Just Because We Can Serve Doesn’t Mean We Should Lose Ourselves Doing It

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Work, Life Balance

“Don’t lose myself in serving and giving:” you’d think I’d have learned the lesson years ago. I think what’s worse is when we go into situations anticipating reciprocal support and mutual reinforcement, but find ourselves in “give, give, give” mode.

I won’t go into too much detail here about the recent situations, but I will explain that I’ve always been a giver (even if grumpy about it – a sign, eh?). Even as a child, I nurtured and provided for others. In my younger years, I would drop everything for a friend or loved one in need, if I could. To this day, I deeply long for people to just be equality-minded, hold pure, true integrity, and not take advantage of others. What a different world we’d live in!

But, alas, we’re not at that stage of our collective consciousness yet… TBD, folks. So, how do we operate in a world full of people like us and “the takers?” Ok, it’s not exactly a 50/50 split, but I think this is worth talking about.

Serving Should Be Done with Boundaries

I realized within the last couple of weeks how powerful it is to serve with guardrails. Real quick, Merriam-Webster defines a guardrail as guarding against danger, basically, and perhaps this is worth learning about from a new angle. Is it dangerous to serve? Well, maybe, depending on what the scenario is. Is it dangerous to lose ourselves while serving? I’d say yes…

I truly believe we’re here for a reason and to do the work we’re here to do; and I mean “work” in a big picture way, not just a career ladder or our job titles. I served through the ladder and various roles, but in time saw how powerful our Big Picture Work can be. That’s why I share this concept in my program. Regardless, even when we love what we do in our bones, it can still be hard to keep those guardrails up.

So, let’s say you’re living in your legacy and your heart song (aka your purposeful work) and showing up as your divine wise woman self. Next thing you know, someone takes advantage of your passion, time, and energy. Now, you have some options: redirect, regroup, or get through and revitalize yourself afterward.

What’s key though is what you do after the scenario is wrapped up: do you keep serving (I hope so, because your light is needed in this world), but you do it with more guardrails? *raising my hand, too*

What do These Boundaries Look Like?

So, what can our guardrails look like?

  • Get offline a couple of hours before bed
  • Carve out time for an actual lunch break
  • Get away from the computer to move your body for a time
  • Notice when you’re not fully present with friends or family then dial back on work (even when passionate about it)
  • Don’t even message people back on social media who break boundaries (looking at you sales-y and creepy cold messages)
  • Know what you should be paid for and apply that intention
  • Create space for creativity, joy, and silence
  • When identifying pushy, self-centered people in your circle (especially a bully), start to distance yourself from them as much as possible
  • Serve yourself as you serve others with rejuvenating practices (for body, mind, and spirit)…and so much more.

Have other ideas? Use what’s worked for you in the past then rinse and repeat. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Now, I completely understand being passionate about what we do and how we serve, as I keep saying. Yet, if we don’t keep ourselves aligned with our work, our service will look different. It won’t be as expansive (especially as we try to work smarter, not harder). Or, we’ll give and give, and then our bucket is low-to-empty.

So, let’s wrap this up with a question: what guardrails will you either reconstruct in your life, because they worked before, or what will you put up to protect your servant’s heart and passion from here forward? I’ve already decided to “guardrail” how my time is spent and with whom. What about you? I’m here for you, my friends, as we walk on this journey together!

That’s it for this week! Feeling inspired? If you’re looking for more updates and want a more direct connection, join (for free) the FSW Circle. And if you have any questions or comments, leave them below or contact me 1:1 this way. Chat with you soon!

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