Putting Boundaries Around Our Steps (part 2)...People Pleasers

Let's continue addressing the issue of knowing when boundaries are needed to guard our steps, keeping them focused, forward moving and purposeful.

The first post in this series addressed the need to know when our yes to one good thing is really a no to the better thing.  Proper boundaries give us the direction we need to say yes to what God has planned for us instead of being distracted by the shiny objects that can distract us from that plan.

Warning sign #2 ~
You might need a boundary if...
 you feel driven to please people out of fear of rejection.  

We all find ourselves here at some point. We don't intentionally take steps down this path, but it starts with a small side step, followed by another and before we know it, we are taking all of our steps down the paths of others and the path towards our goals and dreams is abandoned.

  • Maybe it starts with a new team member calling you several times a day to ask a variety of questions about getting started, and then a month later, the calls have increased when they should have decreased. 
  • Maybe you have become the yellow pages for your team members as they all call you to get so n so's phone number. 
  • Maybe you are taking on the lion share of work required to pull off a large project or show you have agreed to do with a peer. 
  • Maybe your team members have stopped going to any training meetings but call you constantly to be spoon fed the training they missed.  
  • Maybe you are driven to answer your cell phone every single time it rings, even during family dinners or outings with the children.  

Some may feel that they are jumping from the path of one to the path of another, and another and back to the first one, then jumping to that other one....you get the picture.   And then one day you fall down, exhausted, throwing your hands in the air, ready to give up because this business just doesn't work.

So what does the boundary for this look like?

I like to call it the boundary of expectations. The challenge is getting over the fear that setting expectations makes you an uncaring, 'mean' person.

If this is your challenge, let me offer a different perspective to help you feel better about setting and living by expectations.

If we never expect others to step up, they never really get strong enough to walk on their own two feet. When we keep stepping in with 'people pleasing' behavior, we are carrying them up their stairs of success.

By setting expectations we can guide them up the steps and are freed up to cheer them on as they conquer each new rung on the ladder of success, and at the same time we are reaching new heights in our own business as well.

Boundary of Expectations:

  • Office hours communicated to your team, so they know when you are available to help them without taking away the hours you have allotted to focus on your personal business.  
  • When sharing the load of a project or show, start with an agreed upon plan of action...in writing.  Include an 'out' clause...stipulating a change of plans or partners if the original agreement is not honored along the way. 
  • A practiced response to questions that they could have easily found online or in a manual in their possession.  Instead of taking lots of time spoon feeding them personalized training, take a couple of minutes to remind them where the training is located and then set an appointment during office hours to follow up with them and see what they learned and what you can clarify for them.  
  • Use voice mail!  Let quality time with family or even time you have set aside for yourself remain uninterrupted.  As soon as that time is over, check the voice mail and respond in a timely manner.  
These are just a few ideas to start you thinking about boundaries you might need to establish if your driving force is pleasing people so they will like you, without consideration for success ~ either yours OR theirs.  

And the best part about setting expectations?  


When you use these boundaries to guide team members up the ladder of their personal vision of success, allowing them to gain strength and confidence one step at a time, you are now freed up to cheer and praise them for each level of success.  

If you are spoon feeding or doing it for them, you are too tired or frustrated to celebrate and in reality, they know they didn't really do it themselves either and don't feel valid in celebrating.  

Next time we'll discuss the need for boundaries if you are a 'fixer'.
Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

Are you driven by a need to please others to be liked?  Is there another scenario that wasn't addressed here but you could use some help with?  Leave a comment and let's chat about it.  If I don't have a suggestion, I'm sure there are others that do!  Feeling shy?  Leave the comment anonymously...it's that easy! 

Or, have you succeeded in putting establishing boundaries of expectaions?  We'd love to be encouraged, so leave a comment, with or without your name!  

Guest Blogging Today...Top 5 List for Starting a Home Based Business

I'm not here today...I'm over at Proverbs 31 Mama as a guest blogger, sharing my Top 5 thoughts about starting a home based business.  I'd love for you to click here and tell them hello!

Putting Boundaries Around Our Steps (part 1)...Saying No


Whether you own your own business, have a home based business or work for a boss,  we all need to learn how to establish boundaries.  This is hard for women in particular because we have a strong need to nurture.  This is great for building relationships that are necessary to be successful, but without boundaries we eventually find we are either in over our heads or being walked all over. 

In either case, our steps to success come to a screeching halt if we don’t take some time to evaluate what boundaries are needed. 

This week I thought I'd offer some warning signs that boundaries are needed and how you might go about drawing some necessary lines. 

Today we’ll discuss the ‘no’ boundary! 

You might need some boundaries if….
Saying “no” makes you feel guilty. 

Whether it’s saying no to a business colleague, team member, family member or friend, if you dread having to tell people ‘no’, you probably need a boundary put in place.   

So often we equate saying no to ‘I don’t care about you’.   Do any of these words sound familiar?

  • I really need to generate some income this week from my business to help with the bills, but the school/ church / scouts /team  has asked me to volunteer for the (field trip, party, project, etc…) and I feel bad telling them no. 
    • SOLUTION:  First…be ready at any time with this rehearsed response: “Thanks so much for thinking of me.  Let me look at my work calendar for the week and get back with you.  I’ll let you know by (fill in blank with a time).”   Now, look at your calendar and establish your work schedule for the week.  Be honest with yourself and determine how much time you need to be on the phone making sales, booking or coaching calls, how much time you need to be conducting business outside the home and when the best time is for each of these things to occur (don’t schedule your call time when you know people won’t be there to answer the phone…that’s not scheduling, that’s passive aggressive avoidance ~ a topic for another day!).  Once you have done that, look and see what time you DO have available and make that promised return call with what you CAN do.  Maybe you can’t do the entire thing that was asked, but you can contribute in a less time consuming way.  Sometimes the ‘no’ boundary is a compromise instead of a slammed door. However, if you really don't have time to say yes at this very moment, that's a perfectly acceptable answer!  Try saying something like "I've looked at all that I am already committed to at this time and have to say no right now, but please let me know what I can help with in the future".  

  • If I tell my business colleague or team member I can’t help her  (______fill in blank)  today I’ll be letting her down.  I don’t want to disappoint her but this just isn’t a good time. 
    • SOLUTION:  instead of saying ‘no, I can’t do that today’, say "today is not a good time for me but I have the following times available this week (list times).  Which one works for you?"  
  • The  family / husband / kids want me to be available for them at a moment’s notice and I feel so guilty telling them I have to work.  The whole reason I took a work at home job was to be more available for my family and saying no means I’m not a good wife/mom. 
    • SOLUTION: Once again, scheduling is key (I promise I’ll be writing about this very important topic soon!) Just like a job away from the home, there are hours you must work and hours you are off.  Make sure you have off hours scheduled and keep them.  Now, instead of saying ‘no’, you can say , “I can’t go to or do (fill in blank here) right this minute, but I’m off work at xxx time and we will go to / do (fill in blank here) then.”   Enjoy the fact that  you don’t have to ask a boss to take that time off but don’t let your life be all ‘off time’ and no ‘income earning time’. 

Here's the thing about saying ‘no’.   
Even when we say ‘yes’ to something, we are still saying ‘no’ to something else. 

Unless you're sitting around with hours and hours of spare time every single day, when we say ‘yes’ to one person, project or activity, we’ve said ‘no’ to whatever else might have also wanted or needed that same time slot. 

If we don’t have boundaries in place, we say ‘yes’ to whatever is begging for our attention at the moment.   Unfortunately, the things in our face at the moment may not actually be the thing that is most important to us.  It might be a ‘good’ thing, but a ‘very good' thing was just told no by our yes to something else.  

I can tell you that this was a big lesson for me to learn in the early days of building my first company.  Can you guess what was the loudest, most obnoxious and needy thing in my life at that time?  Yep, the growing business.  A business that was started to help pay bills and bring some financial security to our family…a good thing. 

At the same time, can you guess what ‘very good thing’ I was constantly saying  no to as I said yes to the demanding needs of the business?   Family.  If you asked me during that time what was most important to me, I would have said ‘family’ without hesitation.  And if you asked my family if they understood why I was so busy all the time, they would have said yes.  However, if you asked my family if they ever felt neglected or not as important to me as the business, they also would have said yes. 

Did they complain?  No.  Never.  They understood and just surrendered to what seemed to be an unavoidable consequence of starting a company.

Eventually I began to see I was silently telling my family ‘no’ more times than I should and quickly learned how to be mindful of what was behind me so I could be more purposeful with my yeses and nos. 

So what's the boundary needed when we feel guilty saying no to ‘good things’? 

A rear view mirror 
that makes us look around in all directions 
before taking a step forward! 

Next time we’ll talk about necessary boundaries when we are driven by a need to please others.

Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

Do you struggle with guilt from saying no?  Is there another 'no' scenario that wasn't addressed here but you could use some help with?  Leave a comment and let's chat about it.  If I don't have a suggestion, I'm sure there are others that do!  Feeling shy?  Leave the comment anonymously...it's that easy! 

Or, have you succeeded in putting a boundary around your 'no' issue?  We'd love to be encouraged, so leave a comment, with or without your name!  

A Step Toward Guaranteed Success

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

Fear of failure is a top reason for lack of forward movement in any business. 

What is failure?  Let’s look at what Webster says:

  • To stop functioning
  • To fall short
  • To be unsuccessful
  • To fade or die away

If I attempt nothing…I essentially stop functioning. 

If I attempt nothing…I am guaranteed to fall short of my dreams and be unsuccessful. 

If I attempt nothing…it is certain that my dreams will die and fade away. 

It appears that the only way to be sure we don't fail is to do something; 
to take a step forward everyday. 

Doing nothing is guaranteed failure.  

IF I attempt to do something …I continue to function. 

IF I attempt to do something …I am guaranteed to be one step closer my dreams and one step closer to being successful in overcoming my fears and thoughts of self doubt.

IF I attempt to do something …my dreams will continue to be a part of who I am…remaining alive in me as long as I keep trying. 

So today's word of encouragement is this:

Take a step forward today.  
You are guaranteed not to fail 
because failure is a result of doing nothing! 

Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

Tomorrow Starts with Steps Taken Today

Have you begun today what you wish to be tomorrow?

If you can answer this with a yes...
...then every single day and you are taking steps to move yourself closer and closer to your dreams.

If your answer is no...
...you have to decide today if you're going to start taking steps to be where you want to be tomorrow….or not. 

We all know what it means to be prepared for tomorrow.  

If you're a mother, you know that if you want to get the family out the door smoothly tomorrow, you have to do some preparation steps today for that to happen.  The kids just don't get up without an alarm set the day before.  The family doesn't get out the door in time if clothes were prepared the day before.  

If you're a business person, you know that tomorrow's meeting means preparation work today.  Your presentation doesn't just fall into place without steps taken today to get the script right and the power point finished.  

If you have your own business, what you do today shapes what your business looks like tomorrow.  

I think one of the hardest things about being your own boss is 

Need money in the bank tomorrow?  You have to tell yourself to go to work today.  

In this fast paced world, we can easily fall into the trap of procrastination.  So many things grasping for our attention can be a major distraction for a business owner, and especially for a home based business owner.  

Sometimes stalled growth is simply a result of scattered focus and the distractions of an over committed life.  

That's why the question at the top of today's post is a great one to start with each day to avoid that dream killing trap of 'putting it off until tomorrow'.  

If you are not seeing the forward motion you need to see in your business, try these steps every day for a month and see if it makes a difference.  

Take the opening question above and write it at the top of your daily planner.  

Answer the 'tomorrow' part first.  Write down what you need to have happen tomorrow. 

    • Do you need to pay a bill?  Write down what you need to sell or make for that to happen. 
    • Is your party plan business out of business because your calendar is empty?  Write down the number of dates you need to have filled by tomorrow so you are 'back in business' again.  
    • Is there a prize you're shooting for?  What's the next thing you need to accomplish to be one step closer?  Write down the portion that needs to be one by tomorrow. 
Now you're ready to answer the 'today' part of the question.  Write down the steps you need to take to accomplish your wish for tomorrow. 

    • To make that goal amount tomorrow, how many sales calls will you need to make or deliveries will you need to accomplish today.  Make it a priority item.  
    • If a full calendar is your goal for tomorrow, write down who you are going to call and don't stop until you have connected with everyone on the list.  
    • Going for the prize? Define the tasks you must do today to achieve tomorrows goal.
Print the question from the top of our post on bright strips of paper and place them around the house in locations that tend to be time traps or 'shiny objects' that distract you from staying committed to your business goals. When you see them throughout the day you will be prompted to go back to your list of priority tasks.

It seems simple, but with diligent commitment to this 30 day challenge, you are sure to see the results you desire!  

And there is no time like TODAY to start taking steps to get where you wish to be TOMORROW!  

Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

First Steps Never Get Old


First steps!  We all take them throughout our lives.  

Without 'first steps', we'd never move forward.  They can be scary at times; stepping into a new career, a new school, a new social group...but once we push past the fear and take the step, the emotions change to excitement and joy! 

The opposite of 'first steps' is walking in circles.  Too many times we lose sight of the excitement and joy new steps bring and let fear keep us from getting anywhere.  

We've all heard the saying ~  ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result’. 

When you're not doing something for the first time…then you're doing the same thing over and over.  And if  you're  doing the same thing over and over…you can't expect anything to change. 

Are you at the finish line?  
Are you done?  

If you're not ready for things to stay just as they are…
...if you have a dream of more, then
you must continue to do things for the first time.   

It’s not a matter of how far that dream or vision you have is from being a reality…it's a matter of constantly moving forward....

Just. One. Step. At. A. Time.  

Your line defining what was possible and impossible moves FORWARD each time you do something for the first time. 

When I see people who have decided that they have reached the line of impossibility, I see people who have stopped doing something for the first time.  I see people who have let fear and self doubt decide for them that they have come to the end of what's possible.  

I’ll prove it: 

Possible looks like this...
Your business and all its possibilities started with the first time you decided to give it a try.  The first time you stopped listening to the excuses and fears and took a step you had never made before.  

Impossible looks like this….
A business and all its possibilities ended when a person decided to not step out and give it a try for the first time.

If you are in a party plan business, your bookings and all the possibilities of continued bookings started the first time you decided to ask a friend to hold your first show.  From this first step you found more opportunities to fill your calendar. 
A home party business and all the possibilities of continued bookings ended  when someone decided not to take that first step of asking a friend to hold a show. 

For those that have developed a leadership business, your journey to leadership and all its possibilities started with the first time you decided to share with someone your business opportunity.  
A journey to leadership and all its possibilities ended when someone decided not to take that step of sharing the opportunity. 

Your success to this point started with the first time you decided to invest in personal development. 
Personal growth and success ended when someone decided not to take that first step of investing in personal development. 

Taking a first step is how it starts.  
Not taking a first step is how it ends.  

Be willing to dream and then do something…one thing…even the smallest thing…for the first time

This is different than doing the same thing over and over.  Try something you haven't tried before.  Learn something new and then do it.  

Don't make it complicated, just step out there and find a new idea from another successful person and then try it yourself for the first time.  Doing something for the first time just means it's the first time YOU have done it.  

When you do, you'll find the excitement and joy of 'first steps' will energize you and your business in ways that are sure to move it forward to the next level of success.  

Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time

Erasing Lines


Sometimes the one step we need to take is the one we've told ourselves we can't take, aren't able to take or have drawn a line that says 'don't step past this place'.  

Think back to 3, 5, or 10 years ago. 

What are you doing now that you thought was impossible back then? 
  • Have you started a business or reached a career level you never dreamed possible? 
  • Do you live in a home that is more than you imagined having when you first left home? 
  • Maybe you are able to give back through philanthropic endeavors in ways that exceed your expectations?
[Take a moment to write your achievements down before continuing....]

Still thinking back, what were the things that made you limit the possibilities in your mind?  

Said another way, what made you consider what is now a reality to be impossible back then? 
  • Fears?
  • Insecurities?
  • Self doubt?
  • Limited resources?
  • Lack of opportunity?
  • No vision?
[Take a moment to write the limiting factors that existed back then before continuing....]

Now walk with me down the path that brought you from those years long ago to the present.  What happened along the way that turned what you considered to be impossible into the possible
  • Did you overcome a fear(s)?  How?
  • Did you conquer an insecurity by learning what you needed to know to move forward?
  • Did time and experience give you the confidence you lacked?
  • Maybe you were surrounded by encouraging people who cheered you on when you wanted to give up.  If so, who? What did they tell you? 
  • If resources were limited, how did you keep that from getting in your way?
  • Were you presented with opportunities that you never imagined existed?
  • Did you catch a glimpse of a vision?  What was it? 
 [Take a moment to think about these life changing events and write them down before continuing....]

Looking at your list of achievements and the answers to the questions above, you will see that at one point in your life you drew a line that said 'this is possible but that is not'.  AND THEN YOU PROVED YOURSELF WRONG!  

So where DO you draw the line 
between possible and impossible?  

Maybe a better question is this...
SHOULD I draw a line 
between possible and impossible?  

As we aspire to reach new goals, accomplish new things, and seek a new vision for our lives, it's important that we not put boundaries in places they don't need to be.  

Before you draw that line defining what is and is not possible, look back at what you have achieved and remember this...

Impossible is just a challenge 
you have yet to overcome!

So let's make one more list.  
  • What do you want to achieve next?  
  • What goal have you put off because you had drawn a line?
  • What have you told yourself you "can't" do, but wish you could?  
  [Take a moment to think about this and write down your thoughts before continuing....]

Finally, use what you learned from seeing how past impossibilities became current realities and attack this last list with answers and solutions. 
  • Don't know how to do it?  Find out where to learn and make it happen. 
  • Not sure you can do it?  Try and find out!
  • Feeling discouraged?  Seek out others who have done it already and ask them to be your mentor and source of encouragement.   
The line drawn between possible and impossible 
can only be drawn by YOU.  

Where will YOU draw the line?   Or better yet…

When we take time to look back and see how we have overcome limitations and crossed over boundaries to reach our current level of success, we learn that we are.... 

  • stronger than we think
  • smarter than we think  
  • more capable than we think.
Use this knowledge to set a plan of action for your future POSSIBILITIES and get on course to making them your new REALITIES!   

Let’s Get There One Step at a Time,
Copyright© 2012 Just One Step at a Time