Boundaries

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Getting your priorities in order…

Before I was able to set clear boundaries I needed to get the important things in my life into an order of priority.

And if you were to ask me what my order my priorities are today, this would be my honest answer:

  1. Me
  2. Partner
  3. Kids
  4. Family/closest friends
  5. Work

Sure, there’s some movement from time to time based on the context, and it’s not always clear cut, but for the most part this is the order.

So, the first task is to get your priorities in order, then set boundaries, then use that framework to make better choices.

What does your framework for making decisions look like?

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A real life example of boundaries at work…

“Hey Chris, I noticed you declined the meeting. Everyone else is available, can you clear your schedule and be there?”

“No, I can’t be there. Can it go ahead without me?”

“It’s really important that you’re there. Everyone else can make it, what can I do to help you be there?”

“There’s nothing you can do, when the meeting is on I’ll be putting my kids to bed and reading them stories. Either we rearrange it or it goes ahead without me.”

***

What’s the lesson?

If you don’t know what time is important to you, you won’t protect it and you’ll allow others to take it from you.

What’s the challenge?

Create a new boundary today. What time do you need to protect?

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Saying “no” is the outcome of more important work…

I think we all instinctively know that saying yes to everything is a recipe for disaster.

But if you’ve tried to say no more often, you’ll know how difficult it can be to say no and actually feel like you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons.

In short, it’s not just about saying no, it’s about being able to do it and not feel like a dick about it.

We can get inspired when we see someone saying no and doing it well, but what you’re not seeing is the foundational work they did to get there.

So, what is this ‘work’ they’ve done?

  1. They got clear on what’s important to them, and there will be a specific order.
  2. They got clear on their values and principles that help them make choices and decisions.
  3. They got clear on the behaviours that support said values and principles.
  4. They then set clear boundaries that protect and honour those values and principles.
  5. Then they can say no with integrity. Then they can say no without feeling guilty about it. Then they can say no and know that it’s for the best.

This then allows them to spend the time in the areas that are important to them and not spend time in the areas that are not important.

I think most people try to do this almost in reverse…they get excited and romantic about the idea of saying no, and they start trying to say no to things, thinking it’ll immediately improve their life, but the ability to say no and stay within your integrity is the outcome of this important work, not the work itself.

So, if you find that you continually struggle to say no to people, it’s likely because you haven’t followed the steps above.

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