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Episode 54: Boundaries

All right, today, we are going to talk about a situation that really pissed me off, and we are gonna talk about why it pissed me off, and we are gonna talk about how that’s my responsibility.

So, in December, we had a situation where some things were a little bit confusing in an email, and so, I started to get a bunch of customer service sort of requests in my DMs. People were like, “I can’t get access to this thing. I’m missing my login. I don’t know how to get to it,” and people were DMing me about this problem. Now, as the CEO of Body Brain Alliance, I am not really supposed to be dealing with customer service mostly because I’m just not the person for it. I don’t have the logins for all of that stuff. I don’t know how most of those processes work. And so, customer service, generally, gets redirected towards our help email, and they handle it because that is their job.

However, in this particular week, I was very stressed, and so, I was making the decision to jump into a lot of it. So, someone would message me, and they were like, “Hey, Karin, I can’t get access to this,” and I would go into the system and change whatever needed to be changed, and then I would message them back, and all of a sudden, half an hour would have gone by and I would be so pissed that I wasn’t able to get things done and do my job because these people were, quote, “bugging me” with all these customer service requests.

And when I get angry about something or when I feel like my boundaries are being violated in some way, I ask myself two questions. The first question I ask myself is have I communicated that this is a boundary? Have I actually told people in recent memorable times that there is a boundary here? We help a lot of clients on boundaries in Alliance Coaching, and our topic of the month for Change Academy, self-accountability, it really leads into a conversation about boundaries because that’s part of holding yourself accountable is holding your boundaries, but what I think we don’t realize is that boundaries are mental and social constructs which means we have to speak them into existence otherwise they’re just imaginary.

So, I asked myself, “When was the last time, Karin, you told anybody that you don’t handle customer service via DM?” Well, it was a long time ago. And then I asked myself, “Karin, when that person DMed you, did you tell them you don’t, or did you just begrudgingly do it and then violate your own boundary?” And that was, indeed, what I had done.

And so, my feelings were valid in that point. I was valid to be frustrated, but the person I really needed to be frustrated with was not the person who was DMing me. It was myself. I needed to be frustrated with me, and the reason that I was frustrated with me was because I hadn’t communicated and held my own boundary. And so, that leads into the second question. The second question is are you allowing people to walk past that boundary?

I think that we like to blame other people for pushing our boundaries or we like to blame other people for trying to go past those boundaries in some way, and in some cases, yes, there are situations in this world where people barge right past a boundary. However, I want you all to really take radical responsibility (and that’s exactly what I did in this situation) about how you feel in response.

So, for example, the reason why I was doing those customer service things is because when someone messaged me, I felt pressure, and I wanted to blame that pressure on them. I wanted to say, “All these people are pressuring me to do something!” But pressure is not a fact; pressure is a feeling that comes from a thought.

So, when the message arrived in my DM inbox, and it said, “I can’t access this thing, and I need to by noon today,” my response to that was to think, “I have to do this now,” or, “I have to do this now, and I don’t have time. Therefore, pressure.” The pressure was not coming from the person who messaged me. The pressure was coming from me. And maybe that person who was messaging me was also intending to pressure me. We’ll never know, right, because we don’t know what’s going on in the brains of other people.

But I took responsibility, and I did two things. One: I rearticulated the boundary. I posted a story. I said, “Hey, y’all! Just a reminder. I do not give customer service help in my DMs.” Two: I redirected people around the boundary. I told them (very much like toddlers) not just that you can’t do this, but I told them what I wanted them to do instead. I said, “If you have a customer service issue, you should email [email protected] or fill out this form, and they will help you.” Then, I took responsibility for my feelings, and I asked for help, and I said, “It would help me out if you do not DM me about these things. It is my job to hold this boundary, but I am struggling with feeling pressure right now around this boundary. And so, it would be really, really helpful if you could not DM me about these things.”

So, that’s your little mini lesson on boundaries today. Articulate and communicate the boundary ahead of time. Give people suggestions of what they should do instead (when you are available, what hours you do have, etcetera, etcetera), and then take radical responsibility for your relationship and your feelings surrounding that boundary.

I hope this was helpful. I will talk to you all next month. A really quick reminder, though, that if you want to grab our self-accountability workshop, this is the last day to get it! You need to buy it by the end of today, otherwise, it goes into The Vault, and The Vault will not open again to the public until… Well, we’re not sure we’re ever gonna open it again to the public, if I’m being honest. So, if you want the self-accountability workshop, make sure you jump into Change Academy and join us! I’m excited to see you there!

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.

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