Episode #53: Boundaries & Vulnerability on Social Media

In today’s episode, we’re talking about boundaries and vulnerability on social media. We’ll finish up with a weekly actionable tip!

Cassy Joy: If you find yourself feeling exhausted, overrun, as if your work is not respected or valued when it comes, especially in this social media world, it’s very, very possible that these are symptoms of lack of boundaries.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re talking about boundaries and vulnerability on social media.


  1. What’s on my plate [1:04]
  2. Shop Talk: Boundaries and vulnerability on social media [22:54]
  3. What to share, what not to share [29:26]
  4. Talking about your boundaries [35:37]
  5. Boundaries on social media moving forward [48:40]
  6. Tip of The Week: [1:03:56]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:04]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, I can see that you are in the new office space. You’re in the closet that you talked about being in. That sounds a little off subject. But a future recording closet. Will this be tricked out for recording, or will have a little corner with some padding?

Cassy Joy: It will have a little corner {laughs} with some padding.

Diane Sanfilippo: I like it.

Cassy Joy: It is. I just jumped from one closet to the next, didn’t I? {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} One with sweaters and things, and this one with just some boxes. Maybe some books back there, don’t know.

Cassy Joy: Yep. Some props hanging out around me. I still have my iPhone headphones draped artfully around my face for the best audio.

Diane Sanfilippo: Sounds great.

Cassy Joy: We’ll have the full setup soon. It’s good to be here. And let’s see, what else is going on? Well, {laughs} I haven’t told you this. I was lying in bed; I think it was Sunday night. Nursing this sweet little baby, just in blissful la-la land. Because it was just a good day. It was a good weekend, a good day. Work was good. Office was moving along. And then I thought; no-no. It’s like this; something’s wrong. I’m missing something right now. And then I remembered; oh yeah. I have to turn in my book. Book number three. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} This all seems a little, dare I say, easy?

Cassy Joy: {laughing} I’m missing; I feel like there’s a ball I’m juggling that’s, not dropped, but floating in midair above my head and it needs to fall. So, anyway. We got together with the book team. It’s just been such a unique process writing a book and working to deliver it. Working with so many different parties. In the past, it was just me. I wrote it. I did my own initial editing. I also took all the photos and all of that stuff. And by me I mean on book two it was myself and my team. Specifically Amber who helped a lot.

But on this book, we’ve brought in so many other experts. A different photographer, an additional editor. But because of COVID, initially it’s thrown everything off. So it’s been a very unique circumstance. But we decided to move forward with the deadline, which is September. Which feels like tomorrow. Because we’re talking; let’s see, its’ early August right now. It’s three weeks away.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s basically tomorrow.

Cassy Joy: It’s three weeks away. Basically, tomorrow it’s due. So, I’m back to the sweaty armpits {laughs} work again. Which is good. It keeps me on my toes.

Diane Sanfilippo: It wouldn’t get done otherwise.

Cassy Joy: It wouldn’t. It really wouldn’t. And it’s good. I actually enjoy taking a bite out of a really big project like that. It’s just good to feel we’re utilizing all of our abilities right now. So it’s like, all hands are on deck working right now.

I’m in here recording with you, while Amber, Brandy, and Lauren are each working on a different facet for the book right now, touching something different. It just makes my little Enneagram 3 maximizer heart so happy. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} I love it.

Cassy Joy: So we’ve got that. And then on the topic of Driven; you and I started this podcast. And we celebrated a year!

Diane Sanfilippo: A year, wohoo!

Cassy Joy: Wohoo! Happy birthday!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, happy birthday, happy anniversary. Go us!

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: We made it through one baby so far. I know there will be more, on your side. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Yep. God willing, yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’ll make it.

Cassy Joy: We will. It was a good year. We did it. But yeah. So you and I started this podcast because we can’t help but talk shop. We started our businesses for more specific focuses; nutrition and food and things like that. But eventually you just become passionate about business. And on that note; I got my hair cut and colored yesterday for the first time in over a year. And the stylist who was cutting my hair, she’s in her early 20s. And you just can tell she has this essence that she is; and she was telling me that she wants to own her own salon one day. So we spent the next three hours.

Diane Sanfilippo: Of course.

Cassy Joy: Me just picking her brain about her business plan.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: Not like a business plan capital letters.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve done this with so many…

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Nail techs. And yes.

Cassy Joy: Yes, I was like; tell me your vision. What are you thinking? And I just; I mean, it does not matter the industry.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re the same person in that way.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. It was such a treat for me to be able to talk about it. And it also reminded me; because she has; I see a little of myself in her. That entrepreneurial quality. She’s meant and made to be an owner. It’s obvious. It’s not an option for her. It was inevitable that I would build my own business, is how it feels. Right? Inevitable that it was going to happen. And it brought up; we talked about this, I think, on a prior episode. But about the importance of auditing yourself. Because I think owning your own business looks nice, and it looks fun, and it looks convenient, and it maybe even looks more lucrative. But at the end of the day, you have to enjoy the struggle and not see it as a struggle to really do it.

Diane Sanfilippo: That is such an excellent point.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Are you the owner? Or are you; I think Gary V calls it a number one or a number two. I don’t want to disqualify or discredit the people who are not chosen to be owners, because they’re just as powerful professionals. It’s just different. And it’s like; in talking with her, I realized so distinctly that she’s meant to be an owner. Anyway, it was just a real treat. It was a neat conversation to have.

The last update I have is, it’s Fed and Fit, we made a business pledge, as a company, on all of the things that I want to do differently and lead Fed and Fit to be an anti-racist organization. And most of it so far has been a lot of learning and unlearning, right? Really just seeing the organization for what it is. My behaviors as a leader for what they are. Us a team, how we’ve behaved and operated, who we’re speaking to. It’s really been a major information collecting phase.

And a part of that; I didn’t think I would get here this soon to really incorporate this. It was a part of my pledge that I would audit and reorganize our hiring practices in an effort to continue to be an antiracist organization. And we actually have a couple of spots that we’re going to start looking for. So it bubbles that to the top of the priority list; the to-do list. We were really focused on content and we are making sure that we’re speaking to a more inclusive audience in a sustainable, integrated way. Not just, we’re just going to make changes right away, and have that not be sustainable. I wanted to make sure all of our work was sustainable, and hiring being one of it. So I have a lot of homework to do.

All this to say; now I have a big list of homework to do to figure out how do I pursue hiring? And I have an idea, and I have a rough template. But it’s going to be the go slow to go fast model, again. But how do we write these applications, the job descriptions. How do I carefully write them? How do I make sure they’re getting out in a much wider audience that I have typically in the past? Because in the past I’ve shared it to my own audience. Right? I’ve just shared it to Fed and Fit readers. And who are Fed and Fit readers? A bunch of people, a lot of them mostly like me. And that’s not with the intention of diversity and inclusion.

So it’s going to be an interesting process. And I’m really freaking excited about it. Because I just know, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be a way for us to really continue to put our money where my mouth is, so to speak. To walk the talk that we’ve said. That’s a really exciting opportunity. I don’t know; it’s just a way to be a part of, in action, a part of this very, very important movement. So I’m excited about it.

The two positions that we’re going to start describing, writing out carefully and intentionally, and then putting out there; one is for a social media intern, so much more entry level. Which we’re looking for a local person for this; we’re in San Antonio. And then the other position is going to be for a food photographer. Because I am le’bottleneck in that department. {laughs} And the team is, they could move much faster. And there are much better photographers out there than me. I’ve just been controlling this little facet myself.

Diane Sanfilippo: I hear you. I’m totally with you on the hiring. Because we are actually back to hiring a video editor. We had someone for a short time, it was just not the right fit ultimately. Which is a bummer. I was really excited about it; but you know. Such is life. Same thing; we have pretty consistently in the past put out the call for applicants to our audience. And one time I did look to hire someone from just kind of a temp; I don’t know it was a website. Like Odesk or something like that, and that actually didn’t go very well. We had someone and that didn’t really seem to be a fit.

So, I, in the past, have; I don’t remember ever seeing a very diverse applicant pool come in. And it was this different mindset of; well, of course we treat people fairly who are applying based on skill and talent and what’s in their resume and what they submit as a sample and all of that. But it’s the applicant pool. It’s, who do we tell this job exists? And I think that’s something that, until the last several months, that light bulb did not turn on. And we’ve talked about it, too. About where we’ll be posting these openings and all of that. Just really interesting.

You know what just occurred to me; I was thinking about that. In the past, there may have been a leaning; so let’s just say we were to say; applications due by this date. In the past there may have been a leaning to prioritize or favor early applicants. But I think it’s really important to; if we set a date, allow that full amount of time. because you don’t know the situation of why someone may or may not be able to apply day one. I think that’s a privilege to be able to drop what you’re doing and apply day 1.

Cassy Joy: I hear that.

Diane Sanfilippo: That lightbulb just went on for me, too. And I don’t think we ever would have excluded anyone. And we always have; we want to see everyone who wants to apply. But of course, sometimes you need to set a date and be like; ok, now we’re going to review these. Maybe you do or you don’t find someone in that time. But that was an interesting eye-opening element for me.

So on the heels of that, I know we were talking about food photography. Same over here. I’m the bottleneck when it comes to that. And I’m definitely nowhere near the most talented. And for the most part, honestly, I don’t even put the 100% effort in unless it’s for a book. Even for a blog photo, I just don’t have it in my heart to care as much. {laughs} It’s just; it’s sad but true. So we did finally; I mean, hire. But we don’t have it as a full-time thing. oh my gosh; I’m sorry. My brain this morning. On a retainer.

So every month, a consistent amount of work, and for us that’s really helpful for me, specifically. Because I know myself and my team; specifically Niki on my team, we’ll be able to talk about what are we sending in to have photos done for. Whether it’s a reshoot on the blog, whether it’s a new recipe, etc. So that will help us be more prepared ahead of time. And I’ve talked about this to you; if I had a whole bunch of fulltime people, I don’t think I would be the best boss. I actually think I work really well when I have a limited amount of time in which to make my demands as a boss, where then I have to be obligated to telling you up front; this is what I want and need, and be really clear about what that is and send it ahead of time. And have the deadlines and all of that. I really struggle with setting deadlines and expectations when I have more of somebody’s time. It’s almost like I treat it like it’s my time too, and I’m just not that regimented with my own time. But that’s not helpful for team members. So.

All that to say, really excited about that. We’ll be able to loop in some recipes and then some things for the Balanced Bites spices/shop website, so that we’ll have new product photography. A recipe with photos of the spices. Things like that. So I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish, having someone who is regularly taking care of that for us. So that’s exciting.

Talking about product photography that I shot with my iPhone this morning; we finally have sort of a phase 3 of these refill bags for Balanced Bites spices that will start to roll out over the next six months or so. We had to do this whole refill bag project in phases, which is really frustrating. You know. We just want to say; this is what we want it to be; can we do that tomorrow. Unfortunately, we had some inventory already on our hands, then we didn’t have the bags available that I wanted and now we can get the bags that I want. It was a lot of communication back and forth with my copacker to try and get them to understand what I was really looking for in this more biodegradable, ecofriendly type of bag.

So, we went from these little bags that people would have to buy two of them in a bundle. It’s still there. It’s a little confusing, but it is what it is. It works. To then another bag that is still plastic, but one bag instead of two. And now we’ve moved to the final phase for just one of the blends so far, but it’s a metalized bag. So it’s kind of like a chip bag. And it’s a little bit thicker. A little bit more like a coffee bag.

Cassy Joy: Ok.

Diane Sanfilippo: But it’s a little pouch. It does not have a reseal, so you just tear it open and dump it in. And that’s it. And it’s just a white label. It’s not intended to be cute. It’s really intended to just kind of be that backstock; you open it up and dump it in. We’re not going to be reposting pictures of that on the gram. So if you’re getting the refill packs, it’s to be used as a refill. It’s not that cute. But that’s really the intention. But it’s a one for one. So it’s not a big bag. Because I don’t want you to open a big bag, and then it’s losing freshness as you don’t, you know, if you don’t use it quickly enough.

So, all of that. I had done some research on chip bags, because I had this moment. I was like; why does nobody complain about all the packaging that we use for potato chips, or tortilla chips. Right? Some of them are plastic. But the bags that are metal; those are actually made of all-natural materials. Metal is a natural material, versus plastic, which is synthetic.

So, if it is a metalized bag, no it’s not going to be put in your compost. Which I know most people in the country don’t have compost. Remember, I live in San Francisco. And even people who might be drunk at a party are like; where’s the compost? It’s a thing. Where’s the recycling, where’s the compost. I know this doesn’t go in the trash.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m serious.

Cassy Joy: The party analogy!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s just like; that’s how serious people in San Francisco are about it. Where, you don’t forget when you’re drunk. I mean, it’s been a long time since I’ve hosted one of those parties. But when I did, I remember my 33rd birthday, I think. People were like; where’s the recycling?

Cassy Joy: {laughing} That’s incredible.

Diane Sanfilippo: But, anyway. It will break down much faster than something like plastic. So, you know. I also want people to know that as a small business, it’s actually a lot harder to access the more ecofriendly packaging; A – because of minimums. And B – because I can’t move the market. A company like Kraft can move the market by saying; we’re going to sell ketchup in corn plastic instead of regular plastic. They can move the market by how much they demand from the companies who are producing the packaging materials. I can’t do that, as a small producer. So I can just look for these slightly better options, over and over again.

So, anyway, just really excited about that. And on the heels of that, as well, for me that’s a bit of an infrastructure thing, where I want to make sure that the packaging we have is right sooner than later and just get that down. Ok, great. Next. And then this way things are in place and I’m laying the groundwork.

We were talking before we hit record how when it came to blogging over the last 10 years, I’m not a blogger. And I’ve never been able to consistently be someone who sits down to write articles. So that’s why I say; I’m not a blogger, haven’t consistently put out recipes on a blog. I also have never looked at a website; my website, at www.balancedbites.com and said; how do I create the right infrastructure?

We talked about SEO on past episodes. We haven’t talked about a lot of the other types of apps and plugins and things like that. But, all of that going into building a website and a blog is so critical to the growth. You cannot be in the same type of; it’s almost like being in an infant onesie and expect to keep growing. The body is going to grow and the outfit is not going to fit, and that’s just what’s going to happen. I mean, what a terrible analogy.

Cassy Joy: I like it!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} You like it?

Cassy Joy: I do.

Diane Sanfilippo: The reality is, it’s the same shape, it’s just not the right size.

Cassy Joy: Can I say; it’s a fitting analogy. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} I’m so punny.

Cassy Joy: You are.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, now with Balanced Bites, we have a website/blog, but we also have two shops. Both of which are on Shopify. I’ve talked about Shopify before. I think it’s the gold standard; much like how WordPress is the gold standard for a blog. I like Shopify so much that I bought stock in the company, because I was like; I’m going to talk about it. I love it. I use it. I think it’s extremely powerful. I don’t know where it’s headed, but I think it’s fantastic. I see a lot of shops on it. As a consumer, I notice, and I’m moving through a lot of websites that are on Shopify.

So, what we’re doing right now, even though we are trying to come out with newness. Because I see that my customers love; we introduce those super blends. I know you love them too. We have some newness coming, but priority over even the newness for me is infrastructure. I need my website to be working as smoothly as possible. I need all of the transactional emails to be right. To be neatly buttoned up. To be cross-communicating, cross-marketing. Everything really needs to be in place. because if I don’t get this whole house, this whole infrastructure in order, I’m not building a business that will scale when I do start to explode and I start to create new products and have new things that are available.

So that’s been a really big focus for me; looking at this in a totally different way than I did in the past with a blog. Because I just didn’t have my heart in content creation the way I do now in product. In creating these products. And I have more things on the horizon. But I just really want to make sure.

So I know a lot of it is behind the scenes and not visible. But over time, to people who are detail oriented and notice little things, you might start to notice those little things. Even something as small to some folks as creating our email campaigns to be a lot more consistent across the board. So, I was talking maybe last week about the Balanced Bites emails. We’ve now transitioned the 21-Day Sugar Detox emails to have a really similar format. And then also my Diane Sanfilippo, Diane direct email list have a really similar format.

So it’s like; those little things, just constantly brick by brick, getting them to feel; ok. That’s what I need it to be. That’s what I want it to be. You know that feeling. It’s this constant reel of anxiety of things on a checklist that are not on the to-do list, always. But it’s like; I know this needs to be done. We need to fix this, and update this. So just getting all of those things; all the little ducks in a row. But it’s feeling really good. And it feels like I’m a real business or something. {laughs}

Because, you know, we have a developer that’s working on a retainer every month. It will be a food photographer. There’s just so much that’s happening. And you know; I’m not doing all of that work. But I’m just kind of; what’s the word?

Cassy Joy: Conductor.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I’m miming it.

Cassy Joy: I was going to say maestro.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’m just, you know. Directing everything and making sure everything is moving right along. So yeah, it’s pretty exciting. I’m just trying to position us to be able to grow even more in 2021. Because this has definitely been another good growth year for us. But I’m looking forward for what’s to come.

2.  Shop Talk: [22:54]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we discuss topics that are related to business and entrepreneurship that are on both our minds and yours. This week, we’re talking about boundaries and vulnerability on social media. Diane, do you want to… {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Take it away? It’s so funny. I feel like this is one of those topics, Diane, that you and I high-five over. But we haven’t debated on. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Hmm. Will we?

Cassy Joy: Maybe? I don’t think so. Because I feel like this is something that’s very intuitive; has, at least, been intuitive to me. But it’s not something that; you coach on it. Which I admire and love, in a public forum. It’s not something I’ve ever coached on.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mmm.

Cassy Joy: I don’t know if I’m making any sense. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see where the conversation goes. I posted recently on social media. I said; remember back when I started talking about boundaries on social media and people thought I was being harsh. It now appears I was simply early. Because the last two years, people are finally talking more about this. I do think, again, it becomes a collective awakening. And I think this is about; just to give some context and lay the foundation here. I think there are two things at play; one is people offline, in general. I think that our generation; I think millennials, elder millennials, and I’m like; I don’t know. I’m like the Gen Y or something? I don’t know. I’m a slightly different generation. I’m 42.

So, I think that there is an amount of self-awareness and personal development that our generations are doing that our parents maybe dabbled in a bit and maybe yours are a little more evolved than mine. Because your parents are quite a bit younger than mine. But I think that if we look at some of the older generations; yes. They’re obviously people who know themselves well. Have done personal development, all of that stuff. But I think it’s a generational thing, as well.

I mean, it’s very obviously that way. I think it was very fringe, like when my great-grandmother was reading Norman Vincent Peale, or something like that. Power of Positive Thinking. Super fringe. And now it’s a different conversation.

So this being one side, where people are becoming more self aware but there are plenty of people who are not. And the conversation there is important, because I think that boundaries are not generally very present in many people’s lives, and largely our audiences are women. I think this is why the work of someone like Glennon Doyle is so powerful, because this is what she talks about. Obviously, this is what Brene Brown talks about a lot, as well. Vulnerability as well as boundaries. And so their work has become of the moment, because we have awakened to the necessity for this instead of just being the givers, and the doers, and the Ok, and I put myself second. We’re realizing that that actually doesn’t serve anyone, when we don’t take care of ourselves.

So boundaries in our everyday lives are extremely important. Ok, putting that aside. And people are finally realizing it, coming to the collective awakening.

Now, in parallel, we have social media that has developed in the last 10 years. And people on social media have realized that they’re becoming angry, resentful, bitter, disillusioned with the way interactions happen on social media. And it’s a new way of interacting; especially lately. Especially in the last several months. People are more and more on it, because we’re not interacting in real life. So it’s just become super heightened, where people find this combination of folks without boundaries trying to interact with people who are realizing that they need boundaries, or have tried to set them and they’re not being respected, etc., etc.

So it’s this collision of these two things at the same time. And I don’t think; I don’t blame the humans for the fact that we have this new construct of social media that we’re all trying to figure out how to be on it. And the average person; like my mom, doesn’t understand what it’s like to be on our side, where it’s 100s of people, essentially, text messaging you all day.

So I don’t expect people to understand that. But I do expect that when I set a boundary, or I do communicate something clearly, that they listen and respect that and treat me as a person within that. So, the conversation I want to have today is around a couple of things involving both vulnerability and boundaries. And part of that will have to do with what do we choose to share. How deep or how broad do we go with the types of things that we share. And then how much we share about them. And then from there, how do we make sure that we are both creating, setting, maintaining healthy boundaries? Whether that’s before we even make the post or once the post exists. Or the share, whatever you want to call it.

And then, in a very small way, we don’t need to talk about this for long. But how do we make sure that we’re respecting people’s boundaries on social media. There are a few ways to kind of read the owner’s manual so to speak before you just dive in and act like somebody owes you anything just because they post on social media. Right?

So let’s talk about it. Let’s talk; I think it would be really interesting to talk about choosing what to share versus what not to share. And how broadly as well as how deep to go on that. I think you as both a business owner and a mom, I think that’s even more relevant in your life than it is in mine. There are a few topics that I really just don’t get into on social media. But, I think there’s kind of a broader base of things that you might talk about that can become controversial, etc., just because of how people are. So why don’t you talk about, how do you decide what to share and what not to share as it relates to both vulnerability and boundaries?

3. What to share, what not to share [29:26]

Cassy Joy: So, I love this conversation. Because it’s something that I run up against a lot in my business. I think; maybe it feels a little bit like a luxury to have entered into business when Instagram was an option. Right? And social media was an option at the time that I had started my business. It actually started years later. I had a website, and that was the main medium. Then these social media platforms came up, and they were somewhat option as far as whether I created a profile. Now, if you’re starting a business, it’s essentially not an option. You need to be present on these platforms in order to reach people, largely depending on what your business is.

And because of that, I was able to really set up lanes, boundaries, early on on what I was willing and not willing to share. Because I knew that social media was going to expose so much more of my everyday life. And an intention; at first I called them intentions. In hindsight, they were really firm boundaries. I set an intention with Fed and Fit online that I was not going to share things about my family that they would not choose to be shared.

So a part of that, for example, is my marriage. I’m very open about my marriage and my relationship with my friends and my family. And it’s something that I talk about; it’s a very rich, passionate part of my life. But you don’t see me talking about those things online. I might share some fun little highlights, like my husband’s love language, for example. But I’m not going to jump into the; and it doesn’t mean that my marriage doesn’t have its own ups and downs. But you’re not going to see me walking readers through even a tempered up and down. Because I know that invites questions. And by not sharing even a little bit, that is a boundary that I’m proactively setting, because I know it’s not going to invite people to ask more questions about it.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t share about my own thoughts and my own mindset. It’s not that I’m trying to present a perfect picture. Because I feel like I do a pretty good job of being intentional about showing what real life looks like. But within the constructs of what I think is respectful to my husband and my marriage.

Another example of an intention that I set early on that has become a boundary is what I’m sharing about my kids. You know? I don’t actually share their full names. I don’t share anything that relates to their medical history. I mean, their birth weight. I shared their birth weight and the day that they were born. But it stops there, right? I don’t share about their milestones, largely. Because that’s their business. This is a personal decision I’ve made. I’m not trying to say that if you’re sharing, it’s wrong, in any stretch of the imagination. This is my; I know myself well, and this is the capacity that I feel comfortable operating in when it comes to a boundary around my family. So I’m not going to share those kinds of things.

And I also don’t share what I’m eating every single day, all day long. Because I don’t want to invite questions about what I’m eating every single day all day long. Because when I do share something about a meal or a smoothie, it inevitably opens a door. And I know that now. When I show a picture of my green smoothie, I know that y’all; y’all. As if you’re the people that are responding.

But I know that readers are going to reply and say; what flavor protein powder, what brand of protein powder, why that protein powder, why raw zucchini. Did you know that peppermint extract has an impact on breastmilk supply? And then people want to coach me on that, because I share both two things. I share that I’m breastfeeding, and I share that I’m having a green smoothie that has peppermint extract in it. So I know that whatever I share, I’m opening a door to that; it’s not a boundary that I’m setting. I’m opening this as a conversation topic. So I take a lot of responsibility in that.

I don’t know if that’s helpful, but those are some areas that I have intentionally set boundaries by what I don’t share. By what I’m not inviting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, that is helpful. A couple of notes that I kind of took on that. I think this can vary for some people. I think there are some things that; if you want to share it and have your limit of how much you’ll respond to, that’s part of it. And then also just deciding not to share it at all, or at what cadence to share it. I think that’s all really important. But the questions were kind of; will someone ask more about it. Or, I think this was a really interesting point; will someone use it as a point of comparison.

And I think you and I are really similar in that way. I think we; of course, people will compare everything no matter what. But I think we’re very deliberate about not sharing things that can be compared in a very triggering way, at least if we have any awareness that it might be triggering. Or if it’s kind of consistently triggering.

We had this conversation a long time ago about showing certain amounts of skin on social media; like abs or things like that. And look; have your abs. Do what you want to do. Share it if you want. But know that that opens up A – questions and comments, and B – a lot of comparison. And if you’re comfortable with that, you are comfortable with that. If you’re not comfortable with that, you have to know that that is a real decision to make. And that was many years ago, we had that conversation.

So I think the way that you have described it as your intention is very helpful for other people to hear as, it’s a boundary before the boundary. It’s; what do I really want to be sharing. And it’s kind of a sense of building your own little see through fence. {laughs} You know? It’s not a brick wall. But it’s there. And it might be a little bit of a movable target. Because you might share one thing one day, and then you realize; ugh, I don’t want to share that much.

4. Talking about your boundaries [35:37]

Cassy Joy: Yes. That’s such a good point. It’s your fist line of defense. But that doesn’t mean, to your point, that you can’t move it as time goes on. Like a birth of a child, for example. That’s personal medical history about a family member that I’m now sharing. And I want to share that. I want to bring people along for the ride in that regard. But, when you do that; and I’m jumping into probably the next phase of this conversation. But that’s when I have had, historically in the past, to then very actively set a boundary and have a conversation with readers around what that means.

When Gray was born, my oldest. When she was born, it was the first time this hit me square in the face. I mean, it was like a frying pan to the forehead. because I naively did not see the door I had opened of questions. And first-time parents, maybe you can relate to this. But there’s something about being a first-time parent that lots of other people want to save you from making the mistakes that they made, in whatever observation that might be. It’s almost like you’re given no credit for being an intelligent human that can navigate and make your own decisions when you’re a first-time parent. That’s what it felt like, at least.

I shared, for example; I remember vividly. I was induced with Grayson. You can read the whole birth story on www.FedandFit.com. Again, a line I moved to make that exception very intentionally. And I think I even set boundaries within that post of what I would and not accept in terms of conversation going forward.

But I remember I posted; we were having a celebratory dinner. It was Instagram stories. Celebratory dinner with my family, because tomorrow is baby’s birthday. And I almost want to cry thinking about this; so, so special. My parents opened a bottle of champagne for everybody. My dad poured me sparkling grape juice. It was just like this special sweet moment. We threw her a birthday party before she was born.

And I can’ tell you how many questions I got immediately about my induction plan from an accusatory perspective. Like, babies are born on their birthday. This is the wrong decision. Blah, blah, blah. I’m 42 weeks pregnant. I’m super hormonal. I’m not in the headspace to gracefully endure and have these conversations, and all I wanted to do was react. And it totally took me out of that precious moment, because all of a sudden I was in the throes of; oh my goodness, am I doing something wrong? And now I owe all these people answers.

So I turned off; that was when I turned off my DMs. It was that night. and going into the hospital the next day, I put up a; we’re going in. I will let you know what happens when I’m prepared to do that. And I had turned off responses to stories. I think I turned it on for friends; people who I followed to respond. But that was the first thing I did. Because I wasn’t prepared to have the conversation with them about what was and was not acceptable.

But when you share little things, it’s going to invite more conversation. And I don’t know. I don’t think I handled it perfectly, but I knew better going into the second birth of the baby. And then I had a family meeting later on, which I can share details about.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I remember we had a chat.

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Around that. I think it was around; I don’t know if it was the first time. So I think there are a couple of things here; first and foremost, I think most of the listeners we have for this show are business owners or aspiring business owners. The first thing I want to say is; if you’re hearing behaviors that you may have exhibited in the past in what Cassy is describing, I think this is a really good time to get honest and check yourself about the way that you react and respond and ask questions and dive deeper to things that people share on social media.

I think that we all have to own our behaviors and recognize what we’re doing when we dive in and ask for more. I think that is something that; that’s kind of what I was talking about where there’s this line that people aren’t realizing that they don’t have this boundary in their lives, so inherently they’re not identifying it for you, even without you saying it. That’s the thing that kind of was the reason why, years ago, I started having this conversation with people. I was like; listen, just because it’s here doesn’t mean it’s open to conversation.

And to your point, {laughs} the things that I would share that people would ask about are no where near as intimate. You know what I mean? You were trying to be sweet and include people, and that just opened up to so much negativity. And it’s like; well, here’s what’s going to happen. if this is how y’all are going to respond, then I will not be sharing this. And it’s like; a few of you ruined it for everyone else. Right?

Cassy Joy: That’s exactly it.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s kind of what happens. So I think there are few things here; one is I think you have beautifully said; we can all choose to move differently. Most of the time we have to sort of make the mistake of having sharing something that’s a little more personal than we maybe wanted to experiencing the breach of something that we would have hoped would have been an unstated boundary, but we later learned cannot be unstated. Because of the collective lack of boundaries in humans.

Like, I would never say those things to another human on social media that I don’t personally know. And barely would I say it to someone I do personally know. But I’m a very strongly boundaried person in real life. So that’s the thing that I noticed happening; the way that people project their entitlement and insecurities and lack of boundaries onto other people who they don’t even know. It’s just astounding. But they don’t know that they’re doing it.

So then, as the business owner, we do need to get really good at; one, setting the goal post back further. Tightening up the reins on what we share. And two, when we do share something and things happen and people start to take advantage of the access that they’re given so wonderfully and freely on social media, when that access is taken advantage of, then it is our responsibility to go ahead and set a boundary. I think.

Because I honestly; and this is not comfortable for everybody. And I recognize that. And I know you’ve gotten way more comfortable with it; like the first couple of conversations were like; ugh, I wish I didn’t have to do this. And I’m like; I am here for it. Because I don’t mind challenging people’s status quo. I don’t mind being a speedbump on the highway for them to interrupt their thought pattern and interrupt their behavior pattern. I actually find it alluring.

Like, I want to grab someone by the shoulders and be like; hello. Do you see what you’re doing here? I don’t think you do, and I’m going to tell you about it. And I like to do it as someone who is not their sister, their aunt, their mother. Because you can hate me, that’s ok. We’re not in each other’s lives. You can go away, storm off, and a year later come back and realize it had nothing to do with me. And that’s what happens most of the time. Somebody will realize; hey, you know, I’m sorry I said this thing. I didn’t even realize I was behaving this way.

So this is kind of two sides; we have to manage people’s behavior. But we wish we didn’t have to, because we wish that people could move through this whole world in a certain way. But the reality is, we’re all learning how to be better humans on social media, and in real life kind of at the same time. So that’s the generous side that teaching about boundaries to me is a generous thing to do. Because people don’t even realize it’s a thing. they don’t realize that just because all these other people who are willing to answer all their questions and DMs; listen, if they’re willing to do it now, give them another year. They will probably not want to do it anymore.

Some people might do it for forever, and you don’t know the breadth of their business. They might not have 6 other places they’re fielding questions. They might not have content they’re creating in a million other places. If this is what they have; if they just have Instagram, or Instagram and a blog and literally that’s it and maybe there’s not 6 other places, that person may be able to do that. So I do think that’s where we need to understand that just because we all may be on social media, we don’t all interact the same way. And that’s like expecting every single human to speak the same language and interact the same way in real life. You don’t know people’s history. You don’t know their traumas. You just don’t know any of that.

So, I think that that’s kind of where getting to know people’s boundaries when you enter their space as a follower, and learning how to set them as someone who can be followed. I think that’s also another interesting point.

We don’t have a little interstitial screen that comes up when you tap follow that’s like; do you accept these terms of interaction. {laughs} If I ruled the world. {laughing}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: The following three behaviors will not be permitted in this space. We don’t have that. And we can’t even really fully turn off direct messages. People can always kind of go around it, right? Even though we wish that they wouldn’t. When the story replies are off, that’s the hint. Don’t send me a direct message.

Cassy Joy: I know. I’ve even gotten a few messages of; “Something is wrong with your stories because I can’t reply to it.” I’m like; that is; it was intention. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Nope. That’s by design. Fully intentional. Yes. So, a couple of ways I’ve seen this, and to the conversation we were having earlier about anti-racism work, and all of that. I’ve seen this so beautifully in some of the anti-racism educators that I’ve followed now for several years. They have really firmly set boundaries, and I was like; I am here for it. Set those boundaries. My comments aren’t welcome here? Fine by me. I’m sitting here to learn. That’s ok. Being reminded consistently of what those boundaries are because there’s an influx of new people all the time. I do not feel put off by the reminder. I know it’s not for me; I know it’s for the new people. It’s all good.

But watching what happens when people flood an account to learn about antiracism, and then they quickly rush into the comments with more questions. And I’m like; how dare you? {laughs} Which, you know, that’s on a much more sensitive and personal kind of topic than a lot of the things we might talk about. Like, a smoothie. Right?

But for example, what if somebody is following someone who does talk about a sensitive topic? Maybe it’s people trying to conceive or autoimmune conditions. Something that does have a lot more sensitivity around it. I think it’s important to remember how we enter the space. But as a business owner; aside from being preventative. Which I think is great.

And to your point as well about not sharing about family, not sharing intimate things about your marriage, any of that. I’m kind of in the same place. The most I ever shared really about myself and Scott, just a few little things about love languages, like you said or Enneagram types. A couple of things about chores. Nothing very personal. Or, years ago, I think we shared about having been 34 when we met, and just kind of encouraging women in their 30s not to give up. You know, stuff like that. But really not getting into too much of it. It’s not the topic that we want to be talking about all the time. Our marriage is for us. Same with family and things like that.

But, what are your thoughts on what’s going to be moving forward in terms of the way that people will A – decide what to share in terms of how vulnerable they want to be, what kinds of problems they might be overcoming that they want to share about; or how to communicate what their individual boundaries are on social media. Because that’s what I’m seeing more and more now. I’m seeing either a highlight that’s like; if you’re new here, a highlight like rules of engagement. Different types of things. And we don’t all want to write rules. That’s not what we want to write. But what do you see for that? What can people do besides the unspoken turn off the story replies. Obviously people don’t get it.

5. Boundaries on social media moving forward [48:40]

Cassy Joy: I think that, to your point, as the generation really becomes; we as a generation. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m considering you a part of this generation. Are collectively becoming more self-aware. Where I see things going eventually, pie in the sky, is we are aware of what we invite, and also what we are bringing to the table. And I think that it’s going to be through a lot of probably painful learnings on both ends as content creators and as consumers. Learning just how to really respectfully engage with other people.

I see us eventually getting there. And I think it’s going to be through the really hard work of us making mistakes as time goes on. As consumers and as creators. I think that as creators, we will all become more adept in it just being a part of every breath. As you release content, in that same sentence, in that same breath, in that same article, you’re also communicating the boundaries around that content. Right? You can help guide the conversations on your pages by, say, hey let’s have a conversation about XYZ if you want to have a conversation about it.

I think that the days of disclaimers and rules; I think that that’s probably going to get more popular over the next couple of years. Rules of engagement, like you said, on a highlight, for example, on my Instagram page. An example of a very casual, you could say, boundary is I have PG13 on Fed and Fit now. In my profile. Because I know there are a lot; I have a large population of younger viewers; content viewers. And I want to make sure; it’s important to me that the parents and guardians of these people, a lot of them children, feel comfortable with them following the content on Fed and Fit. So it’s important that I cultivate that and I set that boundary very firmly. Comments that use profanity; even though I might use it in my own life, I’m not using it on that profile, will be deleted.

I think you will see boundaries start to blend in as people realize these are channels and we get to set the rules in those regards. So I think that we’re going to see some more proactive boundary setting in a lot of ways. Rules of engagement. I love the highlights with boundaries; I know that you have one. And I think that’s going to be really helpful to continue to model, for more people, as we do it in our own lives.

And I think that also we’re going to be more empowered and self aware in our own personal lives. As we set boundaries on social media, we’re going to be able to bring that home. Right? With our families, and with our friends. What we will discuss and what we won’t discuss. And what we’re sharing, and when we’re asking for advice and when we’re not.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s definitely going to happen, for sure, because I know it’s happened with a lot of my readers in the last several years. So a couple of things; I would hope; I mean, fingers crossed, I can pray and hope, that some of these platforms will start to notice that this is more and more necessary. To give us more privacy options. The fact that we can turn off story replies is great, but we can’t say; direct messaging is closed unless XYZ. There is some other option right now that says “Don’t allow direct messages” but it still puts them in somewhere. Like, I think it puts them in some other box.

So to me that’s not the thing yet. It needs to be unavailable for certain people, in my opinion. Because if that’s the choice the person wants to make, I don’t want to send somebody a message who doesn’t want to get a message that way. I really don’t. Especially when there are options to put an email button on our profile. And if that’s there, you know, what is available will be taken advantage of. In some way. So I would hope; I really hope that at some point, this does become something that Instagram, whatever other apps, will put in place. That messaging is off for some people.

And I will say, too, I have comments disabled unless you’re following my account. And we have this, as well, on Balanced Bites. And I’ve noticed a lot of accounts that might post slightly divisive content, or even just more famous people out there at large. If you find their post, you stumble across it, you can like it but you can’t comment unless you’re following is a pretty common thing. and I’ve done that. Because when I was getting some bullying and all kinds of weird stuff was happening, I at least then could filter out if someone would follow right away, I would check out something about their profile, if I was getting hate from certain folks about things that made no sense to me. And I could just remove them as a follower, so they couldn’t comment.

And there are some filters for certain words, so Instagram does have the ability; you block comments that use certain words, so that’s another one that’s helpful. I’m curious what you think the boundaries on posts will look like. You said something about talking about baby, or things like that, and saying; here are things that will discuss and things that I won’t. I’m wondering if this might look like, even something as basic as recipe bloggers.

Not that people all read the content of the post, because that’s another issue. But I almost like the idea of saying in the post; I have not tried the following substitutions. I mean, to me that’s a bit of a boundary of; I don’t know if this will work or not. Because the first thing people ask whenever you post a recipe is about substitutions. And it’s like; this is already egg-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and then they want to know about nut-free or whatever else. And it’s like; maybe search for a different recipe.  If I did; if I know, I would have told you. But maybe it’s like being more explicit about that stuff, up front.

Cassy Joy: I like that. I really like that, as an idea of a disclaimer, at the bottom of an article. Which might then get transferred over to social media, like an Instagram post. And it could just be a simple sentence of; the substitutions that we have tested are included in the recipes. As a blanket; therefore, if they are not included in the recipe they have not been tested.

Something that we do, though; because we give a lot. Something that I’ve noticed in terms of a boundary on Fed and Fit; when you give and give and give a lot of content, our audience; some audience members. Not all of them. I would argue the minority of audience members, as more, more, more, more. The majority of our Fed and Fit readers are actually very thankful people in general. They don’t ask for more. Which would be fine; I’m not saying that I don’t want people to ask for more. It’s actually very helpful and informative on new content.

But I’ve found that, let’s say we provide a modification for egg-free, then it almost gives someone the door to say; what about grain-free? What about nut-free? What about blah, blah, blah. And so the one way I’ve kind of entered into that conversation on comments on the website. Because I also try to set a boundary that if you have a question about a recipe, the place to leave that is on the website. It’s not on social media, and it’s definitely not in direct messages. Because nobody else can benefit from that conversation. It’s like; if you have a question in a classroom, you raise your hand so everybody else can hear and benefit from it. You don’t just write it on a note and ask the teacher later. If it’s personal…

Diane Sanfilippo: Or text message the teacher later.

Cassy Joy: Text message; that’s an even better example. Text message.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because that’s what it’s like to get a DM.

Cassy Joy: Yes. It is. It feels like it’s an encroachment on your personal time and your personal space. Versus during a perfectly acceptable forum that you had the opportunity to ask it in. What we do in comments on the website, when someone asks a question about; well, have you tried nut-free. We might say; here’s an idea. Because I’m happy to give ideas all day long. Here’s an idea we might approach a nut-free recipe for this. If you give it a shot, come back and let us know how it works out.

Because it just kind of shares the responsibility of the need that you have. I think this boundary conversation; if you find yourself feeling exhausted, overrun, as if your work is not respected or valued, especially in this social media world, it’s very, very possible that these are symptoms of a lack of boundaries.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes. The word I will use is resentful.

Cassy Joy: Resentful is a good one.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. And this is true in personal relationships, too. Resent builds when you have uncommunicated and/or unmet expectations.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: So I think it is our responsibility to communicate the expectations. I feel really strongly about that. I think, especially because this is all new to all of us. And like we’ve said, the combination of people understanding boundaries in real life, and then translating that to online. I think as the account holders, or whatever, as the people who see the other side of it, I think it’s our responsibility to set the boundaries and maintain them and tell people, this is what I expect.

I mean, we do this in any kind of behavior exchange. In parenting. In work relationships. In personal relationships. You know; we wish that people were all mind readers, but they’re not. And the fact that people do things differently I think means that we need to not only get better and better at identifying resentment as it percolates just a little bit. Why am I resentful about that? What’s my part? What do I own in that? What can I do better?

And then when I get to the point where I really am doing the best I can, I’m not throwing the content out there that I don’t want to talk about. I’m setting the boundaries, I’m doing all of that. And then it’s about maintaining them and allowing people to be upset by them and not internalize that, as well.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Beautifully put.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s ok. I had somebody respond; we shared our diversity and inclusion action plan on the blog. We sent it via email. A gentleman; a man, responded to that email asking me to unsubscribe him to the list. There’s definitely an unsubscribe link in the email. Saying that people don’t need to be telling people what they’re doing with this stuff, blah, blah, blah, on and on. And I just wrote back, and I was like, it’s ok. And I just wrote back and I said; there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of all of my emails. And that was it. And not opening the door. That was me setting a boundary to myself of not opening the door. My boundary is; I’m not interested in this conversation. And it took a lot of power to not engage in that, but to just send it back. And also I’m not going to do it for you. Go ahead and click that unsubscribe button.

Cassy Joy: You bet. I actually got; I got almost identical responses from folks when we sent that email. “Unsubscribe me from this list!” And they were upset, and they told me all the reasons they were disappointed in me as a human.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Ridiculous.

Cassy Joy: I know. My team was like; Cassy, you maybe might stay off email today. And I was like; no, let me see! Like, anyways. That doesn’t hurt me. Because I’m detached from that piece of it. I’m sad for them, mostly.

But yeah. I think that’s really beautifully put. It’s unfair; if you’re feeling resentful, it’s really unfair to the other person to not communicate those boundaries. Because if you just keep giving them the answers that are causing you more resentment, you are creating. You’re cultivating this problem. And it’s on us, in some ways. It’s on everybody to participate and recognize and move forward. But if you are, like you said, feeling resentful, it’s an opportunity to refresh.

The last family meeting I had was; it was well over a year and a half ago.

Diane Sanfilippo: Family meeting on Fed and Fit, just to clarify.

Cassy Joy: Yes, sorry. Family meeting on Fed and Fit Instagram. I did a live, and I talked about what questions are acceptable with regards to my family, and our child rearing plans and things like that. And you can have this conversation very lovingly. I got so many direct messages from people after that in responses, that they said that helped them understand how to model having a respectful conversation around boundaries with people that still felt like a two-way street in terms of respect. I want to do the best by you and for you, and therefore these are the rules of engagement. It’s better for everybody.

Anyway. There’s a way to do it. If you’re feeling intimidated because you’re afraid you’re just going to be yelling at people, do it in a way that definitely feels obviously as of service for everyone. Does that make sense?

Diane Sanfilippo: It does. And I will say when I asked people several months ago, honestly how do conversations about boundaries feel for you, I have a lot of people who said empowering. A lot of people who said scary. And then a lot of people who said; I used to be so offended by boundaries but now I get it and I’m trying to set my own, too. Literally, those themes repeated over and over and over again. I used to take it personally, but now I know better. Practice, practice, practice. Great people who don’t understand other’s boundaries are just taking it too personally.

So I think we can probably have another part to this conversation. Maybe folks will have questions and send those in, and we can continue it. because I think that this is; it’s one of my favorite topics to kind of hit at from a lot of different angles, and part of it is the practical side. Which is a little more of what we’re talking about today, but part of it is digging deeper as to why and how and who it is that is constantly pushing and testing those boundaries. And how we can cultivate an audience, cultivate a followership, cultivate readers who are less and less that way. And I think we can. And then it becomes a better community for everyone in time.

Cassy Joy: It gives me warm fuzzies, Diane!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Thank you for leading this conversation! {laughs}

4. Tip of The Week: [:]

Cassy Joy: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well if there is a tip that was business or life related, this was certainly one of them. So I want everyone to take an audit of your business and/or your life. If you feel this is something you need to do in your life, as well as in your business, do one on each side. And I want you to look at where are you building resentment, and where can you set a boundary in response to that. And very clearly communicate with, whether it’s a person in your life, or people in your life, or in your business, and maybe if it’s people in your life but they’re not like a close personal relationship, sometimes the boundary is like a self-boundary. Like; I’m not going to attend that call anymore, because this is what it does to me. And I don’t really need to be there, and here’s what I’m going to do. If you can make that decision.

But, I think that we can find one place in each of these areas of our life where we can set a boundary. You may need to communicate it, and you may need to just do it for yourself. And we’ll see which is which. But I think Cassy really beautifully explained the intentions behind our actions, and our intentions behind what we do and what we share, etc., as being sort of a first line, sort of an offense of this boundary setting in the first place before we get over to the place we’re feeling we might be building resentment. So how can you back things up from places where you might be feeling resentment. You’re feeling taxed. You’re feeling taken advantage of, etc.

And often, resentment looks like anger on the surface. You’re getting angry about something. but we can unpack that. Actually I’m resentful. Feeling taken advantage of. Actually, I never told this person this. So now I’m expecting them to do something that they don’t actually even know about. So how can we unpack that and set our lives up and our business up a little bit better.

That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. You can find Cassy @CassyJoyGarcia as well as @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo as well as @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand-new episode.