Do you ever experience this gut-wrenching feeling? You are about to fall, fall really deep; and you are totally powerless to prevent it. You’re hanging on a rope with only one thread holding you that is about to break and throw you down into that deep crevice …. you are hanging on for dear life, desperately trying to pull yourself up to reach safety.

This is how I felt then. I had let a client go; a client who had become a friend. I never imagined we’d not be working together. Yet, the time came  ….. and I had no idea of the impact this would have on me, on my emotional state.

I had not only lost a client, a woman I cared for deeply, then and now; I lost a friend. I felt raw! My heart ached, I felt like I was going through a divorce – and it was all my own doing! I was grieving, and I was hanging on the emotional thread that was about to break.

It takes time to move from pain to acceptance and I am not out of the pain. Yet, it has shifted, has become dulled. One of the many learnings from this is that I have realized that I really need to honor the boundaries I set for myself and my business when I started SMART Virtual Assistance. It is so easy to step over when one looks at everything as more important than oneself!

I have asked myself “how would I do it,  next time? Or would I?” Am I willing to throw my heart into the equation and risk having the pain again, the grief? Right now, I don’t know. What I do know is that I love my clients and cannot see myself NOT being authentic and true to my values. My relationships, in business, in my personal life, are to me as necessary as drinking water. They build upon trust and openness, and on compassion. I am learning to love myself and to own whatever I do, mistakes and all. My motto has always been “Everything has a positive side;” and there is a positive side here also. I am grateful for the time she and I spent together, the growth we both experienced in our businesses during our time; and of the gift of partnership, of giving and receiving support, of compassion and empathy; and the teachings that I received, freely; all of these I will always treasure.

There is still a little bit of sadness inside of me. Having this experience makes me wonder how others deal with relationships that start client-based, then move on to include friendship. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you get yourself out of the emotional hole; or, where do you draw the line? How close is too close for you? I’d love to hear your view and advice.