3 reasons you struggle with boundaries – and what to do about it
Let’s talk about something that I see a lot of small business owners struggle with (especially the ones that rely on client work or have staff members) and that is BOUNDARIES!
If you are like me, you may find yourself wanting to say yes to everything and everyone for a number of reasons.
We will take a call even when we are in the middle of working on something that requires concentration. We will say yes to a meeting that we don’t really want to take. We sign on to be responsible for a task that we really don’t want to do. We think that being available all the time and quickly responding to others needs (at all hours of the night) is our competitive advantage and helps us to build relationships in our business.
I can write about this because I myself have to work on it every damn day. I am a people pleaser. I love to help. I like meeting new people, and I am a problem solver. This is can lead me to feeling overwhelmed and stretched too thin when I am not careful. I have in the past put the needs of others before my own which makes me less productive and so incredibly tired.
Here are some reasons people don’t want to set clear boundaries
#1 FOMO – yep, I am guilty of this one. I am worried if I say no to an invitation to get to know someone I could be missing out on a potential collaborator or client. I don’t want to miss any opportunities.
#2 Not hurting people’s feelings – If you like to make people happy, this can be a tricky one. If I say no, maybe someone will be disappointed. I hate disappointing people.
#3 Being in problem solve mode – I pride myself on figuring out complex problems, and sometimes I treat my schedule the same way. Trying to figure out a way to fit it all in so that I don’t have to say no to anything. (This always backfires.)
Here is why none of the above is worth worrying about.
#1 FOMO is never going to go away, but I have always found that when I do set clear boundaries and said no to things or “not right now” people always understand. Some of the “not right now” people have turned in to great relationships and yes, even clients, but if I would have squeezed them in when I wasn’t my best self or when my attention was distracted by other things, that may have not been the case.
#2 Not hurting people’s feelings is a self-centered way of looking at things. We may feel like we are the center of the universe, but it (sadly) is not the case. You rarely know what is going on with another person. Maybe they really wanted to cancel, or maybe you saying no freed space for something else to land for them. There are infinite possibilities of what could be going on in the white space when we make room for it by setting clear boundaries.
#3 Problem solving is a wonderful skill to develop, but your schedule, your workload, and your ability to show up should not be something that is solved. It should be protected, supported, and fully present. Boundaries will make sure you can be your best for yourself and for others.