Boundary setting is a critical skill to learn because of its benefits across every area of our lives. Although I know the value of setting boundaries, there are times that I find myself frustrated and realize that I could have completely avoided my negative feelings if I had simply done a better job of establishing clear boundaries.
Learning the Hard Way
The need for setting boundaries and adhering to them revealed itself to me in an authentic way in the most interesting place–at a recent dental appointment. In this visit, I found myself tolerating behaviors, which made for a much less than pleasant check-up. First, I waited for 45 minutes (I never wait this long for anyone), I paid before the dentist provided my services (I never do this either), and I allowed the hygienist to scrape my mouth repeatedly. I also noticed that I did not recognize any of the usual employees, which seemed odd–but I disregarded my thoughts and went through with it anyway. Instead of following my standard rules and listening to my intuition, I chose to dismiss them. I tolerated behaviors and situations that I never accept, and because I decided to ignore my boundaries, I ended up leaving in the middle of my cleaning in a negative emotional state.
I tell you this story not because you care about how to have a pleasant trip to the dentist, but rather because it shows how I neglected to follow boundaries that I value as important, and it led to a negative experience. What I should have done is trust my intuition going in. I should have set a boundary and then walked away from it. Instead, I allowed the situation to get to the point of creating an emotional response to something I could have avoided entirely if I had just set the boundary.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing–you will continue to have negative experiences if you don’t learn to set clear boundaries and stick to them.
Know What You Are Tolerating
Boundary setting requires you to be crystal clear on what it is that you are willing and not willing to tolerate. A great place to begin is by self-assessing behaviors and situations that leave you feeling upset or frustrated because these feelings signal an area that needs a boundary. Perhaps you are tolerating people coming late, or you are continually frustrated by carrying the workload for the team, or maybe you are allowing your clients to walk all over you. It doesn’t matter what you are tolerating–you must admit it is a problem and establish a boundary.
Articulate Your Boundaries
Once you establish a boundary, it is vital to articulate it in a way that makes the expectation clear to those around you. When communicating a boundary, it is essential to make sure you do not simply state what the boundary is, but those around you need to know why you are setting it. Never set a boundary to be difficult, wield power, or bully someone–only set them because it is something that goes against your internal principles or your moral compass. Otherwise, they will seem arbitrary and run the risk of creating resentment.
Remember to be clear about your limits and boundaries and find a way to communicate them in a concise, non-hurtful way to people around you–make it about what you need, not about what they are doing to you.
So that’s the trick to setting boundaries! At the Growth Architect, we want to help you set boundaries and gain control of the stressful situations around you. If you want to hear more about learning to set clear boundaries, then watch my video.
Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect & Founder of The Women’s Code, a training company specialized in providing companies an ROI on Balanced Leadership. She has been named one of 50 must-follow women entrepreneurs by the Huffington Post. A first-generation immigrant who found herself $135,000 in debt as a single parent, she bootstrapped her passion for photography into a highly successful global business and eventually sold it to Bill Gates in a multimillion-dollar deal.
Beate works with business leaders and supports organizations by developing and providing training the training, tools, and expertise to create and maintain a balanced, equal, and inclusive work environment that fosters creativity, employee engagement, and corporate growth.
Recent clients include Merck, Women’s Legislative Caucus of California, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), NFTE, CreativeLive, the Association of Corporate Growth, and TracyLocke.
Beate is the author of the #1 International Amazon Bestseller “Happy Woman Happy World – How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome” a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.
To book Beate to speak or train please connect here. Your Time Is Valuable!