I was at the gym recently and one of my friends turned to me and said, "Carrie, I need you to write about change." She was finding that she was no longer satisfied with the decisions she felt she was being forced to make out of habit and to meet of other people's expectations. It got me thinking about business.

The reason I started my business is likely very similar to why you started yours... to create a life that suited my needs.

My personal needs were that I wanted freedom and flexibility. I wanted to be home to raise my children. I wanted to have a greater impact on the people I was working with. What it came down to was that I wanted to do things my way and stop answering to other people.

I've been in business since early 2003 and things have changed a lot since then, but the one thing that hasn't is that I still want to do it my way and not feel beholden to other people.

What's interesting, though, is that when I started my business I actually created something I have to answer to. My clients rightfully have expectations of me. My family has expectations of me, especially since I structured my business around them. Colleagues and friends have expectations of me.

Wherever I look there seems to be someone who has an expectation of me, an interest in what I'm doing and often an opinion about what I'm supposed to do or how I'm supposed to do it.

Over the years both my business and I have grown. I am not the same person who started my business. Things that were important to me then are no longer important to me. And things that I didn't even realize before are now vital to me.

In order for me to continue to grow I will need to make decisions that are going to make some people very happy and disappoint others.

How do you walk the fine line between creating the life and business you want and keeping everyone else happy? This might not be a nice thing to say but, is it even up to you to make sure you keep everyone else happy and comfortable?

It's a tough question to ask because most of us want to make other people happy, it's certainly easier in some ways but not in all.

Sometimes when we bow to other people's demands we can find ourselves sacrificing the one thing that we can't live without... ourselves.

Here's how this can show up in your business.

You might be expected to work with a client that you are equipped to help, but in reality isn't an ideal client for you. You might be expected to go to an event that all the right people are at, but conflicts with something you have on your personal calendar. A colleague asks you to co-create a program with them. It's something you used to do and they are relying on you for your expertise. You know you could do it, but you're just not interested in anymore.

So where's the balance? When do you do what other people want simply because you can? And when do you create, and then honor, your own boundaries? When do you say, "NO, what I'm doing or thinking is important to me. I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings, or doesn't meet your plans or expectations of me, but I'm doing it because it's important to me."?

The boundaries you need to create are what I call your Value Boundaries. They are different for everyone and sometimes may even differ based on the people that you are interacting with. You might choose to do something for a client that you wouldn't do for a friend or visa versa.

Here are a few questions that you can use to help guide you in identifying your Value Boundaries.

1. What is most important to me? What are my expectations of myself? 2. What benefit would I get by doing what others expect or ask me to do? 3. What negative impact would come out of doing what others expect me to do or ask me to do? How would this go against what's most important to me or what would it prevent me from doing? 4. What would happen if I decide not to do what others expect of me or are asking me to do? And is anyone really being hurt by that impact or am I more concerned about someone's feelings or trying to avoid a difficult conversation? 5. What could I do if I don't do what others expect me to do or are asking me to do?

After you make your decision you need to honor it. If you've decided to go ahead and do what is being asked of you then do it with a smile on your face.

If you choose to go against what's being asked of you, honor that decision too. It might mean that you have to have a difficult conversation. What's interesting about those difficult conversations is the thought of them is usually worse than the reality and as soon as they are over, the relief begins.

When you only answer to yourself, and stand up for what you believe in, you will be a happier person and have a more successful business.

This is a difficult topic because it's controlled by both your heart and your brain. What are some of your Value Boundaries? How have you stood by them?

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Greene is a speaker, author and business coach. She is a business strategist who helps entrepreneurs get clear on what they want and create simple and straight-forward plans to get there. She is the author of "Chaos to Cash: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Eliminating Chaos, Overwhelm and Procrastination So You Can Create Ultimate Profit!" Free resources at http://carriegreenecoaching.com/