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Checking In! Why Boundaries Matter

Hi everyone! It’s been a minute! There’s SO much I need to catch you all up on!

It’s crazy to think that a month ago today I was walking across the stage receiving my Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. This day was filled with many emotions and looking back, I wish I would’ve been more intentional about how that entire week was spent. For those who don’t know, I am a teacher full-time and during my grad program, I was a student full time as well. As if these duties weren’t demanding enough, I simultaneously run my business. It is safe to say the last two years I have been working non-stop with very little time to rest and recharge. Given that my commencement was in LA, I had every intention on simply resting the week of graduation and basking in such a precious moment in my life. Well, that didn’t happen-not even the slightest bit.

If you’re anything like me and constantly have a goal in the works, it can be hard to stop and simply rest. All of the things I am involved in I am extremely passionate about and sometimes that passion leads to me not creating boundaries, which in the end negatively impacts the way I show up. As an educator, I want my students to have the very best of my because they deserve it. I often think if I don’t show up for my students, who will and how will that impact closing educational disparity gaps? As a student, the motive differs as money is on the line, my scholarship could’ve be revoked if I didn’t maintain a 3.0 and I would have been kicked out of my program all together. Beyond that, the percentage of black women was under 5% and I often felt like I had to prove that I was just as qualified as my counterparts. As far as my business, I always want to serve you all the best way. I truly don’t view my clients as dollar signs, but rather answered prayers. I remember praying and asking God to bless my business and while He always has early on, He continues to expand me. I feel like I owe it to God to give you guys my very best because I vividly remember how much I wanted my business to grow and still do.

While these passions are great and I’m thankful God gave me such fervor, I ignored what I needed during that time. What I really needed was uninterrupted REST. I needed that “If I didn’t have to do it, it won’t be done” kind of rest. Instead, I let guilt sink in and didn’t do that. Instead of taking off of work completely, I was finding ways to teach my kids online, checking my email and Slack, etc. I felt guilty that my kids would be without me for a week and tried to see how I can still do it all. With my grad program, graduates still had programming every day up until graduation. While this necessarily wouldn’t have changed, I wish I was more intentional on checking in with myself to ensure I gave myself quiet time on those days. Lastly I made the biggest mistake of not taking off for my business and completely blocking off my calendar. As much as I love you guys and love what I do, I failed to set boundaries that week with my business. During my trip I was editing, drafting contracts, sending emails, and the like. While I’m thankful for the business you all continue to give me, what I needed in that moment was uninterrupted time with loved ones. What I needed was quiet mornings spent journaling and in prayer and not scrambling and trying to juggle my business, my job from afar, whilst completing my final grad school assignments. As much as I hate to say it, I didn't really enjoy my trip. Majority of the time I was incredibly anxious about what was not done, what didn’t go right, and feeling even more upset that I’m anxious in the first place. Anxiety looks different for many people, but for me it is a constant state of feeling overwhelmed. If you can imagine what holding your breathe for a substantial amount of time and your face turning red, that is as close as I can begin to describe how I felt. It literally felt like since I arrived in LA I held my breathe and by the time I could release my breathe it was over and I was back in DC.

Had I put in the proper boundaries in place, I would have been able to manage my anxiety in such a way where I would process all that was occurring in a healthy manner. I read somewhere once that when you say “no” to others you say “yes” to yourself. I said “yes” so much to everyone else that week, that I didn’t realize I was constantly telling myself “no”. If I simply would’ve said “no” to a lot of things, I would have had time to properly recharge and enjoy my loved ones, who flew out to celebrate with me. Instead I was incredibly irritatable and ended up snapping on the very people who just wanted to celebrate with me. Often as entrepreneurs we’re not seen as people but as robots that should be “on” all of the time. If I can be honest, sometimes I make the mistake of buying into that and making it appear to others that I’m always on go. I think my body is naturally used to working so much so often, I almost feel guilty for taking breaks. I feel like I haven’t earned it and I always wonder what opportunities will I miss if I take a break. There is always pressure that I put on myself to be successful and while in many ways it has allowed me to accomplish a lot, I haven’t quite mastered the importance of balance and boundaries.

Since returning from LA, I have been intentional about saying “no” to things that I simply cannot do. While it is tempting to squeeze clients in, responding to emails at the speed of lighting, and the like I have now learned that it is not conducive for me long term. Now this is not to say that you all will not get my best at all times, but I am also learning and accepting that my best will look different in different seasons and that’s okay. Whether I am only able to service 5 clients in one month or have the flexibility to service 20 in another month, both are my best, just different.

I say this all to say boundaries are VITAL in everything you do, especially for entrepreneurs. Remember that YOU run your company and your company does NOT run you. If you aren’t intentional about creating boundaries, you will be a slave to whatever your it thing is. This season is dedicated to me enjoying the fruits of my labor and not apologizing for the boundaries I set worth.

To the clients who have been extremely patient and gracious with me during this time, I appreciate you beyond words. Thank you for seeing me as not just Kim the photographer, but Kim the person.

Sending love to you all


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