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How Boundaries Are Essential For Growth

4 MIN READ

Each year I choose a word to represent a theme that I work towards. I put the word on my phone screensaver to remind myself every day of my goals. Over the past five years I’ve guided myself to Consolidate (twice … it was a big clean up that took ages 😉), Charge, Balance, and Leverage. This little strategy has profoundly improved my life with the clarity, focus and action that comes from always being intentional, on the front foot with my aims.

I’ve been blessed with abundant growth over recent times. More invitations. More clients. More people. More relationships. More learning. More opportunities than ever before. This has been so wonderful, especially because it has highlighted the need to manage things with a focus on what matters most. My family. My health. My loved ones. My business growth.

Me time.

My ability to sustain all this goodness in ways that allow me to continue to pass on the abundance I’ve been given to others.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything” Warren Buffet

My word for this year is Boundaries. I spent the last couple of months of last year preparing for this new focus, and at this point, I have built up some serious momentum. I’ve been implementing some winning strategies to activate the best ways to maximise the good things in my life. The trick is working strategies which prevent you from being overwhelmed or derailed by the sheer magnitude of it all.

Boundaries Require Clarity

I’ve already realised that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries requires crystal clear insight on my goals and preferences. Choosing the boundaries of my life means being certain about what I need and want, and what I don’t. Establishing boundaries is about knowing what I want to keep, which then shows me the things that I am best to let go of. Activating those boundaries is about finding the language to explicitly define what I choose, and politely decline the rest.

The challenge of this word has proven itself to be my toughest yet. It means I am saying ‘No’ a lot. It means I’m being more disciplined with my lifestyle choices. And it has certainly meant putting on my protector hat for the things (and people) I love most. Already, there have been times where this has felt ruthless. Practising being firm with my boundaries has already meant saying no to things I would have previously gone along with because it was easier. It’s also meant being firm with myself and my habits, creating new personal routines that carve out space for a more rewarding way of life.

Handy Tips For Your Own Boundaries

To make things straight forward, I thought I would share some tips for maintaining healthy boundaries in your own life.

Define Your Values

If you are uncertain about the things that are the most important to you, it’s going to be very difficult for you to establish boundaries in your life. Knowing what you stand for, what you exist for, and what you want in life will be the strength that you need to make strong decisions. Your core values are the very foundation of your ability to hold your ground. Knowing your purpose and making it your first priority will give you the confidence and conviction to stand firm. Get some help to define these, then protect them as if your life depends on it!

Set Clear Goals

Knowing your purpose is highly important, but if you don’t turn that mission into goals you work towards each day you will leave too much space for distractions and interruptions. This will undermine your ability to maintain healthy boundaries more than any other factor. If you develop projects with deadlines that are set in stone, you will be so busy that you won’t have time to say ‘Yes’ to things you should be saying ‘No’ to. Make your days count for something you invest deeply into. Create boundaries to protect your time and headspace from the influence of distractions. You have a legacy to build and a difference to make. Give it everything you’ve got!

Write New Scripts

When someone invites you to join their group, attend their event, sign up to their newsletter, or help with their problem, it can be flattering. But setting boundaries depends on you seeing those invitations as a red flag of distraction. If the invitation will interrupt the achievement of your goals, you simply must say ‘No’. Find ways of saying ‘Thank you but I’m busy that day’ or ‘Thank you for thinking of me but I’m working other deadlines this month/quarter/year’, or ‘I appreciate the invitation but I need to double-check how it fits with my other plans.’ Practising ways of politely declining will let you protect healthy boundaries without getting caught up in the moment.

Get Thicker Skin

The most difficult thing I find with maintaining boundaries is dealing with the feeling that I’ve let someone down or fallen short of their expectations. If this sounds like you too, I get it! We both need to remind ourselves that their needs or wants are not our responsibility. It is not up to you to make their thing work, and certainly not at the expense of your own well being. Even your children need you to maintain strict boundaries with how much they rely on you. If the people you’re saying no to are hurt, disappointed or even angry, the best you can do is be polite, explain your position, then walk away … and don’t apologise! You have nothing to apologise for. Standing your ground with your boundaries will empower you to new strength.

Celebrate Your Wins

When you do the right thing and say ‘No’, give yourself a pat on the back. When you achieve a goal because you made it your first priority, reward yourself. Establish daily routines that you celebrate following. Work towards important goals that really matter. Mark the success of achievement with some kind of celebration. YOu might reward your success by taking time off. Buying new shoes. Giving an hour to your favourite book or TV show. Having a night out with your loved ones. Whatever you do, make sure that you motivate yourself to conquer the challenges of setting boundaries by rewarding your victories.

 

I’m expecting my focus on boundaries will progressively clear the way for more abundance than I’ve ever experienced. Because like all great management projects, it will clean out all the ordinary or even good things in my life that have actually prevented me from accessing the BEST things.

I wonder what your focus is for this year? How are you going with it? It’s a new year … a new decade. A chance to take everything you have now and turn it into something spectacular. What will it be?

 

Thinking About Identity In Times Of Change

4 MIN READ

If you’re anything like me you’ve been riding a personal and professional roller coaster lately. The world has been turned upside down, so it can be difficult to feel confident that you know which way is up. I have invested heavily in my self-care to continue making progress through this time. I’m dedicated to keeping my head above water by anchoring into the core values and beliefs that make me who I am. These never change … and if you commit to unearthing more of those treasures in yourself you can hone them and polish them up to a brilliant shine, even in seasons like this where the world is locked down. Especially in these seasons!

“Success is a journey, not a destination” Arthur Ashe

We’ve all heard the quotes. They become tired pretty quickly. It’s not that their truth doesn’t remain … it’s just that they get boring!

So now, I am going to brave the challenge of attempting to shed new light on this journey of Becoming that we’re all facing right now … Without going down the path of cliches and platitudes!  I’m hoping that the timing of my thoughts might just cut through the craziness of the world at the moment. Our perspective is everything right now.

“We are the hero of our own story.” Mary McCarthy

How you see changes what you see” Kerry Anne Nelson

Thought #1: The World Does Not Happen AT You

I’m betting I’m not the only one who has slipped into victimhood lately. “I don’t deserve this.” “This is not fair.”

Get ready … brace yourself … I’m about to sting you with a slap of reality.

Life does not owe you anything other than what you have.

The market has never promised to do you any favours. You are no more special than anyone else battling it out in the trenches of this global Lockdown. Your customers will not spend with you just because “they should”.

Ouch!

But let’s pause for a second … because this harsh reality actually has the power to make your experience of life itself truly authentic and completely invigorating if you can flip it around.  The switch comes when you change the underlying assumption here. Move away from disempowerment through to embrace the truth that you have everything you need to move forward.

Instead of looking at what has happened TO you over this past while, start looking for the things that have happened FOR you. What new opportunities exist right now that could not have happened if things had followed the old path of your life? You might have more time to yourself, increased flexibility with your work,  greater opportunities to create and build, or a sharper focus on the things that really matter in life. Get busy making the most of the gifts that have landed right at your feet! If you look for them, you will find them, without a doubt.

 

Thought #2: You’ve Only Really Had One Real Power

“There’s nothing I can do to make a difference here.” “I’m drowning here!”

You feel powerless to fix this situation, like we all do … but the absolute truth of the matter is that you do have the power to choose how you respond in any given moment, even this one … regardless of how overwhelming or pointy it may feel. In fact, it is the only power you’ve ever had … REALLY.

You might have tried to convince yourself that you were in control of your world and in charge of everything that happened in your life. Now life is proving that this is not true. It has never been true.

But here’s the rub. Having the chance to learn this, or remember it fresh in this season really is a gift. It’s possibly the most empowering, transformational lesson you can and will ever learn. You are powerful to choose.

Don’t get me wrong here. Despite your powerlessness to dictate what happens with other people, events and circumstances, your power to create significant change cannot be underestimated. It is with this human power that entire worlds have been transformed throughout history. The same power demonstrated by heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Edith Cowan, and Amelia Earhart have possessed … that power exists in you!

I can hear some of your objections right now … “But what about when She did this to me, or He said that?” “What about when THAT happened?”

The same applies. Even in the rare times when a person is overtly attacking you or seeking to undermine your happiness. Even when the world has been shut down to avoid a virus that millions have caught and hundreds of thousands have been killed by. Even when your government is telling you and everyone else to stay home, shut up shop and stay away from the people you love. You still have the power to choose your response.

The real question is, how will you choose to capitalise on the gifts that have been put right at your feet?

 

Thought #3: Growth Has Always Been Situational

I’m a big fan of personal development. I take a lot of pride and reward in being the person who reflects deeply and honestly about who and how I am in any given moment. I often marvel at how endless this process of reflection is for all of us. It literally never ends! While there is breath in your lungs there will always be something new to learn about yourself and others.

This lockdown period might feel like you’ve been sucked into a vortex of devastating loss. So it would be understandable that personal growth is not at the top of your priority list right now. Like a gigantic wave, you might have the impression that the world has dumped you facedown into the ocean floor. This is a shocking situation that came from nowhere.

Life itself is a lesson and every moment is a teacher. The only way any type of growth occurs is within a situation. No-one could ever have known how they would fare in the face of a global pandemic, because it has never happened before. None of us could have predicted how the world would change, or how they would deal with it, because it was unheard of! It has been quite a surreal turn of events, yes.

Nonetheless, being faced with this kind of upheaval can remind us again that growth always comes right in the heart of the circumstance. Your breaking point is your making point. What are you going to make of this?

If I was going to run with an old saying to wrap up my thoughts today, I would say this:

It’s time to rally your intentions, beliefs and personal capacity to rise to the challenge of making a fresh new batch of lemonade with the lemons you’ve been handed!

But I want to keep my promise to avoid cliche’s and platitudes, so I will simply sign off with a reminder that how you see really does determine what you see. Always.

 

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