Balance & Beyond Podcast

Episode Summary

#45 The Truth About Boundaries

Embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment as we unlock the secrets to as we unlock the secrets to setting boundaries, essential for any woman teetering on the edge of burnout.

If you've ever found yourself nodding 'yes' when you were screaming 'no' inside, this is the episode you can't afford to miss. We strip down the complexities of boundary-setting, revealing how these invisible lines can be your greatest ally in preserving your time, energy, and emotional well-being. It's more than learning to decline; it's about affirming your worth and beginning a transformative chapter toward a balanced life. 

We tackle the thorny issue of societal expectations that often guilt women into limitless giving, and how stepping back can actually lead to flourishing relationships and a robust sense of self. Discover the art of placing your needs on the priority list without the accompanying baggage of guilt. No guests today, just pure, unfiltered conversation packed with real-life examples and strategies aimed at guiding you to assertively claim your space. It's a bold move toward embracing empowerment, and it starts right here, with us.

If you need more boundaries if your life, save you spot at Burnout to Balance: Mastering 2024’s New Dynamics. We’re dedicating an entire workshop to Boundaries - what they really are, how to set them and thrive in today’s hybrid world. Register at

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Episode Transcript

INTRO: Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance, where your career, relationships and health all thrive, and where you have the power to define success on your own terms. I honour the space you’ve created for yourself today, so take a breath, and let's dive right in…

2024 is flashing before our eyes and there have been some really, really big changes this year when it comes to burnout and balance trends. So, on today's episode of the Balance and Beyond podcast, I'm going to be sharing with you five specific shifts that we are seeing through our thousands of conversations with high achieving women about what is really going on and, if you peel back all the layers, what actually is the piece that you need to solve in order to move from burnout to balance. 

The number one trend we are seeing across all industries, across small business, across bigger business, regardless of what level you are in within an organization, is that in 2024, so far, we're seeing this very, very strong trend of people having to do more with less. We're talking about smaller budgets, but the same expectations. We're talking about shrinking staff, whether you can't find somebody to replace a team member, or your reduction in headcount, or you've got no spending for consultants or externals. 

And yet, despite this shrinking pool of resources and money and sometimes time, expectations are higher than ever. So this crazy trend of having to do more with less, coupled with increased demands, means that so many women are now working more hours than they ever have before. This is causing us to fall back into these old patterns of thinking that we have to achieve more and do more, because that's what our success is based on. 

Now, the real challenge underlying this is “Less is more.” That really amplifies everything, and that's what I'm going to give you an insight here to in each of the five pieces is that if you're somebody who doesn't know how to say no, this is going to be exponentially worse for you, and in that, when you're given more and the list keeps growing and the expectations haven't changed, if you say yes to everything, you are going to have an accelerated pathway to burnout because you can't get sometimes more resources and you can't find that particular person to plug that gap. 

And so when you don't know how to say no and usually that also comes with when you're a yes person, you also don't. You should delegate, and so then more comes and more comes and more comes, and it's on your shoulders and you feel like you have to do it and you've probably got a huge heart, so you don't want to give it to your team, and so you'll do it, and then you'll do it on the weekends and you do it at night and we fall over really really fast. 

Number one trend that we are seeing everywhere is, like I said, almost irrespective of industry, as we start seeing more and more and more. What is further amplifying. This is really the second trend, and this is the return to more hybrid work environments. Again, this is not a blanket-across-the-board, but we're seeing a large number of people return to the office in some capacity. A huge amount of people. Not everybody is in five days a week, but the vast majority of people tend to be in two to three days a week and that is gone from more. 

You know, the last couple of years have been a much greater proportion from home. So what has happened is we had a world pre-COVID where you worked from home occasionally, but obviously there wasn't as much of a work from home culture as COVID forced us to. It showed every organization that they wanted to continue to function. That hybrid was. Working from home was something that you had no choice If you wanted to keep your business going and you had to comply with the laws in your country. You had to find a way to make remote work and there are some organisations who embraced it, who did really well. 

But we're increasingly seeing now a number of large corporations come back and say we are now calling people back into the office and they are starting to now demand certain targets to be met in terms of office attendance. So what this means is if, when you were at home all the time, you organized your life in a particular way whether that was around when you washed, what activities you had with kids and now life has to change, as you now have usually a commute Not every day of the week, likely, but a couple of days. 

This means that can be a good thing. You get to put on clothes and put on real shoes and take off your Ugg boots and see people and communicate and you probably may enjoy that part. But it also means that those days in the office usually aren't as productive as the days you're at home, because you are interacting, you're engaging, you're talking to colleagues or your team, you're having coffees, you're networking, and so if you've had a job that was fully remote, where, yes, you would have interacted over Teams or Zoom or whatever you were, but you can actually get a lot more done when you're not continuously interrupted. 

So what the challenge now we are seeing is in this hybrid world, is that work is going back to polluting different areas of your life. So it's now easier to bring that work home. And because you had these crazy expectations, of course, with the increased workload of what you were meant to do that day in the office, you didn't get it done because you were interrupted a lot. 

Now, you bring it home and you're putting the kids to bed and thinking about that thing you've got to do, and then sitting on the couch until midnight trying to get it done, or thinking that I'll put in a few hours on a Sunday afternoon because that's the only way that you've got a chance to keep up, and on the mistaken belief that it will make next week easier. 

Sitting under all of this is the real challenge. What we are seeing now is people who don't have boundaries are falling over real fast, and by this I mean the ability to almost compartmentalize different areas of your life, but the ability to hold a boundary for the time that you're leaving work or to hold a boundary to say to your partner you have to go pick up the kids because I'm going for a walk. 

So, exercise is falling over. Self-care is falling over because now you've got this added commute time. Whereas before you could finish work at 5:30 or 6:00, and you could be in the kitchen if it was your turn for dinner by 6:01. Now, you've got 30 to 40 to an hour of commute time in there, obviously with the hours still the same. So, if you don't have solid boundaries, this return to hybrid work is likely causing you all kinds of stress and all kinds of challenges. To compound this, you've got the more work you've now got the hybrid. 

Stating the obvious here when I talk about cost of living pressures on the current economic situation, interest rates being at record highs, inflation being at record highs. I have a cat who likes very expensive cat food and I can tell you her tin has doubled in price. So I say 3% or 5%. My butt like it is absolutely biting so many families. 

What this means is that as a woman who's working, you feel an increased amount of pressure to keep your job because you may be seeing layoffs, depending on how your organisation is going, you may feel now more uncertainty about your role in the company and, obviously, when economic times get tougher, the consequences of losing your job depending on your industry, people may not be hiring as much. So then the fear of oh my gosh, if I lose my job, can I get another one? All of that amplifies. I'm not saying for a second that that's not a real fear that many, many people hold. 

However, what women tend to do now, the trend we are seeing, is they are leaning harder into some of these old characteristics that they used to have when they were younger and more junior. “I'm going to prove myself.” “I'm going to make myself indispensable.” “I'm going to say yes to everything, so that I can't get fired.” We are in this fear-driven belief that, “If I do everything, if I continue to prove myself, then they won't let me go.” 

But, the challenge is that worker bees, or get-shit-done people, or get-stuff-done people, are actually far more replaceable than a woman of influence. And so, if you are still that get-shit-done person, if you still say yes to everything, your chances of being, I guess, your name being on a list of replaceable people are actually far higher, because there is always somebody, likely cheaper, who can do the same amount of stuff that you can do. 

You are not paid for what you produce. You are not paid for outcomes. You are paid for being somebody who can make things happen. It's those people who are influential, it's those people who can garner support, who can communicate effectively, so that when you've got to choose between resources, “I can probably get someone cheaper to do the stuff, but this person here knows everyone.” “This person here has a depth of knowledge.” “This person is persuasive.” “This person can make that project run.” “This person can point out risks that we haven't seen.” 

Because, they're not in the weeds, and because they've actually got the brain space, and because they're strategic, this person is more valuable. So, the more you lean into these old ways in the mistaken belief that it's going to keep you safe, the more you're going to continue to burn out because you're going to say yes to everything You're going to. Obviously, with the rise of hybrid and then you've got more and more work to do you can see how all of these trends are really starting to accelerate this pace of burnout Stacking onto this. 

Many women are not dumb. They're incredibly intelligent and they know how they feel. They know something's not right. They are reading books and listening to podcasts, even like this one, in this attempt to say okay, what can I do? I know I'm overwhelmed. I know that I need to better use my time. I know I'm procrastinating. 

And so the fourth trend we are seeing is an increase in self-awareness. More and more women know more about their brain, about their patterns. Maybe they've been to counselling or been to therapy. They know about their past traumas. They know how their relationship with their father is impacting their relationship with their boss. They can see it all happening. They can see themselves procrastinating. They can see that they've been triggered by this colleague. They know that they've had an emotional reaction. They know that a trigger is an excessive reaction to something. 

But what's crazy is that when you can see it all, it almost makes it worse. It's like knowing that the train's going to crash and not being able to take your eyes off it and still putting your hand absolutely on the accelerator and going full bolt into the wall, because we can see it now and you can see yourself doing it, and it actually makes it more frustrating than when you didn't know. When you didn't know why you were procrastinating, or you didn't even know that you were triggered. You were just angry. Now you can see it. Didn't even know that you were triggered, you were just angry. Now you can see it. 

And this is exhausting, because women now think the answer is in more information. I just need to know more, I need some more time management strategies or I need to be better organized and I need to know how to be strategic. We go back to this default pattern. Under all of these patterns, all of these trends of I need to know more, I need to do more, and that is not the answer. Self-awareness is nothing without the actual tools and the emotional regulation and the presence of being to break the circuits in the moment that you're doing the thing and actually change it. It's in the moment that you're doing the thing, and you actually change it. 

And then, finally, the last emerging trend when it comes to work-life balance and burnout and all these things is I'm calling this a collective avoidance, or you could call it pink washing, self-care, and part of this is a good thing, and what I mean here is that we are now seeing an acceptance that people are overwhelmed.

Burnout is becoming more of a common term thanks to comments like the great burnout and the great resignation, so the fact that people are now more likely to say they're burning out. We're seeing prime ministers and world leaders say, “I'm stepping down, because I'm burning out.” “I'm stepping down, because I'm not spending enough time with my family.” 

So, it's becoming more socially acceptable to talk about mental health, to say I need a mental health day, to say to your boss or your colleague or your partner I'm not coping at the moment. That is great. We want to absolutely continue that conversation, bring these things out into the open and stop the shame that so often carries following these conversations. But as a society, and particularly women, as a culture, what has happened is that there's this trend of yes, okay, we've got this self-awareness, we can acknowledge that, we're going to talk about it. 

But the only coping strategy we have for how to deal with the overwhelm and everything that we've got is to numb it or to collectively avoid it. And I'm all for self-care, I am the self-care queen, do not get me wrong. And I said there's nothing wrong with self-care. But when you go and have a massage but you feel guilty while you're doing it, or you have lots of wine or you watch lots of Netflix, or you eat lots of chocolate, or whatever, your avoidance or coping strategy is, it's all in a bid to numb what's going on. 

So, instead of actually knowing and having the tools on how to cope with what is causing your mental health challenges, we stick a label on it and go mental health overwhelmed. Need a mental health day? That's great. But then we numb everything and we avoid it, and so that's what all these collective coping strategies are. They’re just band-aids. It's band-aid, it's band-aid, it's band-aid. 

And we wonder why we're running out of band-aids and we have to keep putting more on, because the next time that we break, it's bigger. All right, I'll take a week off, try to spend a week in bed, try to spend a week lying down, yeah, but you're never actually getting to the source of this cycle, and so it keeps repeating and repeating. And, of course, there's a lot of people making a lot of money from this. It's a lot of people making money from this cycle, but these problems follow us around. 

We need to stop numbing what is going on inside of us, and the real challenge or opportunity here is to actually learn to process our emotions. To take this self-awareness and intellectual understanding we have and let's actually now embody it. Let's embody these new emotions. Let's learn to process our emotions. This is not something, as women, we have been taught. 

We are not really allowed to show a whole lot of emotion. If we show it at work, we're weak, we're that emotional woman, and so we put on a front and we shove it deep, deep down and then maybe we burst into tears in bed or in front of our partner, or maybe in a meeting, because you've got your cup is so full that you find yourself in a fit of tears and then that could sometimes, depending on your environment, be a career limiting move. 

So, this is the trend that I am seeing, and I think this is the most dangerous one. I am all for, collective, kind of acceptance and talking about mental health, and all of this is great, but we need to actually empower women with the tools that are going to make a change for this. 

So, these are some of the emerging trends in the first half of 2024. And I can see the cycle of burnout accelerating. You turn the dial up on all of these which may happen over the rest of 2024. And you can only see not being able to say no, no boundaries, not being able to process your emotions, falling back into old habits. It's no wonder that we've got this crazy recipe for burnout If this is something that you are struggling with. 

I have, just today, which is the 1st of May, launched a three-day, three-part live event series which is all talking about how to master this 2024 paradigm to achieve better balance. I want to take you from burnout. I want to get you the tools for balance. It's actually working this year. So, check out the show notes below this episode, make sure you register. 

It's a three-part free training course. I'll say that again, it's a free training course. I'm going to be walking you through specific strategies, given where everything is right now. These are not tools. These are not skills that we've ever been taught. And an environment that is shifting and changing, you have to know what are the tools that are going to be working for you now. 

It's not COVID times anymore. It's not pre-COVID. We're in this crazy world where it's changing faster than ever before, but it's on us now to take our power back and to actually build lives with balance, with calm, with confidence and peace that we are so looking for. So, make sure you register before we begin and I look forward to seeing you there.

OUTRO: Before we go, in case you missed it, I wanted to make sure you had that link to grab your free, must-have guide the Art of Saying no Without Guilt. You can visit Lots of practical tips, beautiful information on conditioning, and I want you to be able to embrace the freedom of saying no. Let's help you reclaim your time, boost your energy and create a life with true balance. That's Enjoy the guide, and we'll see you next time on the Balance and Beyond podcast. 

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