As we speed towards the upcoming months, activities, vacations, and general socializing are all ramping up. Meanwhile, more businesses are reopening and restrictions are lessening. Vaccinations are becoming readily available and many people are inching closer and closer toward a sense of pre-Covid interaction and engagement. With so much uncertainty and seemingly ever-changing information, comfort levels vary greatly during this transition period. This presents a great opportunity for you to assess or reassess your own boundaries.
We often make the mistake of thinking of boundaries as limitations. Boundaries are mistakenly perceived as limits or dividing points. But, in reality, boundaries are a way to clearly demonstrate and communicate what you expect of others and what they can expect of you. And this level of clarity should be seen as incredibly liberating, not constraining.
On a professional level, the boundaries you put in place serve multiple functions. They help to reinforce your company mission. They set guidelines and expectations for code of conduct. They provide employees and vendors with a sense of confidence with what they can expect and shouldn’t accept. And they contribute to the systematic framework that should be in place to help your company run optimally.
When setting boundaries in a professional environment, here are a few key elements to keep in mind:
- Understand your core values. The boundaries you put in place should support and reflect your company’s core values.
- Solicit feedback. We are limited by our perspective and experiences. When coming up with a comprehensive system, it is always great to get feedback from others.
- Make it clear, consistent and universal. Communicate your expectations in writing. Encourage and enforce them objectively and without exception.
- Be transparent. If and when an issue arises that compromises a boundary, use it as a teaching moment and a means to demonstrate your commitment to fostering a healthy work environment.
On a personal level, boundaries are the cornerstone of self-care and relationship building. When it comes to self-care, boundaries help us with self-reflection and self-respect. They set a tone for the standard to which we hold ourselves. And when those with whom we interact understand and appreciate our needs and wants, they are empowered not only with the knowledge of how best to engage with us, but with the confidence and encouragement to share their own boundaries as well.
While many of the principles of professional boundaries can be applied to creating personal boundaries, here are a few more considerations:
- Take some time to become self-aware. Think about what is important to you and why and apply boundaries accordingly.
- Demonstrate your boundaries by living your boundaries. When you abide by the boundaries you expect of others, you tend to attract the type of people who will respect your boundaries.
- Express your needs and wants up front. Don’t expect others to know what you are thinking. Be comfortable sharing your boundaries with others.
- Address issues immediately. It is not fair to you or the person who violates a boundary to let things fester.
- Ask without apology or guilt. If you don’t respect and appreciate the boundaries you have in place, you can’t expect others to do so.
- Accept the no and move on. Not everyone can or will meet you where you need or want them to. Be willing to accept that and move on.
When established and articulated effectively, boundaries truly set us free.
For more information about this subject and all aspects of The BUILD Framework®, consider getting a free copy of my book: https://johnpeitzman.com/free.