This week, we’re talking about something that’s super important for our personal and business success: boundaries. You know, boundaries can be our best friend, always there to protect and look after us. But, let’s face it, boundaries can also be a little tricky. That’s why I’m here to help you navigate this territory and find your way to a more well-boundaried life.
You see, a lot of us struggle with people pleasing. We say yes to requests that we really don’t want to do, or that are draining our energy and time. That’s why it’s so important to tune into ourselves and learn where we need to set clearer boundaries.
When we have clear boundaries, we can be more flexible and responsive to life’s challenges. And the best part? When we have robust boundaries, we can avoid burning out and have more success in our business.
So, in this episode, I talk about why we have trouble with boundaries and how we can become a clear boundaried person!
How to access and express boundaries, and what to do when you get pushback. I’ll be sharing some tips and insights from my own experiences and training as a counselor, as well as from my work as a mindfulness teacher. By the end of this episode, my goal is for you to have a deeper understanding of your own boundaries, and how to implement them in a way that brings you more success and happiness in your business and life.
Are you ready to become a well-boundaried person and enjoy more success in your business without burning out? Let’s get started!
Full Episode Transcript
I am Meegan Care mindset coach and meditation teacher. This podcast is here to help you unwind self-doubt, people pleasing, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm so you can step into the confident leader you were born to be women. It is time to bring your purpose into the world in an impactful way without sacrificing your well.
Are you ready? Let’s begin. Kia ora, and welcome to the podcast. This week we are talking boundaries. Can I be clear with my no and my yes. Can I tune into my needs inside myself when somebody is requesting something from me? Have you ever had that time where somebody’s asked something of you and they wanted you to do something or they wanted to do something?
What came out of your mouth was a yes, but inside your body there was a no, heart in your gut, in your nervous system, in your brain that you, you knew that you didn’t wanna do it, but what came out of your mouth was yes. That is the work of boundaries and we are gonna get a lot clearer about our own boundaries by the end of this podcast.
That’s my goal for all of us. And we’re also gonna clarify how when we don’t have clear boundaries that we implement how detrimental that is for us in our business and in our life. All right? It’s a big topic and obviously, I am only gonna cover a small area of this vast field that we name as boundaries, and some of it will be coming from my training as a counselor.
Some of it will be coming from mindfulness practice, some of it will be coming from, of course, my own experience. And there’s lots of things that weigh into how we relate to our boundaries, how we express our boundaries.
Let’s get a definition. Boundaries in personal psychology refer to the physical, emotional and psychological limits that we set in order to protect ourselves and maintain our own well. and these boundaries define what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in relationships, and they help us maintain a clear sense of self and promote healthy boundaries with others.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yes, it does. The reality is boundaries are pretty complex. We’ve got those layers of our upbringing, our conditioning, our gender conditioning, layers of trauma, schooling. There’s a lot that goes on here, but let’s break it down a little more. How can having boundaries protect your time, your energy, and your
wellbeing, because, Having good boundaries really does do this significantly, and so sometimes I see for clients where we’re trying to really organize ourselves, like be super organized and that’s, yes, that’s important, but if we have a clearer sense of our no and our yes inside of us and have freer access to that, so we’re able to access that much more easily, then there’s a sense. It’s kind of like safety, I suppose, or relaxation that comes into us so that we are not having to micromanage every detail of our lives because we know that when our boundaries, we really connected to our boundaries. We know that we have access to them at any time. . So the way boundaries were defined for me during my counseling training in a really, really simple way was do I have access to my no?
And do I have access to my yes. And by access I mean, can you feel what’s going on inside of you? Can you feel when it’s a no? Can you feel when it’s a yes. and to be able to access that, we need to have some sense of our needs and what it feels like to have our needs be met. So that’s like, that needs to be there to be able to really understand and feel our no and our yes, and we need to have some kind of psychological
sense of emotional safety within us, which, you know, most of us have in some form or other. Obviously, you know, it may have been altered by trauma, by upbringing, but for the most part we have a sense of, you know, I can feel reasonably safe, emotionally settled in the world. So we need to have that as a starting point. Cause we don’t have that and we dunno what that feels like then it’s really difficult to feel into when we have a no inside of us and when we have a yes inside of us and
we need to be able to access these boundaries to protect our time and our energy, which protects our wellbeing. Because if you are saying yes all the time and inside your body, there is a no because for example, you need to rest. . Well then if that keeps getting repeated over and over again, then you are gonna come to a point where you do, get depleted and you start to get burned out.
And so there’s another, it’s kind of nuanced, I think when we’re business owners and I can really only speak for myself as a practitioner in business. And what happened for me was when my boundaries weren’t as robust and flexible and clear as they are now.
My client load, my business stayed small and there’s this really fascinating interplay. I think when you, when I look back on it now, because I was, I found it more difficult to say no. Then I subconsciously kept the gates closed in terms of new people, new clients, reaching out to me. because there was a subconscious kind of,
well, if all of these people come in and want to work with me, I’m not gonna be able to say, no, I’m gonna have to take on all that work, and that is gonna overwhelm me.
I’m not gonna be able to handle that level of work. I subconsciously kept things small and hidden, like keeping the gates closed. . Now imagine if I had had clearer, stronger, more flexible boundaries back then, I would’ve been able to really open up more quickly, easier. Because I would’ve been able to trust that when I was full.
When I was at capacity with my clients, then I’d be able to access my no, speak my no, and put a boundary there. I’m full. I know it sounds really simple. And when I look back now, well, you know, we’re always growing. Aren’t. saying no has been a real problem for me as a young woman. I found it really, really difficult, and so I’d either have no access to my, no.
I wouldn’t be able to say no, or I would have to like lean right into being the bitch and then the no would come out. So when I was way identified with being the bitch inside myself, then I could come out with the no, with my heart was closed, I was, you know, barriered up. That was the only way I could access boundaries.
And there’s, you know, lots of reasons for that. My mom was a little bit the same. really kind and caring, but difficult accessing her. No. So there was a little bit of that. There was a little bit of abuse history, which really messes with our boundaries and our capacity to say no. And so that’s why, you know, for me personally, I think doing the work that we need to do on our own personal experience of trauma is
really, really, important.
Whatever you’re doing in your life, you know, if you have a small business, a bigger business, if you’re a professional in the workplace, working on our trauma is really important, and that is one of the clearest ways to being able to access clear boundaries within ourself.
So getting back to the point I was trying to make, boundaries are like a protector when we need them, and if we don’t have access to them through our conditioning, upbringing, trauma, et cetera, then we will tend to subconsciously keep things small. So it’s like a no to opening up to life when we don’t have those clear boundaries to look after us. So that’s one thing. If you are in business and there’s this sense of, oh, I’m just so like stuck, it’s not flowing, there’s opportunities are not
opening, people are not coming to me, then let’s have a conversation about that and let’s see if we can unwind that and come to some awareness.
Because even. with more awareness around this. It’s really, really helpful. Okay, so I’ve gone deep really quickly, which I like to do, but let’s, let’s bring it back to some basics. Okay. So what do we struggle with as business owners? We struggle with that balance of work and personal responsibilities. , and I don’t really like that term work life balance.
I don’t even know what that means anymore.
But if we think about work and personal responsibilities, there’s a lot being asked of us. , and if you’re a parent as well, that weighs the scale some more. And then where is the time for you? And so very often we move into this place of over caring and overdoing.
And when we over care and we overdo for others and we’re not taking enough time for ourself, we know where that leads to, right? That leads to depletion, to fatigue, to burnout.
We can find it really difficult to say no to clients or customers, especially if you are getting started. You are still, you know, working to gain traction. Maybe you don’t have the level of clients that you want, you’re not where you wanna be just yet. It can be difficult then to come through with the NO when it’s needed because there’s, there’s a, a fear of if I say no to this client, even though they’re not a good
fit, even though I wouldn’t probably be the best person to work with them, then another one might not come along or they’re gonna get upset with me and talk shit about me.
So the risk is far greater that things are gonna get messy, icky, down the track because it hasn’t started off from that really, really clear place.
Another thing we can find challenging that is all connected to boundaries is delegating tasks and responsibilities. We can fall into that place of, I’ll do it, I can do it, I can do it faster. It’ll be quicker if I do it than teaching someone else to do it. And yes, that might be correct for the short term, but in the long run, that is not helping us.
An area around boundaries that shows up a lot for wellness practitioners is when clients are a no or clients are late to their appointment, and this happens a lot as a wellness practitioner. If you’re in that field, you’ll know that this does happen a lot. And look, honestly, most of the time there’s a good reason.
Why someone’s late, why someone misses an appointment. They might forget their child might have been sick the night before and they completely blanked on the appointment. All of that’s really normal. But what happens when we don’t have clear boundaries is that we try and sort of , fix it within ourselves, or we don’t have a good business policy in place around missed appointments, around late arrivals to your appointment so we don’t have good business boundaries in place.
And then when that happens, you are left kind of trying to work it out in the moment. and then the people pleasing stuff starts to come up and you don’t wanna piss them off and you don’t really have a policy anyway, so you’re kind of overthinking the whole deal and it becomes a really tricky area for practitioners. Or, you know, on the other side of things, you might set really clear boundaries.
Charge full fee. If someone gives less than 24 hours notice, no exceptions.
That might be a clear boundary for your appointments. , and it’s so clear of course, that your clients are advised of that on their appointment email, so they know that going forward.
And then when it happens, the client comes to you and they say, But I’m so sorry. I just, it totally went outta my mind. I’ve had such a busy week and then my child was up really late last night and I woke up this morning. I just kind of knew something, you know, was there that I needed to do, but I couldn’t remember what it was.
I’m so, so sorry and you the kind, caring practitioner you feel for that person. Of
course, you do.
And then your boundary starts to waiver and melt and you’re not sure. And there’s a part of you that’s worried that if you charge that fee that has already been set up in your business, that this person’s gonna be upset or you are being mean or they won’t come back to you. It becomes a whole thing. And like even talking about it, you can feel how much energy this takes.
Now, if I am in a place of having really clear boundaries for me as a practitioner, and it’s not the case anymore cause I don’t see people on a one-off basis in the clinic. People sign up for like three months. They’re not just booking appointment here, an appointment there. But if when I’m in that place with my clear boundaries, I’m grounded within myself, I can feel empathy for their experience for sure, but there’s still a policy where the client is charged for a missed appointment if
it’s less than the 24 hours say.
When I was stretching my wings with this, I would relay that information to my client. In this one example of I’m thinking of, and I was, you know, first few times it happened, I was worried, oh, she’s gonna get really angry with me cuz that was a fear of mine. Then she’s not gonna come back.
She’s gonna be pissed off about she wasn’t. She paid and she came back. And I know for myself, I’ve missed appointments. I missed a a supervision appointment. It completely went out of my head and I just didn’t show up. And my supervisor said, well, I’ll need to charge you for that. And yeah, it was annoying. It was an inconvenience. I paid the
money and I didn’t get the benefit of it other than the lesson.
But I wasn’t pissed off at her. And even if I was, what does that matter? Right? That’s my stuff, that’s my process to deal with. That’s my shit. To sort out around writing things down, diarizing them, making sure I’ve got reminders.
Boundaries are such a minefield, aren’t they? And those are really simple examples, right? But if you think. that’s playing out. If you’re a wellness practitioner that’s playing out potentially week to week, that can happen if that’s happening there. How are are unclear boundaries? The fact that you can’t access your boundaries and express
them in a clear way, that is definitely going to be impacting your business on a broader scale, and it is interesting when we take care of the details, for example, around the cancellation policy and following up with that, then that can filter through into the macro of our business. So this is where like in the moment they can seem like single instances, but actually if you’re doing that a lot, you’re becoming the person who’s very clear it. You become that person people know what
they’re getting. When they meet with you, it’s clear and that is a good thing. Your potency is increasing as you access your boundaries more effectively.
So when we think about boundaries, we can think about ourselves in terms of how we show up with boundaries. And so quite often we get And so I’m really identified with that role.
And so it might feel difficult then to be clearer around boundaries around payment, around time, around if a client’s come for really, really deep work and they’re just telling me all about the party they went to for 20 minutes, and I’m unable to interrupt them and get them on track or support them to get on track because I’m too identified in this sort of persona of being really kind and caring.
And then for many of us, if we are not in that place, so that kind and caring person, then suddenly we are launched over to the other side and we are the effing bitch who doesn’t care right at all. And so we get kind of caught because it’s like, well, I don’t really wanna be either of those, but if I have to be someone, I guess I’ll be this, you know, overly caring person but boundaries support us to find that middle
ground so we don’t have to reside always in the really kind, really caring, over caring, because actually that’s stressful for our nervous system as well. That’s very depleting and we don’t always wanna reside in the, you know, down there with the bitch. , but we wanna be able to access both of those ways of being.
And the way to, so the way to think about it is to think about it like a spectrum where we’re accessing that beautiful middle ground again. So yeah, I can show up being kind and caring, and if you are consistently. , late ditching appointments not showing up. We are gonna have a conversation about that and about how that’s not working for me and probably not working for you as well.
You see, we can access that middle ground around boundaries. This is so important, this piece that we can feel inside of us. If somebody’s asking something of you, you can feel inside of you. And then if you slow down with that awareness, you’ll be able to feel when there’s a no inside of you. . And the person that’s talking to you who wants something is pushing for a yes, and that feels really uncomfortable. It
feels horrible inside of us because there’s conflict, right? And so me being the the child of divorce, parents, I hated conflict.
I just wanted mom and dad to be peaceful, even if they weren’t talking to each other. I wanted things to be calm and peaceful, and so when that conflict shows up inside of me, it was for many, many years, and still really, honestly, I’m still unwinding that to some degree. It was really uncomfortable, and so my automatic response would be to.
Well, I’d go one of two ways, right? Which we’ve already talked about. One way I’d just be, oh yeah, sure, sure. I can do it. Yep. Okay. Yep. I can meet you there for a coffee, even though I’m really tired today and I’ve got a bit of a headache. Not that I’d be saying this, I wouldn’t, inside my brain I’d be saying it and it wasn’t on my plan, and I’m not really sure I want to, I would say, yeah, sure I can.
I can go and meet you for a coffee.
But actually inside myself, there was a no. And of course we know that when we do that, we are opening the doorway for resentment. That is a really key tell that you haven’t been clear with your boundaries and maybe you’ve slipped into people pleasing is when later on, resentment shows up.
I bloody well went and met her for a coffee and she was like 15 minutes late, doesn’t she respect my time? You know, all that stuff our brain tells us.
So resentment is a really key indicator that we could do some work on our boundaries.
And this particularly shows up for us as women because we’ve been conditioned to care take to please say hello to your creepy old uncle that you really don’t wanna say hello to that wants to hug you, but your whole body is saying no, be a good girl and go and give your uncle a hug. Sorry to my uncles.
I’m not really referring to any particular uncle there but you know, that happens and we are teaching our children, or we were taught as children to override the know that’s inside of us.
And so it is our job to reclaim that as adults and the rewards for the work around your boundaries come later because it’s uncomfortable to say no when you are so used to saying yes or collapsing into yourself and just allowing whatever that person is
pushing for to be to happen. So it can feel really uncomfortable to start saying no. And the rewards come down the track because you realize that, you know, you said no to that person.
Whatever their reaction was, you survived it and you came out of that interaction more. More of yourself, more authentically yourself.
So when I think about boundaries, I think about we’ve got this internal process going on, which we’ve talked about today a little bit round in circles, but we’ve talked about the internal process around boundaries needs accessing our yes. And now, no. And then the way I think about how we interact with people, so how we talk to people is more behavioural.
And so the words that we say become a habit. . So if I’m like in that grain in that way of saying, yeah, okay, yeah, sure, yep, yep, I can do that, I can do that. Even though inside of me there’s a no happening, I’m gonna need to interrupt that pattern of always saying yes or always complying to please the other person.
And it’s not something that’s easy to do in the moment the first few times that you do it. So you kind of need to practice. Saying no out loud might sound a bit weird, but practice saying it out loud so you get really comfortable with it. No, that’s not gonna work for. No, I’m not available for that. No, I’m not gonna make that.
Practice that at home yourself, to yourself in the mirror, to the pop plant, to the picture on the wall, until it becomes something that when you feel it in the moment, you can access those phrases. So choose one or two phrases that work for you so that you are not having to think about it on the spot.
So planning ahead with the phrases that you can use to express your. is really, really helpful. First step is understanding what you feel inside yourself. Second step is expressing that to other people, saying that out loud, and if you have those key phrases that you’ve practiced ahead of time, they’re gonna be way easier to access for you in that situation, which normally is slightly stressful because you’re changing
your behavior. But here’s the thing, the more you do it, the more frequently you do it, the easier it is going to get. Until you get to a place where you can say no with love, you can say no with respect. You can say no with kindness to that person, and you can tolerate their discomfort. Really key piece. A lot of our saying yes, when we mean no is difficulty tolerating someone else’s pain, someone else’s discomfort. We wanna make it all okay for them and we will sacrifice ourselves first every time so that they can feel good if we wanna thrive in our life, in our business, we’ve gotta turn that around and you can speak a no with so much kindness and respect and be responsible for your feelings, but you are not responsible for someone else’s feelings in terms of how they feel about your NO. That is not your job to fix. And so you might get pushback from people, resistance from people. If you’ve always been a yes person and then no start coming out, it can upset the apple cart.
So be ready for that and notice that part of you that when that happens, maybe you wanna rush in and fix it. That’s not your job. If you just give space to that, that person might be upset just let them do their thing. It’s not your job to fix it. That was my mantra as I was recovering my capacity for boundaries.
It’s not my job to fix it for that person on an emotional level. Right.
And so it takes us being able to tolerate it still probably would feel uncomfortable, but it takes us being able to tolerate someone’s anger, frustration, annoyance at us.
And when you can express your no hear, see with respect their frustration and not energetically collapse or try to fix it for them, or being really defensive, then you can pat yourself on the back because things are starting to change. See, I really think that when we have access to our boundaries, our yes and no, no, in a really clear, effective way, . It gives us so much personal freedom, and so sometimes I hear boundaries being talked about as, and so this is the last point I’ll make.
Sometimes I hear boundaries being talked about as being rigid, like rules. This is my boundary, and that and that boundary that I have with that person. Has to be the same for every single person in my life, because that’s my boundary. Well, that’s not how I think about boundaries. I think about boundaries more as being able to access my,
no, when that’s occurring for me and my, yes, when that’s occurring for me, and able to express that boundaries can be our best friend , they look after us. They are
flexible, but not wishy-washy. And to access our boundaries in a robust way, time and time again, we’ve gotta look at ourselves and learn where we are people pleasing, where we are meeting everybody’s needs above ours.
Accessing your boundaries. Becoming a well boundaried person does not mean that you turn into an asshole. Not at all. Remember, we are gonna play in this middle ground. I can say no, I can disagree, and I can do that with respect and kindness. Hey, hope you enjoyed the podcast all around boundaries. Loved talking about boundaries.
It’s really giving me food for thought as well in terms of areas that I can freshen up around my boundaries. So boundaries are something that. Work with a lot in my group coaching program. Impactful Women for Small Business Owners. because when you’ve got really good access to your boundaries, then you can be playful in your business.
You can try things out, you can experiment, you can push forward knowing that you are safe because your boundaries have got your back. And so boundaries come up frequently in our coaching and such a powerful way. Impactful Women Group Coaching program is starting on the 8th of March, 2023. If you are a small business owner and you wanna work on your mindset so that you can create a really successful business and do it
your way, in a way that fills you up in a way that brings you joy, Send me a message and ask me all the questions about the program.
I’m really happy to chat. No pressure at all. Alright, have an amazing day. Speak to you soon.