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?
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Victor Frankl
Boundaries are the foundation, the underpinning, to the ‘balance’ we seek, the belonging we crave, and the impact we’re here to make. Without boundaries, we’re building our business on a house of cards, easily disrupted by some hot air…
Boundaries are the bridge that connects us to our self-worth, and as a result, our net worth.
Here are three ways to help you across that bridge:
Boundaries & Self-Worth
Boundaries & Self-Worth
…go together like peas & carrots.
Forget the question, “How would your friends describe you in three words?” The question to ask is, “How would YOU describe you in three words?”
The first question is about how other people view you. Far too often this is what we’re concerned with and focused on, and why our boundaries (and self-worth) continue to feel negotiable.
When we live life through how other people view us, we’re making choices based on how we THINK other people view us. This impacts our confidence, our choices, and (most of all) trust within ourselves.
We’re second-guessing ourselves before we even get out of the gate.
How can we ever feel enough, that WE ARE WORTHY enough to take up the space we seek if we don’t ground our choices in self-trust and intuition?
From the quote at the top, in that space “between stimulus and response” a dynamic tension is created, inviting us to choose wisely so that we can move in the direction of our power, personal alignment, and greatest impact, rather than away from it.
We’re so focused on getting ahead or not falling behind that we forget we have the right to choose what we want and what we don’t want.
Focus on building your self-worth and your net-worth will naturally follow. Clear boundaries help to create, support, and sustain both.
Boundaries & Stress
Boundaries help reduce stress.
The challenge is, setting healthy boundaries can be a bit stressful! But it’s short-lived stress rather than the long-term stress of anger and resentment that can take over when we lack boundaries.
Up until just a few years ago, I was the queen of saying yes; doing for others first and putting my, and my business, needs on the back burner (as an aside, this is a very hard way to build a business…). It’s what was emulated for me growing up and the lens through which I saw and experienced life. Like gravity, it was there but I didn’t recognize it…it just ‘was’.
Continually adding to my already overflowing plate created a great deal of stress and overwhelm, and a healthy serving of resentment. I would then get pissy at the other person, all because I chose to say yes. Any of this ringing true for you?
Once I realized and owned that I am always at choice, I committed to choosing what brought me joy. This, ultimately, brought more joy to those important to me…and a lot less stress for everyone involved.
You know the old proverb, “hindsight is 20/20?” #truthbomb
Boundaries play a pivotal role in creating the work-life balance we’re so desperately seeking. With almost 1.8 billion searches on Google for work-life balance, there’s no arguing we’ve got some serious stress and overwhelm going on.
Establishing clear boundaries, and sticking to them, helps alleviate stress and frustration. They’re what support you to say no to what’s throwing you out of balance, or as I prefer to say, out of alignment.
Just because people want to put things on your plate because you’re good at something (or they just don’t want to do it) doesn’t mean you need to say yes.
Imagine what life will be like when you’re more empowered and less at the mercy of circumstances and other people’s expectations, needs, or demands.
Yes, there are a lot of things you CAN do, so the question needs to shift from “How do I achieve more” to “HOW DO I WANT TO LIVE?”
We all need space and support to do our best work. Boundaries help you find and connect with a community where you can be who you are and grow into who you want to be…a place where you can be seen, heard, and belong instead of pinching off parts of yourself to fit in.
Community Is Important
Finding your Sisterhood, your community, will be critical to your thriving. We all need some #boundarybearing sisters around us.
Boundaries & Emotions
Expect disappointment and anger, but don’t accept it.
I call it, The Toddler Effect. You know that toddler in the grocery store who knows exactly what pitch he needs to reach to make the parent uncomfortable enough to throw him a candy bar AND bag of marshmallows to appease him?
When we start establishing boundaries and changing things up, it can unleash some serious emotions for the people around us. Again, expect it, but don’t accept it.
Be transparent in your new direction and boundary setting. If you’ve always picked up the kids after school or been the one to stay late and wrap up the project, you’ve agreed to participate in that dance. Be clear, intentional, and thoughtful when you share what you will do and won’t do, that’s your responsibility. HOW the other person reacts is not.
People are allowed to be pissed off or disappointed just as you’re allowed to align your choices, goals, and behaviors with the life you want.
Our boundaries are not about others. Ultimately, they’re about us. It’s our opportunity to align, or rather realign, with who we are and who we want to be.
Other people’s emotions are not yours to own or fix.
Communicating clear, effective boundaries will help you to unlock your most powerful potential, without apology.
Boundaries Bonus Point:
What one boundary would make the greatest impact on your happiness, and hence, success? And, when will you commit to it?
I’d love to hear what you choose. If you’re willing, comment below or shoot me an email!
Everyone has their own opinion, experience, take on them.
A boundary is not a bad thing. It’s not evil. Having healthy boundaries doesn’t make us aggressive. Boundaries don’t make us rigid or unapproachable.
I wrote about boundaries a little over a year ago in Business Boundaries to Protect What Matters (check it out here), yet I felt compelled to circle back around and talk more about this hot topic. Nearly every single business person I work with and speak to tells me that boundaries are impacting their business, what appears to be, at greater speeds and with larger impact. Usually, this is due to a lack of boundaries.
As entrepreneurs, we often avoid and don’t maintain boundaries because we don’t fully understand what they are or how to use them.
One View of Boundaries Without Apology
We tend to look at a boundary as a vertical gate that comes down smashing in front of us that says, “You can’t come near me and I can’t go near you …I have a boundary.” It’s a hard line in the sand, a solid wall slamming between us, BOOM! It’s clear, obvious, hard and divisive. It has negative connotations.
That’s what many of us tend to think of when we think of a boundary, and it’s why we don’t like them … because they exclude people,. They exclude us from being with people, or energy or relationships.
It feels awful, selfish, and hard to be on the other side of that boundary.
The View from the Other Side
I’d like to offer another, different perspective.
The way I think of a boundary is more like a step-ladder, that “thing” that’s going to help intentionally and confidently lift/move you to the next level, the next tier, a very important component that accelerates the growth to where you want to go and grow to in your business.
Envision yourself high up on the ladder, keeping your eye on the prize and climbing towards your goals. Up there with you are the people who rely on you, your family, your team, your business, your community.
And the boundary is if we bend down to accommodate someone else’s priority and do what it is they’re asking or ‘needing’ of us, then guess what happens? The ladder is going to fall over, and the people relying on us (ourselves included) are all going to come toppling down as we bend and break the boundary.
When we step down to accommodate someone else’s agenda and priority, we take our eye off the prize of what it is we’re working so damn hard for. It impacts our growth, our success, our bottom line, our team, and our relationships … and quite often, our self-confidence.
But when we hold our boundary and ask the person to come up the ladder and meet us, then we’re saying “I believe in your ability to meet me where I am, then we can move forward together.”
The Role of the Boundary
The boundary is there so we don’t break our back or topple the ladder and everyone relying on us feels the effects too.
It’s inclusive and empowering, instead of divisive and disempowering.
And here’s the thing, when we lack boundaries, we often feel resentment, frustration, and anger and this it drains our energy and vitality.
A lack of boundaries can make us feel scattered and eats away at healthy relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employees, or even (perhaps especially) with ourselves and our business.
And, with boundaries come a sweet little (well, HUGE) perk: work-life balance.
The Benefits of Boundaries Without Apology
When we have boundaries without apology, we simply get more done in less time and we can gain our life back. We can begin to enjoy again the things that are important to us, the things that drew us into business in the first place. Freedom, family, wealth, impact, and more fulfillment in each and every day.
4 Key Boundary-Related Categories
In my 27 years as a business owner, and through my work with many business owners in my coaching career, I’ve identified 4 key categories in our business that we need to be hyper-focused on when it comes to boundaries so that we can build the business of our dreams and live the life we want to experience. They are vision, roadmap, time management, and team. Let’s take a look.
At one point you had a vision, it may have been to make millions, maybe it was to work 10 months a year and travel 2 months with your family (without having to worry about paying your credit card bills when you get home), max out your 401K, pay for your kids’ college…and have some left over just to play with
But over time you had to bend because this person needed you, that person needed you, and the kids constantly needed rides to school, games, to friends’ houses.
So the big vision over time began to shrink and now it continues to feel out of reach. Suddenly, it’s so tiny it’s more like “ If I could just make payroll this week”…or “ …just take a damn day off!”
A clear vision of where we want our business to go and grow to, allows us to confidently set boundaries and unapologetically say no to the things that aren’t moving us closer to our goals.
And sometimes, those things might be something that we really want to do, but the payoff/tradeoff is so much sweeter knowing in the long run our short-term choice supports our long-term vision.
Roadmap…AKA Business Plan (air quotes here!)
A business plan isn’t just for banks and it’s NOT boring. It’s actually there to keep us on track so we can MAKE MONEY (a good thing, right?)!
You probably had a clear plan, a roadmap, at some point but employees came and went, a vendor didn’t pull through for an important job, a big client decided they were going in a different direction, and now all of a sudden your roadmap is GPS on haywire.
Nothing or little makes sense anymore, and you’ve become reactive instead of proactive.
This is when you’re in the biggest jeopardy of falling off the ladder … you’re spinning 50 plates in the air, working on deadlines, trying to coordinate employee schedules, family schedules, negotiating a new contract, (fitting in some self-care), and a veritable plethora of To-Dos.
It feels more like putting out fires than following your vision. I know, I get it, I’ve been there.
Being in reactive mode involves constantly bending down from your ladder to accommodate somebody else’s agenda and priorities. Taking your eye off YOUR vision and goals, and ignoring the boundaries you need to achieve your vision.
Your roadmap is what takes your Big Vision and strategically gets you into motion … it’s what creates a solid path to follow and solid boundaries that say “NO,” confidently, intentionally, and without apology.
Schedule some time to reconnect to your vision, to your goals for what you want your business AND life to be. Then back out of your vision to create a roadmap that supports you, defines your choices, and cut the edges in for strong boundaries, and for your success.
Many of my clients and colleagues, tell me they don’t have the luxury of slowing down to get clear, to reconnect. That’s like driving down the highway at top speed and saying you don’t have time to stop for gas.
We know what’s going to happen. Make time for your fuel now or get ready to pull out your AAA card for a tow. (And make sure your membership is up to date.)
It seems pretty straightforward. We’re all aware of it. While it’s an easy concept, it’s really, really challenging in healthy execution. It’s TIME MANAGEMENT.
It’s a common “business-speak” phrase. We all know it’s important, but do we always recognize just how much? This area is our NON-RENEWABLE currency. Let that sink in … “non-renewable.”
This is the thing we all have a finite amount of. We only get 1 “noon” on Tuesday this week, ever. And, here’s the kicker: none of us knows what that finite number is.
We’re operating a budget (our budget of time) with no fiscal transparency. Yet we behave like there’s always tomorrow.
Time Management isn’t really about time blocking, setting reminders, and finding 30 minutes to check our e-mail. There IS VALUE to all of that, absolutely. BUT, just coming in and “Managing Our Time” kind of feels like a time out, doesn’t it?
Time Management is about tying it all together…what’s the VISION? HOW are you getting there? WHAT’S your roadmap look like? WHEN are you moving things forward?
Actual TIME MANAGEMENT IS THE RESULT OF having a SOLID PLAN. The plan is the result of having a VISION you’re really excited about.
Our days are our life in miniature. Be vigilant with your time.
Use the law of linkage when someone is asking, or needing, you to step down from your ladder and not honor your boundaries. Link every choice you make today to your vision of the future you’re working so damn hard for.
THIS will allow you to say “no” and take things off your To-Do list, without apology.
Team. It’s the people, business AND personal. It’s the WHO. Your team is who’s supporting you, AND who’s not … and where are the boundaries drawn?
Some examples of team and boundaries include:
An employee coming in late all the time. THAT is a boundary issue.
Your team being reactive instead of proactive—where is your team?
When YOU’RE coming in early and working late. THIS IS A BOUNDARY ISSUE.
It’s not delegating work you could be handing off because you don’t trust your team. This is a boundary issue … as well as a delegation and communication issue, but those are for another discussion.
It’s dropping what you’re working on and running your kids all over town, for the third time this week. That’s a boundary issue.
Team is how we ACHIEVE more without DOING more.
One of the biggest problems I see with the businesses I work with is they’re taking on too much, and in turn their schedule is overloaded, they’re overwhelmed … and they’re moving in reactive mode.
Be sure to have a competent team that you trust and that can handle the work you’re bringing in … or else if you’re saying “yes” to too many things YOU’LL be consumed 24/7 figuring out how to make it all work. And THAT’S a boundary issue.
Could your boundaries use some updating with your team? Be transparent. Let them know what’s working and what’s not. Invite them into the conversation of what your vision is. Share your roadmap. Ask them where they feel they can best contribute and what are their strengths?
We can’t do this alone. A team is what will support us and uplift us. Together we’re stronger (I know, I know, the dramatic music plays here, roll with me…) because it’s true.
Lift your head, look around, who’s your tribe? Who are your power partners?
Remember, a team is how we’re able to achieve more without doing more. It’s a reflection of us establishing a healthy boundary in our business. A boundary that says, “I do not need to do this all alone and I no longer will.”
Healthy boundaries are what make that happen. WITHOUT APOLOGY.
So, think about each of the 4 categories, and consider these 3 powerful questions:
Which category is the MOST painful-annoying right now? (What has the biggest choke hold)
Thinking of this area, when did I last feel amazing/supported/etc.?
What’s ONE THING you can do differently, today?
THIS is slowing down without losing momentum…working ON your business.
It’s focusing on you, it’s focusing on your business….you’re just not doing it at your normal 150 MPH!
I’d love to hear how boundaries have supported you in achieving your dreams, leave a comment below.
Boundaries. They’re critical in business and in life.
Why is it when we talk about setting and having healthy boundaries it makes people so uncomfortable … as if boundaries are a bad thing that only abrasive and self-centered people allow themselves to have?
Having healthy boundaries does not, I repeat DOES NOT make us a bitch.
In fact, they do quite the opposite. Boundaries allow us to comfortably be ourselves and take care of our Self. When living authentically you may bump up against someone else’s view of who you should be, but that’s theirs to own, not yours.
Boundaries allow us to claim what, and who is important to us. They allow us to own our self-worth.
We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. When we have healthy boundaries, it shows others and ourselves that we have self-worth, self-respectand that we don’t allow others to define us.
When we lack boundaries, we often feel resentment, frustration, and anger.
It can make us scattered. It can erode a healthy relationship, be it with family, friends, co-workers, or even (perhaps especially) with ourselves and our business.
We not only have the right to set our personal and professional boundaries, it’s our responsibility to do so.
They’re essential for creating a healthy life, inside and out.
Boundaries allow us to be at choice about not only what we’ll do, but who we will “be” (to read more about discovering “who we are” click here).
There’s a reason why airlines tell us to “put your oxygen mask on first.” When you’ve given all you have, and there’s nothing left, how can that benefit anyone?
In my house, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy. Can any of you out there relate??
I know when I set my boundaries aside, or they’ve been ignored, I get agitated … more with myself to be honest but it affects my energy and the way I show up doesn’t feel good. I feel as though I’ve given my power away, again, and wonder why I’m not able to trust myself, set my boundaries, say no, and be comfortable with it.
As Anne Lamott says, “No is a complete sentence.”
LOVE this statement. Learning how to say “No” is essential in setting healthy boundaries.
I’ll admit, sometimes it simply seems easier to “give in” and do what’s asked instead of saying, “No, that doesn’t work for me.” In the short run, things can be easier. But in the long run, we’ve just taught the other person our boundaries are optional.
It’s kind of like the short term gain when we give in to our kids at the grocery store and buy the candy bar to quit their whining. It works in the moment but we’ve just taught them a very valuable lesson … whine longer and harder and we’ll cave. So they up the ante each time.
I remember one of my private clients in particular who had difficulty setting her boundaries. She was working her butt off trying to make a go of it in her business, getting up early, working late, working all hours of the day, seven days a week.
As we stepped back and looked at why she wasn’t making the traction in her business that she wanted to (and by all means should have been with the number of hours she was working) we discovered she was taking on projects from clients that she really didn’t want to do but felt compelled to say yes to (more on our Inner Good Girl and how she gets us tangled up here). Her plate runneth over ….
She was spending about 80% of her time on projects that contributed to 20% of her bottom line, simply because she didn’t feel she could say no to the work.
Once she got clear on how this was affecting not only her bottom line but the time she had “leftover” for herself and her family, she decided to set some boundaries that worked for her.
She was able to focus on what it is she does best, and let the rest go. The work she produced was of higher quality and she created one hell of a niche for herself expanding her business AND taking time for what was important to her. All because she decided what she was willing to do, and what she was not willing to do.
And you know what? Her clients respected her for it.
In order to have healthy boundaries, we need to know and understand our limits. We need to know our values, our non-negotiables in life.
We need to cut in the edges, so WE know where our boundaries are.
It’s ok to give yourself permission to say no. Go ahead, you know you want to ….
When was the last time you slowed down and took a good look at your boundaries, or lack thereof, and how it’s impacting you?
What are you willing to say yes to, and what are you not willing to do?
Where are you honoring your boundaries? Where are they being stepped over?
What are you tolerating, and why?
I’d love to hear your comments. Are you ready to get clear on your boundaries, your non-negotiables in life and honor them consistently? Click Here to download an application for a free Clarity Consultation with me … let’s get you intentionally moving towards the life and business of your dreams, now!