How are you at communicating boundaries you’ve set?
What do you think of when I say “boundaries”? Restrictions? Limits? Freedom? Let’s talk about how communicating the boundaries you put in place for your work and home life can protect you from burnout and stress. The communication part of boundaries is so vital and yet so often overlooked.
For some reason, we like to establish clear boundaries about when we work. Or what kinds of projects we do. Or the space we need to complete a job…But then we neglect to tell the people around us about then. And subsequently, we get frustrated our family members or clients don’t respect the boundaries we have put in place. Or sometimes we violate our own boundaries because no one knew that line was there so we can cross it. Right? No. Lack of boundaries creates lack of respect, whether crossing that line is intentional or unintentional. And starting today, you, your family, friends, clients, and team will know exactly where your line is.
Why Establishing & Communicating Boundaries is Important
Establishing and communicating boundaries allows mompreneurs to safeguard themselves against burnout and failing to meet expectations. When you clarify the limits of what you allow in, what you accept from someone else, and how much your capacity is, you can communicate these limits to the people around you. And when you communicate your limits, you can problem-solve for overflow. You can prevent feeling overwhelmed because the people involved are aware of our capacity and limits.
Many of the mompreneurs in my community feel like running overcapacity is just par for the course. Or that if they just reach a certain point, everything will balance out or their workload with decrease. There is also a fear of saying no to business opportunities because their business may not be as successful. Or they fear saying “no” to their family because they don’t want to put their business before their family. Many times, they fear saying no to both which lands them in a cycle of exhaustion, stress, and overwhelm.
On the flip side, you could create healthy boundaries. You can clarify the limits of what you allow in. Establish what you will accept from someone else. And know your capacity to protect yourself from burnout and overwhelm. Then, you can communicate these boundaries with others. They will now know how to respect your needs. But can also hold you accountable when they notice your nearing capacity or allowing people to violate your limits.
Over time, you will discover that by decreasing the amount you allow in will allow the quality of what you focus on will increase. Higher quality work in your business. Focused, present, intentional quality time with your family.
You can actually look forward to your work because you know that when you reach your limit, you can shift out of work mode and into mom mode with ease and confidence. Your daily or weekly workload can shift from work you don’t love or working with clients you don’t love to only doing what you love.
And when you focus on doing work you love or working with clients you love, you can show up to serve better. And a mom who feels fulfilled and productive in her work can step away at the end of the day. She can focus on her family in the evenings, on the weekends, or on her days off.
Steps for Creating & Communicating Boundaries
I know setting and communicating boundaries can feel overwhelming itself…Especially if you’ve just dealt with doing it all or saying yes to everything for so long. That’s why I have a little fill-in-the-blank exercise for you. You can create a boundary statement to communicate to your clients, team, family, or friends.
- The first step is to recognize where you need this boundary. Where do you allow people to crash through the fences you’ve tried to use to establish a boundaries? Are there places you’re allowing people to overload you? Or places you allowing yourself to go over capacity? Then fill in the blank for this statement… “I need to create a boundary around ___________”
- Next, let’s talk about why. You know I love knowing the why behind any change or effort you make. Why is it that you feel you need this boundary? Because you don’t have set work hours? Or because it is hard to work when kids are constantly interrupting you? Maybe because when you spread yourself too thin with clients, all your clients suffer? Dig into WHY you want this boundary in place and fill in this blank… “I need this boundary because _____”.
- And finally, let’s dive into how you know when you’re approaching your limits. Do you snap at your kids more? Have trouble sleeping? Feel anxiety, sleeplessness, or the need to overeat? When you take a step back, you can usually see a pattern when you reach capacity. What is that trigger you would like to avoid? How can that affect your mental and physical health as well as your relationships and business? Now fill in this blank… “I know I am approaching my limit when _____”.
We have clarified where we need a boundary, why we need it and how it protects us. Now we are going to create a boundary statement. We can use this for our benefit by placing it as a visible reminder to review on a regular basis. And we can use it as the basis for our boundary conversation with our family, clients, or team.
You can create your statement by grabbing the answers we just created and placing them in this statement…
I need to (insert boundary you need to create) because (insert reason why you need the boundary) and I no longer want to feel (insert how you know you are approaching your limit).
Examples are “I need to create specific work hours because I am not making progress just trying to fit my business building work in here and there and I no longer want to feel stressed and defeated.”
Or “I need to no longer schedule calls after 5pm because I want to focus on spending time with my family in the evenings and I no longer want to them or me to feel like they are second to my business.”
Once you have your statement ready, make a time to communicate it with your family or clients. Remember that this change could invoke some strong emotions. But, in the end, you are protecting your passion, relationships, and mental and physical health are what is most important.
Your action step to establish and communicate your boundaries today is to create your boundary statement. Then schedule a time to meet with the people affected by your change.