3 Ways to Uphold Your Boundaries and Make a Massive Impact

Many women entrepreneurs struggle with establishing and upholding boundaries. As a result, they give until they have nothing left to give.http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-line-sand-girl-drawing-image33294766 Are you on one too many volunteer committees? Are you the “go-to” person whenever someone needs 500 cookies for the “last minute” bake sale? Do you drop whatever you’re doing to take random phone calls? Do you schedule appointments with clients at all hours of the day? Do you habitually give away services above and beyond what you agreed upon without charging for them because you want to be nice or maybe you want to avoid an unpleasant conversation about money?

If you are like most women, you are a caretaker by nature. Women entrepreneurs are very passionate about helping others and are dedicated to making sure the needs of others are met. In fact, you probably find that you spend most of your time tending to the needs and requests of others around you. You may even find yourself saying “yes” to requests and commitments when you know you should be saying “no.”

Don’t get me wrong, a strong desire to give and help others is very admirable; in fact, it is one of our core values at BrightFire. However, in order to give abundantly, you must have abundance to give. Randomly giving away services or habitually over-delivering on agreements will undercut your profits and undermine your ability to give back in a more impactful way. Carelessly giving away your time without carving out time to grow your business or time to reenergize and renew yourself is a big mistake. You cannot develop your business or live passionately when you are running on empty. You have probably heard the saying, “You can’t give to others, if you don’t give to yourself first.” It’s absolutely true.

Here are 3 ways to uphold your boundaries so you can make a massive impact: 

1) Take control of your time.

If you don’t set boundaries and plan how to spend your time, others will plan your time for you. Be very intentional about scheduling time to work on your business and time to rejuvenate yourself so you can be your best, grow your business, and share your gifts with your community, clients, friends, and family. When you are focused on business, be focused on your business. When you are focused on family, be focused on your family. When you are focused on clients, be focused on your clients. When you are focused on you, be totally focused on yourself and the things that are meaningful to you. Carve out time for all of the significant areas in your life and honor each one with your undivided attention.

2) Guard your time and charge for access to it.

Avoid giving away too much of your time by setting boundaries and expectations with your clients or customers right off the bat. In the beginning of your working relationship, let them know how much personal access they will have to you and/or the scope of your work together. Put your agreements in writing so clients know exactly what to expect. Do not put yourself in a situation where you are giving away lots of free one-on-one time or giving away time- or labor-intensive services without charging a fee.

3) Learn to say “no.”

Don’t take on more projects than you can realistically handle, even if they are business-related projects or charitable endeavors. You can only handle so much before things start slipping through the cracks or you burn yourself out. Remember: we want your fire to burn brighter, not out.

Learn to say “no” to things that are not aligned with your business and personal goals. Just because some task is urgent for someone else does not mean you have to instantly drop what you are doing to save the day. Trust that there are other ways for them to get help. You know in your heart the difference between situations which constitute emergencies and require your help versus situations which require just a little more resourcefulness on the part of the petitioner.

I would love to hear how you uphold your boundaries in your business and how it helps you to make a bigger difference for you, your business, and the people you serve. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. I set a “time budget” for things I want to volunteer for or doing pro bono. When it’s over for the year, it’s over. That helps establish a boundary and helps me budget where I will spend time, too.

  2. LOL!! I just clicked “post” on a blog I wrote about setting boundaries, and I also use a “drawing a line in the sand” photo!! Great minds…

    But, my topic is a little different. What you are talking about here is SO IMPORTANT.

    Say yes to what you want to do, what feeds you and moves you forward.

    Say no to: EVERYTHING ELSE.



    Katherine C. H. E.
    Author, Be True Rich

    P.S. Here’s mine: http://www.ialoap.com/2014/04/what-setting-boundaries-looks-like-in-real-time/

  3. Of all of these I think saying No is the hardest, especially to volunteer opportunities. But it’s important that we stop and evaluate what we’re doing before we blindly say yes. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Yes, saying no does seem hard at first. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, though. And it really does allow you to give back more when you aren’t spread as thin.

  4. The women I work with are the ones who can’t say no, don’t have boundaries and take care of everyone around them. They end up stressed and anxious.

    Your tips are excellent reminders for them and every person who is heading in that direction!

  5. I schedule my “me time” first and then everything else around it. Saying no took practice, but now that I’ve enjoyed the benefits of it and see everyone gets what they need in the end, I am happy to say no.

  6. One commodity we all have and no one is able to replenish
    is our time. Once you use it – you lose it. Use your time well.
    Every single minute. – Mitch Tublin

  7. I had a friend tell me once, “Boundaries are your best friend!” Boy was she right! Early on in my business, I said yes to everything and didn’t honor my boundaries. I felt taken advantage of, and came to realize it was my fault, because I was letting it happen.

    Boundaries are critical to your sanity, and to your success — and when you explain them to people — whether it’s friends, family, or clients — they understand! (And usually they are impressed)

    • Yes, I think we have all experienced it at some time. You make an excellent point about people understanding your boundaries–they do often respect you for upholding them.

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