I’m in year four of my business with Hot Mama Health & Fitness and over the past four years I have slept little, stressed much, driven hard and pushed my limits. I have cried, laughed, screamed, cheered and cried some more. I have been in a state of “uncomfortable” and growth for these four years and my attempts to set boundaries for myself, my work, my family have been met with failure after 10 minutes every single time.
I have learned a great deal over the past four years. I’ve grown a thicker skin. I’ve exceeded my goals. I’ve failed. I’ve learned how to market, program, bookkeep (although that I didn’t do very well), manage clients, franchise, learn legal, learn strategy…I’ve learned to be a business woman. With zero business education, the learning curve was incredibly steep.
I was a team of one for a very long time and that was a lonely, hard-working, driven little team. Boundaries on time during a period like this are close to impossible and the pressure, imposed by others, to set them was immense.
As I reflect on the advice I’ve received over the years, the one commonality is the need to set boundaries between work and family life. I was told by mentors, advisors, business associates, family and friends to set boundaries daily. And, to be honest, this common thread is the one that frayed. It was a constant reminder that I was failing. I was failing to set boundaries and that failure created a lot of unnecessary stress.
I’ve decided boundaries between work, life and family will happen when they need to happen. Until then, I’m going to work and I’m going to work hard. I realize I’m going against all advice, all research, all everything…but for once, I’m claiming boundaries off limits for people to talk to me about.
News flash: we all KNOW we should set boundaries. This is not news to us entrepreneurs. But back off the young entrepreneurs in start-up mode and let us work. Trust me, we know when to to turn our phones off. We know when it is inappropriate to respond to messages. We’re pretty smart people, we can handle managing our boundaries.
Want my advice? Sure you do!
Work when you need to work, don’t work when you don’t need to.
I’d like to give you permission to not feel bad for the days you’re checking your phone and responding to emails while your kids are on the swing. I’d like you to know that it’s okay to post to your social media accounts while your kids are doing their homework. I want you to know that when you’re in start-up mode…anything is okay.
Even time off. Time off is also okay. Turning your phone off is okay. But, so is keeping it on.
Set boundaries for the important things, but give yourself permission to work when you can, how you can, wherever you can.
Get by. Push your business. Don’t forget your family. Give yourself a break and don’t let the boundaries people insist are important to your success stress you out. You know your limits. And if you don’t, you’ll certainly find them.
Know this…when I see you working long hours, forgetting to eat, unable to sleep…but still managing to grow your business and have a personal life, I’m going to high five you, smack you on the butt and wish you well. I’m going to stomp on the boundaries between work and play and insist that they can be blurred.
I’m giving you permission, for this short period of time, to set your own boundaries or set none. Take any and all pressure to do so off of you and know that you’re doing your best.
And hey, maybe once I’m out of start-up mode I’ll be able to set my own boundaries. But, I have a feeling that those boundaries will already be defined by the new stage my business will be in. Those boundaries will occur naturally and I won’t need to force them. They won’t stress me out.
I look forward to that moment. Until then, I’m giving you and myself permission to work and to play, and dare I say it, I’m going to celebrate my non-boundary living.