The challenges that many clients face is that they think that boundaries are all about saying NO. Whilst saying no is a part of that, we also know that boundaries are about protecting our energy, time, space, our intentions and goals.
In order to achieve your goals, dreams and ambitions, it’s important to maintain your boundaries. If you don’t, you can end up worn out, burnt out, struggling and not having enough time to get everything done.
When those boundaries aren’t in place, it’s our goals that fall by the wayside. We extend the time frame on our goals or even forget about them completely. We then start to feel like we’re not achieving, with imposter syndrome and self doubt creeping in.
I also see that we create boundaries, but only try them once and life happens and we give up. Then we find it more difficult later on and think that boundaries don’t actually work, or wonder why people aren’t respecting our boundaries.
Nobody is going to respect your boundaries if you don’t respect them.
If you say you have a boundary and constantly flex it, bend it or break it for the sake of everybody else, then you’re saying that they are more important than you. You apportion the blame to others, but you need to be the one to maintain your boundaries.
Some clients say to me ‘how do I change the way everyone else is making me feel?
Well, the change has to start with you and your boundaries will only be respected by others when you set and maintain them.
For example you say; my working hours are Monday to Thursday between 10am and 4pm. You communicate it to your clients, your team members, your boss or your business partner. You might stick to this for a day or a week, but then a big project comes in and your boss/team/clients want you to start work now at 9am and you say yes! You start finishing your day later and before you know it, your Friday’s off goes out the window. All of a sudden you are working 8am-6pm Monday to Friday and maybe even catching up on weekends too.
People see you do this and they believe that you have no boundaries. You are role modelling that you will continue to bend and break your own boundaries for the sake of other people.
I get it, there will be times where we need to be flexible, but the issue is when it becomes the norm. There will be an expectation on us to be at someone’s beck and call all the time.
Another example; morning exercise.
You set the time you want to work out each morning, let’s say 6.30am- it’s non negotiable. This will help me with my physical and mental energy. If these are aligned then I’m more likely to achieve my goal. But then someone wants you to do something the night before, maybe a friend wants you to meet up or maybe you scroll through your emails and you end up working to get ahead of yourself for the next day. You go to bed later than planned and your alarm goes off in the morning and you can’t get up for your exercise session. If you had maintained your boundary the day before, you could be more likely to get up and exercise the next morning.
This is a repeated pattern for so many of us.
We have been trained and conditioned to believe that we always have to be giving to other people. This is a common challenge with so many of my clients. We want to set the boundaries and we understand what we need to do and the importance of creating time for ourselves, and yet, there is this push/pull of what we know is right for us and the demands and expectations from others.
If we always allow the demands of other people to come before our own boundaries and before our own needs, nobody around us is going to respect them.
It doesn’t always have to be a straight no!
It could be a no not today, but I can do that tomorrow.
That’s how we create the respect of our boundaries from other people. It comes from us.
When it comes to goal setting, we need to have an emotional attachment to it. What impact is NOT achieving this goal going to have on you?
It could be a health goal, a business goal, a career goal, a salary goal or income goal. We need to be really specific with our goals. A lot of the time, especially with women, we are not explicit enough with the goal setting. For example with weight- we don’t always specify the exact weight we want to lose over a certain period of time. We just say ‘I want to lose weight’. The same with salary expectations - we just say ‘I want a pay rise’.
What is the emotional attachment to this goal, what will it give us? Losing weight might give us more energy to allow us to do more for ourselves and others. Achieving that next promotion might give us more authority to make more changes. A particular salary level might give us more financial freedom and security.
We need to look beyond the goal.
In not respecting or maintaining our own boundaries, we can then see and feel that it is having a knock on effect on something happening in the future. So by not setting a boundary to allow me to achieve my next promotion, the bigger impact is I then can’t provide for myself or my family.
We have to implement those boundaries and keep our energy high to achieve our dreams, goals and ambitions.
In 2013 Kelly had a successful leadership career, yet she was burned out, exhausted, and missing out on life with family. Determined to enjoy the success that she had earned, she's learned to create a life of balance and boundaries that is also highly successful.
Today at kellyswingler.com, Kelly helps women leaders all over the world to prevent and recover from burnout without giving up their career or jeopardising their wellbeing.