It comes up time and time again.
You know you are being taken advantage of. Then suddenly out of your mouth come the words “Sure, I can do that” or “it’s ok, don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.”
You think you’re being nice. You may think it’s your job, so even if you’re technically not supposed to do it you will. Or you may think you’re helping someone out and that’s always the right thing to do.
Guess what… you’re not being nice. You’re being a meanie. You’re being mean to yourself.
Let me ask you, would you treat someone else the way you are treating yourself? Would you ask other people to bend the rules for you time and time again? Would you be happy taking advantage of someone else’s good graces the way you allow others to take advantage of yours?
No, I didn’t think so.
Yet day in and day out you let others take advantage of you.
Who do you allow to take advantage of you?
Based on what my clients have been saying lately, I’m betting that you’re allowing your team, your clients, your friends, your family and your colleagues take advantage of you. Yeah… pretty much everyone.
You’re saying yes to things that you need to say no to OR you’re not standing up for yourself when they simply assume it’s okay with you.
Here are a couple of examples.
One of my clients shared with me that he had a client who owed him $500. It’s not that much money but it was due him. He asked his client for it numerous times and finally the client said “I’ve got a few more big jobs coming up. I’m not going to pay this $500 but plan to bring you in on the new ones.” My client was afraid to rock the boat, the new business sounded good… but what about the $500?
Another client shared with me that one of her team members had overslept and called at the last moment because she wouldn’t be able to make the deliveries. She apologized profusely, promised it wouldn’t happen again and said, “How about the new guy make the deliveries today instead.” My client wanted to avoid confrontation. She’s become friends with her team member. The truth of the matter was that the new guy lived pretty far away and it was going to cost her an extra $100 to get him to do it or she and her husband could jump through hoops to take care of the deliveries themselves.
So what’s going on? Why don’t we respect ourselves?
It’s about setting our boundaries and then… yes, you got it… respecting them.
Setting your boundaries isn’t too hard. Here’s what I want you to do…
1. Think about the times when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of. The times when you know you should say “No” but say “Yes”. Think about the times when you roll over on a decision you’ve made and you agree “just to make it easier”.
2. Think about the circumstances you are in. Think about the people who are involved, my guess is that these situations are occurring in both your business and your personal life.
3. Outline ways that you could handle these situations differently in the future.
4. Keep in mind…being nice doesn’t mean falling over your sword. Your solution to the situation will likely mean uncomfortable conversations; however, as long as you are polite, professional, respectful and honest you are still being a nice person. What’s really wonderful is that once you have that conversation the person will respect you more too.
Here are solutions my clients and I came up with for the situations they were in.
In the case of the $500. My client went back to his client and said, “The new jobs sound great and I’m excited to work on them, but I need to close out the books on this job first. When can I expect the $500?”
In the case of the oversleeping team member. It wasn’t the first time that her team member had let her down. My client decided it was time for a heart to heart. She shared that she was frustrated. She shared that she wanted to be her team member’s friend, but the bottom line is that in this situation she needed to be her boss. They reviewed a few situations that had come up recently. They talked about how they affected the business in terms of stress and money. She told her team member that these things need to be fixed and outlined consequences if the changes don’t happen, including the possibility of termination.
Neither conversation was fun; however, both were freeing and “nice” to both parties.
Look around your business and your life. Where do you need to start putting boundaries and start to stand up for yourself?