One of my biggest fears around starting my own business, was about having and creating balance and boundaries in my life. When your work and life seem inseparable, and one spurs and inspires the other, finding a dividing line between work time, and having a fun, fulfilling life can be challenging.
We also have old worn-out paradigms to contend with, that tell us that being successful and having plenty of time and freedom are not synonymous. Our entire lives we have been told that if we want to make money, we have to work hard, and sacrifice our love and joy. We believe things like:
- Affluence is for the lucky.
- You can have love or money.
- It’s either freedom or success.
- You can’t be rich and spiritual.
- If you don’t suffer you’re not trying hard enough.
- You have to choose between a career and a family.
Right there, we have a two-fold demon to contend with:
- Your own beliefs around what you think you deserve, and what balance and boundaries to create for your life. This part is challenging, because some of those beliefs are ones you want to change, for example “Yes, I do deserve to have a 4 day work week, with 3 days for joy-filled fun and a bursting bank balance!”.
- The expectations and assumptions of others, and what they think you can do for them and the roles they want you to play for you.
We teach the world how we want to be treated, be being a leading example though the way we treat ourselves. The way we do one thing, is the way we do everything.
Remember how I mentioned that starting your own business is like putting yourself through the most intense personal development course ever? Right here, is one of those junctures.
It’s all up to you. You have to choose where your boundaries lie, and how to bring balance into your life. To help you with that, I’m outlining some of my own personal boundaries and strategies in creating balance.
I value my time.
At the very beginning, it’s so easy to say “Yes” to everything and everyone. But very quickly things begin to fill up, people start to take your generous efforts for granted, and you start to feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. At the start of anything new, you have to give a lot of give. And you need to balance that give, with receiving and filling your well, from other sources.
I value my time by having boundaries on how much I give away for free, and how much I work for income. These guidelines vary from day-to-day, and month to month, depending on what else is going on in my life. Having a clear understanding of how much I give and how I receive, is reflected in the way that others value me and my time as well.
For example: I do 3 pro-bono sessions per month. That means that 3 hours per month are dedicated to giving away my valuable insight, support and time, for free, to those who really need it, for the good of our world and community. It’s one way that I love to give. But I have a set boundary around that. Also, I will do up to 3 guest posts or interviews per week, but no more. Because I value myself and my time. I know what my boundaries are.
I limit how often I am on social media.
I still struggle with this one from time to time because, let’s face it: social media is such a fun, amazing, wonderful, creative and psychologically pleasing way to connect and communicate with real, incredible, fascinating, heart-warming people! Nonetheless, if I’m not careful, social media can steal away my time and my energy, that I’d rather give to things that uplift me, like moving my body, taking a nap, writing, reading…
Ideally, I jump on Facebook and Instagram twice per day, to reply to comments and keep my connections thriving, happy and high. On days when really exciting things are happening, like launches, I’ll be in there more, because it’s part of my marketing strategy. I also tend to just do what I need to do, and then jump straight out, instead of scrolling for ages. Having careful limits on my social media exposure helps me have a healthier and happier life balance, which is something we all need.
I automate as much as possible.
The beauty of our digital age is that there are amazing people coming up with incredible solutions for simplifying our systems and lives every day. I would love to hug and celebrate those people for their dedication to making our lives easier. Thank you.
Automation means that I can work in blocks. I might write several blog posts in one day, and schedule them across an entire month. I’ll write a week’s worth of Facebook posts and schedule them all in one hour. I’ll have ideas about what I want to share on Instagram, and I’ll prepare and schedule them all, so they are ready to go, and I don’t have think about it again.
This frees up my time for me schedule my days in a way that suit me. Instead of having to fit myself to schedules of time zones and dates, I can use automation systems to organise everything at just the right moment, without me having to be there, every single second of the day. More time = more space = more balance.
I put myself first.
The entire reason why I started my business, was for this exact thing.To be able to put myself first. If I feel tired, I take a nap. If I feel hungry, I create a nourishing meal. If I feel full of energy, I work out. If my energy is low, I do things that are gentle and restorative. If I’m feeling crazily creative, I go ahead and create. If I just need to step away, I call a friend and go on an adventure. If I want to cuddle my man when he’s got a break, I can. Every day I listen, and put myself first. This is how I want to live my life.
I work on my beliefs.
Whatever we want experience in our external lives, we first have to cultivate internally. For example, if I want to make $100,000 per year, and work 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, I have to first believe that this is entirely possible and plausible. What that means is that I have to uncover old believe systems that are saying the opposite of my desires, and eradicate them. The way to do this is to become aware of them, sit with them until they dissolve, and the replace them with a positive belief. Creating new beliefs, and boundaries around how those beliefs play out for me, keeps me sane and aligned with my big, guiding why.
I schedule my days.
Essentially, I work 4 days a week full-time. Sundays and Mondays are “me” days. Fridays are for whatever fun I want to have. Tuesday’s are dedicated to planning, emails and admin. Wednesdays and Saturdays are my main mentoring days. And Thursdays are for creative content creation. There are days where things cross over, and one thing bleeds into the next, but in general, I know what I have on for each day.
Everything goes into my calendar, and my schedule is clear. Knowing when I work, and when I have days to step away from work, helps me have clarity and balance. I had to create those boundaries for myself, because if I didn’t, I’d work every single day until I burnt out with exhaustion. Not because I have to, but because I truly love what I do, and when you run your own business, you are never, ever done. There’s always just one more thing, you could be doing.
I am clear on my processes.
I let my clients know exactly how things work with us, by sending them a mentoring agreement, and letting them know in our emails, what they can expect. With me it’s always: payment is upfront, rescheduling is possible but needs to be done in advance unless there is an act of god or in unusual circumstances, and while I am fully here for you, I am not your crutch. I love that my clients know how to take full responsibility for themselves, their actions and their emotions. The reason why they do that, is because, without me having to communicate it with them, they understand and know my boundaries. Anyone who accidentally steps beyond those boundaries receives a clear, loving but firm email form me, stating my policies in our relationship. That said, respect begets respects, and it’s been very rare that I have had to do that.
I listen to my intuition.
I believe that I (as I am, in my physical body) am here to serve. My brain is here to work out solutions for problems. And my intuition is here to guide me to where I am supposed to go. Whenever I don’t know what to do next, I say a little prayer that goes something like this “Please show me and guide me to where I need to focus my time, energy, love and attention, next.” I have an intimate relationship with the Universe, the Unknown, the deeper part of all of us. Every day we have an ongoing conversation where I say “So, what now?” and it replies “Here. And now here.”
This take so much pressure off me and my ambitious little mind, that wants to be as useful and helpful as it possibly can. Listening to my intuition and my own inner wisdom means that I only do the things that are actually worthwhile. Having this decision as a boundary in my life means that I never waste any time, and I am intimately attuned to my highest potential.
These are not the kind of things you will learn in a conventional business course or mentoring program. But they are something that I share, and teach to all of my mentoring clients. I’d really love to have you join me in expanding those horizons and breaking through the glass ceiling of limiting beliefs. You can learn more here.
You can access all the articles in this 8-part series, here:
- Identifying your skills, and deciding what kind of business to start.
- Understanding your great, big, guiding why. (By using your heart and intuition to make decisions.)
- Overcoming fear, self-sabotage, and putting yourself out there.
- Creating a platform, building an audience and using social media.
- Finding balance and boundaries, to live out your freedom-fuelled life.
- Changing your mindset around self-worth, value and money.
- Honing and defining your niche and your message.
- Nurturing relationships and connecting with influencers to elevate your brand.