Post is inspired by this interview with Brené Brown:
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,