How Bravely Do You Hold Your Boundaries?

Recently, we were skiing as a family over the holidays. We were at a ski hill that has many lifts and areas of the mountain to explore. Some areas of the mountain are so far away from the main lift, in fact, that the hill closes in stages – one area is closed as of 3pm, the lift it serves closes at 3:10, another lift closes at 3:20 and the main lift closes at 4:00.  I find it a bit of fun to catch all the “last lifts” to get the most out of your ski day before the sun sets on another fun day outside in the mountains.

My husband said – maybe they’ll leave this back lift open longer because the hill is busier today…. I’m like uh… that’s a hard no! They can’t sometimes leave the lifts open longer, or sometimes close the backside of the mountain later… they have to stick to their timelines, not only from a mountain safety perspective but also from a staffing, consistency, and reliability perspective.

“What separates the good players from the greats people remember is consistency.” – Ryan Mason, English Football Coach 

Today, I want to talk about boundary-setting. The key topics that consistently come up in my coaching practice are:

  • How to have difficult conversations
  • How to get more done in less time
  • How to know with great clarity, the best next course of action

I can give you countless exercises on managing your time efficiently; on ensuring you’re doing the most important things first, and on helping you achieve resonant choices with your decision… all the coaching in the world won’t help you if you give away your time to things and people that aren’t important to you.

Which leads me to ask you:

How Bravely Do You Hold Your Boundaries? 

Like a downhill ski hill, if you ski out of bounds, this is problematic for the ski officials:

  • They can’t guarantee your safety
  • They’re advising you that it’s dangerous to ski out of bounds
  • It might be fun for a little while, but it could easily lead to territory that isn’t getting you to where you want to go.

So, what to do about it?

1. Know why you should implement brave boundaries on your time

One of the biggest things I hear about from my clients is that their time keeps getting hijacked. Have you ever seen this sign on someone’s desk? “Do you want me to rush the rush job I am rushing now, or rush the rush job you want me to rush?” 

This means that everyone else’s ‘rush’ job gets priority over yours. What jobs do YOU want to rush? Knowing your own priorities for your day is the key to ensuring your priorities get taken care of before everyone else’s priorities do.

2. Allow time for “walk-ins”

I wrote a blog article a number of years ago based on my husband’s philosophy that you should always have room for “walk-ins.” Many physicians allow time in their packed calendar for one or two “walk-ins” a day so they have room for the “urgent” vs the “planned” appointments in their day.

How do you manage those urgent requests?

You need to block your calendar off for the things YOU need to get done that are YOUR priorities. And then allow for “walk-ins” and slot those in. This way, you can plan for your own priorities and ensure your plans don’t get derailed.

3. Know your Obliger or People-Pleaser tendencies 

Most people in the world fall under the category of “Obligers.” This follows Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Quiz which identifies an individual’s personality framework and offers insight into how we respond to expectations, from ourselves and others, so that we can more effectively achieve our goals. Find out your tendency HERE.

You can find out if you’re high on the People Pleaser spectrum with the Positive Intelligence quiz. This assessment helps you identify your top two self-sabotaging behaviours. If Pleaser is up there, that’s another indicator you may struggle to maintain your self-defined boundaries. You can take that quiz HERE.  

Curious to learn more time-saving and productivity strategies? Join me and my community of business-loving solopreneurs at my next CEO Day coming up on February 24, 2023, Align Your Productivity. You can learn more and register HERE.

Susan Elford

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PR Launchpad Guidebook ABOUT SUSAN ELFORD

Susan Elford is a Leadership Coach and PR Strategist who especially loves to work with women who want it all: a fulfilling career or business while living a full and satisfying life. Susan helps her clients get real about their strengths and celebrate and promote them so they get more of what they want: success at work; success in business & success in life.

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