Do you struggle with setting boundaries? Recently, I have witnessed or heard examples of individuals setting effective boundaries. One example I observed was when purchasing tickets for a ferry ride while at the beach. The sales person had a process with a few steps, and she was clear in asking us to wait until she completed those steps before asking her additional questions. I appreciated her clarity, her boundary setting, and her ability to be professional in her request for time to complete her process. As soon as she finished, she looked up and smiled and asked how she could help.
Sometimes new leaders I coach struggle with setting boundaries effectively. I have clients who don’t want to delegate because they think they are “dumping” on their employees. Others take on tasks and duties of a colleague or peer who has missed a deadline or turned in shoddy work. Rather than asking for what they want, they allow the boundaries to get fuzzy. It almost always results in more work for them, and it’s a hard habit to break.
Boundaries can also get fuzzy in our personal lives. Someone shared with me recently that in the same weekend she was asked to host a birthday gathering and to volunteer at an event at her church. She had a busy week with work, kids being back at school, and she was training a new puppy. She knew she needed a moment to exhale at home to rest and reset from one week while preparing to go into another busy week. She said no to both requests, even though she has often struggled with setting boundaries. Not only was she proud of herself for putting herself first, but she was able to get the rest she needed that weekend. And guess what? They sky didn’t fall. No one was upset or angry when she politely declined.
“No” is a complete sentence. When saying no, you don’t have to explain yourself or have a reason or an excuse. “No” stands on its own. That one small word can make a difference in setting boundaries for ourselves that protect our time and our energy.
Is it time for you to boundary up?