Respecting my Limits as an Autistic Business Owner
Sometimes I’m tempted to add another exciting thing to my life.
My favorite marketer on the internet, Kelly Diels, is offering a 4 month social media program that starts next month.
Could I use more assistance with social media? Absolutely.
Will this be a quality program that would teach me the skills to market my practice? Absolutely.
Should I sign up for this program? Absolutely not.
As an autistic business owner, I have to know my limits: financial, mental, and time.
I am currently in Kelly Diel’s Feminist Copywriting Course, which is a monthly investment of $300. Could I swing an additional $300 a month for her new program? Yes, but I cannot make decisions based on what “I can swing.” I maintain a monthly budget where I allocate my funds and build up savings for specific tasks. I have maxed out my marketing budget and I need to respect the limits I set for myself.
This is further reinforced by the fact that this program does not align with my other limits.
Mental energy limits are a lived reality for my autistic brain. I only have so many hours in the day where my mind is creatively alive, ready to write, think, brainstorm, and all of the good stuff.
I am currently maxed out on projects that absorb my mental energy. There is no extra space for me to take on another mental project. I know this about myself. Before I knew I am autistic, I fell into harmful neurotypical norms and would “push myself” or tell myself I’d never grow if I didn’t “challenge myself.” I now know I grow far more when I give myself more space.
Which leads to my third limit for myself: time. A neurotypical person would look at my schedule and think, “My God Jackie, you could certainly fit this in.”
However, I know that my energetic stamina is not the same as others. By early evening, my brain needs rest and separation from all incoming information (people and programs alike).
So I look realistically at my day. My mornings are for my creative work, my afternoons are for seeing clients, and my evenings are for rest. I use the weekends to provide me with further mental rest, by not having anything I’m required to do. My brain needs breaks like this, where nothing is expected of it.
Before, I used to shame myself into being more productive. That level of productivity sucked the joy out of life and resulted in poor products. I’m not falling into that trap again.
Furthermore, I have some upcoming events that I know I will need preparation and recovery periods. I’ll be traveling internationally, speaking at conferences, and visiting family. While this is exciting, I know my mind will go into overdrive when preparing. Furthermore, I know I will be exhausted when I return home. I used to try and “figure out” what I could do to prevent this. I now accept that it is an expected part of my life and plan accordingly. I will need more time for rest and less items on my plate before and after.
I’m incredibly grateful I run my own business that I can tailor to my autistic needs. But that also means attending to those needs by honoring my limits.
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