Have you set boundaries in your business?
If you have, do you communicate or enforce them?
Boundaries come up a lot in my accountability groups and when I meet with clients. What I see is a lack of boundaries.
A lack of boundaries can look like many things. However, consider the following:
There are more examples, but this gives you an idea.
Essentially, there is no separation between work and personal.
This constant requirement to be “on” leaves you feeling drained and exhausted.
A friend of mine commented about how she didn’t get a break when she was on vacation because clients messaged her directly. She hasn’t had a real break/vacation since she started her business five years ago. She needed that break.
A prospect told me how he gets emails from clients asking about their portfolio at 5:30 on a Sunday. He is an example of the sandwich generation and already has a lot on his plate.
In both cases, the entrepreneur is exhausted, drained, and burned out.
We allow our clients to control our time if we don’t have boundaries.
We prevent ourselves from receiving the rest and recovery we need.
I like to share that we have five batteries (alone, social, play, rest, and health). We all have an essential battery or two. That essential battery needs to have a charge, or there is nothing left to give the other batteries. My essential batteries are alone time and rest. If those batteries don’t have a charge, I don’t have anything left for social, play, or health. Yours might be social, or maybe it’s play.
Regardless, ask yourself, how are your batteries in these five areas? Are they full or drained? When they are drained, it’s hard to show up and serve our clients the best way possible. It’s even harder to work on our businesses so we can grow and thrive.
If you don’t have the boundaries set, your batteries are constantly being drained. How can you recharge your alone battery if you get messages from your clients at 5:30 am?
We teach people how to treat us. We also teach our clients how to treat us.
Think about what you want. Consider:
Once you know what you want, then you have to communicate it.
Think about where in your relationship you can set the expectations. Maybe it’s part of your onboarding? Perhaps it’s an auto responder email. Think about where you can communicate it and re-enforce it.
The next part is the hardest. You then have to enforce it.
If your office hours mean you don’t work on Sundays… then DO NOT respond to anything on Sundays.
Now, I’m a small business owner like you. I don’t have office hours on Sundays. Yet, sometimes, I do work on Sundays. When I do, I schedule emails or prep responses and do not send them until Monday. This way, I maintain boundaries with my clients, teaching them how to treat me.
If you set boundaries for the first time, teaching your clients how to work with you will take time. But it is possible.
Be prepared to be tested.
Want to talk more about boundaries? Let’s have coffee. (By the way: Tuesday or Thursday are my coffee date days)
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk diappointing others.Brene Brown
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk diappointing others.
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