As I look back on my journey of becoming a creative entrepreneur, one word is consistent throughout my story – BOUNDARIES. There was a lack of boundaries, a denial that I needed boundaries, a struggle for boundaries, and now what I like to believe is an all-out sprint toward setting boundaries and achieving work/life balance on a daily basis. Even if some days I end up falling straight on my face with a toddler sitting on my back, my iPhone in one hand and a Starbucks drink in the other (because Jesus gave us caffeine and the Starbucks drive- through).
In the early years of Chancey Charm, I was still working a full-time marketing and events job. So staying up until 4 a.m. to again tweak (OR rebuild) my website was common. The push of a 40+ hour a week role I didn’t adore mixed with the right dose of an unhealthy work environment was the only reminder I needed to keep going on a daily basis. Fast forward a few years and my drive and business were only growing. My sweet husband, Chris, begged me to slow down and reconnect. But, I was a woman on a mission and success was a high I couldn’t resist. Success was an addiction – never enough. When I found out I was pregnant, my number one priority was maintaining “my life”. The one full of dinners out, fancy publications and busy days of client meetings and events.
All of my concerns about “my life” flew out the window when my son almost died at birth, rushed away to the NICU moments after he laid on my chest. The day my husband and I headed home from the hospital without a newborn in our car seat, I broke. I remember writing my team a “don’t ask me anything, because I don’t care” email of sorts. My life, my home, my family felt empty and disjointed. We are incredibly blessed that Boaz had a miraculous recovery. We were able to bring him home after a week in the NICU, and he is such a happy and healthy boy now.
In so many ways, I’ve realized that when God saved Bo’s life, he saved mine too. I realized after years of being completely consumed by work that life was calling me, begging me to participate. The experience simple joys and moments again. Since Bo’s birth, I’ve been on a slow journey of healing, reconnection and recovery. I’ve talked about work/life boundaries more than I’ve actually practiced them, as a constant reminder and a form of accountability for myself. I’ve been more open about the priority my family plays in my life with my team, and I’ve stopped apologizing for it. If there is one complaint my team has about me, I hope that it is that I drove them NUTS talking about boundaries all the time, in an industry that begs for 24/7 attention and devotion. It’s my dream that my entire team will celebrate love, life and family on a daily basis. I’m thrilled to share a few of my favorite tips for work/life boundaries below.
Cheers friends! Sarah
Client Boundaries: It’s always important to set realistic expectations with clients at your first consultation.
• I always re-iterate my office hours and a 48-hour response time Monday – Thursday.
• I also let them know that weekends are reserved for family and pre-scheduled meetings.
These boundaries set the stage for a professional relationship.
Team Boundaries: I used to send and receive emails all nights and on weekends. Now my inbox barely sees any action outside of office hours.
• This is because I try really hard not to send emails outside of business hours (yes Boomerang is my bestie on late nights).
• I also clearly communicate to my team that responses outside of normal business hours are NEVER expected – period. Ahh… Freedom!