I got up quite early this morning (2:30 a.m.) because I had some work with a tight deadline that I had worked on over the weekend and wasn’t quite happy with it yet. I had an early ferry (6:20 a.m.) to catch, so that meant that getting up at my usual early time (5 a.m.) to catch up on things was out of the question – I needed to get up earlier. As I hauled myself out of bed, I wondered if other people do this – get up this early because something is due and it needs work. I thought about my boundaries and the AHA boundaries that we set – and if we need to be stronger about them. Then I had a cup of coffee and laughed at myself.
The fact is, some of the work we do happens on weekends. This weekend, we had a client with an important event – so for three hours on Saturday and Sunday, Paul was on the phone with media pitching them to come out to the event. He was pretty successful and his efforts resulted in three major media outlets covering the event.
I am working on a big project for a client and I feel a little behind on it. It seems everyone on the client team feels that they are behind too – it’s a result of the enormity of the project – and we’re all working hard to keep up. I don’t like feeling behind; I don’t think anyone can do their best work if they are always rushing to meet deadlines, and my goal for this week is to get ahead of this project – no matter what it takes (early mornings, long days and working on the weekend).
We have great clients. They approach the relationship as a true partnership – they work with us, they listen to our advice and counsel, they bring us into interesting projects, and they rely on us and trust us to provide support for the tough projects (like when they may be facing an issue or crisis and need strategic communications help). And in return, we do whatever it takes – within our abilities and power – to deliver excellence. And I have to say, excellence isn’t a 9 to 5 activity. It goes beyond that. We are committed to our clients and in our world that means something to us and to our clients. And the work we do doesn’t always happen during the regular workday. It’s great when it can and does, but it’s not the reality we live in.
We believe in a work/life balance here at AHA. We believe in working as partners with our clients – and that means setting boundaries on both sides that are clearly communicated. And we believe that our commitment to our clients pays off every day. We have loyal, caring clients that are engaged with us, they pay us in a timely fashion and they go out of their way to recommend us to other organizations. I’d say that getting up a little earlier is a small price to pay for those kinds of professional relationships.
This morning, as boundary thoughts bounced around in my mind, a blog post by Danielle LaPorte came winging into my inbox and, since I am a big fan of hers, I drank my coffee and read it (I always want to know what she has to say to me!). She is a sassy, upstart, smart, spiritually-focused business/life coach who defies description. She isn’t for everyone, but if you “get her” and are ready to truly listen to her and yourself, she can change your entire life (business and personal) for the better. And her blog post today was about boundaries. It’s worth a read.