While cleaning out the garage this weekend I came across a couple boxes of tapes and books that marked me for life.
And it reminded me of the time I was audited by the IRS.
The moment you find out you’re going to be audited is never a happy one. I was in my mid-twenties and had nothing to hide, but who wants the hassle of the IRS poking around?
I was newly married with a baby, and I was hustling, trying to make a life for myself and my family. It was early in my insurance career and I was also selling Amway products on the side.
I was hungry for success but I was also hungry for personal growth. I was plugged into the training system. I’d get 3 new tapes a week and a book every month – every time Edna got in the car, she’d have to move all my personal development tapes off the front seat so she could sit down.
I’d go to a seminar every month, weekend long conventions, you name it. I was a serious student and I was getting a tremendous education.
I was also deducting all my personal development and leadership training expenses. The IRS challenged this because, admittedly, the income from the Amway business wasn’t justifying the level of expenses.
The auditor asked me about it all in great detail. I was kind of thrown when I realized the guy was kindly trying to tell me I was being duped by buying all this stuff. He felt sorry for me. I could tell from the way he tilted his head a little as he spoke, he was thinking, “Poor sucker.”
I remember sitting in the parking lot afterwards. “Maybe he’s right,” I thought. “Maybe I’m going down the wrong path here.” It’s not like this was the first time someone told me I was wasting my time. I had plenty of friends and family who thought I was being duped too. I thought long and hard.
I made a firm decision right there and then. I wasn’t going to follow his guide. Maybe the Amway business wasn’t exactly booming but what he couldn’t see was the change that was happening inside of me as a result of this education. I was becoming a better husband, a better father, a better person. And my insurance business was growing as a result, even if the Amway stuff wasn’t.
Fast forward to today and the income I’ve received as a result of all the personal development I’ve done totally dwarfs the investment I made.
That’s one of the reasons I continue to invest in personal development still. It’s part of who I am – it’s vital to my business and my life. And I feel blessed that it’s helped me realize that one of my jobs in this world is to help others see their own potential. When you change on the inside, things change on the outside.
P.S. The picture above includes two video tape programs by John C. Maxwell that I unpacked from the boxes. Isn’t it amazing that now I’m a part of the John Maxwell team! I continue learning from the best, applying it to my life and helping others to do the same.