Hello beautiful people! Let’s get to some next-tier livin’!
In a fab ladydate with one of my favorite producing teams this morning, the topic of boundaries came up.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I am spectacular with boundaries.
Like, I’m a full-on world-class boundary-having mo fo.
And that’s no accident.
I clock in for my inbox twice a week (yes, really). I wall off my bra-free Mondays as if the spa were built just for me. And I treat no-shows with unapologetic lack of flexibility for any future scheduling.
And I remain one of the most giving, generous, supportive, helpful, ACCESSIBLE people on the planet.
How exactly does that work?
Ah, well, you see, it is in fact the boundaries that make me available to be so present when I *do* clock in for my work.
It is because I have a strong muscle for protecting my downtime that my ON time is so very, very, very ON.
As the glorious producers and I talked over breakfast about wiggle room and long stretches of tolerance for having schedules pushed and the level of creative output we WANT to give to the world — both in terms of volume and in terms of quality — we began discussing those higher-tier folks we all hold up as role models.
Y’know what they have in common?
Unshakable — unapologetic — boundaries.
And y’know what I’ve noticed about the people in my life?
The high-quality upper-tier OMG-they’re-living-their-dreams-so-beautifully people I surround myself with celebrate my boundaries. They LOVE hearing from my team that I’m not gonna budge on a limit I’ve set. They ADORE when I hang up the do-not-disturb sign and take care of myself first.
And the slactors, whactors, and wannabes out there wanna whine and complain and tell me I’m a horrible person when I direct them to any number of the free resources I’ve put out in the world, available for them to access at any time while I’m busy honoring a boundary I’ve set.
“But, Bonnie… I want your help to be all about me and I want that help nooowwwwwwwwww.”
Oh sure, sugar. That’s called private coaching and you can apply for that right here.
“Noooooooooo. I want your free help to be all about me and I want it nooooowwwwwwwww.”
Oh! You want 2002 Bonnie Gillespie! Yeah… she’s not here.
I use these examples to illustrate a pattern I want you to start looking for in your life.
Upper-tier friends, colleagues, and even family members will applaud you when you draw a line and stick to its limits. They’ll cheer that you’re looking out for yourself and not coming to the rescue of every Debbie Downer, Complainey Janey, and Needy Ned in your life. They’ll say they love what they’re seeing in you and they’ll tell you that you’ve even inspired them to look for places to be clearer about boundaries in their own lives.
Lower-tier folks? Ooh, honey. They will push alllllllllll those buttons that are the very reason boundaries exist in the first place. They’ll ask how you can possibly be so selfish as to wall off time for yourself. They’ll challenge you to explain why you’re not bending over backwards to be there for them for the three zillionth time. They’ll basically try to make you feel like poop for even thinking about putting yourself first — even if it’s only once a week.
It’s with these folks, dear ninja, that your boundaries must be strongest.
But let’s not start with them. For now — especially if you’re notoriously weak in your boundary-setting — let’s just start with tracking patterns. Noticing who’s encroaching and who’s not. Picking up details about role models out there. Deciding who might be less safe vs. more safe when it comes to respecting your sacred YOU time.
Just identify. Classify.
We’ll execute after that.
Execute boundaries starting with those who will applaud you. For me, that means telling my client who’s on his way to his first gold-and-shiny statue that we’re over time rather than letting the coaching session push beyond its scheduled slot. It means giving the hot shot producer who wants to hire me to cast his fully-financed feature a very specific window for our phoner. And *eventually* it means not being quick to reschedule with the colleague who no-showed a Skype meeting she begged to set up. Because that last boundary will be met with less appreciation and more whining than the first two.
Wait ’til you’re keeping up your boundaries like a mo fo before trying out the more advanced moves.
But start practicing now.
I don’t care if you CAN shift around a few things to *make* a meeting work; try saying, “These are the best options” and then laying down a few. Because next-tier you will be expected to *make* things work if now-tier you always does.
Let them make it work sometimes.
Be willing to get met halfway, at least.
I’m not asking you to be difficult just for sport. No. Not at all. I’m asking you — especially if you find yourself constantly rolling over, sacrificing for others, doing whatever it takes to make it work — to identify a few places you can set and then keep some boundaries that protect your inner artist.
Because that inner artist has to feel safe to come and explore! We create that safe place with boundaries that say, “Babe, no matter what, I’m not letting someone else come before YOU,” to that sweet inner artist of ours. Every time. (Tweet that out!)
The only people you risk losing with this practice, by the way, are the ones who will use you up ’til you’ve got nothing left. Those whose energy in your life ADDS to who you are? They’re gonna *love* playing “set that boundary and KEEP it” with you. LOVE! it!