Setting Boundaries with Setting Boundaries

by Amy on January 12, 2017

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For a long time my dream was to create a successful six figure, and then multiple six figure, coaching practice. After achieving the $200,000 a year mark I considered going for $500,000 a year. I created the business plan, I had the team in place, but I never made it.

“Being an entrepreneur is the most lucrative form of therapy available.”

I love this adage. I repeat it often. I had to learn a lot about myself to achieve what I was eventually able to achieve in my business. I had to overcome a lot of fear and insecurity and ego to get there.

As a recovering approval addict (with the occasional relapse), I have had to learn how to set boundaries. A boundary is a form of self protection, a way of maintaining your own space and keeping other people out for your own sake.

There are all kinds of ways to set them. I learned how to set them with people. I let go of many relationships that didn’t serve. I learned to set them in my business. I had to get really honest about my priorities and stop spending time on things that didn’t help me achieve my goals. I learned how to set them day to day. I created “client only” days and “self care” days and “writing days” and stuck to them. I learned how to set boundaries in my home. I decided when my work day started and when it ended and who, other than me, would be folding the laundry and cleaning the house.

Learning to set boundaries, for me, has been akin to reading The Beauty Myth or Self Coaching 101 in a  life-will-never-be-the-same-again sort of way.

But leave it to me to take every damn good thing to the extreme.

  • I didn’t call people just to chat or meet for friends out of the blue for lunch,
  • I hired someone to fold my laundry and straighten up the house, to pick up my kids after school.
  • I put every field trip and family vacation in my calendar each January to plan business stuff around these things.

These are all good things! Things I paid big money to smart women to teach me.

But here’s what eventually happened because I am an OVERACHIEVER. I got tired. I lost friends. All the spontaneity and fun of life became swallowed up by my boundaries. There comes a point — I know because I lived there — when boundaries stop creating freedom, when those walls no longer protect but suffocate.

There are many business coaches who will tell me that I never got to 500k because I didn’t have enough boundaries — I needed to continue to streamline, simplify, hire more team members, outsource, outsource, outsource!

BUT streamlining and outsourcing and delegating via rock-solid boundaries can became an underhanded, self congratulatory form of self-flagellation. If you’re not careful –and you have issues like me — you might trick yourself into feeling successful because you only take clients on Tuesdays, because you won’t meet your friend for lunch (you only have time for revenue generating activities this week), or because someone else folds your laundry. All the while the little needy child in you misguidedly thinks the more more more by doing less less less mentality will get you your version of success so you can finally feel whole.

Unconditional love. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it my friend?

Sometimes I think unconditional love looks like letting yourself take a fucking nap. It looks like folding the laundry your damn self. It looks like meeting your friend for lunch to talk about meaningless shit. It looks like taking your kids to Target without any make-up on.

Because whether or not you achieve your personal vision of success, at the end of the day, you are you. Can you love the person you are even when you are folding your own laundry, success or not?

Sometimes unconditional self love looks like setting a boundary with setting all those boundaries.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Pierre January 13, 2017 at 12:46 am

Hi Amy,
Great, thank you for sharing this story with me, yeah I agree with you one hundred percent on unconditional self love.
It is important to come down to that. Ma Dad told me not to please people. I learned it late and I am thankful I got it now.

Again thank you for the share. Sorry I got this message late.

Keep Brazen!!!

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Amy January 13, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Yep unconditional love. Thank you Pierre!

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Virginia Reeves January 13, 2017 at 12:59 am

Boundaries work well for some people and not so well for others. So much depends on your life circumstances. I have certain things I no longer tolerate which keeps me from being involved in things I don’t want to do. Yes, sometimes it doesn’t work but mostly it does. At 66, I don’t want to set a tight schedule; it’s nice to have an open day to make my own choice. Your schedule works for you Amy (except snow days!) and is a guideline for others to consider. You have to be comfortable with whatever you structure for yourself.

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Amy January 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Boundaries changed my life in an amazing way. I think every woman needs them. But the kind of boundaries depends on the person. And of course, you can take any good thing too far (me, as cautionary tale). Thank you for the comment. Another snow day today!

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Brenda Lee Nelson January 13, 2017 at 3:57 am

Hi Beautiful,
I say, know the boundaries so you can break them properly. Onward my friend. Xo

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Amy January 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Love that.

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Elias January 13, 2017 at 8:13 am

I never see like you very strong a person dedicated and motivation and ambitionsI person I think that you strong person that mind God bless you and I learn from you a lot things what can I say thank you so much

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Amy January 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Thank you Elias!

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Caroline January 13, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Hi Amy,
This was quite eye-opening! I had never before thought about the potential negative impact of setting boundaries – or rather of overachieving in that area. Thank you so much for sharing! There seems to be a movement building around saying ‘no’ more, committing to less, and being more focused on self-love, which is in sync with the currently very popular minimalism movement. Your post reminded me of the ‘Doing Less’ experiment that Kate Northrup is starting! in case you have not come across it, here’s the link: http://katenorthrup.com/lets-do-less-together-an-invitation/ You might find it interesting! Best wishes xx
Caroline

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