I’m on week #5 of my current 90-day visioning period about creating boundaries in business, so I thought it would be a good time to offer another installment of this blog series. This time I’ll discuss 3 rewards of creating boundaries in business.
The first installment was on the overall discussion regarding the need to create and enforce boundaries, why it’s important, and how to go about it. I wanted to explain my motivation behind this 90-day vision. If you have a tough time creating boundaries in business, the likelihood is that you’re averse to it for one reason or another. You may even think that having boundaries is somehow “mean.” As we’ve found, it’s actually the opposite of “mean,” which I’ll discuss a little more in this post.
So, grab yourself a hot beverage and get ready to hear about the best part of holding healthy boundaries from the good doctor today: the rewards that come as a result of creating, evolving, and enforcing your boundaries. Yeah, it’s a thing.
First things, first: You Have to Take a Good Look at Yourself
The creation of boundaries requires anyone to sit down and take a look at themselves. That’s the first step: it’s accepting yourself where you are so that you can work from that place. I wrote a piece on quieting the inner critic a while back and part of quieting all that noise is accepting where you are right now and knowing that it’s going to change, maybe in the next 30 seconds.
That by itself is HUGE.
So what’s big reward #1 of creating boundaries in business? You learn to be realistic.
The majority of people in the workplace (or in life) run into trouble because they say “yes” to everything and overestimate the amount of work they can do in a day, a week, a month, a year, whatever. So they overpromise and underdeliver as a habitual pattern. They do it because they actually think they can do all the stuff, but then they get worried and stressed because they can’t actually do all the stuff. They get lost in this vicious cycle so much that they have no idea how to fix it.
People like to work with people that underpromise and overdeliver. Successful people say no to way more stuff than they say “yes” to, and as a result, everything that they deliver is gold. Imagine if everything you delivered to anyone was incredible, timely, efficient, wonderful, and went above and beyond what was asked of you?
You’d be an incredibly happy person, everyone you worked with would adore you, and you’d be unbelievably in-demand.
But you’d still say “no” at least half the time to anyone who wanted anything from you, and you’d proudly charge what you know you’re worth for every minute that you work. Because one of the reasons why you’re so good at what you do is because you are realistic in knowing what you’re capable of, working within your own limits and how valuable that is.
Being realistic about who you are and what you can do is difficult, because you are forced to see that you are not invincible, you can’t do everything and you’re only one person. The bigger your ego, the more equipped you think you are to do everything. In reality, you get less done and you let more people down on the regular. And typically, this type of person works twice as much for half the wage they really want. But they never think about it that way until they burn out.
Psychologically speaking, looking in the mirror and acknowledging your own limits is actually one of the strongest, healthiest, and most effective things you can do. It requires humility and strength to see yourself as what you are and not as what you’d like to be, or how you’d like others to see you. Plus, constraints actually make us more creative.
Spiritual people like the Dalai Lama would suggest that accepting yourself is one of the most difficult things that any human can do. So don’t feel crappy if this ain’t your schtick…it’s nobody’s strong suit, and it requires focus, dedication, and mind power to retrain yourself to both know where you’re at and then to truly work from that place. And, the Dalai Lama would suggest that the truest and most lasting joy comes from this very place.
Being on the step you’re on, with the goal to continue to move up the ladder with whatever you’re working toward, is a vital step to being able to move to the next step. If you’re on step 2 and you’re trying to jump to step 437, you’re just wasting time trying to do the impossible. High functioning people just don’t do that. They put their noses to the grindstone and do the work, taking each step with as much enthusiasm as possible, taking a break when it gets tough, and moving to the next step when the moment is ripe.
They stress less, are more accepting of themselves and of reality, and they’re happier. I’m claiming to be there just yet. But I’ve caught glimpses of this reward during the past few weeks of focusing on creating boundaries in business.
Naturally-Resulting Big Reward #2: You have more time.
Well, not really. We all have 24 hours in a day. It’s not how much time we have, but how we choose to use it. It’s a sure tell when someone says they have no time. When I hear that, I know it’s a lack of ability to prioritize projects. It’s being too busy, saying “yes” to too many things and generally not having (or enforcing) boundaries.
Most people say “yes” to work too much because their work is tied to their livelihood, and that’s all about money, and everybody wants more money. But why? If you don’t have any time, then how are you going to spend your money? Buying stuff for other people? Going deeper into debt to live in a house that’s way too big or driving a car that’s way too excessive? I mean, to each her own, but why in the world would anyone negotiate her time on Earth for a fancier emblem hanging on the front of her car just to keep it in the parking garage at her office all day?
Smart people who have no debt, big homes, and drive fancy cars have time to enjoy them, live in them and drive them. Because they have boundaries that ensure the enjoyment of the things that they purchase with their hard-earned dinero.
I recently spoke to a millenial who just went into the job force as an entry-level environmental engineer after hesitating to move onto a company’s payroll for about a year after he graduated. We spoke a lot over the last year about having boundaries to ensure that if he was to give up his freedom for a nice paycheck that he’d better be prepared not to have any time to spend said paycheck.
He was certain that being able to buy a nice car would be enough for him to give 50 hours of his life per week to an entity outside of himself. I just wanted him to realize that entry-level work, no matter his degree, was going to be about paying his dues and doing lacky-like grunt work for a while. He didn’t believe me until about 3 weeks ago, when he’d been officially working for 4 hours.
Good news: he didn’t purchase himself a beemer that he can’t really afford yet. Better news: he’s creating boundaries in business to ensure his own personal respect in a particularly egotistical industry. Best news: he sees that losing his freedom is absolutely not worth the nice paycheck he’s getting and he’s considering his options as I tell his story.
Smart, successful people do not negotiate their time, for any reason, ever. It is their most valuable resource, beyond all else. They know it and they protect it with everything they’ve got. As a result, they have what seems to be more time than everyone else. And with more time, they can do either more of what they like to do or simply do less, having more time to enjoy the life that they’ve created for themselves.
Next time you hear someone say, “I just don’t have time,” remember that it’s not just your choice, but your responsibility to yourself, as a good boundary creator and enforcer, to decide exactly how you are going to spend your time each day. Time is just an arbitrary measurement for what we do and we all have the same amount. Grab onto the reigns of your own stuff and you’ll find more time and ease in your day, your work, your relationships…your life.
And for goodness sake, spend some time with your loved ones, your spouse, your friends, your kids, and by yourself doing whatever recharges you. That’s the real reward, so reap it because you have created more time in your day to do it.
Naturally-Resulting Big Reward #3: People appreciate you more.
If all you do is stuff for everyone else, no one appreciates or respects you. You’re indeed a lacky paying dues your entire life, if you never develop or enforce boundaries. And on top of that, you never give anyone a chance to miss you or appreciate you. Doormats are never valued and they are always taken for granted, unless they are missing.
There’s that cute old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? And so what happens when you are so tied to something that there’s no air or distance or space? Well, simply enough, mold grows. Things get stagnant. Stinky. Same thing with fire. Smothering kills a flame where air creates a sustainable flame.
Part of paying dues in doing whatever you’re good at doing is proving your worth beyond the shadow of a doubt. Absolutely. You’ve got to build your fire before you can let it grow bigger. But at some point, not too far in, as I see even my young engineer friend showing, ensuring your own value by creating and enforcing spatial boundaries is incredibly important.
And the more skilled you are, the quicker you build a sustainable flame and the sooner you can let it burn while you sit and watch and occasionally place another log on to keep it going.
You show how valuable you are, what you can do, how incredible and efficient you are, how irreplaceable you are (yes, successful and high-functioning people are absolutely irreplaceable!), and then you draw your line in the sand. If you ensure through boundary creation that you’re willing to take your irreplaceability elsewhere, people around you will not only appreciate you more, but will give you whatever you need to keep you doing what you do closer to them.
The bottom line is when you bring light and energy to any project you are involved in, your absence can only then create a void. And with that void comes appreciation and respect. Not the opposite.
Creating boundaries in business, you create a supply-and-demand mode of operation for yourself. Make no mistake, you are a commodity. I know it seems weird to think of yourself that way. But if you don’t, you’ll quickly find yourself operating a charity instead of a business. Don’t risk cheapening yourself. You are a valuable and high-functioning member of the workforce.
How about accepting THAT version of you as reality?! Not a bad deal.
Creating boundaries in business isn’t just a part of working smarter, it’s about having a fulfilling life. And if you want to be good at anything that you do, having fulfillment is key.
So, if you haven’t already, start now. Create an environment where you can flourish, hold your ground, accept where you are, and find happiness and respect in the process. Do it unapologetically and do it with everything that you’ve got.
You’re worth it, I promise! And if you need more of a pitch of your value, give me a call. I’ll talk you up to the most important person in your world. YOU!
Photo credit: melpomen / 123RF Stock Photo