Posts Tagged ‘setting boundaries’

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

I have a confession to make. I have a problem saying no. I don’t like disappointing people. My low self-esteem and self-confidence made me a chronic people-pleaser with few boundaries. I have gotten better at setting boundaries and saying not to things. The one thing that has made a huge difference is understanding that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I have to or that I should.

I’m not bragging, but there are a lot of things that I can do pretty well. I’m pretty resourceful, a skill I credit my father with giving me. I love to problem-solve and I like to fix things. Come to me with a problem and I’m going to do my best to fix it or point you in the right direction to get the solution you’re looking for.

My ability to do lots of different things has made it difficult for me to delegate and hire help. My first few websites were done by yours truly because WordPress came easy to me. I used to do my taxes on my own before I became a business owner, because it gave me a nice sense of accomplishment and gave me a realistic idea of my finances at the end of each year. Truthfully, most of the time that I get to the point of asking for help or hiring someone, I’ve already been feeling overwhelmed and frustrated for quite some time! Needless to say my productivity suffers and I’ve lost time I could have been using doing something I could feel good about.

Entrepreneurs are told by business coaches to do what we do best and hire out the rest. The knee-jerk response is that we can’t afford it because we need to make more money in order to justify hiring someone. The business coaches’ typical response is that if you focused on what you do well and are getting paid for it, hiring for the rest shouldn’t be a problem. It makes sense logically, but our fear of the unknown is often what stops us from putting that common sense into practice.

For those of us who aren’t business owners, the concept of when you should hire for help is different but the same. Instead of doing what you do best and hiring out for the rest, the key is looking at what your priorities are and figuring out where you can get help so that you can focus on the things that are important to you. It’s about being aware of what your time is worth so that you know what it’s costing you when you spend your time doing things that aren’t in alignment with your priorities.

We all want to be of help to others. We need to be mindful that we don’t give so much that we have nothing left for ourselves. When we give until our cup is empty, we’re left exhausted, frustrated and if we’re not careful, resentful. That’s why one of my mottos for 2019 is the reminder that “just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.” If I said yes to everything that I could do, I would have not time to focus on the things I really want to do. Since I know how unhappy I am when I’m not doing things that bring me fulfillment, I have to commit to using my time wisely and being okay with disappointing others so I don’t end up disappointing myself.

Are you with me?

You own your time!

I was watching a show on the weekend where Harry Belafonte was being interviewed. He was being asked for advice on how to be a social activist today. Of course, Mr. Belafonte has had a lot of experience as a social activist from his work during the civil rights movement to fighting apartheid in South Africa. The person who was speaking with him thanked his and he said something that has stuck with me – he said the pleasure was his and that time is the only thing can give anyone since it’s the only thing he truly owns.

I believe that’s a powerful statement. Do you feel like you own your time or do you feel like someone else has control over it. I know that my greatest points of frustration were times when I felt like my time wasn’t my own. I wasn’t consciously choosing where my time was spent. I was doing things that other people wanted me to do, or things I thought they wanted me to do without considering whether it was the best use of my time. By the time I figured out it wasn’t time well spent, I had already too far gone.

When I’m at my most fulfilled, I’m doing the things that are important to me. They’re either things that bring me joy, or things that are going to bring me closer to achieving my goals. The sweetest spot, is when the things that I’m doing that help me get closer to my goals are things that I enjoy J

I believe there are three things you need to do in order to really own your time:

  1. Get clear on the mission and vision for your life
  2. Know what your priorities are and why they are important to you
  3. Set boundaries based on your priorities

When you have these three points covered, you have clarity on the activities that are a good use of your time. You know what to say yes to and what to say no to. You reduce feelings of frustration and overwhelm which has a positive ripple effect on your relationships!

Regardless of how much control you feel you have over your time right now, the good news is that things can always change for the better. You want to take back control of your time? Get comfortable saying no. Create a plan for how you want your day to go and be mindful of interruptions and distractions. Ask for help.

Want some help getting started? Schedule a 30-minute complimentary, no obligation call with me today!

Setting boundaries

Creating boundaries – it sounds like something you would hear in a therapy session or read about in a self-help book, but what does it really mean?  For me, it means being self-aware, able to know and express to others what is acceptable in my life.  This has not been an easy feat for me by any means!  For the longest time the word “no” was simply not in my vocabulary.  I was a chronic people pleaser who had no idea who I was or what I wanted.

I now realize that my desire to please the world was deeply rooted in low self-esteem and self-confidence.  It wasn’t until I really started to work on myself that I realized I needed to learn how to love and respect myself.  I was tired of playing victim and no longer desired to be anyone’s doormat.  I finally figured out that if I wanted people to treat me better, I had to treat myself better!

Setting boundaries is crucial to achieving balance in our lives.  Without establishing boundaries, we are left to the whims of the people in our lives.  We are unable to ensure our own needs are met because we are too wrapped up in the lives of our friends and family.  We are described as reliable, dependable, old faithful – but what does all that really mean?  It means we’re the “go-to” person who never says no, regardless of how imposing the request is – it means we have no boundaries.

I finally got to a point in my life where I had to ask if this martyrdom was really worth it.  I became aware of my increased feelings or resentment.  I was growing tired of feeling put out and taken advantage of.  Because of my saviour complex I was unwilling to ask for help – I believed I existed to help, not be helped, but I was at a point where I was burning out emotionally and physically.

It wasn’t a nice place to be, and I became bitter.  Of course, for the people around us, the shift from accommodating to aggravated is an unexpected, unwelcomed surprise.  I was beyond rationally explaining my feelings and became the Queen of passive aggressive behaviour!  Not a very productive solution to the problem, but one I was, unfortunately, very familiar with.  Finally growing tired of constant arguments and emotional outbursts, I had to move to a new level of understanding.

I finally realized the importance of creating boundaries.  It gives us permission to put ourselves first.  Boundaries allow us to say no when we are asked to do something that we don’t want to do without feeling guilty.  When we know where that imaginary line in the sand is, we can make time for the things that are important to us and not waste time doing things that don’t contribute to our well being.

Life has been so much easier now that I’ve given myself permission to establish boundaries in my life.  For example, it has allowed me to reconnect with my love of reading as well as writing!  It isn’t always easy to say no, I still have moments of guilt, but I am reminded that I need to be true to myself at all times if I want to live a balanced, peaceful life.  I no long want to carry around a mental balance sheet of favours given and owed to me.  I want to give of myself in an honest way, with no expectations, and if I can’t do that, then it is best I don’t give at all.  That doesn’t mean I will stop doing for others of giving of myself – it just means I have decided that rather than acting from a place of need and expectation, I will act from a place of love and abundance. ♥