How I Learned About Professional Boundaries

As I grew into the woman I wanted to become, I learned that my big "why" in business was to create more harmony in life.

My first business was a nonprofit. I was bullied as a girl and I turned to my creative outlets as a way to feed my own self-esteem. When I decided to venture into entrepreneurship in my early 30's I went back to where my big 'why' came from. I launched a nonprofit and our mission is to inspire girls to be their awesome, authentic super selves.

My team of advisors and I created a program called Super Girl. Through our Super Girl Guide series, we help girls build better and healthier relationships in childhood.

In those early years, inspiration was all around me.

I was inspired in our work to support girls through middle-school.

I was inspired every time a check came in the mail to put toward bettering communities.

I found inspiration in the people who shared their own story of being bullied with me.

I found inspiration in my own journey of change.

I found inspiration in every small step we took as an organization.

Entrepreneurship is an exploration. Often times we're in the dark just figuring it out as we go. It's like that quote by Ram Dass - "We're all just walking each other home."

Eventually though, I realized a lack of inspiration wasn't my problem as an entrepreneur. A lack of boundaries was my problem. I said yes to everyone. I took on everything. I did as much as I could myself. I worked in the business AND on the business.

The lack of boundaries eventually brought on a huge case of burnout.

Two-and-a-half years into the nonprofit journey, I accepted burnout and had to relearn everything about business and me as a business leader.

Burnout was the ultimate boundary for me and that in itself was my newest inspiration. Knowing my boundary was what saved the nonprofit and allowed me to find my way back to my own personal happiness.

Burnout forced me to move slower through the entrepreneurship exploration. Burnout and my boundaries inspired me to say no to new projects when my to-do list looked more like a never-ending story. And burnout allowed me to find inspiration in my personal life again.

As an entrepreneur, storyteller and recovered burnout, I can say, without hesitation, that I've learned how to thrive in this entrepreneurship exploration because I've created boundaries to my professional life.

Most industries are saturated nowadays. What our clients are looking for are partners and finding the right partner comes down to chemistry - both personally and professionally. When my personal life lacks inspiration, I know I'm unable to support my clients at my full professional capacity.

Since recovering from burnout I've launched a personal business and I've moved to supporting the nonprofit more in a board capacity. My professional life actually runs much easier now that I know what my own boundaries are.

I purposefully schedule time in the day to refuel personally. I schedule mid-morning Pilates classes or I'll schedule a lunch date or a trip to a farm to feed a friend's horse. Sometimes, my own inspiration comes in mid-day naps.

My experience has been that a happy personal life leads to a happy professional life. For me, it's always been about harmony in life. I didn't realize when I started out as an entrepreneur that when I let my professional life take over my personal life, my professional life would one day take a turn for the worse.

Lesson learned.