I recently attended a lunch with the Women’s Masters Network. At the lunch, Shannon Deitz spoke about managing our time and priorities. Shannon started Hopeful Hearts Ministry, a non-profit organization where they give voice to survivors of abuse. Her journey has helped her recognize the importance of setting boundaries. She not only has the courage to set boundaries for herself, but also helps others do the same.
It made me think about how women can often let the agendas of others set our priorities. When we do this too much, we end up sacrificing ourselves and feeling resentful.
Self-care is important to our own well-being and that of those around us. Our employees, our children, all those in our sphere of influence are watching how we manage our time and take care of ourselves. We’re modeling and teaching them with every action we take. What can you do for yourself in the next thirty days to improve your self-care?
Claim Your Time, Claim Your Value
It had been a very busy year, personally and professionally. I was in an executive position, but still reported to a boss who wanted me available 24/7. I knew I was burning out and needed a vacation so I scheduled it and counted the days until it arrived. The day before I left, my boss asked how he could reach me the next week. I replied, with some hesitation.
“You can’t. If it’s really an emergency, my assistant will know how to reach me.”
He looked astounded that I had refused his request. Ultimately, he didn’t contact me, the world kept spinning and later that year he referred to it as an example of strength.
We hesitate to set boundaries, usually out of fear. With fear in the driver’s seat, we imagine the worst. But will your boss really fire you if you decline something? Will you really end up homeless and penniless? Most likely not. We must overcome those thoughts and push through our fears. The more we set boundaries, the easier it gets.
Another woman I met at a recent lunch revealed how she declared for herself this year she would no longer work 12-hour days. On January 3, she went into her boss’s office and told him that she would now be leaving the office every day at 5:30. He looked surprised, but acknowledged her boundary and respected it. Interestingly, he then started leaving the office earlier as well. She became a role model for her boss.
It doesn’t always work that way. Another woman tried the same thing and her boss failed to respect her boundary. Her choice was ultimately to leave that job.
We change when we realize that what we’re sacrificing is worth more than the fear of change.
When we don’t set boundaries for ourselves, we’re failing to claim our value. It shows up in working hours and time with family and friends, as well as when we are reluctant to negotiate for ourselves. Or when we say “yes” to too many projects. Or when we hesitate to ask for a raise or promotion.
When we declare and stick to boundaries that are important to us, we’re sending the message to others that we’re strong and we know our value.
If you struggle with standing firm on those boundaries, here are some questions to ask yourself:
What am I sacrificing by continuing to do x?
What are the possible outcomes if I actually set a boundary for myself?
Remember to include the positive ones!
How likely is it that there will be consequences?
How might I draw on my strengths to manage the consequences?
We are in control of our choices. We have not only the ability to stand up and set boundaries, but we also have the amazing talent and strength within ourselves to handle the outcomes. Those outcomes are often far better than our worst fears.
NEW Workshop! Career 2.0: One day workshop May 17, 2019 in Houston: Are you thinking about what to do with phase II of your career? You may have had a long and successful first chapter, but you’ve got a lot of ambition and runway left. The question is what to do with it. Join me for this in-person workshop to identify just how you can build on your past, yet pivot your career for Career 2.0.
Susan Hodge created Women Leading Together in order to provide one-on-one executive coaching, seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling professional lives. Visit our website for upcoming programs, articles, and resources to advance your career.
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