As women entrepreneurs - as humans really – we are constantly setting boundaries around what is and is not okay in our lives. For many of us – especially those of us who have chosen to be our own bosses – one of the boundaries we’ve set for ourselves is that we want to be in control of our future.
We don’t want others to be able to cap our earnings, or shape our life, based on what they see as being important or relevant. We want to control how we live our lives, how we run our businesses, which opportunities we pursue, what days we take off, and how much we can earn.
By choosing self-employment we set a clear boundary.
Not all boundaries are as easy to set or reinforce in our daily lives. In some situations, others do not respect the boundaries we set for ourselves, or we adjust them to accommodate client needs without really thinking through the consequences. Knowing your boundaries – whether in business or life – is essential if you want to lead your most fulfilling life, aligning your personal values and your business decisions.
Let’s imagine for a moment. It’s 9 PM on Friday night. You’ve left your office four hours ago to have quiet family time (a huge value for you). Your phone buzzes. A client has a question that to them is urgent. Do you respond to the inquiry? Or do you leave it, knowing you can address it Monday morning when you are back in the office?
The thing about boundaries is that they can be a slippery slope. If you respond to a client request after hours or adjust your normal terms to meet a client’s needs, the expectation of that client can shift as well. They can now expect that you will respond to after-hours inquiries or that you will meet their need for unique sales terms all the time. And that can become very challenging very quickly.
On personal level, boundaries are equally important, and they are tested all the time. It can be a family member dropping in for a visit while you are working, a friend who keeps pushing for you to do things for them that you don’t want to do, or a spouse who doesn’t value your ideas and perspectives.
Just as it is easy to let our business boundaries slide, it is equally, if not more, easy to let our personal boundaries slide, until we find ourselves in a situation where we aren’t feeling valued, appreciated, or respected.
Re-setting our boundaries with clients, family, and friends requires that we have honest and courageous conversations with ourselves and with them to bring things back into balance and be reflective of our needs.
What boundaries do you find it most difficult to maintain? What tips and techniques do you have for reinforcing your boundaries as others push to shift them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This blog post is part of a series highlighting the kinds of conversations that are held in the Align Lab program- a partnership between HIP Strategic Consulting and Ears Forward Coaching. This program is about becoming #wildlysuccessful on our own terms. The Align Lab is about learning to say NO to what we don't want in order to achieve what we DO want. Let us help you listen deeply to yourself, practice speaking your truth, and more consciously align your values with your ideal life.