You’d be forgiven for thinking this was about Taylor Swift. It’s not. I just stole her line. Sorry, Taylor, I’m sure you’ll cope. This is about giving up control of your life to someone else. Handing it over and letting them run you, run it, in whatever way they see fit.
Saying, look what you made me do.
So, maybe it is a little bit about Taylor. But not really. I was 21 when I opened my first business. It was a cafe that specialised in pancakes and crepes. That cafe was everything I’d dreamed of doing in the sense that I always wanted to work for myself. The hours were reasonable and I learned a lot there.
What I didn’t learn was how to manage my responsibilities in terms of tax and reporting. Real talk. I was always short, rarely lodged my BAS on time and often found myself avoiding anything to do with the accounting side of the business.
When I sold that business, and all was said and done, I owed the tax department money. Not heaps, but enough to be a lesson in not avoiding situations. But do you think I blamed myself for this situation? My Aunt, however, did an excellent job of reminding me that it was my fault and that I should have done what I needed to do. Full stop.
But nope. Not me. I blamed the ATO. Look what you made me do.
Time went on and I worked for myself at various stages in life. Kel started full time in his business and things were comfortably rolling along. Well, except for one thing. One thing that I had seen before. I hadn’t lodged my tax returns for a number of years. And I had no idea if our businesses even qualified to charge GST.
My head was very much in the sand. Someone else’s problem, right? Money, bookkeeping and meeting my obligations were things I did my best to ignore. It got to the point that my accountant, a lovely man with the patience of a saint, finally issued an ultimatum. Lodge my returns, adult, or find a new accountant.
So, finally pushed to do what I didn’t want to do, I did my books. I put together the paperwork I needed and sent them over. What’s the worst that could happen, right? It’s not like we’re rolling in it. I can’t owe that much.
I hadn’t learned my lesson last time and the universe had a new, bigger lesson for me to learn. Don’t you find that that’s the way it goes? When you ignore something or unlearn something you should have learned by now, you get a kick in the bum reminder. That’s what this was and there was no ignoring it. It was a reshuffle your life, shake the house down, make some changes, level kick in the butt.
I felt like I’d learned my lesson. In a lot of ways, I have. But I have this feeling, this mouse in a wheel type feeling, that I’m missing something. Am I someone I would consider in control of my business and the associated finances? Yes, I would say so. I’m meeting my obligations and doing what I need to know to what’s happening one month to the next. But…
It’s lonely out on this limb. That’s the problem with giving up saying ‘look what you made me do’. There’s only you to blame. It’s all on you. If I miss something, it’s on me. It’s powerful too. Because if I fail, if I stuff up and something happens, I know there is only one person who can change it. Trying to remember that has been important for carrying on. I’m responsible for me, and I’m going to take that very seriously.