When I talk to people about boundaries in work or life, they often think it’s just about having a set of rules or setting times they will work and times they won’t. It’s more than that. Boundaries form the foundations of your work, business and life. But what are good, effective boundaries in business anyway and how difficult are they going be? Short answer, not difficult at all.
When I first set up my business it was because I just loved coaching and hypnotherapy. This is often what I hear too from other entrepreneurs I work with. We love what we do, we want the clients, we want to be a success so we are ACCOMMODATING to people. Before long, we can end up feeling like we are working ALL.THE.TIME!
With business leaders it’s similar. They usually love their jobs. They want to be a success but they too feel like they’re working all the time.
This is where we need to put boundaries in place.
I regularly hear from clients who
- feeling like they’re working all the time,
- needing to respond to people or emails quickly, or at ridiculous hours of day and night
- checking phone and emails All. The. Time.
- saying yes to things they don’t want to do
- feel like people are taking advantage
So instead of having the dream job or business, they’re wondering if they’re just not cut out for this.
Great boundaries are all about making things BETTER and EASIER for YOU. It’s not about pushing you to make things harder.
Working on our Mindset
All that pressure we feel to respond quickly, be liked has been an expected set within us from many years ago. Have a think about what messages you were given in your early life. You know the ones
Speak when you’re spoken to ..
You must work hard for success ..
Some of this is learned behaviour from authority figures, parents, teachers etc from our childhood. Some of it is due to circumstances, sometimes society expectations. When we recognise the messages you have been given then you recognise your belief systems. Then you have a choice about whether you respond to those beliefs that run around in your head.
This is working on YOUR mindset. We cannot change the mind of others. We can change our minds.
Have Clear Priorities
We must get clear on our priorities. Each of us is different. I don’t work a Monday morning. It’s Yoga time. What are yours? Work, home, family. Mine have changed over the years because mine have ALWAYS been about accommodating my children (with their special needs).
Once we are clear on priorities, we can then look at what we need to do and what we do by choice. We can also look at what we can delegate elsewhere. We can let go of the controls! Those priorities mean we can adapt our current way of working and responding. We can put in some structure — scheduling work in your diary, setting up contracts and working agreements. We can also prioritise and put structure around expectations too.
If we’re constantly distracted by the thought of emails, clients and other work in our business structure on it’s own isn’t going to help. When we are constantly pushing ourselves and struggling with mindset we will end up being stressed and distracted. Even though we’re not active in our business or when we’ve left the office, we’re thinking about it all the time. We will feel overwhelmed because we are juggling the two.
When we find a way we can comfortably communicate our boundaries, our structure and our expectation then we set that out for others in our lives. This might be clients, colleagues, family, friends.
Clear communication sets expectation, knowing what to expect, what they need to do too!
People will not know what is acceptable to us, when our office or business is open unless we communication clearly. Do this in a factual way to make it easier and less emotional for you.
When we have comfortable clear boundaries and structure, it keeps us feeling safe. If we have this deep feeling of I’m safe, I’m OK, then we have much less guilt, pressure and overwhelm.
Structure, mindset and communication sit hand in hand. Remember Boundaries will need adjusting through time. Boundaries are work in progress!!
Previously published on Thrive Global