These lines are not for crossin': setting good boundaries

It can be awkward to make a change for the good. Like right now. I've hoisted one of my office cubes on top of my desk to create a "standing desk"...because apparently we are more productive when we move. Moving includes standing. But, I'm willing to dabble in the awkward for a bit and give it a try. Let's avoid physically awkward for now, though, and consider another kind of change for the good that doesn't require any heavy lifting: setting good boundaries.

After talking with clients recently about setting good boundaries, I realized each woman I talked to needed greater clarity on a good boundary looked like.

Boundaries are clear, concise statement that you give about how you need to be treated. They are non-negotiable, ideally consistent and always stated firmly. They are not offered out as an inquiry or a "feeling out" of the other person. They sound strong because they are strong.

Your life, your game, you set the boundaries

Your life, your game, you set the boundaries

But why bother? Is this a lot of hoo-ha or personal growth “stuff”? Not in the least. Boundaries are essential tools in order for us to feel confident. Boundaries help us weed out the people in our life that we need to do without (see below) but they also help the people we want in our life to be even more helpful to us. Did you get that last part? It’s important. Boundaries weed out the people who suck the life out of you but help the people who recharge you, your “money team” one of my clients says, to do even more awesome for you. In short, boundaries are rock solid confidence-building tools that you need in your quiver yesterday.

Here are a couple of boundaries my clients set recently. Let me know if any of them sound familiar:

  • A dedicated and hard-working employee, Jackie continually volunteered for extra work. Jackie and I discussed this bad habit and the importance of setting good boundaries, especially at work. Although a little wary, Jackie stopped raising her hand at work and instead decided to be aware of what happened when she didn't take on additional projects. She didn’t notice a backlash of people doubting her commitment or skills but what she did notice is her voice being taken more seriously. And a few weeks later at her annual review when Jackie told her supervisor that she would be leaving at 4:30 every day instead of 5:00 and would no longer be checking email on weekends, Jackie’s boss didn’t blink an eye. Getting the green light she wanted raised her confidence to the level she deserved.
  • Susie was tired of being the partner to make dinner nightly. She was a full-time mom who didn’t work outside the home but felt she still deserved a night off each week. (Of course she does!) After her first few weeks of work with me, we talked about giving up dinner responsibility for two week nights. The following day, Susie told her partner that she would no longer be responsible for dinner on Friday and Saturday. He agreed and volunteered to make dinner on Saturdays and Fridays became take-out pizza night.
  • Fatima has always taken care of everyone in her family, in addition to working a high-powered job. When Fatima’s sister-in-law asked for help with the divorce papers, Fatima didn’t blink an eye and stepped in. After she and I talked, Fatima realized that she was endangering all her hard work putting her needs first by helping someone else with a situation that she didn’t own or have any stake in. After she and I talked, Fatima called her cousin and asked him to help with the paperwork. He agreed and she handed it over.

What about you? Chances are there’s a boundary you need to set right now. My guess is you're waffling. Go ahead and try it: ask yourself -—>”What boundary do I need to set right now and with whom?”. Here's the thing: when you do set a boundary, you'll feel a confidence surge immediately even if it's not respected. True! In addition to all the confidence boosting work we talked about above simply voicing a desire allows you to believe you're worthy of wanting and deserving better. So what are you waiting for?

Share your boundary-setting story and what happened. Here in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.