Don't Sacrifice Yourself to Your Business
Another big shift that comes with understanding the distinction between our business and our self is the realisation that in order to be of service, it is not necessary for us to offer ourselves up in sacrifice. We need to acknowledge that holding space for what is important to us is a necessity, not a luxury. If we don’t, we end up running around dealing with the chaos and drama of other people's lives, while our own lives collapse around us.
We survive as sovereign leaders only by holding to the integrity of our vision - who we are - what we stand for, what we need and what we want. The long-term viability of our business requires that all of our intentions and decision-making be viewed through this lens of integrity – the lens where our business entity serves and support US as well as it serves and supports our clients and all those who work with us.
At first it may be difficult to put into practice – this concept that we are allowed to meet others’ needs without sacrificing our own, particularly if you are a people-pleaser, a healer or a rescuer at heart. It takes time and commitment to build unapologetic boundaries that are internally aligned and externally consistent. Boundaries give us a choice in how we want to be treated and create realistic expectations in those we work with, so they can recognise that we also need safety and care. Boundaries are a conscious investment in our own well-being.
If we only think about our boundaries when we are feeling triggered and uncomfortable, we make reactive, knee-jerk decisions without thinking through the consequences or identifying what is for the highest good of everyone involved. If we constantly take on others’ burdens, in the belief that we are helping them, the resentment and overwhelm builds up until we eventually snap. Neither of these scenarios is conducive to the long-term viability of a business. This thing to remember is that no-one else is going to believe in our boundaries unless we do. If we don’t honour and respect what we want and need, how can we expect anyone else to?
Every time we say “yes” when we mean “no”, every time we allow our work to overflow the container our scope, every time we load ourselves up with responsibility for other people’s stuff, we are undermining our foundations and damaging our belief in our own sovereignty. This has far-reaching consequences for us, our business and all of those we work with. It is only through having the strength and integrity to be true to ourselves that we can be true to our vision, and truly of service in an expansive, world-changing way.
So, how do we set ourselves up for success? We begin by recognising and admitting our weaknesses and building them into strengths instead of feeling powerless. We look honestly at our current habits and patterns of behaviour and start identifying where we feel resentment, where we are acting out of alignment, where we are taking on stuff that is not ours, and where we are trampling on what is important to us. Then we investigate how our business can provide the support we need to be our best selves. This might involve outsourcing or automating tasks that constantly trip us up.
I will give an example from my own business to help illustrate.
One of my highest values is communication, but I also have a tendency to extreme introversion when I am stressed or overwhelmed, which happens often. This meant I had a huge list of people who had expressed interest in working with me, and I was only reaching out to them every 6 months, when the guilt of ignoring them and my financial need got to the point where it forced me into action – action which then took hours or days as I waded through the follow-up process. My business felt clogged and heavy with the weight of unmet expectations, both my own, and my tangled perceptions responsibility for what others needed from me. I finally made an intentional decision to deal with this with integrity. I wrote a series of warm, personalised follow up emails, and worked with a trusted VA to create a workflow that would move these leads lovingly through my funnel. What had been a massive weakness for me is now one of my most beautiful business boundary systems, supporting both my needs and the needs of my potential clients.
MAKE THIS YOUR OWN
- Holding space for your own needs is a necessity, not a luxury. Where do you struggle with this?
- Do you ever feel like you are desperately patching together the chaos of other people’s lives while your own falls apart from neglect? What one small step could you take that would make a difference to this?
- Are you the one trampling on your business boundaries? Why do you think this is happening?
- Where are the biggest pockets of resentment and anger in your business? Where do you feel least respected, most taken advantage of? What needs to change?