“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett
Today, I wanna dive into a topic that's crucial yet often overlooked in the business world: setting boundaries and saying no. From starting a creative business on accident and turning my kitchen table hobby into a seven-figure business, I’ve had to learn a LOT of these lessons the hard way. I’ve gone from working myself to the bone, 60-80 hour work weeks to having most of my work days ending by 1pm so I can recharge and pour more into my business from a place of passion, purpose and efficiency instead of lack and always feeling behind. And it allllll comes down to one little, two letter word: NO.
It's a game-changer, trust me.
Whether you're a budding entrepreneur, a freelancer, or climbing the corporate ladder, understanding the power of ‘no‘ can not only save your sanity but also propel your career to new heights.
Why Boundaries Matter
Imagine this: It's Friday evening, and you're about to log off when an urgent email pops up. Your heart sinks. It's a request for a task that's not just out of your scope but also due on Monday. Sound familiar? This is where boundaries come into play.
Boundaries in business are like invisible fences that protect your time, energy, and sanity. They help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, increase productivity, and most importantly, they're a sign of self-respect.
The Fear of Setting Boundaries and Saying No
I get it. Saying no can be scary. We often fear that setting boundaries might lead to missed opportunities, upset clients, or being perceived as uncooperative. But here's a little secret: setting boundaries doesn't make you difficult; it makes you professional.
How to Set Boundaries Like a Pro
Know Your Limits: This is step one. Understand your capacity, your non-negotiables, and what you're comfortable with. It's okay not to be okay with everything.
Communicate Clearly and Early: The key to effective boundary-setting is clear communication. Don't wait until you're overwhelmed to say no. Express your limits upfront.
Be Firm but Kind: You can be assertive without being aggressive. A simple, “I won't be able to take on this task due to my current commitments” is straightforward yet polite.
Offer Alternatives: When you say no, if possible, suggest an alternative solution or a different timeline. It shows that you're not just rejecting the request but also thinking about the project's success.
Don't Over-Explain: Your boundaries are your own. You don't need to provide a lengthy explanation for every no.
Practice Self-Compassion: Remember, setting boundaries is a form of self-care. Be kind to yourself.
The Magic of ‘No'
Once you start setting boundaries, something magical happens. You gain respect. Your time is valued. You create space for work that truly aligns with your goals and values. And most importantly, you pave the way for a sustainable, fulfilling career.
Personal Anecdote Time!
Let me share a quick story. Early in my career, I was the ‘yes' person. I took on everything that came my way, afraid of missing out. I was building my business! When you’re in the early stages, you’re fueled by inspiration, the world is your oyster! So you have more energy, time and desire to work extra hard to get something off the ground…but this kind of output is NOT sustainable long term. After 5-6 years of HUSTLING, it took a toll on me. I was exhausted, my creativity was drained, and ironically, my work suffered.
The day I started saying no, things changed. I had more time for projects I was passionate about. My work quality improved, and clients began to respect my time and expertise more. It was a total game-changer.
Setting boundaries isn't just about saying no; it's about saying yes to your well-being, your passions, and your worth. It's about creating a business life that's not only successful but also sustainable and joyful.
Remember, boundaries are not walls; they're gates to a balanced, productive, and fulfilling professional journey.