I wanted to share with you a little bit of a personal insight into something I’ve really let myself down with this week. I feel absolutely exhausted today. And the reason for that is because I’ve allowed my boundaries to be taken over. I’ve not actually remembered what is important to me and how important my own boundaries are.
Hence why I’m now sitting here feeling absolutely exhausted. So I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about myself this week in the hope that it will help you too. I want to talk to you about six ways to create strong boundaries for yourself. What I’ve learned this week is that I’m really strong on what my mission is, what my purpose is. I know what I sit here for the majority of every day to do – I want to equip and empower 1 million women to be financially resilient.
I can’t do that unless I have strong boundaries. Because my inbox, my Facebook messenger, my LinkedIn messenger, my phone is constantly on, coming in with floods of enquiries for all all sorts of different things. Clients, the media, people who are trying to recruit me for different things. Just lots of different opportunities, which is great. But what happens if you don’t have clear boundaries? It’s very difficult to then manage your own time, and you end up getting in a position where you’re so overwhelmed with everything coming your way, and your inbox is overflowing. It doesn’t doesn’t help your overall well being.
6 Ways to Create Strong Boundaries
1. Make self care a priority.
I actually went onto Facebook yesterday and asked “Does anybody else find it difficult to switch off?”
I was literally sitting there last night thinking I really want to go read my book, but physically my brain just would not turn off this week. So I jumped onto Facebook and asked: “Does anybody else feel like this?” And lots of you came back saying ‘Yes, I’m currently still on Facebook right now’, or ‘No because I do lots of meditation’ and I just sat back and thought, “You know what? The reason I’m feeling like that this week is because I’ve let my boundaries down”.
So making self care a priority is absolutely true. But it doesn’t have to be something that’s mammoth, that takes up two hours of your time. It’s the little things that make the difference.
So, for example, self care could look like a meditation track every evening, maybe. I think somebody had commented and said they switch off at eight o’clock in the evening and don’t use their phone past eight o’clock. Having really strong boundaries with yourself is really important.
I sat and thought, that’s why I’m so tired. Because I’ve allowed other people to take up my time, I have not kept to my boundaries this week. We’re all human, so we can have all good intentions, and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. So I really just wanted to be a little bit vulnerable and share that with you.
2. Creating those boundaries.
We have to recognise – how do we ask people for what we need? What are your needs and how do you ask people for that? So, for example, people may not know that you need to go and have a stretch break three times a day. That you need to go and have some fresh air, that you need to be sat somewhere quiet after you’ve had a meeting or a coaching session. Maybe you just need that space. Maybe you need that time to yourself. But if we’re not asking for that and communicating that, then people don’t know.
So really think about what your boundaries are. When is the point for you, if when people cross that boundary, that it makes you feel bad, or it makes you feel uncomfortable or it takes up too much of your energy? If you don’t like working in the evening because your energy levels are low, then the evening is your boundary. I don’t take on any client work in the evenings.
You need to make that a boundary because the minute that boundary gets stretched and pushed, then your energy levels suffer. So it’s really important to be able to ask for what you need. So have a think about: what one thing may people not know that you need? I have the right to ask for _______? I have the right to ask for some space. I have the right to ask for some time.
I find this really difficult. I’ll be really honest; as a mum, as somebody running her own business, I find it really difficult to get that balance between being a mum, being a wife, being a friend, being a sister, being an auntie – all of these expectations that come externally and internally. So I have to be able to be to recognise and communicate what my boundaries are. What’s important to me? What is it okay for me to ask for? Actually, I can’t do this at this time. You’ve got to be able to communicate your needs.
3. The alternative to Yes or No.
If you’re coming up with a situation – let’s say somebody’s emailed you and they’re requesting you to do something – it’s not necessarily just a yes or no response. You have also got that ‘not right now’ response.
Yesterday I had two phone calls, and I had a number of phone calls earlier this week about people who want me to come into their memberships or their communities to do some training. One particular lady I clicked with: I absolutely loved everything about her business, it had a purpose, a mission very much aligned to my own. And then when she asked me, ‘Could you come into my membership? There’s 50 people in this membership, I want you to come in on deliver some training at seven o’clock in the morning for five days, and I will promote your work.’ I sat there and thought, Wow, that’s a big ask. That’s a big commitment for that size audience for me to come in every single morning for a week at 7 a.m.
I thought a year ago I probably would have said yes because it was an opportunity. But then I sat back and thought, ‘No, where are my boundaries.’ First of all 7 o’clock in the morning for me would not work because I’d have to get up at 6:00-6:30 to get myself ready and prepared. That would probably wake my children up, and then they would be grumpy for the rest of the day.
Can you see the cascade effect that was having? So I said to her, I would love to help your community. This is what I can deliver. Unfortunately, I would not be able to commit to that because of X Y Z. But here’s what I can do. And therefore we agreed that would work and we’re going to do something alternative. So having really strong boundaries is really, really important.
Remember that it’s just it’s not just a yes or no. Sometimes if somebody comes to you with a request, whether that’s in business, whether it’s personal, in your relationships, that you have also got the option of saying not right now. Maybe you love the idea of working with somebody or doing something together or spending some time together. But actually, right now, that isn’t going to work for me. And it’s not selfish to say that – this is just about self care and setting boundaries for yourself.
4. Learn to let go.
Sometimes we just have to learn that something that we’re doing just isn’t working, and we have to let that go.
I’ll give you an example of something that I was doing last year in my business. I was offering a particular service in my business, and whilst I really enjoy delivering it. It was sapping up all of my time, and it wasn’t particularly commercially viable for me.
I love to deliver it, so my heart strings were like, “Yes, I really want to do this”, but it just didn’t make any other sense. And therefore I had to then devise another method of people working with me that did make sense or wasn’t sapping up all of my time. So I had to learn to let that service go. I think that’s really important not just business but in anything. Sometimes we just have to learn when is the right time to let things go.
5. Listen to your intuition.
This has served me in so many ways this year. You know sometimes when you start working with somebody, or you start with with a client or mentor, or maybe start following somebody on social media, maybe you just made a new friendship – you just have that little intuition inside you that says, ‘I’m not quite sure’. There’s something that’s not quite right here. This is like your own internal alarm system. It’s like your little red flag system. If that little red flag is going off, it normally means that you need to listen to that.
In most situations, your intuition is correct. So sometimes if an opportunity comes your way or you’re trying to make a decision about something, if it doesn’t feel quite right then maybe either say no or put it on the maybe in the future pile. Because if something is telling you that you don’t want to work with that person or whatever that situation is, really listen to your intuition because your intuition is very, very strong, and stronger for some than others.
One of the reasons I love my pure coaching work that I do with ladies is I love just being able to sit back and really actively listen to what they’re telling me. Just from a physical body level, very intuitively I know exactly what the problem is. And then my role as a coach is to then tease that out and get them to come up with that issue.
It’s really hard, as women, because we’re care givers. We feel like we have a responsibility, and sometimes our responsibilities take over and we want to help everybody. And then that gets crossed over against our boundaries. And I’m sure that’s why I feel absolutely shattered this week because I have allowed those boundaries to be crossed. It’s meant that I’ve used up a lot of my energy this week.
So listening to our intuition is really, really important.
6. Notice what drains you.
Again this is a little bit intuitive sometimes, but when you’re sitting there thinking ‘I want to put myself out there a bit, more but actually this is draining me right now.’ Having to deal with this is draining me right now, having to deal with this issue in my business right now, having to do all of this stuff by myself is really draining me. If you can identify what is particularly draining you and focus on efforts on trying to improve that area, that can really help you to then create those really strong boundaries.
So, for example, I’ve been sitting here this week editing a whole bunch of videos for future courses, programmes and things I’m developing. And I really enjoyed editing videos. I’m quite creative. I go into Canva and create images and I pull them into iMovie then I edit them all together. I love that detail work. But it drains me. I sat for a whole day yesterday, pretty much, editing videos. Now, really, what I should have done this week is outsourced that to my virtual assistant and freed up that time to allow me to do something else.
So sometimes we have to just go through these experiences to then think – Actually, you know what? Next time that comes up for me, I’m going to create strong boundaries. I’m going to use that time more effectively and outsource that work. Yes, it might cost me £100, or whatever it’s gonna cost me, but that I can then use that to free up more of my time for self care, for connecting with more clients, creating some more content. So creating strong boundaries is really, really important.
6 Ways to Create Strong Boundaries – Recap
1. Make self care a priority. What do you do to practise self care? This really fascinates me. When I reached out on Facebook, quite a few people were talking about meditation, and having some time for themselves. So let me know – how do you practise self care? Do you have any particular daily routines or rituals or things that you do? And if you do, have you always done them, or did you get into burnout and then you started doing these things?
2. Create boundaries. Make sure that you can ask those questions of people that are in your life who are important. By understanding what is it that you need and communicating that.
3. Remember there’s not always a yes and no response. Yes, No, and Not right now.
4. Learn to let go. Let go of bad relationships. Let go of negative people in your life. And if you’ve got people putting negative things on your social media, for example, just block them and move on. We haven’t got time to take in that negative energy, so learn when to let go.
5. Listen to your intuition. Listen to that internal sat-nav if you like, that’s directing you and telling you that you shouldn’t be going down that way. Listen to that internal dialogue. Sometimes you can physically feel it in your body.
I always store my emotion in my throat, Which is why at the moment I’m really struggling to swallow. I’ve got chesty cough because whenever I let myself care go or something happens or I feel emotional, it all stores in my throat. So physically checking that, almost like a body check with yourself. Where you feeling that at the moment? Is that your intuition telling you that something isn’t right? Maybe if you’re releasing some of that emotion, that could be another signal of something that your body’s trying to tell you.
6. Notice what drains you. Notice what activities you’re doing, what tasks you’re performing, what relationships you have. What is draining you? Because really life is too short, isn’t it? Life is too short to be drained by people, jobs, activities, things that are just taking us off track.
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