There are few people more well-equipped to talk about boundaries than Megan Nicola. Now a self-confidence and strength strategist for soul-centered women in business (and a personal stylist), Megan grew up believing she had to give to others before she could give to herself, and that her worth was tied to how useful she was to other people.
She eventually had an “astronomical awakening,” as she puts it, realising that empathic conditioning she had learned early in life was holding her back. “I was the one standing in the way of my potential, not others,” she says. “I realised I needed to believe in myself, build healthy boundaries, shift all my self-limiting beliefs around my worth, and learn how to accept abundance.”
She used her own journey to build a 12-step programme that she says helped her transform her life and her business, and now, she has a thriving business helping “heart-led female entrepreneurs” overcome the same issues. “My life mission is to help women who think they’ll never feel good enough step into their full power and manifest the life and career they’ve been working so tirelessly to build.”
At the core of Megan’s programme are personal boundaries; something women often struggle with – especially at work. Here, Megan tells us why women need to build healthy boundaries, and how to go about it.
Why is it important to have healthy boundaries at work?
Boundaries are a crucial way of communicating your values to others. They allow you to set your limits for what you will and will not tolerate. This communicates respect, value, and worth to those who work with you whether that be colleagues or clients. It ultimately makes sure that you feel fulfilled and happy in your work which, let’s face it, is a massive part of your life.
Why are healthy boundaries particularly important for women?
Women in general find it incredibly difficult to put themselves first without feeling guilty, selfish or like they’re worthy enough. So instead, they over-give, shy away from being seen as ‘needy’ all in the hopes that that other person will see how valuable they are and meet them halfway. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. It just makes us vulnerable targets for users and takers. I want to help women understand that you can be kind, loving, gentle, nurturing and have healthy, strong boundaries. There is nothing selfish about communicating your worth and wanting to be respected.
What is an example of a work situation that might require healthy boundaries?
An example would be that client who doesn’t fully commit, shows up late to sessions or a meeting (if at all) and complains they’re not getting results… hmm, I wonder why? But still, they play the blame game and you suddenly start to question your worth and value.
How would you recommend women manage that situation?
The first thing to understand is that you need to take responsibility for the role you played in this situation. When we build healthy boundaries between ourselves and our clients, we are able to set the limits. This is how we expect to be treated, how you will treat them in return, and you define a neutral common ground.
This communicates that you are someone who needs to be respected and are of high value. So whether that’s in the form of a well-written contract or a discovery call that allows you to qualify whether they’re in fact someone you wish to work with. I also like to make it very clear at the beginning of any client relationship that both parties understand what each other’s responsibilities and commitments are. Therefore both of you can assess whether this is something you both agree to continue with for the best possible outcome.
What are some tips you can give women who want to set healthy boundaries at work? How can they future-proof themselves – in terms of their boundaries, that is?
1. Give yourself permission. You are worthy of setting boundaries and being respected. You wouldn’t disrespect someone else’s boundaries, so why are you so lenient about your own?
2. Tune into your feelings. Get really aware of how you feel in certain interactions. If you feel anger or resentment, it probably means you’ve not established healthy boundaries with that person. Ask yourself, ‘Why am I feeling like this? And how do I want to feel instead?’ And then plan your necessary actions that can prevent the same situations from happening again.
3. Know your limits. You cannot set healthy boundaries without knowing what you will and will not tolerate. Create a little list of non-negotiables for yourself, and whenever you jump on a call with a new client assess if any of these come up.
Megan spoke to women about boundaries in business on day one of Campfire Shoreditch’s Wellness Week, which ran from 13 to 17 May 2019. Held as a tribute to the nationwide Mental Health Awareness Week, the Camp Shoreditch event featured five days of free co-working, talks, workshops, food, drink exhibitions and live music centred around themes of wellness, self-care and wellbeing.
For more about Wellness Week, Campfire Shoreditch, and about Campfire Collaborative Spaces, the Hong Kong-born company that’s evolving how people work, live, learn and play all over the world click here.
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