Why is Being “Irresponsible” Good For Business? Part 2

In the first installment of Why is Being “Irresponsible” Good For Business, we explored how “being responsible” may be crimping our creativity.

Even though we were conditioned to consider “being responsible” as a “virtue”, few were taught where to draw the line. What responsibilities do we pick up? Where do we draw the line? How to discern the “should’s” from what truly comes from our heart, that we really do want to take on?

We got slapped with the big word “responsible” and were left to figure it out on our own at some tender young age. (How Irresponsible was that??!)

What have you taken on that is NOT yours to bear? Look at the baggage you are dragging around… are you carrying other people’s crap, mistaking it as your own?

“Responsibility” and Codependency

Being “responsible” out of “being good” or “being approved/loved/accepted” may set off the booby trap of codependency that could cost you not just your sanity but also potentially your business.

People with a predisposition to be a codependent enabler often find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante. These helper types are often dependent on the other person’s poor functioning to satisfy their own emotional needs. Codependency often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. (Wikipedia)

In the context of business and money mindset, codependency can show up as:

  • Undercharging – you feel responsible for giving everyone access to your service (whether they want it or not – and this, is a violation of the other person’s boundary) and you have the belief that you can “help more people” by charging less.
  • Over-delivering (going overtime or providing “out of scope” deliverables without being compensated, writing pages after pages of support emails, “throwing in” extras) – you feel responsible for your clients’ results even though they need to do the work to succeed. Because you feel responsible, you would bend over backwards – compromising your own boundaries in order to “help” that person (who may or may not want to be helped–so in a way, you are violating her personal choice) with the misconception that somehow, you can do the work for your client.
  • Constantly discounting – you buy into the client’s money stories and somehow feel responsible that your fee will turn into the cause of her distress so you discount to make yourself feel better. (By the way, you have no rights to decided for the other person what she can or cannot afford… it’s her priority and her decision to make.)
  • Giving away services for free – this is martyr mentality and can turn into victimhood that kicks you off the driver’s seat altogether.

We all know that just reading about “charging more” doesn’t get you very far. It’s one thing to learn about “how to charge more” but it’s another thing to actually DO IT.

What’s in the way? If we know the “how” intellectually, why do we still fall into the codependency trap?

Poor Boundary and Disempowered Voice Rooted In Fears

Simply put, if we don’t get good at saying “no”, we are going to take on everything others lay upon us. We hold ourselves back from speaking up because we are afraid of:

  • Rejection or disapproval
  • Losing love or not being liked
  • Being judged, criticized or exposing our vulnerability
  • Being worthless if we don’t constantly “prove” or validate our value
  • Ending up with nothing – money, relationships, respect etc.

Understanding why you are afraid of speaking up can help you cultivate the awareness to break the pattern.

Our Nurturing Nature

As women, we are genetically programmed to be nurturing. There is nothing wrong with that, and I don’t believe we have to “suit up” and “act like men” to succeed in business. However, this nurturing instinct may drag us into codependent relationships if we are not mindful about our boundaries.

Of course codependent relationships can take other forms outside of money, but I am going to use financial codependency in this exercise because frankly, numbers don’t lie. You can also equate time with money, especially when it comes to your business and your relationships with your clients.

Answer these questions to help you acknowledge and embrace your nurturing nature, without compromising your boundaries:

  • If giving money were not an option for you, what other ways could you help the people who are important to you?
  • What are 3 relationships that (often) require your financial support and what would these relationships look like if you were not involved financially? (Watch out for your fears and the assumptions you make.)
  • What would your life be like in 3 years, 5, years and 10 years if the support you provided others was not financial?

Let’s hear from you. What changes are you going to make to be more “irresponsible” in your business? Tell us in the comments below!

Ling Wong

Business Artist at Business Soulwork
Ling is an Intuitive Brainiac. Through her unique blend of Business + Marketing coaching with a Mindset + Psychic Twist, she helps the highly creative, intuitive, multi-talented and multi-passionate maverick solo-entrepreneurs distill ALL their big ideas into ONE cohesive Message, nail the WORDS that sell and design a Plan to cut the busywork and do what matters, through her intuitive yet rigorous iterative process born out of her Harvard Design School training and 10 years of experience in the online marketing industry.

Find Ling and grab her free, How to Find YOUR Winning Formula” Training Series, here.



1 Comment

  1. Megan Barnes

    Ling, I love your straight-shooting, no BS approach. I definitely tend to “manage” the crises that I imagine or perceive to exist in the lives of others, but I usually contextualize it as a backlash of empathy, rather than calling it out for the codependency that it is. Thank you for reminding me that my tendency to manage others’ crises is based not in empathy, but in fear, and that when I start over-delivering and under-charging I’m taking on what isn’t mine to bear.


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