Where to Draw the Line
Healthy Boundaries and Good Priorities Mean a Successful Life!
This article appeared
in an issue of
Boundaries are very important to establish in all your relationships. You have to know
what your limits are. You have to know what is your business and what is not your business. What is your
problem and what is not your problem. What you need to take care of and what you don't need to take care
of. What you will tolerate and what you won't tolerate.
You need to set your boundaries at the beginning of each relationship. This is not to
say you have a list of dos and don'ts that you hand to every personal and businessperson you deal with.
This does mean you need to have clear boundaries in mind, and when they are stepped over the first time
you gently inform the person and nip the potential problem in the bud. For instance: one of my clients
started sending me email jokes. I didn't want any unnecessary mail so I had to set my boundaries. I
explained that it is a policy of mine to use that email address for business correspondence only. Thereafter,
I knew I had to make a point to inform my future clients of this policy.
Remember you are building a foundation for successful and respectful relationships. It
is always best to respect not only your own boundaries but those of others as well. The best way to do this
is to ask if it is all right to do something before you actually do it. Even with the simple things. A case in
point would be what times are good to call someone. What is too early, what is too late? For example, I am an
early to bed and early to rise person. I also like to have an hour of quiet time before I go to bed. Therefore,
I set my boundaries so that no one calls me too late in the evening.
This article appeared in an issue of
the in-flight magazine
of Air-Tran Airways.
In business relationships boundaries need to be set as well. Let your clients and partners know
where you prefer to be called, and between what hours. If you prefer not to be called on weekends say so.
Personally, my weekends are reserved for family and friends. When I have social gatherings at my house I let everyone
know that no shoptalk is permitted only fun and frivolity. This gives everyone the chance to get away from work and
relax and have fun.
Setting healthy boundaries is one way of creating a solid foundation and symmetry in your life.
These boundaries will help you maintain the balance between your business and personal relationships. In turn, this
helps keep you on track in honoring your personal relationships and not allowing the business side of your life to
grow out of control.
In setting boundaries you are claiming the priorities in your life and honoring them. I can assure
you that if you think you need to sacrifice all you are to get ahead in business - your personal life will fail. When
your personal life fails it affects your business life and that will suffer as well. The key to success in any, and every,
area of life is balance.
Knowing your priorities is a key factor. Let's do an exercise that might help illustrate this point.
Draw a circle with eight equal parts like a wagon wheel. In each part write the different aspects of your life (i.e.
money, health, career, fun and recreation, significant other / romance, friends and family and physical environment).
Within each piece of the wheel put a line at what level of satisfaction are you at in each category. How much time and
energy do you spend in each area? Are you satisfied where you are?
When you look at the areas that take the greatest amount of your time and energy, are they ones that
are the most satisfying to you? If not, take some time and see what you could do to get back the balance in your life. There
is always a way to make things work out. After all, the life you are living right now is a direct result of the choices you
To get the balance back in your life you might have to start making some different choices and setting
new boundaries. In setting these new boundaries you will basically be re-training your friends and business associates. Be
gentle with them and know that they are used to the old boundaries and may forget a time or two. Make a game of reminding them.
Even ask for their help in helping you to stay true to yourself. People love to be part of a team. Recruit them to your team
and let them feel good about helping you keep your priorities straight. Tell them you need their help in placing and enforcing
your new boundaries.
If you were going to quit smoking and told your friends and co-works that you needed them to help you I can
assure you they would all be jumping on the band wagon and wouldn't let you go buy that pack of cigarettes! Same thing holds
true with setting your new boundaries. Simply let them know and stick to it.
As your life gets more balanced, your stress will drop, you will be more relaxed, have more energy and be
more pleasant to be around. Setting boundaries helps others know how to treat and respect you because you are treating and
respecting yourself. We teach people how to treat us - in every area of life.
Once you begin to get your priorities in life figured out and begin to notice the time and energy you put
into them your life will slowly, but surely, begin to change. As this happens, the attitude of the people around you will
change they are following your lead. Your attitude toward yourself is changing. As your attitude changes then your actions
and choices begin to change.
Change your mind, and your attitude, about what is important in your life. Once your new attitude is in place
and you get a determination to stick to your goals, your life will begin to change. These changes do not happen over night, nor
are they easy. It wasn't an easy process to get you to where you are now. Be determined, and at the same time, be easy on yourself
balance the two.
This is the first step to living life to the fullest. This is truly the beginning of the best part of your life
your future. The future you are going to create. This is how you begin to live the life you love and love the life you live!
Saga Stevin is a Motivational Speaker, and Professional
Personal Coach, a lay minister, as well as an inspirational writer. She is the author of The Golden
Triangle: a simple philosophy on dating & relationships, Be Nice! Discovering the pearls in
lifes little lessons, and the soon to be released Power Walk: finding supernatural power in everyday