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Here’s Why You’re Not Implementing Better Boundaries In Your Business – Even Though You Know You & Your Business Would Benefit

Sarah helps women in business who want time and financial freedom, but are struggling with feelings of burnout, to master boundaries so they can liberate themselves from people-pleasing and overfunctioning, break the burnout cycle, and love their business again.

 
Executive Contributor Sarah Wood

Do you recognise that having better boundaries in your business would equal more money, more time off, more satisfying work and less overload and resentment – but you just can't seem to implement them?


Businesswoman in modern office hand stop gesture.

You're not alone, and it's not because you're incapable.


The truth is, we need more than knowledge and good intentions to implement better boundaries in our businesses.


According to the Information, Motivation and Behavioural Skills model (Fisher et al., 2003) an evidence-based model from health psychology we need a combination of information, motivation and behavioural skills to create lasting behaviour change.


Let’s take a look at each of these in turn. 


1. Information  The what


While you intuitively ‘know’ what boundaries are, you may not have thought about them too deeply and so may have some misconceptions that hold you back from implementing them in your business. 


One of the misconceptions I see a lot in my Burnout to Boundary Boss program is the belief that boundaries are all about controlling other people’s behaviour. 


Boundaries aren’t about controlling other people you can’t anyway so don’t waste your energy trying.


Boundaries in business start with you getting crystal clear on your values, goals, needs, wants, preferences and limits and then communicating and at times protecting those things from other people’s agendas


While healthy boundaries are flexible and look for the win: win wherever possible healthy boundaries require you to stop sacrificing your needs by people pleasing.


The problem is, we get a lot of payoff for people pleasing – so it can be hard to want to change because it means giving up certain benefits. 


2. Motivation – The why


We all experience some level of resistance to setting boundaries which means our motivation to implement better boundaries in our businesses can be lacking.


From an evolutionary biology perspective, we’re pack animals our ancestors lived in small tribes to survive.


To be rejected by the tribe meant death and the emotional centres of our brains carry this imprint which is why rejection feels so incredibly painful to us.


And when we don’t know how to work with these emotions, we tend to people please, because that feels so much safer to our nervous systems.


And we get a lot of benefits from people pleasing at least in the short-term.


People like us when we support their agendas. They think we’re nice.


We get to avoid disappointing them, risking conflict, judgement or criticism people pleasing feels like the path of least resistance.


The problem with sacrificing your own needs, wants, preferences and limits to please others, is that you end up feeling resentful because you’ve created a lose-win situation.


Not only that, but you overload yourself because you agree to things that take up too much of your time, energy and attention leaving inadequate resources for you to focus on what matters in your business.


You can raise your motivation to implement better boundaries by examining the benefits and costs of people pleasing vs the benefits and costs of having healthy boundaries. 


This is an exercise I walk my clients through early on in our work together and it’s a proven way to move through resistance and increase motivation toward taking goal-directed action. 


3. Behavioural skills The how


The third reason you’re not implementing better boundaries in your business is because of a skill gap.


Many of the skills you need to be a boundary boss require building procedural or implicit memory that is, getting to the point where you can do something without thinking about it because you’ve practised so many times it’s become automatic.


These kinds of skills can’t be learned by osmosis!


Assertive communication is one of those skills being assertive means communicating your needs, preferences and limits confidently while also respecting other people.


How nice would it be to feel confident that you can speak up for yourself in any situation, knowing you have the skills to do so without ruffling too many feathers?


And the reason you’re not doing that is because no one has explicitly taught you how and supported you to practice and refine the skill.


So this means you default to what you know and for most of us that looks like people-pleasing.


So, just to sum up the reason you’re not implementing better boundaries in your business even though you know how beneficial they’d be for you isn’t because you’re incapable, it's just because you need a combination of the what information, the why motivation and the how behavioural skills to change any behaviour and boundaries are no exception.


Want more support?


If you're ready to liberate yourself from people-pleasing and over-functioning so you can make your business work for you at least as much as it works for everyone else, I have a couple of options for you.


I open up a limited number of 30-minute free coaching sessions every Friday to help you work through ONE pressing boundary challenge in your business. I'll help you get crystal clear on what's not working, what you want and then help you move through any mindset and behavioural shifts you need to move forward including helping you with the language you need to express your needs, preferences or limits. Book here.


2. Check out my 6-week, 1:1 Coaching Program  Burnout to Boundary Boss

This program is designed to help you attain the basic skills you need to become a boundary boss so you can:

  • Feel Valued as the CEO of your business instead of feeling like an employee

  • Make more money in less time

  • Take more time off

  • LOVE your business again

When you're ready to explore this option, you can check out all the details here and book a free Discovery call here.


 

Sarah Wood, Coach for Women in Business

Sarah helps women in business who want time and financial freedom, but are struggling with feelings of burnout, to master boundaries so they can liberate themselves from people-pleasing and overfunctioning, break the burnout cycle, and love their business again.


As well as running her coaching business, Sarah is a single mum and Psychology major at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch New Zealand where she lives.

 

References:

  • Fisher, W. A., Fisher, J. D., & Harman, J. (2003). The information-motivation-behavioural skills model: A general social psychological approach to understanding and promoting health behaviour. Social psychological foundations of health and illness, 82-106.


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