This past month, I had two clients both of whom were struggling with time for themselves. One of my clients was so busy doing everything for everyone else that he started to experience physical aliments due to his lack of self-care.
The other client is a new business owner and can't quite learn how to set boundaries for himself and for his potential clients. Both great examples of how important it is to take care of yourself, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Let's look at the first situation, exasperating yourself until your body physically breaks down. There is a simple word in the English language, NO. You have to really sit down and evaluate your life and decide what are the top ten things you value most in life.
Those things might include your wife, children, prayer, exercise, etc. Really concentrate on these things. Now as you start to make plans, keep your values in mind. Does the committee you just volunteered for fit into your values? If not, learn to say no.
You are not going to die if you say the word and I have never heard of anyone else that has died from hearing the word.
Ok, I am going to get personal here for a minute. I was married once before. My divorce went smooth or so I thought until after it was all said and done and I found myself at the doctor's office. I told my doctor I didn't know why I was so sick when my divorce was over and my life was getting back to normal. She explained to me that our bodies have two responses to stress, fight and flight mode.
She said when you are in the moment of stress; your body is fighting for you to hang on through the moment. Once the situation is over, your body goes into flight and is exhausted from all the energy it took to get you through.
It isn't until after the stress of a situation is over that our bodies start to show the aliments. It's kind of like sunburn. While you are in the sun, you feel great and you do not realize your body has been exposed to too much sun.
Several hours later, you feel it and look it and you pay for it over the next several days
You have to take time for yourself, especially during a rough situation or period! It is crucial and your life depends on it. In the book, "Vitamin Bible," by Earl Mindell, it states that when we stress about something just one time, our body is completely depleted of vitamin C!
Vitamin C is an important product in adding our immune system. It stands to wonder then why we get sick after a stressful situation. Next month, we will focus on the second example of taking time for yourself. We will also look at setting boundaries for yourself, family, friends, colleagues, and clients.
In the meantime, here are some recommended readings to help you begin to reclaim your life!
Cheryl Richardsons, "Take Time For Your Life" Jennifer White, "Work Less, Make More" Nicole Johnson, "Fresh Brewed Life"
This article helps individuals and entrepreneurs to set boundaries for their business in order to be more productive and live the life they want.
So, did you take some much needed time for yourself last month? Did you make it a daily habit? Just think you will start the new year out feeling great because you got a jump start in taking time for yourself!
Last month, I shared a story of one client who let stress affect him to the point of physical exhaustion. This month, we are going to talk about setting boundaries with people around you so you will have more time for yourself.
In my article last month, I briefly told you about a client who was a new business owner and was having a hard time setting boundaries within his business.
Being a new business owner myself, I have to admit that I have struggled with this area as well. It has only been the last couple of weeks that I have discovered the necessity of setting boundaries.
Probably the number one problem I hear from people with businesses is they dont know when not to answer the phone. This one particular client feels that if he doesnt answer the phone on the first ring, he will lose a client. Bingo, there is the first clue to his problem fear!
Huh, you say. Let me explain. When we come from a place of fear, we tend to react rather than pro-act. This client is reacting without thinking because he is afraid of losing a sale. Lets take a look at the consequences of his actions. Ill set up the scenario.
It is 5:30p.m. and your office phone rings. Your office hours are from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. Monday through Friday. You look at your watch, let out a sigh of disgust and you pick up the phone thinking it might be a new client and you dont want to miss that sale.
I thought you were already closed, you hear the already existing customer say. They proceed to ask you something that isnt urgent and cant even be handled until tomorrow.
A whopping 15 minutes later, you hang up the phone mad at yourself, mad at the customer, and exhausted. All that because you didnt set yourself some boundaries.
Let me give you another scenario of someone who has set boundaries for their business. Its a regular Saturday and it is 6:00a.m. and you decide you have to have a new dress to wear to the party this evening. Do you jump in your car and trot down to Nordstroms?
No, why because you know they do not open until 9:00a.m. You dont call and you dont stand out in front of the store. Nordstroms has set their boundaries. You are fully aware of when they are open and when they are closed.
Is Nordstrom's going out of business because you can't get your dress at 6:00a.m.? No! Are you going to stop shopping there because you can't get in the store at 6:00a.m.? No! You will wait because you understand their boundaries.
When we come from a place of FEAR or SCARCITY, we start to react to situations instead of pro-act. By placing boundaries in our lives and business, we set ourselves up to proactive situations. We also attract people to us instead of sending them screaming and running because we are so clingy!
No matter if we are a one man show or a huge corporation, we all need boundaries.
Now that we are in the new year, lets implement some new boundaries for our business and personal life. Are you ready? Lets go!
First, lets talk about fear and why it keeps us from setting those boundaries. When you fear something, your are either looking into the past or future. Fear is thinking about what you dont have or what has happened in the past. We all fear something.
Did you know that babies come into this world with only a three fears, fear of loud noises, fear of abandonment, and the fear of falling? Then why do we have so many fears you ask? Because we have either heard of someone else having something horrible happen to them or we have had things happen to us during our life.
Let me give you this challenge. LIVE IN THE MOMENT! If you live in the moment and what you have right this very minute, you will not regret the past and you will not be pining away for the future.
When I was going through my training to become a virtual assistant, my trainer presented us with this challenge. It was such a revelation to me and it caused me to take more chances that I might normally not have accepted.
So am I not supposed to think about my past or future, you ask? I am not telling you to not think of those times. What I am telling you is to learn from the past and press forward to the future but not for one second taking advantage of the here and now!
Ok, we understand from last months article that we do not set boundaries because we have fear and now we have found how to deal with our fear. Lets now discuss how to set those boundaries in our lives.
In order to set those boundaries, lets briefly define what a boundary is: things that others cannot do to you. Boundaries are a way of saying no to the things that arent. Boundaries can support you in having high standards.
You have to say no to things in order to create the space to say yes to the things you want most. For example, if you want to have a set schedule of when you work, you need to set boundaries to uphold that schedule. Some boundaries you put in place are:
-initial conversation with the client to explain work hours
-inclusion of work hours in your client contract
-dont answer the phone after hours
-dont send email after hours
-send back to the client, any requests made after hours with a note reminding him/her that you dont work after hours.
All of those boundaries you just implemented are a way of saying YES to yourself and your self-care. By saying no to your client, you create the space to say yes to the things that matter most to you.
I hope you have some idea how important setting boundaries are for your business. I know by implementing them into your business you will be free of being in a relationship with people who abuse your good will and expect things they have no right to expect.
You will also have built a reserve of time to spend doing good things for yourself and your clients wont drain you the way it would have before you created a reserve.
Next month we are going to discuss what to say to people when they attempt to invade your boundaries.
This article helps individuals and entrepreneurs to set boundaries for their business in order to be more productive and live the life they want.
Wow! What great feedback I received from last months article. I am so excited that some of these tips have helped you out in the new year. This year is going to be a year of prosperity and not just in the money sense; I can feel it in my bones.
Great things are going to be happening every where, will you be a part of it also? You will if you set some of the ground work in the beginning like setting boundaries.
Last month we discussed what boundaries are and why they are so important. I also gave you some ideas on what boundaries to set in your life and for your business. This month, I am going to give you some language that will help you to stick to those boundaries and also put you in a position of not feeling guilty about saying a firm no.
Many people have difficulty saying no, and people who have no problem invading your boundaries take advantage of your vulnerability. Diana Robinson, Personal Development Coach, states, If a request or a question makes you feel uncomfortable, it is probably an attempt to invade your boundaries, even if the other person is not fully aware that this is what s/he is doing.
She continues to state that if saying no is too difficult for you and leaves you open to the other person questioning your decision, try the following alternatives:
1. Im sorry but I dont feel right about doing that.
2. If thats what you want, youre asking the wrong person.
3. I realize many people feel fine about things like that, and its not for me to judge them, but it just wouldnt work for me.
4. What I did in the past is past. Now is now, and its not right for me any more so please dont ask, because I wont.
5. This is not an okay time. Ill let you know if I can spend time on it later.
6. If you had let me know earlier we could have talked about it, but its just not possible for me now.
7. I can see something needs doing, but it should be done by the person who caused the problem in the first place, not by me.
8. It would be far more appropriate for you to do that yourself.
9. Why would you want to know that kind of information about me?
10. How would you feel if someone said something like that to your (wife, husband, daughter, son, etc.)?
We have come to the end of our final lesson on boundaries. I truly hope it has enriched your life and helped you to see how important it is to prioritize your life to gain more balance and sanity. Thanks to everyone who gave me your feedback on how these articles have helped you.
One of my clients stated it really helped him to see the importance of setting boundaries and that he will be implementing a boundary of not answering the phone after hours into his business this year.
© Assistant Extraordinaire 2002. Angee Robertson
Angee Robertson is a successful virtual assistant with clients all over the United States. She works full-time offering professional administrative services to small business owners and individuals helping them achieve their professional as well as their personal goals. She works virtually via fax, phone and computer.
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