Boundaries in Business Ensure Everybody Wins
I’m the universal donor. My blood type is O Negative, meaning I can donate blood to just about anyone.
My blood can help save trauma patients, premature babies, and cancer patients. No matter if you’re blood type A or B or O, or if you’re Positive or Negative, if you need an emergency transfusion, I’m your girl.
But I recently learned something interesting about “universal donors” from a doctor friend of mine.
You see, while just about anyone can benefit from my blood… I can NOT benefit from theirs. The only type of blood that can save an O Negative patient in an emergency is O Negative.
And that’s a problem because only 7% of people have this blood type. And to make matters worse, because it’s universally helpful for transfusions, it’s in high demand.
Just one car accident victim might need 100 units of O Negative blood… which is why O Negative is the first blood type to run out during an emergency…which means “universal donors” are at the greatest risk of NOT getting the blood they need in a desperate situation.
Paying it forward is me
Now, I’ve always been proud of my “universal donor” status. Giving back to others or paying it forward is something I was taught as a child. I watched both my parents volunteer and help others my whole life. I saw first-hand the difference their generosity made in the world.
That’s why I don’t just donate my blood. I also ‘donate’ my time, money, and attention to others as often as I can. And I’ve always felt that was a positive thing.
Another point of view
But recently, I read Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take and I realized universal donors (or what Grant calls “selfless givers”) face some serious risks. Selfless givers can become the equivalent of a human doormat. When that happens, nobody benefits.
It’s great to be a “giver,” but you must also know how to draw the line and set boundaries. In Grant’s words, you need to be an “otherish giver” instead of a “selfless giver.”
You need to remember your own needs, your own interests and goals. You must keep an eye on your own dreams and be willing to ask for what you need at the same time you give to others.
This is something I’m working on.
Asking for help with your business is hard
I realized recently that I had been generously helping others to build their communities, without taking care of my own. I’ve been helping out with multiple masterminds and coaching events because I love doing it. I love my mentors, and I love giving back to help them grow their businesses.
But I had neglected my own dreams.
Worse, I rarely asked my mentors for help or support. Even though they offered, almost every time I saw them! And the fact is, these mentors and friends would be thrilled to help. They want me to succeed.
But the only one who can ask for their help and manage my boundaries is ME!
I’m always going to be a giver — it’s literally in my blood type. But now I’m working to make sure I’m not risking burnout by giving too much and asking nothing in return.
Instead, I’m focusing on “otherish giving” that benefits my own purpose and preserves my own boundaries and well-being.
Banking my resources for my business too
When I was in my twenties, I had to have surgery, and my doctor came to me a few weeks beforehand with a strange request. He wanted me to donate blood, and lots of it… to myself. He wanted to be sure there was enough of that precious O Negative blood available for me in case I needed it.
And now, all these years later, I’m learning that same lesson again. Putting boundaries around my giving is a way to bank my own energy and make sure that I have the stamina to fulfill my own dreams while inspiring others to go after theirs.
So this week, take a look at your giving and make sure you’re taking care of your own dreams too. Because the fact is, you cannot give to others when you’re burned out and resentful.
Be generous, always, but set boundaries and remember to donate to YOU as well.
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