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Are Your Boundaries Set in Sand or Stone?
Set firm boundaries to achieve success in your business and life.
“We love to overlook the boundaries which we do not wish to pass.” - Samuel Johnson
I know that I have talked about the importance of setting boundaries in your life and your business for success ad nauseam. I have written a few articles about why we need to practice this action, but I keep hearing the same comments from my clients and potential clients. Comments like. “I’m in overwhelm, I can’t say NO,” “I feel guilty if I set boundaries and my clients leave.” And on it goes. So I felt compelled to revisit this subject.
A friend of mine said, ‘Setting boundaries is all fine and dandy, but what really matters is whether your set them in sand or stone.” Hmm, pretty interesting thought, isn’t it?
My friend’s comment reminded me of my own struggles with setting boundaries on the road to success in my life and my business. You’ve heard the saying, “When there is a lesson to be learned, a teacher appears.” Amen to that. Why? Because every time you set a boundary there is going to be someone who will test you to see if you are serious and committed.
I have found that the first ones to test you will be your family. The most obvious ones would be your parents and your children. Why? Emotional Heart Strings - you know those sticky little strings that can tie you up in knots and cause huge pangs of guilt. And believe me, if you were raised as Italian Catholic like I was, our mothers were so good at it that they could have been travel agents for Guilt Trips. We weren’t taught to be high powered business women. Hence, the reason it took me a lot longer to free myself from those sticky strings.
Boundaries that are set in sand eventually will wash away with the tide of change. These are what I call the ‘maybe’ boundaries. Maybe is what you say to those people who ask you to do something for them and you are too emotionally attached to them to come right out and say a firm “No, I can’t do that.” So we revert back to saying ‘maybe’ to their request as we’re scared that we might hurt their feelings or lose them as friends, husbands, lovers or however they’re tied to us emotionally, if we come straight out and say no.
My biggest teachers were and still are my family whom I love deeply. Thanks to them constantly testing my commitment, I have become a poster child for setting boundaries, and become stronger and more committed to myself and my intentions and goals.
This opens up a whole can of worms for ourselves because we are not living an authentic life by sitting on the ‘maybe’ fence. Not only are we not putting a value on our own personal feelings and time, we are totally disregarding the most important person in our life - ourselves! By being wishy washy and not stating how WE feel about that person’s request, we say ‘maybe’ which 9 times out of 10 turns into a yes. Then we end up being ticked off at ourselves for not having enough backbone to have said No right from the get-go.
So, how (or perhaps more importantly) with whom are you setting your ‘stone’ boundaries with? Can you honestly look at your Mom or your daughter (as in my case) and say, “No, that won’t work for me.” Or can you say No to your husband when he says, “Can you stop what you are doing to go take care of something for me?” or can you say NO to a client who wants you to meet them after 5 or on a Saturday to finish up some business? Ah, the sticky strings that really test your boundaries.
Here’s how to go from ‘sand’ to ‘stone’ when setting your boundaries:
1. Get clear about your intentions. What are you committed to doing in your business (and life?!)
2. Give yourself permission to say No.
3. Ask yourself if this is something you really want to do or are you doing it out of guilt. Nine times out of ten your inner guilt critic will be talking to you. Take time to check in with yourself and remember where you were going in the first place.
4. Start off with small requests. Gives you more time to practice saying that word ‘No.’
5. Practice, Practice, Practice! In the beginning, you may not be able to say No every time you really should. Forgive yourself, learn from the experience and move on. Tomorrow is another day.
Learning to set your boundaries in stone instead of sand will accelerate your efforts to succeed in your business AND your life.
Cookie Tuminello is the unconventional, sassy, savvy and successful founder of Success Source and the ‘go to’ Personal Power Mentor and Business Strategy Coach for Women who want to create more productivity, profit and power in their business and life. She’s a published author, creator of the
powerful People Pleaser No More System, and ezine called Coffee With Cookie
Cookie Tuminello Cookie Tuminello is founder of Success Source, LLC, creator of the 8 step People Pleaser No More™ System, published author and sought after keynote speaker. In her powerful program, women learn how to go from being overwhelmed and overpowered, to having more Power, Purpose, and Prosperity in their business and personal lives right NOW. To receive Cookie’s FREE Report “50 Ways To Take Back Your Power Right Now” and sign up for her FREE newsletter “Coffee With Cookie”