As a business owner, saying "no" can be difficult as we want to please everyone, but we can't be all things to all people, so we need to learn to say "no" sometimes. It's called boundaries.
When I read this article, I thought, hm... I need to take notice of this as I have a lot going on in my life, running my Adaptive Technology Solutions business, building up my Essential OIls business, juggling Toastmasters, and having time for my family.
Having boundaries can mean something different to everyone, but a lot of people don't even know where to start with them (I was one of them...still am sometimes). Boundaries is a skill everyone can have, but unfortunately, it's not something that is often taught.
Boundaries aren't just saying "no" a lot (it's important to say "yes" to new experiences and challenge yourself), according to psychologist Dana Gionta, it's about "knowing and understanding your limits." Your time limits, your ability to accomplish, your sanity, your happiness - all the things that can help you keep happy, healthy relationships instead of ones based on resentment.
Have you ever been asked to do something, said yes, and then immediately dreaded the task? Felt like you were so rushed and inconvenienced to do this task? Felt put out by this task, but felt you had no option but to do it?
Your boundaries were crossed. And you let it happen.
I know what you're thinking, "I'm an entrepreneur, a business builder, I have to be available 24/7, or I won't be able to grow my business." And you're partially right. When you're growing a business, you do tend to have different priorities and different boundaries - but you still have to understand your limits or you will burn out, hate your business, and potentially...end up failing.
Start understanding and implementing your boundaries in a few easy steps:
- Know your limits. Whether it's time limits, physical, emotional, spiritual - where do you draw the line? One of my limits when it comes to work boundaries is time. I don't do work things before 8. 30 am and I shut down at 5.00 pm. I do have exceptions to this rule (sometimes a webinar needs to happen at night to meet certain needs), but keeping my limits set allows me the freedom to have a life outside of work.
- Get to know how you feel and why you're feeling it. Next time you get really ticked off about having to do something someone asked you to do, it may be because your boundaries were crossed. You're irritated with the situation, but you're also irritated with yourself for not saying "no."
- Give yourself permission. Probably the hardest part about keeping boundaries is giving yourself permission to (this was and is definitely my struggle). You do deserve more time for yourself. You do deserve to not become emotionally drained by helping your friend. You do need to slow down this client's onboarding to save your sanity. At the end of the day, you are accountable to one main person - you. If you run yourself ragged or drain your energy for others, not only will you not be able to show up for someone else another time, you won't be happy or fulfilled for yourself!
- Be direct. Once you start becoming aware of what your boundaries need to be, be very clear and direct with them. That's not being the other "b" word about it, just simply saying, "I won't be able to help with that until Wednesday at the earliest." or "I'm sorry I won't be able to help with that, I currently have too much on my plate at the moment." Whether you want to help or not, you don't need to be rude or aggressive when you're direct with your answer.
- Find support! Maybe it's your partner, best friend, business coach, or networking group, have some people in your life you can bounce boundary ideas off or turn to hear if you're being "crazy" or not. "Am I asking too much?", "Should I do this?", "Are they taking advantage of me?" - these questions come up again and again, have someone in your life who can honestly answer them and help you navigate your healthy boundaries.
These boundaries don't blossom overnight and often are easier said than done, so start small when it comes to setting them up and asserting them.
The original article was written by Cami Bird, Marketing Manager at Wavoto.!