In our busy, fast paced, undervalued and overcommitted lives, we often find ourselves being pulled in many different directions. We are increasingly focusing all of our time and energy professionally getting things done for our colleagues and organizations and personally spending hours on the phone listening to our family and friends talking incessantly about themselves and their latest successes and challenges. While we all want to be loved, needed and valued by others we soon discover that we feel tired and frustrated and that we are spending less time and energy on ourselves to the point of ignoring and neglecting what’s important to us both personally and professionally.
If you are feeling this way, it’s time for you to draw a line in the sand and define your boundaries both personally and professionally. What does this look like?
Personally, it means that you think about whether you have the time, energy and desire to do what is being asked of you. It means that you stop being the rescuer of everyone and the achiever of everything. It means that you take some time every day for yourself and that you learn how to say “yes” with energy, excitement and enthusiasm and “no” with courage, certainty and confidence. It means that you are comfortable with having a whole day free to do absolutely nothing. It means that you make decisions that support your values and beliefs.
Professionally, it means when you receive a request that requires a commitment you resist the temptation to say “yes” immediately and instead say “let me think about it and get back to you”. It means that when you know a colleague wants to waste your time and energy, you can politely say, “I’m in the middle of something”, “I’m busy at the moment”, “I have a deadline” or “can we do with this later?” It means that you deal with your clients/customers and colleagues with honesty and integrity. It means that you know when it’s time to stop working and when you must turn off your computer and smartphone and take a much deserved break. It means knowing what you need to respond to immediately and what can wait until you have given it the right amount of consideration. It means that when the pressure is on you have the guts to say “I need more time” or “I am not ready”.
You respect and recognize boundaries that are defined for you like lines, walls, doors, gates, fences, roads, bridges, borders, oceans, rivers and mountains. You can draw a line in the sand then define and maintain your own personal and professional boundaries so that you and your family, friends, clients/customers and colleagues can respect and recognize them.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experience with defining and maintaining personal and professional boundaries.