I had “one of those weeks” last week.
First I received an extra bill from my accountant for $1362.69 for extra work they did on my year end (work that I could have done myself if they had of told me, so it was an extra-not-happy-bill).
Two days later I got an assessment notice from the government that I still owed $2578.91 on my corporate taxes (missed due to a communication error with my accountant and I)
At this point in time I “had a moment”. There was some cursing. I MAY have stomped my feet around my office a bit. And I definitely typed an email to my accountant, deleted that email, wrote a second email, and sent that one off.
However, and this is important, during my initial shock and mini-biz-temper-tantrum I never judged myself, my business, my success, or my money. I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel ashamed. I didn’t beat myself up for being a “bad” entrepreneur.
Avoid Judgment. Use Critical Awareness Instead
What I did do was take a break.
Then I practiced Critical Awareness which I learned from my training at Indrani’s Light Foundation (www.indranislight.org) , the non-profit I am the operations manager for.
Here are the steps I used:
- Contextualize – I took a look at the big picture: I paid myself last year, covered all my business expenses, started a new business, and have money in the bank saved for accountant fees and taxes. My family had a great year, continues to be healthy, and we are having a great start to 2016. So, overall, big picture wise, these surprise bills are a blip on an otherwise great radar.
- Normalize – I remembered that I am not alone in my entrepreneurial journey and that there are many, many business owners out there facing the same challenges I am, and who just received surprise tax bills (or other types of bills)
- Demystify – then, I shared my experience with others so that I wouldn’t get stuck in my head and start experiencing guilt or shame over these surprise bills. I called my Mom and talked with her about it, then I shared the experience during my live Q&A class, and now I am sharing it here in this post.
Contextualize, Normalize, Demistify and I am back on track: no guilt, no shame, and no judgment.
Don’t get stuck, move forward
Avoiding this judgment allowed me to focus on the “right now” and the future.
I opened my percentage system spreadsheet, looked over the money I have saved in each of my “buckets” and problem solved the situation. By avoiding judgment, I was able to turn these surprise bills in to a MATH PROBLEM not an emotional situation.
I had enough money in my tax account to cover the tax bill (though I will be short now for next year’s taxes so I have to solve that).
I had $1000 in my yearly expense fund to cover most of the accountant bill, and I put the remaining $362.69 on my business Line of Credit.
Continuing to move forward I now have a new business puzzle to figure out:
- How will I replenish my tax account (I will probably use my Choice Account money for this)
- How will I replenish my yearly expenses account (I will have to cut something out, or increase the amount of money I put in this account)
- How will I pay off the money on my Line of Credit (I currently put money towards my business debt every month so this will get paid off naturally with how my system is set up now)
No need to judge, money is just math
The important part is I am approaching this new situation as a business puzzle that has a math solution, and I am moving forward, not getting stuck on the surprise bills and going over and over the situation in my head trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I am a bad entrepreneur, and how I have failed my family.
Next time you have a money challenge (in your business or personal life) give these steps a try and see how different the experience can be:
- Contextualize – see your big picture
- Normalize – remember you are not alone
- Demystify – talk with others about your situation
- Work the numbers of the problem.
- Approach the challenge as a puzzle you need to solve.
With the almost $4000 surprise behind me, and a strong feeling of trust in my money and my systems, I can move on to the next step in building my business without getting slowed down by feelings of shame, guilt, or failure.
One of my biggest hope for you is that you can also learn to build your business while avoiding self-judgment. So give these five steps a try.
I would love to hear how these five steps works for you, so let me know in the comments.