh, definitely, John. That was during a time especially when I was trying to get the technical skills and get some of the expertise in the software down. And I ended up just taking the opportunity to showcase some skills I had and give myself a confidence boost. And I was nervous about posting on LinkedIn because that’s usually not a platform for that.
John: And the feedback and the responses were really cool from people both in the firm and people outside, which was really, really awesome to see, right? But before we get into all that excitement, I do have my 17 rapid-fire questions to see if I fly down there and then we go to the gym and you’re bench-pressing me, things like that, it’s going to be a while we’re hanging out. So I thought we just get to know Trevor on a new level here right out of the gate. So I’ll start you with an easy one. Do you have a favorite color?
Trevor: Definitely blue.
John: Blue. Nice. How about a least favorite color?
Trevor: Probably green.
John: Green. Interesting. Okay. All right. How about more oceans or mountains?
Trevor: Oceans all the way at West Coast.
John: Oh, okay. All right. You’re halfway there in Dallas. Right. How about a favorite actor or actress?
Trevor: I’d say Denzel Washington.
John: Oh, there you go. That’s a solid answer. Absolutely.
Trevor: He’s the man.
John: Yeah. Yeah. How about more chocolate or vanilla?
John: Chocolate. All right. All right. How about a favorite band or musician?
Trevor: Elvis Presley for musician. Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers.
John: Oh wow. Elvis? Look at you, my friend. It’s great. Have you been to Graceland?
Trevor: No, I haven’t.
John: Oh, man. That’s what happens when you’re a single man with way too much money. That’s what happens in Graceland. How about when it comes to trilogies, more Star Wars or Star Trek?
Trevor: I’m not a big Sci-Fi guy, but definitely Star Wars.
John: Star Wars? Okay. Yeah. I hear you. I hear you. How about when it comes to computer, more of a PC or a Mac?
Trevor: PC. I don’t even know what I’m doing with the Mac.
John: Right. They’re supposed to be easier and they are not. I’m not even cool enough to go into an Apple store anymore, I don’t think. When it comes to your mouse, how about a right click or left click?
Trevor: Right click, straight to the point.
John: Okay. Okay. How about a favorite toppings on a pizza? You can load it up.
Trevor: Man, I’m just a pepperoni guy.
John: All right. There you go. Classic. Simple.
Trevor: Make it double pepperoni.
John: Double pepperoni. Now, you’re living on the edge a little bit. I see what’s going on. How about a least favorite vegetable?
John: Oh yeah, squash. They don’t even have any flavor. Oh man, yeah, the yellow squash, yeah, for sure. On financials, balance sheet or income statement?
Trevor: Income statement, just bottom line.
John: Bottom line. Yeah. And as a tax person, that’s what’s up, right? What’s the number? That’s where we start. I guess what do you want the number to be? That’s more where I go with my taxes but anyway. Oh, favorite place you’ve been on vacation?
Trevor: Cancun, Mexico.
John: Cancun. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. We won’t even ask the stories. All right. Three more. Three more. Do you have a favorite number?
Trevor: Six, childhood sports.
John: Oh, okay. There you go. Now, this one’s very important. Toilet paper roll, over or under?
Trevor: I probably prefer over.
John: Prefer over. Yeah, for sure. We can keep going then. How about the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have? Last one.
Trevor: I’d have to say my garage gym. Just recently, we had the floor mats installed and had our rig set up. So right now, it’s definitely my favorite.
John: Yeah. So we don’t even have to go to a gym to lift together. We can just go to your house and then there it is. Then where do you park your cars?
Trevor: Oh, driveway.
John: Right, right, right. I guess it would’ve been weird to put the gym in the driveway, right? That’s awesome, man, very cool. That’s really cool that you put that in there. That’s really great. So that dovetails nicely right into your CrossFit passion. So how did you get into that?
Trevor: Oh, well, I first learned about CrossFit during active duty in the Marine Corps. I started dabbling in it. Immediately after, I wanted to keep that physical discipline and that regimented lifestyle. I’ve looked for an affiliate and started and fell in love.
John: For the people that don’t know, you’re doing like random extra — like chucking tires or lifting random weights or it’s all different every time. Is that the idea?
Trevor: Yeah, constantly varied.
John: Yeah. So it’s almost like going to the office every day. Like, “I don’t even know what’s going to happen. Let’s see.”
Trevor: “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
John: Right, right. That too. That too. That’s great though. Do you have any more rewarding or cool experiences from your CrossFit training?
Trevor: I’d say just the ability to come at any obstacle in front of you. Just slowly chip away at it, right? It’s definitely big in professional world or anything in life.
John: Yeah, for sure. Just out of curiosity, is there like the strangest thing that you’ve ever lifted in CrossFit or is it mostly weight training?
Trevor: In the CrossFit gym, I guess standard barbells and whatnot. You could get as deep as you want to and go out and do whatever. But I haven’t carried any atlas stones or anything like that.
John: Right. That’s totally what I want to see tomorrow or when you go to work, just you walking in with this giant atlas stone.
Trevor: Yeah. I carry it everywhere.
John: Just go put it on a partner’s desk and be like, “Here. You asked for paperweight. I got you one. You’re welcome. That’s how this works.” But no, that’s really cool though. And I think it’s great. Then I know that based on your LinkedIn post, you’re also doing yoga as well. Is that something that carried over from your time in active duty?
Trevor: Oh definitely, yeah. I’m naturally a high stress, tense individual. And I found yoga afterwards and got to start working on my breath and feeling comfortable in my body. That was a big thing that came out of active duty. But it’s a big thing today. It even helps me just anytime something comes across my desk that seems unmanageable or whatnot. I can always anchor back on my breath and just take a few deep breaths. And, yeah, it helps my focus.
John: That’s great, man. That’s really great. Because I mean I remember when I first started in public accounting and, man, I mean the whole time, I was like, “We did not go over this in the textbook at all. This is not a thing.” I’m like, “What?”
Trevor: Just the pen and paper glued to your hand 24/7 and just taking notes trying to absorb everything from everybody. It can be a little overwhelming.
John: So that’s really huge that you’re able to fall back on this, to just be focused and be productive because I have to imagine it’s easy to just be helter-skelter and just lose focus of what’s going on.
Trevor: Definitely during busy season.
John: Yeah, busy season especially. Yeah, right. And this is your first go round, so yeah, you definitely had a seatbelt ready for that. That’s for sure. So do you feel like beyond the yoga and the breathing that it gives you a skill set that you’re able to use in the office?
Trevor: I wouldn’t say skillset. I’d definitely say an opportunity or an ability to relate to people on a personal level. It has definitely been huge.
John: No, for sure. Is there anybody there in the office that maybe you do CrossFit with or also does this crazy stuff that I don’t even know about?
Trevor: Yeah, plenty of our staff in management and partners. There’s a lot of fit individuals here, so I’ve been able to connect with a lot of these senior management and partners that I would’ve never gotten to do.
John: Yeah. That’s cool, man. Yeah. Because I mean, normally, if you’re an intern and a partner knows your name, it’s not great. It’s like, “Oh, man. This person is up again,” or something like that. So it’s cool that you’re able to have that relationship.
Trevor: Right now, the CrossFit Open and every few days, me and Duncan Campbell — he’s one of the partners up here — we’ll start comparing scores and get into workout tips. Yeah. So it’s definitely been an area to just connect with people that I honestly don’t think I’d be able to connect with if I didn’t —
John: That’s cool. Now, if Duncan were to tell you what his score was and it was less than yours, would you just lie to make him feel better?
Trevor: No. There’s strict accountability on this. We can look up each other’s scores.
John: Oh okay. Okay. Yeah. So he knows. He knows.
Trevor: Yeah. Yeah.
John: That’s awesome.
Trevor: For sure. He’s gotten me most workouts. So I think I’ve got him on the second one.
John: That’s really cool that we feel like your relationship with him is a little bit different than a relationship with some of the other upper management team that doesn’t do the CrossFit.
Trevor: I would definitely say that just because we connect on that personal level. And there’s that commonality outside of taxes because my experience level at the bottom isn’t too broad.
John: Sure. Yeah. No, I mean it would have to be, right? I mean because you have that relationship that above and beyond, “We’re both accountants that work at Howard.” It’s, “No, no. We’re both accountants that work at Howard ‘and’ we do CrossFit.” So it’s a lot more fun to talk about the CrossFit part, I’d imagine, than it would be the accounting stuff. Yeah, even though you still have to talk about the accounting stuff, of course, because you have to get your job done, but it’s more entertaining and more exciting. And that competitive side has to bring a fun dynamic to the office anyway. That’s a little bit different. So clearly this is something that you talk about at work. Is this something that you did on purpose? I know some people that are listening have a passion. Maybe it’s CrossFit and they’re like, “Ah, there isn’t a charge code to talk about CrossFit.” So how did that come up? Or how did you start talking about it or create that discussion?
Trevor: To be honest, I’m not sure how at first it came up. I think after you’re consulting with our firm and you bring in a presentation on your individuality and pursuing those types of things, I think it opened up some conversation around the office. People kind of come out and let people know what they’re really liking. And sometimes, they pursue something they’re just completely taken off by.
John: Right. And then it’s cool, right?
Trevor: They never expected that. They’re a person, not just the IT guy.
John: Yeah, absolutely. I mean there’s got to be some follow-up questions. You just look at that person in a more exciting way than you did six months ago, nine months ago, whatever. It’s like, “Wow, that person does stuff.” You actually get to know who they are and vice versa. They get to know you. And that’s cool. And that meant so much when you posted that on LinkedIn. I don’t even know what it was called, but you had a lot of weight up and over your head and then did a squat. Then back in, I was like, “What the…this is the video which never dies. That’s what this is.” Overhead squat, that was it. And I pulled a hamstring watching you. That’s how impressive it was. But no, but it was so cool that you posted that and shared it. But also just the response from people both in the firm and outside, all positive which was cool. So kudos to you for having the guts to throw that up there because not everybody does. I thought that was really neat. So do you feel like this at all benefits your career? I mean I have to imagine just relationship wise, it’s more fun to just know people and then those people that you actually know, you’re able to work a little bit better with maybe?
Trevor: Yeah. I definitely think there’s a short-term and long-term benefit of pursuing whatever it is that you do. Your daily experience, when you’re happy, when you’re doing what you need to be doing, it’s a lot easier to set time aside especially at the office large, chunks of time aside to actually sit down and do what you need to do. You have something to look forward to on daily basis. And it just allows you to just loosen up and be you.
John: Yeah. And I love that something to look forward to because doing tax returns, not always something to look forward to, right?
Trevor: Right, right.
John: But it’s something that you’ve got to do and you do well. That’s for sure. But it doesn’t mean that you have to live and breathe it all the time.
Trevor: They definitely push that stereotype at — at least in my experience in universities that, “Hey, this is a career. And this is what you need to be like. This is what you need to do.” And I’ve definitely fallen for it.
John: Yeah. Now that you’re out and interning and in the real world of sorts, what do you think? I mean is that an accurate?
Trevor: Oh, well, the stereotype exists I guess because it’s probably a majority, but people are people. And they do what they like to do.
John: Yeah. I mean there’s all kinds, right? You don’t have to be one way to be a good accountant or professional. That would be so lame and boring like if everyone’s the same. Like if everyone was Duncan, imagine — no, I’m just teasing. I’m totally jumping just for when he listens. But no, I think it’s so cool that you were able to see early on. Some people, one, never see it or two, it takes them a very long time to get over that. And I find that most of the time, especially the people that I’ve talked to on the podcast and for my consulting, most of the time, that hump is in our head for some reason. Then once you get over that, cool things happen. Is that your experience as well?
Trevor: Yeah. Relationships foster. You’re more comfortable in your own skin. And in turn, I think that makes you a better rounded overall person.
John: Yeah. I mean what you just alluded to with the confidence that you get and what you just had in your LinkedIn post. “This is me smiling and letting off all the pressures from the day.”
Trevor: Yeah. The interesting thing is that day was a bad day. I kind of down on myself, trying to do some self-evaluation and comparing myself with others. I got to go home that day and got to do something I really enjoy. And it completely turned my day around. A, it was a personal record for me. But B, it was just — I was in the gym having fun with my buddies.
John: And that’s so huge, man. That’s so huge. And that’s like what I spoke about. There’s that study that was done by a researcher at Duke that found that people that have more dimensions to their life, that the anxiety and depression is less because you have something else to be a source of identity, a source of confidence. And if you only had work, man, that’d be a rough night but you’re able to turn to something else. So that’s a great example for people listening. That’s huge, man. That’s really huge. And something that you never thought about when you were like, “I’ll start doing CrossFit and yoga. Let’s see what happens.” It’s like, well, it turns a day around type of thing. And if you have a good day and then you go do that, then it’s just like, “Man, this is the best day ever.” So either way, it’s good. At no point is CrossFit or yoga taking you down. “Man, I did those tax returns with eyes closed. Then I went and bench pressed and do the CrossFit, whatever. Then now I feel terrible.” No, that never happens, right? I mean it’s stupid.
So no, that’s huge, dude. That’s huge and really awesome to hear, really awesome to hear. So how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create the culture like what it sounds like you guys have at Howard now of sharing and encouraging people to share and taking the time to find that out. Or how much is it on the individual to maybe create their own little circle amongst themselves or be willing to jump into the big picture?
Trevor: I would say on the organizational level that to some extent, they’re responsible for providing an environment. But I’d definitely say it’s the individuals that it takes to step out and be like, “Hey, I’m a person. This is what I enjoy. And I know there’s no immediate benefit to the organization right now but me as a person will eventually benefit the organization even greater later.”
John: Right. And it rhymed. I love that. That was good. That’s easy, man. But you’re exactly right. You’re exactly right though. Because I mean I have to imagine that if you don’t CrossFit or you don’t go to the Yoga studio for an extended period of time, you are significantly less productive to the firm.
Trevor: Yeah. I’d retain a lot of stress and just get in my head and not able to sit back and be like, “You know what? Everything’s okay. Everything’s going to be okay.”
John: For sure, man. For sure. So I think that’s cool. I think that’s cool. So before I bring this to a landing because this has been really fantastic, do you have any words of encouragement for people listening that think that maybe they do CrossFit or maybe they do something that no one cares about or it has absolutely nothing to do with accounting?
Trevor: Just be yourself. Try to relate to people that you don’t think you would relate to. Yeah, just see what happens.
John: And do you feel like — does it have to be relating on the exact same thing you do? Or could it be just relating as whatever each of you do?
Trevor: Oh yeah, definitely. I think other people have other things that they enjoy and that makes them them. Just get to know them as them.
John: Right. Then you could just — the next time you see them, it’s like, “Hey, how was that specific thing that you went to?” Because then it’s got to be cool when Duncan comes in and he’s talking to you about CrossFit. It’s like, “Wow. He cares about me as a person.”
Trevor: Yeah, that’s definitely cool. And it makes the awkward conversations around the water cooler a little less awkward. You have something to relate to, whether they do that same thing or not.
John: Right. Because I mean who knows? Maybe it’s your next cool thing. Then I have you back on the podcast and we’re talking about, I don’t know, painting with your toes or I don’t know whatever your next thing. No, but absolutely, man. But that’s really cool that you’ve experienced that. And it means so much to me to hear that me coming in and working with Howard made a difference. So thank you.
But before I wrap this all up, it’s only fair that I turn the table and allow you to rapid-fire question me if you’d like to put me on the hot seat.
Trevor: Let’s do it.
John: All right. Here we go.
Trevor: What do you bench?
John: What do I bench? The bar? What’s that way? What’s that like? Like one time? I honestly don’t know. But not my weight. So I can say that with confidence. And it’s not bragging for everyone that doesn’t know. So yeah, I honestly don’t know. That’s pretty bad. But when I do it, I will put it on LinkedIn. Then you can have a really good laugh.
Trevor: Oh for sure. I can’t wait.
John: Just out of curiosity, if you put like fives or tens on the bar, does that even matter? Or do you just leave it as the bar? Like until you get up to the 25s on each side, should you even do that?
Trevor: Oh, man, just start somewhere.
John: Just start. Okay. All right. You’re awfully kind. You’re awfully kind. All right. What have you got?
Trevor: Favorite TV show?
John: Favorite TV show. Wow. Breaking Bad. Breaking Bad was really great because you had to decide, “Was he a good guy or is he a bad guy?” Like every episode where a lot of TV shows tell you, “These are the good people. These are the bad people,” and then just watch. But in Breaking Bad, you’re like, “Man, I hate this guy, but he’s also dying of cancer and trying to help his family.” You’re like, “Ughhh.” Yeah.
Well, I think that’s enough about me, Trevor. Now, I feel like I need to go bench something. But no, but thanks so much for taking time to be with me today on the Green Apple Podcast. This is really, really awesome.
Trevor: John, thanks for having me.
John: If you’d like to see some pictures of Trevor in the gym or outside of work or maybe connect with him on social media, go to greenapplepodcast.com. While you’re on the page, click that big green button. Do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. Thanks again for subscribing to the show and for sharing this with your friends, so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.