Post by Lauryn Hanrahan:
When I was younger, my parents put me in sailing class at the MRYC. This class consisted of myself, another handful of eight-year-olds, instructors who couldn’t have been older than seventeen and little fat pram sailboats called Optimists. At the beginning of each class, we would have a lecture. Next, we would do drills: rudder around the marks, flip the boat over, right the boat back up, sail upwind, sail downwind, and so forth. During one particularly windy day, I remember being intimidated by the wind, and not wanting to sail for the day. However, I swallowed my fear and headed out with the class.
Before I knew it, I was downwind and stuck in a cove. I had to pull out my bright orange safety whistle and blow it until one of the instructors came to rescue me in the power boat. The instructor offered some encouraging words and wanted me to give it another go, but I refused. I made him tow me back to the dock, where I put my boat away and quit sailing class for good… mortifying my parents I might add. It wasn’t until a handful of years later that I started racing again. I had let fear overcome my love for doing something I enjoyed and was good at. I had wasted years in the process. I’ve always thought back to this experience when something I come across is particularly challenging.
Over the past week of tax season, with little more than a month to go until it’s all over, I’ve done some tax returns that have certainly intimidated me. Seeing a return with workpapers so overflowing that they are rubber-banded to the outside is intimidating. Seeing a particularly complicated allocation schedule is intimidating. Feeling like you are overwhelmed with information is intimidating, but then I think back to my Optimist sailing class and I dive right in.
So what if I get blown down in the cove? There are so many sources of information at Withum to utilize as my orange safety whistle! Although this time, instead of being towed back to the dock, I ask questions of those around me, get great answers and finish my task with confidence. I can even say that I am starting to enjoy a challenging return. I learn more in completing one challenging return than I do in preparing ten simple ones. This time around, with a little help from my co-workers, a lot of questions and a love for learning, I will overcome my challenges the first time.