Setting Healthy Boundaries.


Boundary setting helps you prioritize your needs over other people’s wants.


Rules and boundaries are everywhere to help us navigate our way through life. Without them we would be totally lost like a boat without a rudder.


Most of these boundaries come from our beliefs and values and setting and enforcing them takes constant work.


“A boundary is where your responsibility ends and another person’s begins. It stops you from doing things for others that they should do for themselves.” Unknown


For Maryanne and I, our three adult children are proof that we have been pretty good at setting and enforcing healthy boundaries during their upbringing. Our harmonious 35-year marriage also shows us that we are good at setting healthy boundaries in our relationship. However; I don’t feel nearly as positive about my setting and enforcing of boundaries in my work and business, and for years I have struggled to understand why??


Over the last couple of decades, I have had a series of disappointing employees that just didn’t work out. I now realise that not setting and enforcing boundaries is probably the main reason for these underperforming team members.


“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is.” Unknown


Deep down I have known about this management deficiency for a fair while and I feel this is a weakness in my character and I often beat myself up about it. I also recognise that I am poor at setting boundaries for myself, especially emotional boundaries…


In my work I have perfectionist tendencies and I am a bit of a control freak. I want everything done exactly the way I want it done. So, it is often easier to do it myself rather than accepting it not quite right.


But trying to run a building business single handily is a downward spiral and I am aware that “you can’t please everyone and you will only dye trying”.


After some research and reflection, I feel my problem with setting boundaries at work is really a problem with assertiveness, (imposing my will on others), which is an important part of your “EQ – emotional intelligence”.


Stop asking why they keep doing it and ask why you keep allowing it?” Unknown


Most of our Emotional struggles come from not having good boundaries with our thoughts and mind. Setting mental boundaries is all about managing your attention – choosing what to focus on.

Shifting your thoughts and focus onto something helpful and productive = taking responsibility for your attention. It’s a simple concept, but it’s not easy to master.


Luckily, this type of self-awareness and setting healthy boundaries can be cultivated and improved and below are five things I am working on to help set better boundaries.


  1. Be as specific as possible vague boundaries don’t work. If you want boundaries to be effective make them crystal clear, “if this specific action happens, this specific result will occur”.


  1. Only set boundaries you are prepared to enforce – Setting boundaries that are not enforced only teaches people not to respect your boundaries. People only change their behaviour if there are consequences for that behaviour.


  1. Set boundaries for the long term – fine tune their details and be sure to praise or reward people for sticking to your boundaries. Everyone loves positive feedback.


  1. Be clear about WHY you have set specific boundaries. Most boundaries are tied to your core values so outline why specific boundaries are important to you.


  1. Be honest with yourself. Setting healthy boundaries is all about knowing your priorities and communicating them to others.



The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefitting from you having none.” Unknown


Thanks for reading,

Stay safe and be true to yourself.


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