I was connected with a young woman who was interested in personal training as a career. I offer a mentor program, so we set up a call to see if it would be a good fit.
I had her on my calendar for Saturday at 4:00 pm. so I worked my day around being available for the call.
The time came for the call, and I got her voice mail. Left a message, and sent a text to follow up. "What happened?"
I finally heard from her Monday. "I am so sorry. I came down with the flu on Friday night and slept the whole entire weekend away. Can we reschedule?"
My response: "I know there was a moment you could have sent me a message. I'll pass. Best of luck."
Now, this is big for me. Normally I would just say, "Sure." But I am learning that if I allow people to disrespect me or my time, that's on me. It was tempting to dismiss the no show, but my gut said there was plenty of opportunity in those days that passed to send me a text.
I got slightly slammed for stating my boundary and holding to it: "Actually, no there wasn't. You're rude and I am glad not to work with an angry person. Not the "Mentor" I was looking for!"
Ohh disapproval! But that's OK. I know who I am. And it feels good to stand up for myself.
It was a moment of true empowerment for me. Then came all your responses:
- I'm working on boundaries and appreciate your sharing.
- I am a strong believer that we teach people how to treat us.
- It is hard for "yes" people to balance the BS out there. I struggle with this myself.
- Thank you for sharing!
- Thanks for sharing, I needed this as I struggle with the same things.
- I love that you value your time and your expertise enough to set boundaries. It can be very freeing, but also SO hard.
- She would have blamed you for her lack of success as she continued to "no-show" in her own life.
- What an inspiration with boundaries! Thank you for sharing.
- I see that you are getting lots of support on this and want to add my thanks for another way I see your life modeling your beliefs.
- I was just saying something similar to my husband this morning. Since when are common courtesy and respect for others "optional"?
- It can be hard for people pleasers to put themselves first and often get taken advantage of. You did what felt right and that is freedom.
- Thanks for sharing. I struggle with people pleasing and boundaries in my own life, so this was helpful for me to hear!
- Boundaries and blame- two things when pushed that can help you see the truth.
- It's very hard to do that, and was something I just had NO courage to do. One of the things I learned was to stand my ground, set my boundaries and see their reaction to that was none of my business. That helped me to not take it personally. It's healthy for her to see that she needs to learn how to respect a boundary, or a commitment. You may have been the first person to teach her that.
- Stand your ground. Proud of you to do that.
- I admire you for standing your ground. I go through this frequently and only recently started saying enough is enough. I've been a HUGE people pleaser all my life and it's gotten tiring.
- Thank you for sharing. I too am a people pleaser and tend to let things go. People feel that if you don't have a traditional job or are a stay at home mom, your time is somehow less valuable. I am trying to be more respectful of myself and just say no when it's not good for me! Thanks for the reminder.
- This is an inspiring read.
- Regardless of her response, I hope she took away a lesson.
- It feels so much more empowering to say "no" instead of "yes" in these kinds of situations.
- I like your response to her. Mine would have been "anyone too sick to send a one sentence text (or ask someone else to do it for cryin' out loud) should have been in the hospital." Working on curbing my sarcastic tendencies.
- I started doing that too. At first it was hard but, people need to respect our time.
- Her sense of entitlement is alarming for someone who has just chosen a profession in helping others ..glad she's not my trainer!
- Most people hate being "put in check", especially when you're right and there is no good debate! Ahh... the curse of the truth tellers! Stay strong, worthy clients await.
- You didn't sound angry to me, just honest. And if you are too sick to send a 6-word text you are probably dead...
- You can only be treated like a doormat if you lay down like one.
Holy WOW! Clearly, there are many of us working/struggling to stand up for ourselves, myself included.
For a long time, I've believed that the struggle for healthy boundaries is at the heart of feeling stuck, unhealthy and out of shape. It takes courage and empowerment to say no to something, so you can say yes to yourself, your health and your happiness.
Every single one of us has something pulling at us, for our time and energy. Spouses (healthy or in need of care), kids, our own health, jobs, homes, aging parents, needy neighbors, pets, volunteer work, our social network, etc. For some, it's all of the above!
How are we supposed to find time to exercise?
All I know is what happened to me. I started getting very ill, and I was sick of being stressed out and depressed (and at the doctor's office all the time). I had an epiphany when I learned that exercise changed ALL THAT. I felt healthier. Stronger. More empowered. Less stressed out and depressed. Happier and much more at peace!
I still find it amazing: Exercising at the appropriate level helps me live a better life. But, there is a lie that keeps us stuck.
LIE: When I find the time, I will start exercising.
TRUTH: When I start exercising, I find the time.
It's one of the many miracles of this process. Everyone that has jumped into fitness will tell you so. But, you have to see it to believe it. You have to step in and do it, and see the miracle for yourself. The way I keep going is by these two strategies:
1. After me, you come first. It's the principle they teach you on the airplane. Put your oxygen mask on first, then care for your people. You are no good to them passed out on the floor due to lack of oxygen. This is not self-indulgence. This is self-care. Those things are very different, and the more empowerment I practice, the less I allow guilt to rob me of my commitment to take care of me.
2. Just say no. I agree with all the above comments. Boundaries are very difficult. But possible with practice! So...no to time-wasters and soul-sucking habits. No to people who disrespect my time. No to putting everything else first, to the point of being drained, depressed and completely stressed out. No to things I've allowed into my life that zap my energy, joy and confidence. No to crappy food. No to couch-potato life. No to guilt, shame, fear and self-limiting beliefs. No to letting past failures keep me stuck.
Yes to things that contribute to my health and happiness.
Yes to knowing that I am enough!
Yes to not earning approval through perfection or performance.
Yes to people who respect me and my time.
Yes to taking care of me, without feeling guilty.
Yes to knowing I must put my oxygen mask on first.
Yes to knowing my worth and honoring it with empowered choices.
Yes to veggies, fruit, and gorgeous healthy food.
Yes to walking, getting outside, metro parks, neighborhood walks, and moving my beautiful body.
Yes to what lights me up.
Yes to knowing who I am.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Now get moving.