Our guest blogger, Jennifer Maldonado, teaches us why we should think about why keeping business and personal life six feet apart is not always the best idea.
Here’s what she had to say…
Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult yet rewarding positions. But being a caretaker for someone as well means you are wearing multiple hats all at the same time.
However, sometimes some people may become so “enmeshed” with their business that they lose a sense of self thereby losing control of their life in and out of the business.
“Enmeshment” is a term psychologists and therapists use to describe a dysfunctional family system when there is no boundary between two or more people potentially resulting in a loss of self-identity.
Although I am not a psychologist or therapist, I am using it here to describe an entrepreneur who becomes so intertwined with their business that their identity is linked to the business’s results.
In other words, there is no distinction between them as a person and the business.
One way to address enmeshment is by setting and kindly reinforcing boundaries.
Setting boundaries allows you to take control of your life by preserving your energy, which will help prevent you from burning out so that you can subjectively manage your business and personal life.
In my experience, there is no set formula for setting a boundary.
It is more about understanding your limits, priorities and your emotions in the present moment while being honest with yourself about it and addressing it assertively.
When you know what you are comfortable with, and you know your limits, you will respect your time, energy, and self in any setting (professional and personal).
But how do you consistently enforce your boundary?
Priorities, priorities, priorities.
When you know your priority, you will know your limit with your time and energy. For instance, I used to be late for EVERYTHING in my personal life and job. I would blame others, but really, I am in control of my actions.
One day I had enough of it because it was a behavior that just drained my energy and I would become reactive, which would unintentionally push people away.
Now, I prioritize being on time for myself, my client, and my business out of respect. My punctuality protects my energy because I am no longer stressing or overthinking about upsetting and potentially losing a client.
However, sometimes I might be late because of something out of my control, and that is ok. My energy is my priority. What is your priority?
The word “no” is a beautiful and powerful word that we should embrace more often.
One of my recommendations with enforcing a set boundary is to get comfortable with the word “no.” I understand that we do not normally say “no” out of fear of either missing out on an opportunity or upsetting someone.
Generally, an emotion, like fear, creates a thought which then manifests into a reaction. When fear creeps up, I learned to ask myself what is the worst that can happen. Answering that question is so liberating because it allows you to face your fear and come up with a plan to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
For instance, my worst-case scenario is not having enough funds to cover my basic necessities for six months if I had to close up shop.
This fear came from losing all my belongings in Superstorm Sandy.
My solution was to budget and fund a six-month emergency fund for my personal expenses. When I see my emergency fund, I feel secure and at peace. Additionally, it allows me to confidently and comfortably operate my business as I want without any strings of expectations attached to it.
When you become aware of your fear, you can control it and make decisions that are best for you as an individual instead of tying it to your business. Thereby, reinforcing your boundary.
Nay-sayers. Sometimes some new entrepreneurs will receive unsolicited advice, opinion, or concerns from those close to them. Remember, whatever doubts or negative stuff they say is not a reflection of you or the business. You and the business are not one.
Even if your brand is built around your lifestyle, you are two separate entities. Some of us will respond defensively or provide the nay-sayers with an explanation. Remember, you do not owe anyone an explanation about the mission of your business or how you plan to accomplish it.
My recommendation is to politely remove yourself from that conversation or honestly express your feelings. See how they respond. You can always walk away from the conversation.
You have duties and responsibilities as an entrepreneur but your identity is not tied with your business’s results.
Ultimately, knowing your priorities and boundaries, being comfortable with the word “no”, and remember that you and your business are two separate beings are some ways that will help you from becoming enmeshed with your business.
Where do you see yourself being enmeshed and needing to say no?
Let us know how you are doing and what you are doing to keep positive.
Post a comment on the blog or in our Facebook community and let us know your AHA’s.
Here’s some information about our writer.
Jennifer is an attorney turned life coach dedicated to living my best life and helping you live yours. Through her coaching, she helps people uncover their goals and take the steps to live them. There is no better feeling! In helping you live your daydream life, she is living hers.