Setting healthy boundaries is essential for a healthy work life balance. That sounds true, but what does it mean? What do healthy limitations look like, and how can you know where and how to set them?
Simply because most owners want their businesses to be accessible and to provide excellent service, they are naturally conservative in setting this sort of boundary. After all, they wish to say, “Welcome” to prospective customers and partners, not “Keep Out.” As a result, they set boundaries at the last possible point to keep invaders at bay.
After working inside this boundary for a while, it is natural to become unbalanced, impatient, cranky, even resentful. It is uncomfortable within this boundary, and it feels as though this is the fault of individuals pushy clients, colleagues, and vendors out there. After all, if it weren’t for THEM, you’d be out within the fresh air.
But wait — a client isn’t an invader. A vendor isn’t a spy. A company isn’t a castle on a hill, placed there for strategic advantage against enemy forces. Let’s take a large breath and take another look at this company of setting boundaries.
Maintaining these healthy limitations feels entirely different, too. With what pride of ownership and delight in the scope of our pasture we walk the fence line. How pleasing it is to oil the latches on the gates, to replace broken posts, to trim the hedges.
Check in with your boundaries this week. First, notice what constitute the fence posts and gates in your business. Are they the hours that you work? The rates you charge? The terms you provide for special services? Get familiar with the structural elements you are able to use to build your beautiful fence and gate.
When you’ve identified those elements, take a look at exactly where you have set them. Do your rates give you room to complete your greatest work? Do your working arrangements provide you with breathing space? Examine your boundaries, and notice if they’re giving you room to live and to complete your best work or cramping your style. Experiment with moving your boundaries out a bit, not to keep your customers away, but to create a bigger space from which you can serve them wholeheartedly and well, maintaining a healthy work life balance.
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