Setting Boundaries

Dun dun duuuhhhhh!

Is there anything scarier than setting boundaries? Putting your foot down?

As grant professionals (aka grant writers, grant strategists, grant developers, grant managers, whatever you call yourself), we are always on deadlines and always racing against the clock. It can be hard to set boundaries with coworkers, supervisors, and clients. What kind of boundaries? Well, how about: “I don’t answer email after 6pm or before 8am?” Or maybe: disallowing text messages as a form of communication or turning the phone ringer off entirely after 6pm?

Okay, those are pretty easy, right? How about these boundaries?

When the client needs something last minute that means you have to work a 12-hour work day so you can help them on a last minute grant and also complete the other work you promised other clients? Anyone ever play that game?

Look, the reality is, it’s never really an emergency. It’s a lack of preparedness. And while I’m a little notorious for taking on last minute multi-million dollar grant projects and submitted them successfully and having them awarded, it’s really not the norm.

When you don’t set boundaries or when you ignore your boundaries, you burn yourself out, you build resentment, you sleep less, you eat more, you exercise less, and, in general, you just destroy your wellbeing.

So start saying “no” to rescuing other people from their disorganization, their lack of planning, and their lack of preparation. Say “no” to last minute requests. Say “no” to submitting grants to agencies that won’t get funded.

Breaking boundaries is really just like doing drugs. So just say “no.”

My challenge to you today is to see how many times you can say “no” to violating your boundaries and “yes” to protecting your wellbeing.

Have anxiety about setting boundaries? Check out this post about coping with anxiety.

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