Avoiding Burnout:10 Keys To Maintaining Your Boundaries
Managing and growing a busy practice has many challenges to it. How do you effectively do that while maintaining a healthy work/life balance?
It’s all about setting appropriate boundaries.
First and foremost, for yourself and how you want to run your business.
More importantly with your clients.
You love your clients because they are at the heart of the work you do, to serve others. And yet managing their emotions while you engage in the work with them, can be exhausting if you’re not careful.
When you haven’t put strong boundaries in place, you can easily (and unconsciously) take on their stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil. Impacting your energy, focus, well-being and ultimately your long-term success.
Why are boundaries so important?
Clear boundaries can help you in a myriad of ways, enabling you to:
Express Your Identity – With clear boundaries in place your confidence can grow as your expertise becomes well-defined, and clients learn what to expect from you.
Create Order & Manage Chaos – Without clear boundaries, it can be difficult to effectively regulate daily demands, ideas, responsibilities, opportunities, and activities which can quickly lead to overwhelm and chaos. Boundaries provide the necessary structure to help you avoid it.
Guard Your Energy Against Negative Influences – Firm boundaries let in what you do want – good people/opportunities/interactions and keep out what you don’t want – toxic or negative people/circumstances, so you remain safe and able to express yourself authentically.
Create Greater Alignment – Clear boundaries are often built upon our values, purpose, and mission. When you’re clear on these key areas, it’s easier to attract to you the ideal relationships, clients, and opportunities that are similarly aligned.
Lead Effectively – When you can stand clearly in your boundaries based on your core values, it communicates to others what you will and won’t do – can and cannot do based on your integrity. It lays the groundwork for building trust, dependability and helps you to avoid burnout.
Safeguard Yourself from Manipulation or Control by Others – By having steadfast boundaries in place, it’s far more difficult to be preyed upon by manipulative or narcissistic personalities. Enabling you to say no with grace and grit.
Protect Your Personal Assets – Your boundaries help safeguard your time, talent, skills, and abilities. Helping you to avoid getting consumed by your work and client challenges.
What can happen by NOT having clear boundaries in place?
When we fail to put firm boundaries into place, it comes at a cost. Do any of these feel familiar to you?
- Loss of respect from self and others
- Loss of control of the direction of your business or life
- Increased distractions, disruptions, and chaos
- Loss of interest and passion for life
- Falling short of goals can lead to guilt, anxiety, or depression
Without personal boundaries, it becomes more difficult to live the life of purpose, passion, and contribution that you’re meant to live.
Now that we have a better understanding of how setting clear boundaries can really be of benefit to our life and careers…
What is it that actually prevents us from setting strong boundaries in the first place?
We know that we need to do it, and yet we set porous boundaries (if at all). This can keep you stuck on the hamster wheel, feeling drained, and not able to give your best to your work on a daily basis.
Here are some common triggers that cause many folks to not maintain their well-intentioned boundaries, either personally or professionally. Check any that apply to you…
◻ FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
◻ Fear of Failure
◻ Fear of Rejection
◻ Lack of Self-Worth
◻ People Pleasing
◻ Over Giving
◻ Imposter Syndrome
◻ Social Conditioning
If you marked any of the above, you’re in luck!
Here are 10 important steps to keep in mind to help you create a better mindset and maintain your boundaries to successfully manage your practice.
Life is short. Avoid the burnout.
1. Identify Your Core Values – Start by building the foundation of your work based on what’s truly important to you. What calls you to the work you do and the deeper WHY for doing it? Answering these questions helps to form the core drivers that guide your decisions, behaviors, and actions. You can use them as a signpost both personally and professionally, helping you to discern what you need to say yes to and what you need to say no to in the moment.
2. Practice Self-Reflection – Get a journal and make note of where your own fears, self-doubts, or past traumas are getting triggered by your clients’ emotional turmoil. Write them down and reflect on how those beliefs are serving your growth or holding you back. If need be, seek out assistance to help you release those past traumas from your mind, heart, and nervous system.
3. Compassionate Communication Skills – Utilize effective communication skills that demonstrate you’re listening, enabling your client to feel seen, heard, and valued (while not becoming their therapist). Here are some important tools to master:
- Building rapport and trust
- Active listening skills
- Making people feel validated for their perspective
- Reacting without bias
- Tactics for de-escalation
4. Clear Expectations – Establish a framework upfront with clients to establish how you will be working together. What it includes and more importantly what it doesn’t include.
5. Consistency Is Key – Be consistent in maintaining the boundaries you’ve created. If you find that your client is calling too often, politely remind them of the agreements made upfront and direct them to review your communication protocols, billing guidelines, and time agreements.
This might sound like: “I understand your frustration with the process, but each time we speak, I have to bill for giving you the same information. I respect your time and do not want to charge you unnecessarily. I promise you will receive an update as soon as we have one.”
6. Remain Neutral – Do your best to not get pulled into their emotional whirlwind. You can stay engaged with positive empathy in a neutral way.
This might sound like: “I am so sorry this is happening to you. I can’t change what has happened, but I am glad you took the necessary steps to address it. We’re here to help you.”
With just a little support, clients can better manage their own emotional noise and give more energy to the task at hand. You can also point them to other valuable supplemental resources or colleagues that can provide the deeper level of emotional support they need throughout your work together. This helps to advance the process and improves their perception of their experience in working with you.
7. Practice Saying No. Decide What you need to say Yes to and what you need to say No to. Practice in the mirror with yourself first if you find telling someone “no” challenging. This can feel really empowering once you master the art of saying no.
8. Redirect The Outbursts. If your client is getting irate and out of hand, then redirect their energy by asking them pointed questions to help refocus their emotions and energy. If they still can’t calm down, then cut the work session short until they can recompose themselves.
9. Be Your Own Champion – Just as much as you might love the law, I know there are other things that bring you joy as well. Making time for other important people, pets, causes or activities in your life is super important. The time spent in these areas actually helps release “Happy Chemicals” Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins in your brain.
When you do things you love, that feed your heart, these chemicals can flood your system. Helping to lower your stress levels, increase your sense of well-being and enhance your immune system.
10. Self-Care Is Key – If you’re not taking care of you and your emotions, how can you be fully present for those who are looking for your guidance and expertise? Increasing your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) through reading various books, online courses, or talks that can help create greater awareness to your own blind spots.
Doing this kind of inner work to identify and release your own emotional baggage can be very freeing. Allowing you to have greater presence, peace of mind, and clarity both personally and professionally.
Isn’t it time to let go of the past and find more freedom today?
If you or someone you know is challenged with creating a better work/life balance with their practice, here’s a free resource that can help them start to pinpoint what’s at cause.