“Whoa. That’s a mess.”

No kidding. I opened my closet door to grab a sweater and approximately twelve pairs of shoes tumbled across the floor, along with two winter coats, a giant tote bag, a few sweaters … hell, there could have been a live raccoon in the mix for all I knew.

My three-year-old ran into our bedroom to investigate the ruckus, stopped in his tracks, stared at the visual cacophony of clothes, shoes, jackets, and bags, and with stoic calm gave voice to the current state of my life, “Whoa. That’s a mess.”

It’d been a hectic few weeks: conferences, travel, memorial services, running a business, starting an additional business, and balancing family. I went from feeling centered and in control to feeling like my whole life was exploding like my closet.

I know all the things I’m “supposed” to do:

Incorporate more self-care. “Take some time for yourself and re-charge.”

Get organized. “Just use a calendar and systems for keeping your life in order.” (Note: I totally use this planner and can’t imagine what life––or my closet––would look like without it.)

“Cut out anything or anyone who isn’t essential.”

“Get help.”

The list of truly practical applications for bringing more order into any Mama CEO life is endless. They are great suggestions and, my hunch is that, most of you do them, but I’m going to let you in on a really big secret that could change your game and sense of overwhelm as a Mama CEO.

Boundaries. Those intangible lines that distinguish you from others. That separate your self-worth from the success of your business. That remind you that you are a good person even when your kids are struggling at school.

No snazzy solution will have lasting impact if you don’t have strong boundaries.

As a Mama you are pulled in a hundred directions: childcare, school activities, spending quality time with kids that are growing up too fast, maintaining a relationship with your partner if s/he’s in the picture, eating, feeding, or both, being a taxi service, the list is endless.

Version 2As a CEO you’re juggling launches, administration, hiring, client care, getting your message out, new ideas, money, and making decisions––about everything.

It’s easy to see how you might lose yourself in all of these responsibilities. You end up putting yourself last, forgetting what you need—or even want—because you are seamlessly absorbed into every aspect of your life. Boundaries are the ability to come back to your center. To honor yourself in a demanding world.

Boundary issues are common and real, and when boundaries are poor or non-existent they can wreck your life. You’re likely to see weak boundaries manifest in frustrating relationships, poor health, chronic head colds, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, feeling taken advantage of or victimized, poor work-life balance, not knowing what to do in your business, feeling responsible for everyone, depleted spirit, and lack of a sense of purpose.

Any of this sound familiar?

When my closet exploded, literally and metaphorically, I knew my boundaries had wavered in the middle of an extremely stressful time in life. Because strengthening and maintaining boundaries are integral parts of my practice, I also know that it’s how people bounce back from those times that demonstrate the resiliency and health of their boundaries. If you don’t have healthy boundaries to begin with, there’s nothing for them to bounce back to.

If you want to THRIVE as a Mama CEO, improve your relationships, live your purpose, and feel more like YOU, it’s time to get to the root of the issue and build better boundaries.

Luckily, helping people create and strengthen their boundaries is my sacred gift. I’ve been working with clients for over ten years to help them get solid in their truth, bringing their inner spirit to their outer, everyday world. What is the #1 trait that has held back all of my clients from living their fullest, most aligned life? Poor boundaries.

The good news is that you can create and strengthen the health of your boundaries relatively quickly, starting with a few simple tweaks. Today, say no to one thing you truly do not want to do (that you would normally do out of guilt or obligation). It doesn’t have to be something big. Start small with an everyday task. “No, I don’t want to go to that restaurant, thanks.” “No, I don’t actually want to wear this shirt. In fact, I don’t even like this shirt.” Bring yourself back to the center of your own life.

If you are seeking more ease in your work, better relationships with your kids, parents, partners, VA’s, clients, co-workers, or you simply want to remember what it feels like lead your life from your center (yes, that can be done in the real world with family and work), then join me for a FREE teleclass, Boundaries: Honoring the Real You in a Demanding World on Wednesday, October 28 at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET.  Sign-up HERE.

I’ll go over the different types of boundaries, how they’re showing up (or not showing up in your life), and a few simple thing you can do to ease the overwhelm and lead your life from the real you.

In the comments below, other Mama CEO’s and myself would love to hear examples of when you succeeded with honoring your boundaries and areas where you struggle. We’re all in this together!

jess ryan bio pic

Jess Ryan, MS, E-RYT is the Mama CEO of OurRealWork.com where she guides men and women through major life and spiritual transitions. Using tools from life coaching to energy work to scientifically proven body- and mindfulness-based practices she helps her clients do the real work of discovering their most authentic self and bringing their soul into their everyday, real lives. Find out more about Jess and sign up for the free Boundaries teleclass HERE.