No. 192

Rediscovering Balance

I’ve started writing letters to my mother. By hand. In a journal I opened not with this purpose in mind but that’s what it became.

Since losing my mom, I’m not sure how to relate to her anymore, now that she’s not physically with me. I can’t pick up my phone and speed dial her the way I used to, though I want to all the time and once or twice my fingers have instinctively gone there.

So there are letters. I tell her my stories, my frustrations, my joys.

I really told my mom about everything when she was alive. She didn’t understand business the way I do, but she understood people so well. At her last job, she held the title Patient Care Coordinator and her primary responsibility was making sure people were comfortable and calm and felt supported during the process. She really knew how to talk to people and bring out their stories about what they loved.

There are some days that my job is primarily care coordination as well: care of clients, care of my team, care of friends, care of family, care of myself.

But what I’ve learned both having been one of my mother’s caretakers over the past 9 months of her life as well as caretaker for my business is that it’s all about boundaries. You say Yes when it makes sense and works in everyone’s interest and you say No if it’s not or your own wellbeing feels violated. It doesn’t mean that you don’t still go above and beyond when you can, but you only do that if it’s healthy. If you’re constantly overextending yourself or your resources or your time, you eventually hit a really solid concrete wall. And that recovery takes time.

I spent some time this weekend thinking a lot about balance and boundaries — what I want in my business, what I need in my life, who I need to show up as for clients or friends or family, and who I need to be for myself.

Boundaries work isn’t as easy as setting boundaries and then you’re done. It’s an ongoing process.

And so I’ve been talking to my mom lately about how off my whole world feels without her in it, about how I’ve overextended myself and violated my own personal and professional values trying to make people happy, and how if things don’t change, I’ll be drained. She may not be here to answer, but I hope she’s listening and I know she’s supporting me.

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Credits

Jane Reaction

(logo and original branding) is a graphic design and art director who works with with small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, creating cohesive and interesting brands and websites.

Carrie Coleman

(photography) is a wedding photographer, whose goal is to capture the visual expression of a couple's love through timeless, organic images. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.