How To Set And Stick To Your Boundaries In Business
Want to know the one thing that comes up on repeat in my DMS when I'm coaching someone, when I'm facilitating masterminds. Boundaries nine times out of 10, this comes from a good place. Nine times out of 10. If you are having a problem with boundaries, it's because you are acting as a client centered business. Maybe you call it heart centered, but if you are client centered as your primary focus, you are heading for burnout and your boundaries or lack thereof are just a symptom, but it needs attention. FoST your business should first be about you and your needs, and then about how you can serve the client within those boundaries. So what does that look like? Well, in my first job in corporate, my boss said to me, in order to reach the next promotion level, I needed to learn to say no, and to reach the one off to that, I needed to learn to do it and have the other person feel good about it. That was such a tough one for me, learning to say no to someone in authority, but ultimately it became about two things. One what was on my plate learning the very real consequences of saying yes. When I should have said no. Learning what it took to catch up. When I had said yes to something that I should have said no to learning what it looked like when I disappointed somebody that I had said yes to one, I should have said no. And the second thing was what I could live with. So learning to offer an alternative when I couldn't say an outright, no. learning to come from my position of. How can I make this still feel like a win here's the thing we get all up in our heads about boundaries, and saying no, because we imagine what that person is thinking and feeling. When we say no. We're having this whole imaginary scenario play out in our heads and we get so busy managing their feelings and their reactions for them that we forget about our own feelings, workload and our own needs. There were a couple of situations where I see this a lot in entrepreneur land. The first one and the most prevalent one is client scope creep. So when you start a relationship with a client, it's all great. You set out what your boundaries are, and then you're gonna work Monday to Friday, I'm available nine to five. and these are the projects that I'm taking on for you. Right? Scope creep is when you have a client going outside of those boundaries, outside of that scope that you agreed a client, who's expecting you to do things on weekends, a client who use trying to contact you in the evenings, a client, who's trying to add things to the list of tasks you agreed right if this is a first offense and it's timing related, I would just do a gentle reminder of your working hours. If it's additional tasks, I would ask them if it's a priority over the other things that you're already doing for them and what they would like you to drop. That's often enough for somebody to take stock realize what's happening and hopefully remedied situation. If it's an ongoing issue, though, you're going to need to have a little chat with yourself. First in this space. I see a lot of, client naming and talking about clients being high maintenance and pain in the butts, et cetera. And don't get me wrong. There are totally those clients, but have you taught the particular client you're thinking about that this behavior is acceptable. Have you answered coals or emails on the weekend? When you said you didn't work weekends, have you added things to your list from them that were outside? What you agreed without discussing what else should be dropped or talking about additional payment. If this is the case, you have to take a little bit of responsibility because you've taught them that this is acceptable for you. So before you can have a conversation with them, you need to redefine for yourself what your boundaries are, introduce them again to the client. And then this is the key you need to stick to them. Unfortunately, if this has been going on for a while, you probably gonna get some pushback because they're used to having you 24 seven at your current. Remember that you've had a part to play in this and think about what can you live with? Could you keep that level of availability for an increased price? Could you have a three strikes rule in your head where you have the conversation with them, they breech, you have the conversation again, they breach, you have the conversation again. And then on that third strike, it's time to consider firing them. You're probably having all sorts of reactions to me right now. So I want you to remember to ask yourself, what are the real consequences of carrying on as you all? Generally, what we see happening with scope creep is it doesn't get less. it's not going to solve itself. And it's probably going to get worse. There's going to come a time where they try to drop something on your plate. You're going to try and say no to it. They're going to have a really big reaction and it's just going to be vastly more awkward, or you're going to keep adding things without saying no, and you're going to burn out and then everyone loses. Remember what can you live with? Would more money from that client to maintain those service levels, allow you to get rid of another client that would free up the time without any financial loss, or do you need to change things up . The second place? I see this kind of inability to say no, or enforce our boundaries come up is in the face of opportunity and. A lot of entrepreneurs start off in this kind of yes. Fest. We're super excited that someone would even invite us to be on their podcast, speak on their summit, join their virtual event, talk to their mastermind, do an Anji life. All of these things. It can be really hard in the face of that amazing opportunity to either say no or to state what you need in order to make it happen. I recently had a conversation with someone who wanted to discuss a JV opportunity with me. Now, I only work with Jamie partners in a very specific way, and I fully expected this to not match up with what she was going to suggest and for this to be a no-go. I knew the real world consequences of me doing it the way I expected her to ask for it, stress, resentment, not a lot of results. And I had an alternative that I could live with, not just live with. It actually felt like a real wind me and for her. So instead of managing her feelings about it, we jumped on the call and ice and V stated what I could offer and guess what it was ultimately what she wanted as well. But she thought I would want to do it the way she was suggesting. See how that works. If we had both been so busy managing each other's thoughts and feelings, we would have landed up in a working relationship that neither of us actually really wanted. If I'm in a situation where I need to decline something completely where I'm trying to decide that this is a yes or a note for me, the thing I always asked myself is, am I prepared to deliver on this? It is so much better to say no now than to drop the ball later when someone is actually counseling on you. It's simple. No, thanks now means that they have time to find alternatives. Remember, you do not need to manage the feelings about your note at that point they actually probably don't have any. However later on, when they're counting on you, if you already know show or you don't deliver it and you drop the ball, I promise you, they will have a lot of feelings about it and they will be expressing those feelings to others. And the very real world consequence of you saying yes. When you should have said no, will be your reputation. I know this is such a scary area for a lot of people. And we're talking about some really big kind of boundary changes for you. So before you dive in, I'm not suggesting we suddenly start firing or renegotiating all your clients. And so I'm coming from a huge place of no, for every opportunity that comes to you. I want you to start small. There can be a lot of baggage in this area from our personal lives. So saying no to something small and allow yourself to see that the other person isn't freaking out and friending you, putting you on blast on social media and that reaction that is different from probably what you imagined in your head will allow you to start to build a little bit of competence saying no. To practice makes confidence in this space. Little nose begin to build so that you competent saying a big note. If you need a little help on this, if you need some ideas around what boundaries you could be bringing into your business. My favorite question to my podcast guests is what is your biggest lifestyle boundary? What is the one thing that you won't sacrifice for your business? And I love the variety of answers that I get ya. For me, it's a commitment to be in a physical location on a recurring basis for others. It's Sunday is for church for others. It's I only work these days when I have childcare So I'm going to ask you what's yours. What is your biggest lifestyle boundary? Should you have only one? No, you can have multiples, but should you be able to name one? That's an absolute that you do not break. Yes.
Most issues I hear from clients and in the DMs are boundaries related. And most of the time, we have only ourselves to blame
The problem will not solve itself, this is not a “season” rather a symptom of a bigger problem that needs attention
In This Episode
- Why you need boundaries
- 2 rules for saying no and sticking to it
- What to do when clients cross your boundaries – because they will
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The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this podcast episode and article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article or episode. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Diane Mayor disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.