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Why are Boundaries So Important in Business
When we start out in business, we work all the hours and we say YES to everything to make sure we stand the best chance of success.
We run ourselves ragged, we chase every new business opportunity, we see busy as a badge of honour, with an endless to do list and we are permanently tired! Overwhelm and burnout are our new “go to” words and we keep going at all costs, as failure is not an option.
Going that extra mile and over delivering outside the scope of the paid for service are great traits, and will secure you brilliant client testimonials when building a business. But it’s not a sustainable way to work.
It’s not your client’s fault if they then come to expect this over delivery as “business as usual”. Left unchecked can cause resentment and frustration, and essentially come back to bite you!
As the business owner it is our responsibility - we become victims of our success and unless we reset and re contract expectations, business boundaries become blurred.
This is where setting business boundaries gives you the ability to clearly communicate expectations with everyone you deal with, customers and clients alike.
Having clear boundaries helps us all learn how to transact and respect you and your time. It also gives you the ability to clearly communicate your business needs and rules to family and friends so they will respect you and your business.
When someone doesn’t respect our boundaries, it feels unfair, it’s frustrating and it can be unsettling. Often it can be because we haven’t been clear. Maybe our boundaries and time available has changed and we simply haven’t told anyone about this change.
Just this week I had a Zoom meeting scheduled for 5pm, and I received an email cancelling it with just 20 minutes notice. Ok so it can happen and maybe something came up, but then they were frustrated that we weren’t able to make a 6:30pm meeting later that day.
Now that seemed unfair and unrealistic.
We are always happy to book meetings in the evening - but we need some notice!
So instead of getting cross and frustrated what did we do? As a business in growth mode we always ask - what was the learning?
Note to self: maybe it’s time to go out with a regular communication to our existing block management clients.
There are a multitude of reasons why you should be setting business boundaries.
Our Top Three Reasons To Have Business Boundaries
1. “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.” – Unknown
Setting business boundaries gives you the ability to clearly communicate expectations with customers and clients so they will respect you and your time. It also gives you the ability to clearly communicate your business needs and rules to family and friends so they will respect you and your business.
Healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care. That’s because “in work or in our personal relationships, poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, and burnout” (Nelson, 2016). - How to Set Healthy Boundaries, Psychology Today
2. Boundaries are a form of self-care.
Setting business boundaries allows you to clearly define your negotiables and non-negotiables so you’re saying YES to more of the right things instead of everything.
Create boundaries, get your life back.
Setting business boundaries enables you to have both a life and a business you love and achieve your version of work/life balance. It also means there is less of a risk of you experiencing major burn out.
Healthy boundaries at work help you to find more fulfilment as there will be less stress in your professional life, allowing more room and time for a better personal life.
Without healthy boundaries in place, it is easy to take on too much; to please others more than we please ourselves, which then leads to wasted time, stress, financial burdens and relationship issues, which can lean onto mental distress.
Here are some examples of healthy boundaries for your professional and personal life.
- Maintaining your personal values despite what other people want.
- Trusting your own decisions and instinct whilst not allowing yourself to compare yourself or your journey to other people’s.
- Remembering why you started your business in the first place, what is the vision and the mission and how will it feel once you reach that goal you are aiming for.
- Knowing who you are and what you stand for. Allowing yourself to say no to the things that are not helping you become the best version of you.
- Prioritising your time and making sure you are carrying out the essential task that will move you forward and generate income, whilst also allowing you to create a life of freedom on your own terms.
- Not allowing someone to take advantage of someone’s generosity.
- Noticing when other people are not respecting your boundaries.
- Allowing time to focus on your own self-care.
- Self-respect. Don’t feel like you have to give away too much, through fear of people not liking you or knowing your worth.
- Clearly communicating what it is that you want and don’t want in your life.
Boundaries work two ways
It’s all well and good being clear in how you want to be treated if you fail to read the signs and respect other people’s boundaries. This works a bit like a mirror - people will mirror how you behave, so make sure you are living by how you want to be treated.
Be Open to Changing, Growth and Adaptation
As you and your business grow and evolve, it’s likely that your boundaries will evolve. Don’t be afraid to adjust your boundaries as and when required - it’s a sign of growth.
Everyone’s version of their work/life balance is going to look a little different and it’s always going to be a work in progress.
Done well, business boundaries can be life-changing, life-giving, game-changers.
Here’s my final piece of advice:
Start out by setting your business boundaries so you are in control of your business, so you can build the life you love. But if you didn’t and you’re playing catch up, remember it’s never too late to set and reset your boundaries, just make sure you tell everyone.
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