DNA & the Tax Man:
Does your fear of taxes reside in your DNA?
by Connie Vanderzanden
Over the last few days, I’ve found myself mentioning several times that while February was energetically way better than the last part of 2020, March may be a different story. Then, in the middle of explaining what I meant to someone who asked, it dawned on me.
This is not a statement or belief based on current facts.
I was making an assumption based on historical events and those facts have changed.
So, why might March be an interesting month - for me, at least?
For 30 years in a row, this is the time of year when I would spend my time working with tax deadlines, directly in the tax processing industry, and making sure deadlines are acknowledged and met. Getting pushback and anxiety from not only my clients but tax professionals as well!
While my business life looks MUCH different now, that stress and fear are still very firmly coded in my DNA!
So coded, in fact, that occasionally I catch myself falling into old behaviors that I’ve used to protect my energy. (Purchasing unnecessary comfort-style foods and blocking out my schedule to reserve the time, to name just a couple.)
Which got me thinking… how do historical results and past experiences influence or cloud our perceptions and current interactions?
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- A client has man-splained something one too many times, and now you are on the defensive every single time you meet.
- A team member has fallen short on a delegated project more than three times, you just know it will happen again… and now you’ve lost trust in them, so you just do it yourself.
- Every time you travel something happens with your credit cards - hit the limits, the credit card company puts a hold on the card for fraud, etc. - so you feel a sense of dread every time you pull a card from your wallet.
- You bravely state your needs and make a request, only to fall on deaf ears. It’s happened one too many times that, over time, you’ve stopped asking altogether.
Now some of these are simply examples of over-exaggerations and yes, I am prone to this type of thinking, just ask my husband. 😂
So those negative historical experiences find a way to put a bookmark in our minds which then influences any future conversations we will have. That’s when our Ego steps up and takes over. Ego loves to run on the negative side of things and is superb at creating a great story - somewhat based on facts and always amped up for dramatic effects (my best Ego-led stories include movie stars and theme songs).
Ego now has successfully blocked us from having an important (and possibly uncomfortable difficult) conversation because we are stuck in the untruth of the story and all the amped-up feelings.
When I allow Ego to run that story long enough, those examples above show up. So when I am in the middle of the conversations, more times than not, I create an unsafe experience that lets confrontation slip in.
I am not saying that confrontation and anger will NEVER happen. That’s impossible because we are not able to control how the other person will show up to the conversation.
However, we can control how WE show up (don’t worry I’ll get to that taxman soon enough). Here are five tips to prepare yourself to have difficult conversations:
1. Grounding into your own power
Take at least three long deep breaths, paying attention to breathe through your full body. Emphasize on opening up your entire chakra system - especially through your throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral, and root:
- Throat - for clear communication and self-expression; activate this by singing or talking.
- Heart - opening up this chakra allows for compassion and amicable relationships; put your hands over your heart and breathe self-love and compassion into this area.
- Solar Plexus - confidence is found here, this is your control center or your power core. Build your confidence - get a piece of paper and write down all the things you are awesome at.
- Sacral - all about the feelings and sexuality. By opening up the chakra, feelings are naturally expressed without being over-emotional. Get creative, eat something super enjoyable. Really nurture yourself and find the joy in living.
- Root - this is all about feeling comfortable in your body. When it’s open you’ll feel well-balanced, sensible, stable, and secure. Get your body gently moving, stretching.
2. Identify the intention behind the conversation
For example, to build a partnership, to resolve a process, create boundaries. YOU are able to control how YOU show up, so set an intention.
3. Have a clear request
Quick reminder, not everyone makes quick decisions like most entrepreneurs I know. If the person you will be meeting with is a slow decision-maker, be prepared to meet them where they are at. Create a clear agenda for the conversation. Have back-up material or options available. Ask what their decision-making style is.
4. Open up your heart and communicate from love
At the very least, for ourselves to hold our own boundary of how people will act towards us, what is acceptable, and what is NOT appropriate.
5. Acceptance that the other person is only human
We are ALL flawed and imperfect and unless someone tells us, we do not fully understand what another human being is going through at any particular time. It can look similar, and it isn’t.
An additional physical tool I recommend is to find a touchpoint. This will be different for everyone.
- Sometimes I bring a gemstone that I can hold in my hand.
- I have pulled a Goddess Oracle card to ground me.
- It can be as simple as writing a word down in your notebook or on a post-it.
- One of my other favorite tools is a temporary tattoo and my favorite provider is Conscious Ink.
A reminder, don’t be afraid to walk away. No matter how prepared we may be for the conversation we have no control over the other person or what their agenda may be. When you start feeling tightness in your body and your mind going south, breathe and put yourself first. If you need a break, ask. If you need to regroup and reschedule, ask. If anger is being directed at you by another, you can’t control their behavior but most importantly, you do not have to accept their words as truth. How they feel, how they act, and the words they use are theirs to own. Stand up for YOUR badass fabulous self when others cross that boundary.
Getting back to that very deep DNA coding I’ve learned over the last 30 years, here are some final communication tips from the lens of being both an accounting professional and a seasoned business owner.
Tax is a trigger word for the majority of the population, based on their own personal historical events, the subconscious beliefs based on our family, and society. Many of us are taught to fear the taxman and that any possible chance that we file the wrong info can leave some people frozen in fear and unable to take action.
A tax pro or accounting professional will be dealing with an onslaught of time-sensitive deadlines, gathering info, and cross-checking the details. Their minds and thoughts are very much IN the details and the numbers, and not on relationships or feelings. Asking them to pause, plan, and consider future events move them out of that time-sensitive “doing mode” and you may be requesting an impossible task, depending on the tax pro.
While avoiding tax conversations will be impossible, this time of year there are a couple of things to consider.
- Breathe more, get grounded in your body before asking about items that trigger you. Own your own fears and ask for clarity, support, and information.
- Tax planning is best done when everyone is better resourced. The best times in the US are May, June, July, and November. Choose to be proactive, rather than once a year when fear of the unknown controls how you show up.
- Choose to be in partnership. If your tax pro doesn’t speak your language, isn’t the right personality fit, or doesn’t offer tax planning - find someone that does. Ask friends or business associates for referrals. Interview three and be prepared to ask questions, especially on items that have annoyed you in prior conversations and interactions. (Hey - I have a resource for this, just ask!)
- Give the gift of time, for yourself and for your tax pro. You may not be the only one procrastinating and the bulk of the work comes in within two weeks of the tax deadlines. That is not adequate time for processing and review. You are NOT getting them at their best. The better target is at least four weeks from the due date. If that’s not possible, continual conversation with your tax pro and perhaps even a tax extension to give everyone concerned MORE time.
Since I am also very human and continually adjusting to my new purpose, in order to shift my own approach to these triggers, I will be blocking out downtime and am intentionally planning more creative outlets. So, my preconceived idea that March would be the same as it has been for 30 years will simply become a historical fact and it will NOT be my current reality!
My Cover Your Financial Butt Checklist can help you pull your business activity together before visiting your tax pro. If you are looking at creating a better partnership with a new finance professional, send me an email and I can share two resources I created to help with that process.