Setting Boundaries

Apr 25, 2022

My values are an amalgamation of my life experiences.

I unintentionally re-defined my personal boundaries (with myself) during my convalescing the past 7 weeks. There are so many insights I’ve gleaned about myself.

Believe it or not, our values are the foundation of our boundaries. I’m not talking about what you value in the world like family and friends. I’m talking about how you value yourself and the things you do to demonstrate that value. Your values are the culmination of your life experiences, which make them unique to you. They impact your expectations and boundaries because they play a large role in how you interact with people, situations/circumstances, and yourself.

Creating boundaries also means saying no, which is an act of self-care.

My values came into play whereby I gave myself permission and space to heal, guilt-free which enabled me to honor myself. With the stress of working on my business, taking care of my dog, movement, cleaning, etc., I surrendered and asked for support. One of the best ways to create boundaries is to learn to say NO. Saying no can be a difficult task, but it’s important to remember that you have a right to set boundaries and that it is in your self-interest as well as others’ for you to do so. You may feel selfish for creating boundaries—and perhaps you are being somewhat selfish—but this does not mean that setting boundaries and saying no are unimportant.

As much as we have boundaries with others, we need to have our own boundaries (agreements) with ourselves.

Setting boundaries means limiting time with people who drain your energy.

For starters, as an empath and an introvert, I often take on the emotions of those around me. This drains my energy every time but I like the people I choose to be around. If you are like me, know that it’s okay to limit your time with them. But since we can’t always choose who’s in our lives, try to take some time afterward (e.g., go on a walk or listen to relaxing music) for yourself so you can recharge after interacting with these energy zappers.

It’s also important that you know what sparks joy for you. Knowing this will help you make decisions about how to spend your time and resources in ways that renew rather than drain your energy reserves.  I will share some tools below on how to incorporate this when setting boundaries.

A new situation requires new boundaries.

The need for boundaries may arise after you’ve started a new job, especially if the culture is very different from what you’re used to. Your job as an employee or manager is to set your boundaries with coworkers and team members without alienating them or making them think that you don’t want to be part of the team.

If there are inappropriate behaviors, such as gossiping about other coworkers, being passive-aggressive in meetings, or other unprofessional activities, it’s important to draw the line so that the behaviors stop or aren’t directed towards you. Some people in these situations may avoid confrontation at all costs because they want to fit in and worry about coming across as rude by saying no.

However, if you’re going to thrive at this job (or any other), it’s crucial that you’re able to explain your boundaries clearly and kindly so that everyone can get on board with them. For example: “I love hearing about my coworkers’ lives outside of work! But I think we should save personal stories for outside of work hours.”

A client’s experience.

I recently had the privilege of partnering with an executive in advertising as she decided to take on more responsibilities and move from individual contributor to managing a team of 4. Keep in mind, that this is 10 years into her career at the same company in a different role. She never felt compelled to step into management, until now after knowing her worth. Covid changed this for her in many ways.

Amongst all the areas with regard to this shift e.g. learning management skills, feedback, doing performance reviews, and all the skills required for this adventure, her biggest fear was – “I am an introvert and I have to shift from getting out of my head and being more engaged and be present for these individuals I’m responsible for” 

We worked on a few things over the past 3 sessions i.e. what skill gaps that need to be addressed for her to feel confident? what kind of leader she wants to be and needs to be?, where she needs to lean in more and not? How to establish boundaries because she is also now managing a peer and friend and that is what scared her the most.

Here are the tools we used to set personal and professional boundaries.

We worked on values and used them to explore the following as it pertains to her level of experience and reality:

Redefining her values in the context of her new role. Separating her personal from her professional and also looking for alignment. E.g .privacy, authenticity, learning, etc. 

What she will allow in her new role. Where her boundaries and values are not compromised. E.g. when her team doesn’t want to be on video, allowing space to be open in sharing their thoughts, professional development and also feedback request and giving, etc. 

What she will allow, but doesn’t like per se without feeling guilty or angst about it. E.g. those that are disingenuous, have no interest in learning new tools, skills, etc. 

What she won’t allow (clear boundaries). E.g. disrespectfulness, violation of privacy/confidentiality, inflexibility (not open to doing things differently)

I invite you to – EMPOWER, EXPLORE, EVOLVE yourself

Reach out if you need help with establishing boundaries.

Your Chief Curious Coach