Boundaries, Mental Health, and New Levels of Success as a Woman in Business
To listen to this post, please check out episode 99 of my podcast, Style Your Mind here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about success lately, and what upgrading into the next version of myself looks like for me. A lot has been going on in both my personal and professional life, and I can feel myself growing. You know when you were younger and you had growing pains? It’s kind of like that, except they’re not pains, they’re almost like these physical sensations that sometimes come in the form of overwhelm and anxiety, and sometimes come in the form of excitement and joy. Sometimes they come in the form of feeling really stuck, but knowing in your heart that you’re stuck because you’re about to go 110 miles per hour. It almost feels like the Universe or some force is pulling you back and keeping you in place so that you can prepare for that next level.
As I become more successful, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do with my time, and who I let in to my world, and who I let have access to me. I saw a quote a couple of days ago that I loved, and I’m paraphrasing this, but it was something along the lines of you know, “This chapter of my life requires me to be a little bit less accessible. This chapter of my life requires me to be a little bit more private.”
I’ve had this feeling lately of wanting to shut off to the world at certain points in the day, whether it’s at night or in the morning, and really protect my energy. I give so much of myself and I give so much of my energy, whether it’s through the podcast or through my social media or my Instagram stories or my books or my blog. My job is to give. I’m also a recovering people pleaser, so the way I give is something I need to be really mindful of. I think the definition of people pleasing is not just wanting to see people be happy, because I think most of us do want that, it’s wanting to see people happy at the expense of your own happiness. It’s giving people things to satisfy them and in turn giving things up in your own life.
It’s scary sometimes to say “no” to people. It’s scary sometimes to think that we may be letting someone down, but what’s even scarier is thinking about living the rest of your life for someone else. Think about that – it’s scarier to live the rest of your life making everyone else happy, rather than potentially letting someone down in the moment. And something that I’ve come to understand when it comes to boundary setting, is that most of the time people do understand.
There have been situations in my own life where I’ve had to let people down and they’ve been extremely not understanding, and sometimes, they haven’t. Sometimes, certain people have actually been really vile and said disgusting things to me, not only letting me know that I’ve disappointed them, but invading my privacy by sending me nasty text messages and harassing me. And that’s just never okay.
So when it comes to privacy and boundaries and creating new standards for your life, you must know that that nobody else’s sense of peace and nobody else’s sense of happiness is more important than your own. I want share something that I posted recently on Instagram and in The Slay Baby Collective, which is my private Facebook group for my community of readers:
“I have officially become the person who doesn’t always see or respond to all of my social media comments. I have officially become the person that doesn’t always answer text messages. I have officially become the person who says no – a lot, who turns her phone off for hours at a time, who no longer feels guilty for the people I can’t get to, who no longer feels guilty for cancelling on people or events, and I’m not sorry. I remember years ago, thinking “I will never be that person.” I judged those who weren’t on top of every single thing in their lives. I prided myself on being able to be everything to everyone. All the time. I was so damn naïve. Being unavailable does not mean we’re not working hard or not caring for others. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. Being unavailable means I’m working on me. It means I’m nurturing my own mind, body and soul so that I can continue to give, expand and evolve. We cannot pour from an empty cup – Hell – we cannot even pour from a half-full cup. I have learned that my cup needs to be overflowing before I can even think about being there for anyone else. Every new level of success requires we create a new set of boundaries to protect our spirit. Please listen to that again until it sinks in. Every new level of success requires we create a new set of boundaries to protect our spirit. To those who are on the rise and struggling with overwhelm, please know that you cannot and should not do it all. The amount of women I see, myself included, breaking under this insurmountable stress is alarming. Take time. Breathe. Say no. Turn the phone off. Write a new rule book. Redefine what success looks like for you and make sure your happiness and peace is the first thing on that damn list.”
When the news broke that Kate Spade had committed suicide, and I’ll be honest, it really hit me – it hit me harder than I would’ve ever imagined it would hit me, and it’s because I understood. Suicide is a horrific thing – it’s tragic. I have seen it happen to friends in my own life and I’ve never quite been able to understand it. In fact, it’s actually always made me quite angry and I was the first person to call it a selfish act. But I felt differently when I heard about Kate’s death. Kate was a woman in business, a very successful woman in business, and she was so well-respected in her industry. She created this incredible brand about celebrating women. And what I think is so sad and so bittersweet about all of this is that her whole brand was so bubbly and so alive and so full of bliss and joy and it was just so supercharged with happiness. So how could this happen? To think that there was a woman behind that who was in such a dark place that she could take her own life – it took my breath away.
I started a conversation in Slay Baby about mental health and the importance of talking about mental health and being open and honest and being okay with saying “Hey I need help, I’m struggling. I think I need therapist” or “I want to talk to somebody” or “I just need to know that I’m not alone.” I think sometimes we can look at women on the outside who are ultra successful and beautiful and wealthy and in a position of power, and we can assume that everything is perfect. We can assume that their lives are glossy and beautiful and pretty and Instagrammable and that there are never any problems. But we never take a step back to realize that everyone is fighting a battle that we know nothing about.
I’m sure many people had no idea that Kate was fighting her own demons, and I am sure there are women in your own life right now that you know that are struggling with something. Maybe it’s anxiety or maybe it’s depression or maybe it’s feeling like they’re not good enough. It’s something to think about. Check in with them, and ask them if they’re okay. Check in with yourself. Are you okay?
I recently returned home from back-to-back events in Miami. The events were incredible, but any time I travel for business, it takes a lot out of me. As much as I love connecting with my readers, I also recognize that I am pouring into people non-stop. And if I don’t immediately take time to pour back into myself, I’m in trouble. As soon as I landed, I hit the ground running again in NYC. Clients, calls, emails – I was overwhelmed to say the least. I felt myself reaching the breaking point. In tears, wondering how I was going to get through the day and get it all done. Desperately praying for a few minutes of solitude so I could catch my breath. And then I heard about Kate Spade. And I finally understood why someone would just want out. No matter how stressful things get, I would never, ever, in a million years, consider taking my own life. I love my life, I think my life is precious and I feel so fortunate to be in that place. However I can understand how things can get out of control and how you can suddenly find yourself just buried and just gasping for air and trying to find a way to get through the day.
Someone once told me, “With every level comes a new devil.” With every rise on the road to success, every time you level up, there are more people who want to bring you down. There are more challenges, there are more things to do in a day, there are more expectations on you. Its time we start having more compassion for the women around us. Its time we start having more compassion for ourselves.
I used to get really offended if someone didn’t get back to me right away. If someone didn’t text me back, or someone didn’t email me back, I took it personally and felt rejected. And now that I’m in the position I am in, I realize we can’t be everything to everyone. Sometimes I can’t answer a text message. Sometimes I can’t go to someone’s event and now I understand it’s okay.
I hope this post helps you think about your own boundaries and who and what you’re allowing into your energetic space. Please remember that your mental health is your number one priority. There is nothing in this world, in your career, in a relationship, in a business partnership, that is worth your peace of mind. Sending you all my love, and a reminder that you are never alone. If you need to reach out for help, please do. Please do not hesitate to get what you need. There is always a sunrise after the darkest of nights.