HELLO, BOUNDARIES

Post is inspired by this interview with Brené Brown:
http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/boundaries

Boundaries.

As soon as I hear that word, I mutter a not so silent ‘fuck!’ to myself. Fuuuuuuuuck.

I don’t have the best track record of setting healthy boundaries - with personal relationships and especially with work.I know logically and rationally they are necessary, but for most of my life, I have always justified going above and beyond for anyone and everyone. I love to be generous (my husband calls it my ‘Italian generosity’), help people 24/7, and I am hard-wired to solve problems. I am Little Miss FixIt. The positive side to this is that, at least in part, these qualities allow me to be an awesome business consultant. This I can say with sincere confidence.

[SIDEBAR: you really do begin to own your greatness in your 40s. Ug, Oprah gets it right - again].

The negative side to being super generous only exists when there are not clear boundaries. I speak from experience. So, soooooo much experience.

It has taken me a long time to recognize when I am doing something for a client and it does not feel ok. In the past I would always just push, push, push and do whatever I had committed to do. If it made THEM happy and satisfied, I would jump through the hoop. Too quickly, however, I would agree to things (ie: taking a work phone call at 10:30pm from a panicked client who decided not to listen to my original advice and yes, did indeed get her business cards printed on the cheap at PrintXpress - the day before her massive conference) and as soon I said ‘yes’, I would feel the anger begin to bubble up. And then I spin out - sometimes for days - and eventually collapse into a heap of drained mush. I would feel like total crap. The story always ended the same way and helloooooo, I was 100% responsible for that. My lack of clear boundaries set a series of events in motion in which no one could actually feel good. Least of all me.

I find entrepreneurs who have a really strong work ethic easily find themselves in muddled waters when it comes to boundaries. After all, you just want to do a great job, right? You just want to get the project done, please the client, push yourself a little bit more and show the world how frickin’ competent you are. I get it.

However, If you spend your life only accommodating others, you are guaranteed to feel depleted, angry and resentful. That is a really low vibe place to live and you can’t stay there. How can you be truly generous from that space? You can't.

As Brené Brown says:

Nothing is sustainable without boundaries.
 

This has been my ultimate lesson for 2016. To say the least, this year has been a whackadoodle rollercoaster of a ride for me. Aside from dreaming up and launching a new business, I have had a bizarre series of health challenges that I believe transpired because I bled out energetically (this is a term I learned from the wonderful Mala Rambharose).

To build myself up again, and regain mental and physical strength, I have recently set new boundaries for myself and my business. They range from teeny tiny to massive. They include:

  • Defining clear email support hours for clients. During those hours I am fully present for my clients. Outside of those hours, I give myself permission to make other business and personal responsibilities a priority, if need be.

  • Letting certain clients go. Read more about that here: http://www.markabee.com/blog/2016/10/22/burn-baby-burn

  • Consistently booking downtime into my calendar - sans guilt or explanation to others.

  • Unfriending peeps on facebook who only spout negativity.

  • No longer having coffee dates with ‘friends’ who take take take and never give back in any way, shape or form.

  • Choosing to go No Contact with a toxic family member (one day I may choose to write more on this since it is a big effin’ deal and has been transformational).

As a result of these boundaries, which are all quite new, I am already feeling better and experiencing a new sense of freedom. That is the only confirmation I need to confirm that yes, I am on the right path and I am making healthy choices. 

2017 is going to be epic, my brave friends. I can feel it.

To your boundless but boundary-filled success,

Alana