My life isn’t as perfect as my timeline

Nobody’s is!

I’m all in favour of authenticity but I also hate oversharing. You’re my wonderful clients and business contacts, not my best friends, and there need to be boundaries in every relationship.

We all draw that line in a slightly different place. Although I will never deny that I have dirty laundry I certainly won’t be airing it in public. In spite of my very public social media profile, I’m actually an introvert and a naturally private person. I’m also a positive person who prefers not to dwell on any negatives in my life.

I love social media, especially Twitter, but there is a strange phenomenon where we all think we know each other perhaps better than we really do. The downside of this is that it is surprisingly easy to be the victim of ‘catfishing’ and all sorts of fraud.

There is also a tendency to believe that what we see is the whole story. Whilst some people overshare, others overedit causing real FOMO and other envy or depression in others who feel that they haven’t achieved as much. I love celebrating your successes, but I also assume that you’ve worked as hard as I have and there is blood, sweat and tears behind the picture of you with your latest award.

So here are a few things that you need to know about me that I don’t explicitly mention:

  • Like you, I often think about jacking in my business and taking a normal job for an easier life. Running a business is never as glamorous as it seems on the outside. I think it is this experience that makes me a good coach, even more than my Coaching/Mentoring qualification.
  • Although I’ve generally worked with wonderful teams, I’ve also had to dismiss people. I try to do this legally and as kindly as I can.
  • My kids have grown up into fabulous people that I enjoy spending time with but some days they’ve exhausted my patience. If you have a small business and you’re short on sleep, I completely understand.
  • I’m in the process of getting divorced. Fortunately, it’s all amicable but sometimes I really have to bite my tongue and remember to act like a grown up (and he’s probably doing the same)
  • Some days I find it hard to get started. Without motivation it’s just hard slog dependent on discipline.

I don’t think it helps anybody to have the details of my rough times but that doesn’t mean that everything is 100% rosy.

Do you think you have the right balance between being genuine and oversharing?

Do you set boundaries?

I work with a lot of people who are overwhelmed in their business as they have bitten off more than they can chew. When we start working together it soon becomes clear that they need to improve how they set boundaries.

Here are a few ideas I often use:

• Practise saying “no” in front of a mirror. It makes it easier to say to a real person.
• Practise saying “no” without feeling the need to offer an explanation.
• Practise saying “no” with a polite smile
• Be clear on what you are willing to do for your clients. Your engagement letter should act as a reminder to you as well as to them of what you are contracted to do.
• When a client asks for something extra tell them “yes we’d love to help you with that and it will cost £X” (fixed fee or per hour)
• Do not discount your fees. You are not a charity. If people are struggling then reduce the scope so they do more for themselves eg we provide basic bookkeeping training videos if the owner is capable of doing this themselves
• Do not provide extended credit. You are not a bank.
• Set appointments in your diary to make time to do something for yourself
• Ring up an old friend and arrange to meet for lunch or an enjoyable activity. It will get you out of the office. If you’d prefer to be alone then book a facial or a massage or plan a bike ride with a nice cake stop.
• Set an alarm for when you intend to finish your working day and then leave your laptop on your desk when you close your office door
• Stop reading this and practise saying “no”