The Sacred NO – Why, Where, and How I Set Boundaries in my Business

Sarah Petruno

About 8 months ago, I stopped answering my own emails.

I stopped regularly checking or checking at all social media messages and requests, filtered, or unfiltered.

I made the choice for my health, my sanity, and my family to start saying no.

I’d co-created the pattern of saying YES too often in my life, at the detriment to myself. I said YES to others in an attempt to help, heal, and please, often with no benefit, compensation, or return for myself.

Yep, I was doing exactly what I advise against – offering my time, value, and insight for no energetic exchange. Often without even receiving a thank you.

At the time I closed the door to digital-all-the-time access to Sarah, I was receiving anywhere from 10-30 emails, requests, or messages a day.

Answering those messages took me 2 to 4 hours every single day. 7 days a week.

On lighter weeks, it was a PART TIME JOB. On heavier weeks, the number of hours I worked while in college to support myself.

If you’re counting, I was spending roughly 15-30 hours per week helping, assisting, and giving answers to those who asked for MORE from me.

Clarification on something I’d written or said on a blog post or video. Personal guidance on a topic I’d previously provided a whole host of resources to somewhere. Just one small question for themselves or a friend’s neighbor. Multiplied by tens of these per day.

The emails, questions, and messages I spent the longest amount of the time on almost always got no reply. Not even a thank you.

And a segment of those messages were/are from people berating, belittling, and scolding me.

For being a woman, for charging money at all, for being an idiot, for being young . . . for being me.

Yes, a small portion of those emails were from paying customers and clients with purchase based questions and issues. But those were in the minority.

Business owners, I know you feel me.

I was being asked in more ways than one to give MORE of myself, above and beyond what I was already giving.

And I was running out of time to do it.

After answering messages, I was cutting deeply into my family time, personal time, and the time that I actually did need to serve my paying clients in sessions, to create free blog posts and videos, and to create any of the number of paid products that support my family. (Thank you!!)

Yes, this little blog and corner of the internet supports my family.

Like it or not, it’s how we eat, clothe ourselves, and maintain stable housing.

I was getting seriously stressed physically, emotionally, and mentally as I began to take on more and more of the weight HELPING everyone and SAVING everyone.

It began to show in my physical health. I suffered from sepsis and life-threatening blood clot. Repeated bouts of mastitis. Two episodes of gallbladder disease, liver stress, and jaundice. (Stories for another blog)

And our family was also homeless for a time.

It became clear that I had to start saying no in my life.

I had to stop trying to do it all. To answer it all. To be available to everyone all the time.

This is what is known as the Sacred NO.

Saying no for your own health, safety, and wellbeing. Knowing when enough is enough and when you have to close the door to you. When you have to stop taking it in, lest you go crazy, get sick, have a mental breakdown, or all of the above.

It’s not because you dislike anyone. Or you want to stop serving, stop helping, or stop being compassionate.

It’s because you are making the decision that first and foremost, your health is the most important.

That YOUR comfort matters, that YOUR stress level needs to stay low, and that you must tend to YOUR own needs in order to serve those who you do serve, well and from a place of non-burnout.

Otherwise, you risk your life.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Healers, intuitives, mediums, and HELPERS of all kinds are known to become sick, ill, overburdened and overstressed because they continue to say yes.

To continue to help, after the point of overextension.

If this is you, it’s time to break out your Sacred NO.

For me, I started where I saw the biggest leak of my energy.

The biggest source of time that I was spending giving, giving, and giving some more.

For most intuitive business owners, this place will be the same.

Emails and social media messages, both to your professional and personal pages.

Even if you’re just starting out, it won’t take much time for long lost friends and family to start messaging you for “one quick question” for themselves or their friend’s cousin.

And then strangers will. And then insults will arrive. And then one quick question will turn into emails that are 5 pages long that take you 30 minutes to read and even more to reply.

This is where I set my boundary.

I hired someone to answer my business emails and I rarely, if ever, check my social media messages. And only those, I do out of compulsion. I’ve been completely locked out of my emails, or I’m sure I’d still check those too!

The desire to help and give is strong, folks.

It’s not easy to say no. Especially if your life is devoted to helping, giving, and being of service.

But, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There’s so much less pressure and so much less stress, and so many fewer knives to the heart when I don’t have to be the recipient of those nasty messages.

I have much more time to create, receive inspiration, and do what I’m here to do. Be a full-time shaman and teacher, rather than full-time email and message answerer.

It’s not that I don’t want to help, the problem is that I DO want to help, beyond my physical capacity to do so.

You’ll hear other intuitives say it’s a safety issue.

It is, in more ways than one. Threats do come in. And I can say that I’ve pushed myself to life-threatening illness more than one time.

It’s why I had to cut myself off and set the boundary.

I had to start saying no, for me.

If you own an intuitive business, I urge you to start implementing the Sacred NO into your life in areas where you are giving more, and more, and more of yourself to the point of burnout. Examine it and close the door.  I support you 100%.

And if you’re a reader, watcher, follower, or in some way connect with me, thank you for continuing to respect this boundary and understanding why. 



P.S. It took me some time to build up to hiring someone. If you’re just starting out – consider exchanging with a family member, loved one, or friend, or even someone who needs a little extra cash that you could spare with your next session. It’s more than worth it, I promise.

P.P.S. If you do need to connect with me, I am first and foremost most active in the facebook group for my subscription program, The Shaman Life. I also occasionally open healing and reading sessions where I can be of 100%, undivided service. To stay aware of when those become available, hop on my newsletter.

LAST UPDATED: July 30, 2016