10 Things You Need to Know About Boundaries

Business boundaries

Boundaries are somewhat of an enigma. We know we ‘should’ have them but the thought of them can make you feel ‘ick’. Or sick, even. 

You know they’re necessary, desirable even. But how do you go from people-pleaser mode to confident boundary boss when you’re a business owner (and human).

Inspired by one of the recent episodes of The Imperfects podcast with Dr Em on boundaries, coupled with years of experience in working with and coaching clients on boundaries, from webinars to 1:1 to group programs, here’s my dish on the top 10 things you need to know about boundaries.

1. Nobody can create boundaries for you. Annoying, right?! You will need to summon your own willingness, courage and imperfect action to get better at these.

      2. Even if you don’t think you have boundaries, you do.

      They’re most likely just really flimsy. They might exist only as a notion, not as a living, breathing thing. Think about something that you would NOT stand for in a million years- someone doing wrong by your child; your partner cheating on you; a wreckless car careening down the freeway in the wrong direction.

      When something like THAT happens, you WILL take action. That’s your boundary in action. But chances are that things that are more seemingly minor won’t get you moving. This is holding you back from more freedom, flexibility, joy, fulfilment and flow, and believe it or not, a higher level of success and tangible results.

        3. Your boundaries can relate to other people (eg your response time to a phone message or an email) or to yourself (whether you voluntarily offer to discount your pricing; the timelines you set for getting a task back to a client even though they never asked for it to be done urgently; your commitment to going for those walks you keep telling yourself you’re going to get up early for, but the doona is always talking you out of it).

          4. Your boundaries reflect your values– think about your partner cheating on you. What value is being challenged- respect; honesty?

            5. You must communicate your boundaries- people can’t mind read.

            They don’t know how busy you are; what you’re interested in doing; what else is going on in your life; how tired you are; what other commitments you have; what your hormones are doing; what’s considered ‘urgent’ in your world; what is most cherished by you.

            So you must let people know these things, not by going into vast amounts of unnecessary detail, but by what you tell them:

            • I’m not available for that right now;
            • I’ll have this to you by early next week;
            • I’m not going to be able to take a look at this until tomorrow;
            • I’m taking it easy this month so I don’t overextend myself- how about we catch up next month when I’ve got more availability?
            • Can you please help me to work out what the main priority is here because if I take on that task/project, something else will have to get pushed back.

              6. You never need to actually refer to the word boundary when you assert your boundaries. In fact, it will probably sound weird if you do. 

                7. A boundary should have a consequence that you are prepared to follow through on.

                For example, if you tell your kids that you’ll be available to do something with them after school, follow through by not booking last minute appointments in your calendar for that day.

                Avoid setting such pressing deadlines that you’re forced to overstep your own promises.

                Become the person who trusts themselves with their word, so others trust you too. This starts with following through on your commitments to yourself (back to that early morning walk, or doing Dry July or not looking at emails after dinner if they’re the promises you made to yourself). This is about walking your talk, not just talking it.

                  8. If you don’t know what your boundaries are there’s no way you’ll be able to tell people about them.

                  Work out what you want (think about your values and what you want more or less of) and create boundaries to match.

                  Eg I want to have more work/life balance so I’m going to take Fridays off. The boundary is clearly stated in your email signature: I work Monday to Thursday (you could also include your work hours). Emails received outside these days will be responded to on my next work day.

                    9. The quality of your boundaries, the way you communicate them and your willingness to follow through with consequences is directly proportional to the quality of your life.

                    Improve your boundaries and watch your relationships, self-care, sleep, energy, business, parenting, health and wellbeing, and confidence soar.

                      In the above example, this means not picking up your phone or checking emails if you’re having Fridays off. Unless it’s more a case of ‘no client-facing work on Fridays’. Be specific about what you want so your boundaries are appropriate.

                      10. Setting the boundary, no matter how unpleasant it feels, will always be better than seething about something later. Cue resentment. It will also help you to avoid exhaustion, burnout and being in reaction mode to whatever is going on around you. Having said that, you’re not always going to do this or get it ‘right’. Be compassionate with yourself, learn whatever lesson you can from the experience, and apply it next time.

                      Anyone and everyone can improve their boundaries. The first step is to know what you want to experience and how this relates to your values; the second step is to work out what boundaries will help you to achieve this and the third step is to start to put them into place.

                      Book your Clarity Call and Let’s Chat if you’d like 1:1 support to boost your business boundaries so you can thrive in all areas of business and life.

                      If you’re curious about booking a team workshop on boundaries, please get in touch.


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