The fast food slogan ‘Have it your way’ serves up more ingredients for our recent chats about boundaries. What if living your independence ends up losing you friends and loved ones? — BadWitch
Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — I am looking at starting a small business, but struggling with the call of safety of having a regular job. I think it would be darn good for me to go out and try it alone. However, some elements of my background are getting in the way. I have fear; the fear of those past people and experiences where I had no knowledge of boundaries, and people could go where they wanted with me. I still have trouble realising I am in charge now…and this makes me afraid of being vulnerable as a business operator (small and female in a non-traditional area in a chauvinist culture). I am afraid what will happen if my former supporters turn into critics because I am now competing; afraid what will happen if someone doesn’t pay me or gets aggressive; afraid to be my own boss because even when surviving I was driven by someone else’s demands on me. — Looking for the Courage to Go It Alone?
Dear Looking for the Courage,
Seeking independence does mean recognizing and respecting your boundaries—even in the face of rejection. It also means building on the sometimes-uncomfortable memories of the past and stepping out into the light of a new day. This may not be comfortable, but it is necessary if you are going to move forward.
I understand the apprehension of starting a new business in this economy, but if you have your emergency fund together and a good business plan under your arm, there’s no reason to hold yourself back—especially if the only thing holding you back is the past.
Many of us have even recent memories of not standing up for ourselves or letting others make our decisions for us. The first step is to recognize the situation, which you are, and then being conscious of your choices as you move forward. If you wonder if you are doing something you want to do or being unduly influenced by other people and external circumstances—STOP! Do not make the snap decision. Instead, take the time to evaluate how your body is responding. In a quite setting, close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the action you are considering. If you feel uneasy, queasy or uncomfortable, you are trying to validate something, which does not agree with your inner self. If, however, you feel equally worried and excited, chances are you are doing it for yourself and have a healthy dose of caution to guide your steps forward.
Fear is a mouse with a megaphone. It uses the shadow of worst-case scenarios and everyday worries mixed with past regrets to keep you stuck. Don’t let it. If you have the wherewithal to recognize that you have not always upheld your own personal boundaries, you have the wherewithal to change that behavior. Decide that you will listen to your own inner voice first.
Perhaps while you are considering all the changes self-employment holds for you, you can also start regular meditation where you ask yourself the question most of us do not ask enough, “What do I want?” Picture yourself in charge and doing a great job. Picture yourself facing a difficult decision, telling the other person, “I’ll get back to you,” and then meditating alone in your office, feeling if your body and emotions are pro or con. Then picture yourself making the tough decision and everything working out well. The more you picture yourself in charge and making it work, the more easily you are able to do it in real life. You are visualizing yourself in control, but more importantly, you are training your body to remember what it feels like to be in charge and successful.
The ball is not only in your court, but in your hands. Would be critics cannot stand in your way unless you let them. Think of it this way, if they are taking the time to criticize you, they must worried about you as competition. That speaks directly to your abilities. If you decide to move forward into this new life of independence, you must be ready for all the hard work—inside and out. Don’t be afraid to make the hard choices.
You will still have friends and supportive colleagues even if you make the hard decisions and are occasionally a hard ass to get things done. Stand up for yourself. The people who matter will always back you up. If they don’t, you know you no longer need to expend extra energy worry about their needs. Be good to yourself—first. Now take a deep breath and step out into the light of a new day.
Good luck and many blessings,
Dear Courage Alone,
Props for taking charge of your thoughts and decisions — your life! Keep going with your commitment to yourself. The toughest part about “courage” is that its very nature is solitary. When we add new skills to courageous acts like standing up and for ourselves truthfully, it can often feel like we’re operating on shaky ground…not to mention some of the “friends” and others we might also lose from our new lives. Courage, just keep going. I want you to focus on the right things, and after all the challenging work you’ve obviously done to get yourself as far as you have, you will finish your own marathon towards the Self-empowerment/-responsibility finish line by…keeping on going on.
If we break down the issues you’ve presented — wow!, that’s a lot on the Con side of the list to starting your own business. Now let’s right focus on the Pro column.
Pro-Courage reasons for fuller, truthful living:
a) “safety” is a delusion and that you call it a “regular job” suggests that you maybe don’t consider it very special, either. Recognizing your thoughts through the language you’re using is critical
b) past people and past experiences are exactly…there! Happily, you are in the present, today, now. In old hippie-ese: Be here now. You’ve realized much and come a long way to identifying and understanding that they do not have boundaries — but now you do. Another critical difference
c) you are what you think, so be sure to be the Boss of You, Courage! Getting used to not asking someone else for action permission, is inclusive of owning your power in your personal life. When you wane or feel weak get in front of a mirror and say out loud, “I have authority as an adult and the owner of this company.” Repeat. Put some practice hours in
d) girrrrrll!, you live in a chauvenisitc culture 24-7, so at work or play, it’s what you make of it. Don’t feel and say you’re “vulnerable” and you won’t be (or at least less so, in the beginning as you adjust). There’s no more potent fuel to a fire than an empowered woman who balances her charm, strength and brains. Kaboom! Trust me, people are curious, enchanted and stick around just to check it out and then…convinced. Practice consistency.
e) honey, losing former “supporters” turned nay sayers is far cheaper than having them hanging around your neck choking your life force to death with their negative and false energies. As for getting paid, you are a creditor, just imagine how yours would approach you for overdue money. Your biggest issue here is not coming off as the Bad Guy when you are also the Sales Gal. A legitimate concern but doesn’t have to be a huge problem. Set your boundaries right up front (in contract, sales ticket/invoicing language, etc.) and consistently. People in business are generally not out to screw you!, and when they know what is expected of them they usually follow through. If you find your business is attracting clients who repeatedly try to get over on you, stop attracting them! Not all business is “good” business. You’re learning how to differentiate worthy companions on all levels
f) Self-drive is important. In order to truly move forward in life, we must have a passion for self-improvement. If you want to see what you can do next, are curious about what tomorrow holds for you…then put oil in your engine and gas up the tank, darlin’. Then you just have to step on the gas and steer and you’ll be moving forward.
You’re already in such good shape, Courage. I am thrilled for you. Only you have the power to genuinely reject yourself — keep practicing every day and you will prove and impress, love and improve yourself for the only person who really counts: You. You will start to expect better (not just more) for yourself. And what will all this self-governing independence yield you? Less leaked energy, healthier relationships, knowing your own boundaries. You’re going to fly, baby.
Juicy Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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