Last month my daughter and I spent the day at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. It was hot and there were a lot of people. We love riding the rollercoasters, and I think we rode every single one except the Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It had a 4+ hour wait. We love them, but not that much!
As we were in line to ride one of the rollercoasters, to start with my daughter was standing behind me, then she was beside me, and then she was in front of me. It didn’t take but a few seconds before I had hands brushing my back side and hair on my arm. Ack! As I looked at Megan, I felt my eyes widen with shock then dismay. She laughed and said, “Now you know why I moved.” Yes, I did! The people behind us were not respecting our personal space.
When training horses, we teach them to respect our personal space — about the size of a hula hoop. They aren’t allowed into that space unless they’re invited in. People should be taught that same respect.
As entrepreneurs, people don’t necessarily invade our hula hoop space, but they do infringe on the boundaries that we set — if we’ve even set any boundaries for ourselves.
For example, some boundaries might be not working after 5:00 or weekends. Another might be not doing same day work but requiring 24-hour notice for tasks instead. Yet another could be the requirement to schedule phone calls — no just calling and expecting to talk and plan out the next big product launch. Having boundaries is no different than a brick and mortar store having posted store hours and locking the doors at closing time. Believe it or not, people expect there to be boundaries!
Sometimes what happens is we create our boundaries or our rules or our personal space requirements — whatever you want to call it — and then we let others cross over those boundary lines. Something comes up, we’re in a good mood, we’re not busy at the moment, and we think, “Oh, I’ll do it just this one time.” And then before you know it, without warning, it’s gotten out of control and you’re now working late into the evening on a same day rush because a good client needed it… yet again. You’re exhausted. You’re feeling annoyed. You’re wondering when people started taking advantage of you.
If this is happening to you, stop. Take a fresh look at the boundaries that you have set for yourself… and if you haven’t set them, you need to. Commit to sticking to them. Come up with a plan of how you will respond the next time someone has an urgent request. Then — and this is the biggy — communicate them clearly to your clients. For your own well-being, efficiency, and to always be able to perform at your best, you need to respect your own boundaries. Now, granted, sometimes emergencies do come up and you have to work last minute or in the evening, but those should be rare, special exceptions.
As for the foreign family in line behind us for the rollercoaster? I held my ground and they backed off (of course, hands on my hips, elbows out and swinging around may have had something to do with it). Clients will do the same.
What people, things or tasks do you find creeping into your hula hoop space and how will you remedy them? Share with me below.