So blah blah blah, I’ve got a pretty frickin’ tight schedule.
I don’t have a whole lot of spare time. I don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room, as it were. I mean, if I don’t schedule rest for myself, 80% of the time I forget I need it until I’m overbooked and freakin’ out. Ok, 85%.
Sounds like I’m complaining, totally not, it’s all chosen.. meaning, I’m the type who really really really likes to take advantage of opportunitites, and 2011 rapidly became an incredible year chock full of good sh*t. Love it. For the sake of this particular post, however, the phrase “chock full” is the one we’ll focus on. Cool, so you get the general picture of said jam-packed life—life coaching, sky coaching, writing, exercising, emailing, my people-time, me-time, travel travel travel. With all that going on, I like to think that I have pretty thorough control over how I choose to spend my time. Heh heh heh… I know you know there’s a kicker…
BAM, cliché time, “life happens” and all those well-laid plans of that big busy life go out the proverbial window, down the proverbial drain, or whatever metaphor you like most.
For me this time around, it came in the form of a letter from the IRS. Yup, in thick of my big summer push, I had to prove every last expense I claimed on my 2009 return.
Now, for those of you who haven’t been through an audit, you may not get the impact of those words, and for those of you who keep your stuff more organized than I did in 2009, you may be thinking, “what’s the big deal?” Well, put it this way… after that letter, followed three of the most grueling weeks of my life to date. And I’m pretty awesome at dealing with things as they happen, seeing stress as the detrimental force that it is, and engineering solutions on the fly. And even with all that it STILL was super stressful. Why? Why with all those faculties, and skills, and presence of mind was it still stressful?
Well, it’s those first couple paragraphs. Because I had over-scheduled my life to the point where I barely had time to rest, much less squeeze in an uber-time-consuming, uber-priority, uber-deadlined tax audit. I would definitely say I cracked a bit under the unexpected pressure. I like to keep my word to the commitments I make, and when over-commitment strikes, it’s an instant inner conflict of values. Gotta do the audit, and gotta go to team training. Gotta do the audit, and gotta write my column. Gotta do the audit, and gotta keep up with my clients. I say “gotta” and of course I mean “wanna.” I want to do the audit because I don’t want to go to jail, or pay large fees, or have my legitimate professional life disallowed per the very-removed IRS dude in Memphis, TN. I also want to do right by my team, do right by my clients, do right by my writing, and do right by every bit of everything I think deserves my time. I’m intense like that.
So what do we do when time runs out? Dang, such inner conflict and physical toll, I tell ya. Now I’m totally sick. For real, after I finished the audit, I had one more coaching trip, and as soon as I got home I was down for the count. Like fully out. Had to sleep for two days straight. How’s that for effective use of time? Certainly effective for what I needed, I guess. Hmm…
Anyway, sounds like a lot of belly-aching from my end… So what’s the lesson? Lessons plural? Sometimes there’s one, sometimes there’s many, but there’s never none.
In the case of Melanie Curtis vs. the tax audit, these are what I’ve come up with:
1. I have time.
I always say, “I don’t have time.” Well, clearly, I do… I made time for hours upon hours of photocopies, data-entry, and collecting records. In fact, I actually found more expenses than I had claimed in my original return, such that the IRS actually may owe ME money at the end of this thing. Highly doubtful that will actually happen, but oh the sweet justice if it did. Bottom line, what I’m taking away… if it’s really important, I always got time.
2. It’s ok to adjust commitments when life throws a big curveball.
I think I forget that people have compassion sometimes… you know, that they’ll understand when curveballs throw us for loops. My second lesson from my audit adventure is to trust that my people will understand. I don’t think I thought of this one once the entire time, and that in and of itself could be considered troubling, but I’ll save that for another entry. My intention for now is to really remember this one going forward, cause with the support of our community and family holding us up in times of trial, we can’t possibly crumple.
3. Schedule rest.
I wonder if the day will ever come where I’m not a planner… I definitely enjoy that from time to time, but pretty much I block off the time where I’m planning not to plan. Hahaa.. really, that’s how much I value my time. I’m cool with this. It allows me to do incredible things with my life, and make the most of every single moment and I LOVE that. My lesson here is that without rest, I lose more time in the end. So, rest is critical to fully utilizing my time the way I desire, as such, rest now takes on a new higher value to me. Bam, logic emoployed, bleary-eyed Melsinore no more. Well, not as much, anyway.
So yeah, this entry has been pretty specific about a pretty specific experience and the pretty specific things I learned from said pretty specific experience. The audit was a sh*t storm, I’m not gonna lie. It sucked. And I am soooooooooo looking forward to never going through another one. And in the same breath, I’m grateful for it. I’m grateful for those lessons I listed. The storms reveal our strengths, and burst light on things we can improve.
So what was the latest storm to ravage your life? More importantly… what did you learn?
**Updated to add: Shortly after submitting this monstrosity, the IRS wrote me basically saying, “Looks good. Go back to being awesome.” Haha aka I DID prove my very unusual yet still entirely professional life as completely legitimate.
Read it and weep, Memphis.
Right after I sent the audit, I checked my PO box and got this book. I think I know what number one is… 🙂