Your life is being shaped by what you’re saying “YES” to and what you are saying “NO” to.
With each “YES” and “NO,” you are ‘setting in’ the invisible line of boundaries that shape your choices, opportunities, relationships, and, especially, your life.
When you are saying “YES” to one thing, you’re saying “NO” to something else (and vice versa).
There are always tradeoffs when you choose to invest your time and energy in something or someone.
Tradeoffs are an inherent part of life and can be considered positive or negative, depending on your view.
If you choose to get up early in the morning to go for a walk before work, the tradeoff is getting out of your comfy bed before you’re ready so that you can have a healthy body and improved energy.
When you decide to no longer tolerate a lack of respect or attention in your relationship, the tradeoff is having the uncomfortable conversation about where your boundaries lie and what your expectations are so that you can let go of resentment.
If you decide to no longer answer every text or email the moment your phone dings, beeps, or buzzes, you may ruffle a few feathers, but you will be mastering your time and achieving your goals like never before…through establishing your boundaries. And your self-confidence will improve too.
So often, we want to say “YES” to more in our lives without making room for it by saying “NO” to something else. Unfortunately, this leaves us feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and living a life that is out of alignment.
Without boundaries, how do you set in that invisible line that clarifies your expectations, establishes what you will agree to and won’t agree to, and contributes to living a life that YOU want, not what someone else wants, needs, or demands?
Your boundaries will help you shut down your over commitments so you can open up some breathing room.
Sounds good, right?
Here are five tips for establishing Boundaries so that you can lean into the gifts that come from sharing your Invisible Line:
1. Boundaries are About YOU, Not Other People
Boundaries are about what you will do and what you will not do. They are not about telling other people what to do or not do. Boundaries help create the space in your day for the renewal time you need to stay healthy, energetic, and positive (something we ALL need right now). They provide you with time to think, add structure to your day, and the ability to pause and focus on what’s important now.
- Boundary Exercise: Identify one limit or boundary you’ve been reluctant to set. Get clear on what you are willing to do and not willing to do in this situation, then schedule a time to share this with the other person.
2. Boundaries are Essential For…
Healthy relationships AND our mental health.
Having boundaries and sticking to them prevents resentment, frustration, and anger. Without boundaries, it’s easy to feel scattered, and it can eat away at healthy relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employees, or even (perhaps especially) with ourselves and our business.
- Boundary Insight: Researcher Brene Brown discovered through years of interviews that “the most compassionate people were also the absolutely the most boundaried.”
Think about that the next time you struggle with setting a boundary and feel too harsh.
**Brene’s definition of boundaries is simply, “what’s ok and what’s not ok.”
3. Boundaries Provide
The space to pause and prioritize what YOU want so you can live in your purpose and start saying “NO” without apology.
- Boundary Tip: If you’re someone who has difficulty saying “NO,” try saying, “Will you check back with me in a week so I can make sure I have the time on my calendar to do this?” This will give you the space to take a meta-view and see if it’s adding to your life or draining your energy, focus, and joy. If they push you for an answer at that moment, say, “If you need an answer right now, it will have to be no.” That way they are choosing the no and it can feel easier on you.
4. Boundaries and Time & Priority Management
When you’re always accessible to others, you lose valuable time and the ability to live the life YOU want. Again, there’s a tradeoff when making a choice. If you are always giving your time to others, there’s less of your one non-renewable resource, time, for you to focus on the life YOU want.
- Boundary Motivation: According to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, “workers are interrupted every 11 minutes–and only resume their interrupted tasks after 25 minutes. By this math, even our interruptions are interrupted, amounting to more than 2.5 hours per day lost to interruptions.”
Improved boundaries will increase productivity and provide more time for what you want in this one big beautiful life. Like weekends off and more time with family…or time for yourself!
5. Knowing Your Boundaries Give You Flexibility
When in a situation where flexibility works best for you, your boundaries can be less defined and more fluid. Yet in circumstances where more discipline and structure are necessary, you might choose to firm up those boundaries.
- Boundary Tip: There is no right or wrong way; notice what works for you as well as what doesn’t. If you’ve been easy going and find someone is taking advantage of your flexibility, step back, and ask yourself where you need to step it up on your boundary.
Increasing your boundaries will decrease your stress.
The thing about boundaries, though, is it can be quite stressful to set them. But it’s short-term stress that provides long-term benefits.
While your boundaries are not visible, it is your responsibility to vocalize them. They are what determine your opportunities and trajectory of your life, your relationships, and your success (whatever success is to YOU).
What will you say yes to, and what will you say no to so that you can achieve your goals, dreams, and desires… whatever they may be?
You have the ability so choose. You have the ability to shape your life.
What one boundary, if you implemented it today, would make the most significant impact in your life, love, and legacy?