Have you found yourself burnt out lately? Spinning around on an endless un-merry-go-round trying to do what’s needed to “make it”?
When we have a dream we’re working our tail off to make a reality we can sometimes lose sight of where we’re putting our energy. We want this new reality so badly that we’re often willing to burn the candle at both ends and say yes to every opportunity hoping it will open “the” door we’ve been trying to walk through.
It’s common to think that since we don’t know how our dreams will come to fruition we should say yes to everything in order not to miss opportunity knocking. The truth of the matter is, if we don’t get clear on what we’ll say no to we’ll have no energy left by the time that dream opportunity comes calling.
It’s a lot like that saying, “Stand for nothing and you’ll fall for everything.” If you aren’t clear on your boundaries – who you’ll agree to work with, what price you’ll agree to work for, how many hours you’ll work – then you’ll find yourself getting involved in situations that don’t serve your goals with people who don’t respect your talents.
If I’ve learned one thing over my years in this industry it’s the importance of setting and accepting boundaries.
I’m a yes person. It’s hard for me to say “No” to people. And while I do think it’s important to “come from a place of yes,” it’s just as important to say no to things that either aren’t aligned with where you’re headed or simply do more harm than good.
Here are 3 reasons setting limits is not just a great thing but a crucial thing:
1. People respect a person with boundaries.
Ever wonder why certain people get walked all over? Because they allow it to happen. People like to know where they stand with others. Those worth working with will avoid someone who doesn’t set clear boundaries, whether they’re conscious of it or not – it’s human nature to avoid vagueness.
So, if boundaries are not set, people tend to keep pushing those limits in and effort to see if/where they exist. When they feel no resistance, they keep going. You may think the person who always says yes is the one who is the most liked, but, in reality, people like knowing where a person stands on things.
If you agree to work for free, or little to no money, because you think it will help get you more business you’ll only attract people who don’t value your work. If you are a freelance bio-writer or graphic/web designer – be clear with your clients on how you run your company – when deposits are due, what payment plans you offer and don’t offer, and how many revisions you offer.
Saying yes all the time doesn’t help someone else get to know what you stand for, and in the end we trust and like what we know. Let people know what you stand for, and, more importantly, what you won’t stand for and watch how quickly you gain their respect.
2. Saying yes will wear you out.
I didn’t want to admit I had a chronic illness. I didn’t want to admit I needed to take more breaks when I felt ill. So, at first, I pushed even harder. After all, what kind of business person would I be if I wasn’t constantly hustling? But all that did was set me further back and take longer to recover.
Saying no allows you to only take on things that are right for you in a given moment. Being the person who does it all doesn’t make you the person who does it right.
If you find yourself saying yes to every gig, every client, and every networking opportunity and you don’t find yourself making much progress or having any energy to enjoy it, it’s a good sign that you’ll want to hit pause and rethink your priorities.
What types of shows will most benefit your goals right now? Open mics? Touring as an opening artist? Festivals? College shows?
What type of client is your ideal client? What’s their budget look like? What type of support do you want to provide to them? Don’t chase the money. Chase the clients who ignite your passions and the money will come.
Who are you looking to connect with? Why types of events do those people attend? If they’re likely not at a particular event, it’s ok to sit that one out and focus on other areas of your career.
3. Saying no keeps you focused.
In order to be productive, a certain amount of boundaries have to be set. Tunnel vision can be a good thing when you need to be in the zone. Turn off your phone. Shut down social media. Tell your friends you won’t be able to meet for drinks tonight. Say no to the person that needs “just one more thing.”
When you start working with a manager or artist it’s important to set clear expectations you each expect of each other before you begin working together. Don’t try to promise being available “24/7” – be clear on how you like to be reached out to (either text, call, email, social media DM) and how regularly you plan on checking messages and when you’ll be unavailable.
Be clear and firm with one another on what you’re bringing to the team and what you expect back from the team. Delineating clear roles and expectations allow each of you to stay in your lane and get done what you set out to do without unnecessary miscommunication and frustrations.
When you set boundaries what you’re actually doing is creating a space to produce what it is you’re trying to accomplish. You’re honing in on one particular challenge and blocking out all distractions. Instead of worrying about what you might be missing out on, focus on the fact that you’re going to finish what you set out to do.
What boundaries can YOU set this week? What can you say, “NO” to? Tell us in the comments below!