Are "Healthy Boundaries" A Myth For Entrepreneurs?
By Rachael Taylor
The concept of having healthy boundaries is often so overcomplicated that it makes my head spin. A boundary is simply something or someone that you say yes or no to, as it aligns with your personality, strengths, talents, preferences and the lifestyle you want to have. That's it!
It's not a list of all the things you think you should be doing, it's not having a specific schedule and it's not following rules.
A boundary is a decision you make that is in your best interest - it supports your overall health and quality of life - and it ultimately helps your business grow and keeps your customers happy.
You are the heart of your business - a happy you will equal happy clients.
However, our boundaries get out whack when we start to make decisions based on what other people tell us we should be doing, but they don't align with our personality, business model or lifestyle goals.
We see what other people have and work to alter ourselves to match up with them in order to have the same experience that they are. The problem is, we don't know the inner workings of that person. We don't have the same experiences, reactions or backgrounds as someone else - we are all unique and have something specific to bring to the world.
Therefore, we each have our own version of what our healthy boundaries need to look like. This relates to movement, stress management, nutrition, scheduling, relationships, client interaction and sleep.
Think about it, an unhealthy boundary can result in chronic stress, anxiety, sleep loss, weight fluctuation, chronic pain, body tightness, poor nutrition and possibly lead to complete burn out and business abandonment.
Yes, there are times when your work load gets out of balance because you're pushing to meet a deadline. Yes, it's good to work hard and spend time on your business but no, it's not ok to live your entire life with boundaries that don't work for you.
It's up to you to find what will help you be the best version of yourself, what will increase your creativity, hone your productivity and provide an overall high quality of life.
It's a process and it is achieved by a learn-by-doing approach. You have to try different things and make adjustments as you go, especially when you realize that something isn't working for you.
You'll know it's not the right boundary because it will increase that long list of negative side effects I mentioned, and your business will start to drain you instead of fill you up.
There will be parts in business that don't come naturally to us and it can be uncomfortable or stressful to learn that new habit. However, I believe that there is a solution to any problem we face, not just in business but also in life. There are countless ways to market your business, interact with your customers, bring in income, create sustainability and have your business reach the vision you have for it.
Your boundaries might be suffering right now because you're applying yourself to a tactic that doesn't play to your natural strengths and talents.
Make a small adjustment in that area of your business - how else could you approach it?
For instance, marketing causes so much stress to many people because they're looking for the "best way" to market their business. Well, the best way to market your business directly relates to how you want to communicate your products and services as well as where your customers spend time and the media they are most responsive to.
My strength is communication through writing, so that's how I market my business. For others, they use videos and some are strictly group focused on a social media platform. Some people, have their hands in every single marketing pot because that's where they feel the strongest and it plays to their strengths.
There are times when I struggle to find the words and utilize my creativity, I’m a creative person but sometimes my mind has trouble staying focused on the task at hand. My solution is to stop fighting a blank page, lace up my tennis shoes and go exercise. I don’t go to my gym for any specific purpose or a routine in mind, most times I walk quickly on the treadmill to work up a light sweat and get everything flowing again.
You know what? It 100% works, 100% of the time. My writing block completely disappears when I get back in front of my topic less than an hour later. This is a boundary that I have created in order to stay my best in my business. It was counterintuitive at first and it did take time to trust the process, but now that I discovered this connection I know exactly what to do when up against that blank page wall.
The same can happen for you. I believe that healthy boundaries are not a myth for entrepreneurs, but we have to be willing to admit to ourselves when something is causing us physical and emotional harm and then be open to finding a better way.
A boundary isn't all or nothing, it flows and adapts to what you need out of your business and what your business needs from you in that point in time.
Don't be afraid to find a different way and walk down your own path to success.
You built your business to follow a dream and to use your natural talents to do some good in the world, while creating financial freedom, abundance and prosperity that you can enjoy in your lifetime and pass on to the next generation. You're a big hearted entrepreneur and I know you're in this for the long haul - you're serious about making your business reach its highest potential and fulfill your vision.
This is why your boundaries need to align with what works for you - fortunately, they are fairly easy to figure out with some experimentation and commitment to change when you discover that something doesn't work for you.
A simple way to start looking at a boundary you need to adjust is to connect with your personality - understanding how you naturally operate and react as well as your talents, will help you in more ways than one. It could lead you to an area of your life that you've forgotten you're really good at and enjoy, it could be the very thing missing from your business that brings it to the next level.
Keep these simple questions in mind when refocusing and tweaking your boundaries to be healthier for you:
Think about your biggest frustration in business right now.
How could you solve that problem in a different way than what you're doing now?
Think about your talents and gifts.
What do you naturally enjoy doing and have a special gift for? How could you bring that into your business to help it grow?
Think about the thing you love the most in your business.
How could you adjust your business model to spend more time doing the thing you love?
Think about the future in a new way.
If your business was exactly where you wanted it to be and you reached your goals, what do you wish you had more time to do? OR What adjustment to your business would you make?
Think about your next steps.
How can you start to take small steps in the direction of your answer to question #4?
When you think about the decisions you make for your business, how you structure your day and the way you interact with people, is it in your best interest as well? Do your "yes" and "no" support your health and the way you want to live? The way you envision your life?
Could you do something to change that? How can you work smarter and not harder?
I'm asking these questions because I want you to take a step back and look at how your business model helps you, not just your customers and the people who rely on you. There is nothing wrong with working hard or having to put in long hours to get a project completed and out the door.
Our work load and deadlines will ebb and flow just like life - there will be times when your boundaries get pushed or expanded. My recommendation is to look at what's happening and analyze if this is a growth opportunity or a red flag that it's a direction you shouldn't go down.
Only you can make that decision for yourself - trust your intuition and if you're stuck, do some research. Find some people who have experience in the area that you're looking to change and see what is working for them. Take their strategy and ask yourself if it would work for you, your personality and your business vision.
I'm going to leave you with this - don't let boundaries that aren't working for you push you past your breaking point. We need you at your best, so you can go out in the world and make the big, positive difference you were born to make.
Remember, being an entrepreneur is a big adventure with limitless possibilities and potential but it requires you to grow, be bold and pull on courage to stand up to what’s in your way. Growing to a new level may not be comfortable, but it’s always worth it.
You have this dream for a reason and it’s the perfect time for you to chase it! Enjoy the journey and trust the process.
From one entrepreneur to another…