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Do you have personal boundaries?
Yes. As humans, we have personal boundaries.
It’s just that sometimes we aren’t even aware that we have a boundary until that moment of breach.
And, most of us know when that happens. We get angry, we think the other person has wronged us, and we react in a variety of ways. Some inwardly angry and others just plain lash out.
If you want to show up in the best possible way in your work and world, it pays to become aware of your boundaries. Create some rules for yourself so that when the boundary breach comes, you are prepared to respond…in the best possible way.
This framework gives you a simple approach to figuring out your boundaries. Not to control or manipulate others, but to decide ahead of time what you will do if something happens.
Next time you experience a boundary breach, use the experience to increase personal awareness and make a plan.
Learn how in this episode.
#personalboundaries #boundarybreach #boundariesframework #personalmanagement #mindset #mindframework
Episode 111 Show Notes
Episode 111 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 111 setting the boundaries framework. This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? Yeah, yeah, mm hmm. Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins leading me to a sense of ownership, knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom, Henry cloud as I interact with people in my coaching and consulting roles, the boss relationship comes up a lot and that’s why some of my products and services going forward will center around the boss relationship. And I’ve been reflecting on some of my experiences with bosses and I remembered how a few years ago one of my bosses had all of the leadership in a meeting and he started yelling at us. Not all of us were very experienced in life and work and we’re not doing a poor job, right? We’re all working very hard. We’re working smart, we’re making good trade offs, understanding the risks of business and getting the products and services and operations approach moving forward that was needed. And yet he was yelling. I remember in that moment how uncomfortable I felt. I was angry, I was judgmental, I had anxiety and I was stressed because part of me was realizing that this was his problem and part of me was mad at myself that I did not have the guts to right then and there say this is unacceptable. I’m going to leave this meeting and I will do that any time there’s yelling, I don’t have to put up with it. But I didn’t leave the meeting and I didn’t say anything and neither did anyone else. We sat there, we took it. We kept going with the meeting and allowed the outburst and left the meeting and continue doing our work. So was there a problem? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think for most of us it impacted the rest of our day in some way. I know when I walked out of the meeting, I was angry at myself. Still I played out different scenarios in my head where I should have talked back or said something or removed myself and I didn’t. But I do remember at some point that day deciding that if that were to happen again, that I would stand up and remove myself from the meeting and say that I just was not going to be yelled at. I just wasn’t. And even though you work for an organization and you’re supposed to do certain work based upon your terms of agreement as an employee, there are certain things that most of us would agree would be out of scope of appropriateness and inappropriateness, that kind of thing. So I decided that if it happened again, that’s what I would do because a personal boundary had been breached. Often we don’t realize that our boundaries are breached until they are breached, right? And so this is something that we work on every day in our life, isn’t it? In our neighborhood and our home and our work as we interact with the community as we interact online. We realized through the interactions where our boundaries are. And if you aren’t aware of that, I want to help you be aware of that right now. I have had a few experiences recently as I’ve worked on my personal boundaries where I’ve realized that one of the things I notice in myself when a boundary has been breached is a lot of anger and frustration. And I’ve realized this because the anger ends up being less about the other person and more about myself. The anger toward myself is because I’ve realized that I didn’t bother to set a boundary in the first place and now I’m angry, it’s been broken and I’m angry at myself for not setting it. And it all plays out into a very messy interaction or scenario. So what can we do about it? I like this quote from Gerald Manley Hopkins, your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices. If you take a look at a dictionary definition of boundaries in general, talks about a line that marks the limits of an area or a dividing line, a limit of a subject or a sphere of activity. And if you have further and look up something related to personal boundaries, you’d find that its limits and rules. We set for ourselves within relationships. And I want to point out that we set these for ourselves, right? And one of the reasons we don’t set them for other people is because that’s controlling them. Mm That’s manipulating them. We set them for ourselves. Now, I used an example of a boss in relationships like being apparent, being a teacher, being a boss. There’s certain expectations and standards that you put force if you are in that role and people need to follow it now they get to choose whether to follow it. But they don’t get to choose the consequence or the result of not following it, right? But in a lot of other situations in our lives and work, we do not get to set those expectations for others. We get to set them for ourselves. We create limits and rules for ourselves and that process of setting them for the ourselves, that process of following through with those expectations for ourselves, ultimately ultimately make up who we are, who we become. And so it matters. It matters to take time to establish personal boundaries and learn how to follow them. So I just said that part of the reason, this is important as it makes up our identity, but it also builds trust in ourselves and with others, right? If others see that you have boundaries, some may hate them, but they’ll learn to respect them or they’ll go away or they may cause a stir. But either way they for sure, no what your boundaries are. If you enforce them frequently, it allows us to be more truthful and honest with those and our human orbits, people will know when we say something that we mean it and not in a mean way, not in a cruel way. I like this quote from Melody Beattie. We can say what we need to say. We can gently but assertively speak our mind. We do not need to be judgmental, tech Klis blaming or cruel when we speak our truth. I think that’s an important quote because nowadays we hear this speak our truth phrase a lot and in the process of people speaking their truth, sometimes not realizing that some of the things that are spoken are actually controlling or manipulating others versus just taking care of self. So we want to learn about this and be careful and setting boundaries for ourself increases our awareness of the world, our role in it, our interactions with others. It increases our awareness of what other people are trying to establish his boundaries. It creates awareness when we see someone that isn’t quite strong enough to enforce a boundary they really want to enforce, and maybe we can be the person that helps them do that. So many interesting things. So I wanted to talk today a little bit about building boundaries, being able to create them and to follow through with them. This can be a very conscious effort that we do one time perhaps as a big life overhaul, but we will always want to monitor and adjust as we go through life because we’ll discover new areas of life where we need to create boundaries for ourselves to help us feel emotionally safe to help us offer up our best work. So I wanted to offer kind of a framework for boundary building to first decide to go out of autopilot or default or zombie mode and increase your awareness. To conscientiously say I’m going to pay attention to boundaries for a few days or a week or a month, I’m going to pay attention to mine, I’m going to pay attention to the neighbors. I’m just going to decide to be more aware and see what happens and once we are aware to take another step and decide what boundaries we are going to create for ourselves as a mother, I have learned that I have far more boundaries related to my child than I thought I would. Mhm. Here I am the oldest living child in a large family, I babysat a lot growing up. That was one of my primary sources of income. I had a calendar booked months in advance and then there was this huge gap, even though I was an ant, there’s a huge gap of over 20 something years between that Time that I left home and went to college, got a job, all the things, and then I had a baby in my mid 40s and I’m shocked at how I parent, I have lots of boundaries, but I did not know I had these until I was exposed to certain situations and realized, oh I need a boundary for that. And sometimes I had let things slide a couple times and then I realized this anxiety in this anger, frustration coming up in me, I’d want to avoid certain situations and is able to go wait a second. I don’t want to avoid all these things. How do I deal with this? So I established a boundary. I made a decision, right? That this was a boundary. Now, once you make a decision, you need an approach to implement the boundary, right? And this is very easily done by deciding kind of an if then statement, if this person does this, I will do this. So it’s kind of if then statement is kind of like a request and a consequence. If you come into the backyard, when I say not to, then I will tell you to go home or I will escort you out of my yard, right? Yes. You yell in a meeting. I am going to leave the meeting. You can keep yelling. I’m not telling you what to do, right? You’re my boss. But I I’m going to leave the meeting and you can send me an email or talk to me later about what needs to be done. But this is not something that I’m going to allow, right? This isn’t good for my emotional well being. This is not good for the performance that I’m expected to do with my work. This does not work for me, right? And this is not something that is part of my employment, sit in meetings where you’ll get yelled at. No, I may be sitting in a meeting is, but there’s a personal boundary broken. So setting up some, if Ben’s in your mind now when we do this, some personality types may need to be careful, right? Because like, wow, this is amazing. I’m gonna set up all kinds of boundaries. Let me get out my notebook. I’m gonna make a big list. I’m gonna put it on my door. I’m gonna inform everyone. Maybe I’ll even send out a mass mailing to my family and friends and say these are my boundaries. That’s not what we’re talking about here though. You may do that in certain situations. Like I was sharing some roommate situations with boundaries in a webinar the other day in our facebook group and rene said that she did this with roommates, right. But a little sign these are my boundaries about borrowing clothes about jewelry or shoes or whatever. Yeah. Some situations we need to do that, but it doesn’t mean we need to walk around with a notebook informing everyone of our boundaries. Typically you can inform people when it’s been breached in some way that it was mentioned by Melody Beattie, right? In a way that’s not judgmental, tactless blaming or cruel. It can be gentle but assertive. We may decide this if then in our head, but at some point we need to communicate it. We may have decided two weeks ago that we’re not going to allow the boss yelling at us at a meeting or yelling at anyone in the meeting were not going we’re going to allow it, but we’re going to leave. Right. The next step in this framework would be to communicate. So in the case I shared with my boss, I could easily set up a meeting with him or her after the meeting or another day when the emotions aren’t high and say, listen, what happened in that meeting was not good for me. I didn’t like it, I didn’t like how I sat there, I didn’t like how I went to work after that because I was filled with anxiety and anger and I decided to work on that and myself. But I want to talk to you about it to let you know that you get to decide as the boss. Of course, if you want to yell in a meeting, but I need to tell you right now that I’m planning to walk out every time that happens because I don’t feel like it’s productive for us. I could do that before or I could wait till the next meeting and just walk out. I’ve found it effective with a personality type that’s angry in meetings to probably have a meeting before the next meeting to just let them know privately and you could argue that I’m trying to protect them in some way, but in my mind I decide, well this is part of managing upwards, they are the boss, they get to make certain decisions, but as an employee, I want to let them know if they’re being a naked emperor and I’ve talked about that before in a different episode. I had a very interesting experience with a different past years before, where I felt like his communication style was very confusing and abrupt and there was a lot of anger there too. And so I set up a meeting, it’s like we need to talk, this is not working for me, this is not working for the projects that I’m working on. There’s confusion being created, there’s people that don’t want to work with us as a result. And so we had a very difficult meeting because it was embarrassing for all of us to have to talk about it. But the outcome of the meeting was amazing because it forever changed our relationship. I was willing to confront him in private and say, listen, if this continues then we’re not going to have good work, we’re not going to be effective. And so we were able to talk about it and that kind of leads to the next step in this framework. Follow up. Do what you say, you will do. If you say if you do this, then I will do this, then do it. This is one of the hardest parts. It’s easy to create a boundary in your head. Well, if they do this and I’m going to do this, I’m going to make this request and tell them this is the consequence. But when push comes to shove, it takes courage in the moment to actually enforce that. So practice it. No, it’s going to be hard. No, it’s going to be painful and understand that that’s normal. I was in a coaching group a few months ago where a woman was talking about creating boundaries with her mother, her mother lived nearby and just thought that she could come in the house whenever she wanted to, not even knock, just come in, whatever time of day talk, bring gifts, spend time with kids, all the good things, all the annoying things, all the things and she felt like she couldn’t create a boundary with her mother and through coaching, she realized she could and that would be the most wonderful thing she could do for herself and for her mother. And why is this? Because once she established a boundary, her mother started to learn that her daughter had some boundaries and what the woman did is set up some days and times where she’s like mom. Any of these days and times you can come over, but I’m letting you know that if you knock on the door or try to walk in any other day, I’m not available, like I’m not answering the door. In fact, I’ll probably be locking the door and it doesn’t even matter if you can look in the house in the window and see me reading a book on the couch. You are not invited these other days and times. These are the times and days that are fine because she had a schedule, She had household to run. She had things planned and she felt disrespected and she started despising when her mother came over. So she started to establish the boundaries and it was hard and she felt like her mother might not like her and she was right. Her mother didn’t like her. At first her mother was mad that how dare my daughter set limits on me and her daughter had to teach her that she wasn’t setting limits on her. She was providing boundaries for herself and letting her mother no, what would happen if those boundaries were breached? The beautiful part about this experience as they ended up having a better relationship. Because when her mom came over, it was during the time there she knew that she would be open to conversation, that should be open to whatever her mother wanted to do and whatever her mother wanted to offer. And yes, it took a few times of her mother knocking on the door and her not answering for her mother to realize, oh wait, she’s serious. She needs some time. Okay, so enforce it be really good at following up with yourself. And then of course the next step is to monitor and adjust your boundaries will change throughout your life. There will be times where you put up a lot of barriers and boundaries, right? Because you’re working through hard things and you emotionally cannot handle very much. There will be other times where you have worked through something and you’re feeling on top of life in your work and you will open up and expand and grow. And as you go through those expansions and uplevel wings and growth, you will go into new experiences and those experiences will teach you about what boundaries you have. Now the other side of this coin and I’m glad it was brought up in our online discussion the other day is that you know, what do you do when others have so many boundaries at work that you feel like you can’t express yourself, You can’t give good ideas, you can’t follow inspiration because you feel like they’re stopping you and that I would say is a good time to work on the courage to set up a time to talk about how you feel, which is very interesting in the workplace because emotions and feelings are often uncomfortable topics at work, but they’re vastly important to the work. We’ve talked about this before. What you think creates an emotion from the place of your emotions. You take all of your action, you have all of your behaviors and all of those lead to your results. So if the emotion is not right, that means there’s something in your thoughts that’s holding you back that’s messing up the performance and it’s important to work on that. And I would encourage you that as you set your own boundaries and as you discuss someone else, their boundaries to come to this boundary building with some principles in mind, some of those principles are to come from a place of love. And I guess what that means is to not come from a place where you are in the midst of a negative emotion weight on it and come to the situation with a calm and a piece and a desire to actually work through it with them. And of course they’re going to decide what they’re going to do. But at least if you come to the communication with them, the meeting, the interaction from a place of desiring for it to be better, you will find out whether or not they’re willing to work on it and you can decide at that point whether or not you are willing to stay in that situation. If you realize that there’s no part of them that are wanting to change anything about the interaction, I encourage you also to reflect and remember that most of the time when there’s been a boundary breach for you personally, the anger you feel isn’t as much about the other person. It’s anger often directed at yourself without knowing it because you weren’t on top of the situation enough to say, here’s my boundary, this is what’s going to happen if it’s broken because when we have these if then set up, if we’ve created an approach to handle it already, there doesn’t need to be any anger in the situation. It ends up kind of being a fact in your mind at that point. Like oops, they breached the boundary. This is what I’m going to do. That’s it, no anger, no hard feelings already established his boundary and this is what’s going to happen. I’m just enforcing it and a reminder to not manipulate or control others in this process. The boundary is for you, right? This is what you are going to do. If something happens, not what anyone else is going to do, they can keep doing it and to make sure that it’s very clear and simple. If you yell in the meeting, I will leave period pretty straightforward. I like this quote from Henry Cloud, you get what you tolerate. And another one that’s similar to it, that no one knows who said it, but whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will have. So encourage you today to go out and become more aware of your boundaries and as you do make a decision that you are going to establish a boundary, create an approach to deal with it. Kind of an if then statement for yourself, communicate the boundary at the right moment and then enforce it. Follow up on it with yourself and of course monitor and adjust. As you go in this process, you will become more confident and stronger and courageous and trust worthy and you will be on the path to offering up your best work. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at move your desk dot com.