Boundaries have been a biggie for me the past couple of months.
I’ve had to stand my ground on a few things. Have some really tough discussions. Hold people accountable to their agreements.
Keeping it real… it’s been tough. And empowering at the same time.
The toughest part for me is knowing that enforcing these boundaries and agreements has made other people unhappy, mad and upset with me.
And I hate that part. My ‘people pleasing’ tendencies run deep and I really struggle when I know my actions/decisions cause other people to feel this way.
I don’t like upsetting people. I want people to like me. I’m sure there are all kinds of reasons why I’m ‘wired’ this way, and without diving too deep into what those reasons are – as a default I am a people pleaser.
Boundaries are a necessity in business.
When we break it down, a boundary is about two things:
- setting an agreement
- enforcing an agreement
Setting an agreement is one thing – and in many ways it’s the easier thing!
Enforcing an agreement is where it gets tough. <– And this is where many of us (myself included!) can let things slide…
We might ignore the little things that are showing up. Maybe a team member is constantly late with their work, but we know they are having a rough time at home so we don’t talk to them about it. Or you have an agreement with your client that you don’t work past 5pm, but they constantly ask you for things late in the day and you do it “just this one time” (again and again…)
We might avoid the bigger things as well. You were promised something in an agreement that you didn’t receive, but you don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ so you don’t bring it up.
Whenever we don’t enforce the agreements that we’ve made – we are out of integrity. With ourselves. With others. And with our business.
Whenever we make our decisions from ‘well I don’t want to upset this person’ or ‘it’s not that big of a deal’, that is breaking the agreement that we’ve made.
And we are left feeling powerless. Resentful. Deflated. To the point where our business relationships may (will?) fall apart. And often not in a nice way.
Put simply – don’t make agreements that you aren’t willing to enforce.
Enforcing agreements can be hard AND it is some of the most empowering work you can do in your business. To stand your ground. To have the tough conversations. To not let things slide. To say ‘no’ or to say ‘hey, we need to talk about this.’
I’ve made decisions lately that were best for the business and that I knew would be upsetting to others. Some days I made those decisions with tears streaming down my cheeks, it was that emotional for me. But I did it none the less.
I was saying to a friend the other day, “I feel like I’m a grown up business owner now”. (Putting on my big girl panties as they say 😉
We become empowered when we do the tough stuff. And boundaries are tough stuff.