When I started my first business – about 17 years ago, I thought I had to be available for my clients 24/7!
I even purchased a cool belt clip holder for my mobile phone, so it was always on me. Seriously!! 🤣😂 (Back then phones were a little larger and not quite so easy to slip into your pocket)
This led to my clients contacting me any time, of any day. Why wouldn’t they? I trained them to do so. I answered their calls and emails any time of any day. I would drop everything to have unplanned meetings with clients, adding hours to my day. I had unclear and inconsistent boundaries.
Despite the many reminder letters and emails I’d send my clients, they still didn’t get their records to me on time. I’d be in my office late at night the day of external deadlines completing and filing their returns. What choice did I have? If I didn’t file their return in time, they would get penalties and late payment interest. I had no choice! Or so I thought back then. I put my clients before myself and my family.
As you can imagine, this led to me feeling resentful, discontent, used and at it’s very worst, burnt out and wanting to give up on my business.
Now let’s be honest – I wasn’t actually that important! My client problems weren’t dire – they didn’t need access to me 24/7 at all! It was my own misguided delusion that that was what I needed to do to be successful. If I’m totally honest, it was also a distraction from an unhappy home life. 🙁
So, let’s get real and be honest with ourselves.
Now more than ever – in this always-on, always-connected world we live in, it is even more important to set clear boundaries.
Why am I telling you this?
When you have been coaching for a while patterns appear. One of those patterns I see too regularly is a lack of clear and consistent boundaries.
A lack of clear and consistent boundaries tends to show up as a feeling of overwhelm and not being able to do or “be” enough.
A lack of clear, consistent boundaries fosters unrealistic and excessive expectations from clients, team members and personal relationships.
It is a pattern that will show up in every area of your life.
So how did I reset my boundaries?
✅ I got clear on what was OK and what wasn’t OK for me.
✅ I changed my behaviour.
✅ I STUCK TO IT.
Did I lose any clients? Yes, the ones that took too much of my time and energy and ate into my bottom line….good riddance.
Did I get any negative feedback about my service? No. In fact, quite the opposite.
I did get back:
✅ my focus
✅ my time
✅ my life
AND more growth and high-quality clients!
Boundaries are not easy. But no relationship – professional or personal, is sustainable without them.
Boundaries – YEAH ✅
Available 24/7 – NAH ❎