this article was crafted on request for the Platform Embodied Empowerment, a network for Body-Practicioners and Coaches.
However, the guidelines apply also to any other (service-)professional and human being.
“As bodyworkers, we are in service of the well-being of our clients.
However, that does not mean you are 24/7 available for everything.
Clear boundary-keeping and managing expectations are key to preserving your inner energy and hence also being able to serve your clients at your best fully.
expectation management is what you expect from yourself and what others expect from you!
For outside boundary keeping:
1) Declare them
2) Clear limits on your availability.
Example: For voice messages or apps: declare that you will get back within 48 h.
That defuses the expectation that you will answer straight away and creates a margin.
3) Experiment with Saying Yes, No, and Maybe.
4) Create a non-negotiable time and activity for your own self-care.
How good are you to serve your clients if you don’t take proper care of yourself?
5) Define limits on workload, and take proper breaks.
6) Turn your phone off. Check your messages only at designated times during the day.
Example from my own practice
I practice my pelvic ground matrix almost every morning.
It’s the “church” I go into.
It gives me inner peace, strength, and resilience and is a portal to creativity.
Alternatively: outdoor swimming.
All the year.
For inner boundary keeping:
1) Keep them – without being rigid or becoming a slave to them
2) Once you declared a limit, follow up on it inside.
You said you are not available, but you take a look anyway (!) on your phone and that triggers the urge to respond, even though it’s not the moment for it.
Take three deep breaths with a focus on the exhale.
Observe your mind.
Open your eyes.
Direct your attention consciously to what you decide to do.
Even if that is: doing nothing!
Drop any notion of guilt, excuse, or rationalizing.
Last, but not least, to put things in perspective:
This is a quote from my former boss Jessie Gordon, from the time when I still worked for Corporate Companies.
“In the History of the Universe, is it important?”
There is a whole chapter on boundary-keeping with clients before and at the table,
but let’s get into that another time.