Be Empowered

Before I was ever @XCMkim , ever sold a single scanner, or survived a pre-tax season outsourcing rush, I put myself through college as a professional “Miss Kim”. At the ripe old age of 12, I began what led to over a decade-long career babysitting. It’s probably no surprise that all these years later I’m a workaholic, because even back then the writing was on the walls. While most Jr. High, High School, and college students were off at homecoming, prom, football games, and frat parties, I was changing diapers, warming bottles, and reading Dr. Seuss to little munchkins – often 6 or 7 days a week. All the while saving every penny I could to buy a car at age 16, pay for college by age 18, and eventually a house by the time I was 23. Needless to say, I was a little girl on a mission – and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of what I wanted.

My Miss Kim career culminated with an 18-month stint living with a family (while also maintaining my full-time job). So at 21 years old, I was a working second mommy to Mackenzi, Mason, Merek and Baby Madox. To this day, I often refer to my four little Ms as the best form of birth control ever. By far the biggest blessings that have come from that experience are the relationships I’ve built with those four little monkeys (now not so little). I’m fortunate to live close enough that I’m able to see them when I’m in town, and occasionally spend some quality time with them. I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to mentor these kiddos, and to share in the big moments in their lives. But along the way, they have managed to teach me a thing or two as well.

The other day I had to be run a few errands on a Saturday morning & knew I’d be driving by their house. Mackenzi, now 14 and wicked-smart, always makes a great errand buddy, so I gave her a call to see if she could join me for the quick trip. Without asking for details on the agenda, she accepted and was waiting at the foot of the driveway when I pulled in. She spent most of the drive updating me on her recent run for school president, and filling me in on the latest with her high school plans. As we pulled into the shopping center, she stopped mid-sentence and exclaimed “Miss Kim! You didn’t tell me we were going to a MALL, I didn’t bring my wallet with me!” She went on to tell me that she’s been babysitting a lot lately and also spent the previous week house-sitting for a neighbor. She had carefully saved a large percentage of her earnings, but had also set aside a small amount to buy something.

After taking care of my errands, we made our way to her favorite clothing store, where I told her if she found something I would happily buy it for her. To my surprise, my little over-achiever replied with something that I know must have come out of my mouth 15 year ago too “That’s OK, I really want to buy myself something – it will make me feel empowered!”

With her one-sentence remark, I was instantly reminded of the numerous conversations she and I have had over the years about working, saving, sometimes learning to accept defeat, but most importantly never giving up. At the same time that I was overwhelmed with pride, it brought me back to a day when I was 14, and often a tag-along errand buddy myself. Diligently saving my hard-earned money, and every so often, empowering myself as well. Thanks, Mackie – for reminding us all that we’re in charge of our own destiny – and the sky’s the limit when you feel empowered!

BeEmpowered

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Sprinting to the Finish

I suppose it’s fitting that I spent the final day of the busiest Xpitax/ XCM quarter of the year the same place that I started it – and the same place I spent all but two of the past 17 weeks – on airplanes. What I wasn’t counting on was a first (even for me) ever barefoot 100 meter dash through John Wayne airport. I’m pretty sure I could have kept pace with Michael Johnson in his fancy golden shoes. It’s safe to say that I plan to avoid 6:45am flights this next quarter. It’s also safe to say that I have thoroughly cleaned and sanitized both my feet as well as the inside of my heels.

When you’re as much of a plane warrior as I am, you have to adapt to the road and learn how to make constant chaos your new “normal”. One thing I’ve learned the past three months is that no amount of pre-planning can make up for the accident on the freeway en-route to the airport, or the fact that there are only three (3) taxis in Yakima, Washington (and they don’t like working after midnight), or the rental car worker who decided not to wait up for the delayed flight…sometimes you’ve just got to roll with it (I promise, that is much easier said than done).

When I started at Fujitsu over three years ago, I got some great advice from a colleague who put his arm around me and told me “Kiddo, pace yourself – if you don’t, you’ll burn out”. Boy did I think of that conversation over & over the past three months! Little did I know back then just how much I would rely on those words of wisdom in my next career chapter. It’s amazing how true this is not only in business, but in life in general. For people pleasers like me, learning to pace ourselves, not take on too much, and most importantly, not spread ourselves too thin so that we can’t do anything well, is vital not only to our success, but to our survival.

I’m so proud to be a part of the XCM & Xpitax team as we continue to set new records for both organizations. I’m even more proud to know I’m playing a part in hitting those marks, and pushing us to the next level. While I’d love to stand up and do the “XCM Quarter Three is Over” victory dance & celebrate the milestones that we’ve achieved – I don’t even know that I have the energy to do so…I’m feeling a bit more like Kerri Strug in Atlanta – raising my hands in victory, and limping off to recover.

So as January comes to a close, and we turn the page into February, it’s with great pleasure that I now hand off the baton to my clients – get ready, folks, it’s your turn to run the tax season race now! I’ll be here cheering you on, dropping by hugs and coffee and other necessities. We know you can do it…just remember to pace yourself!