Setting boundaries with family and at work is easier said than done. So I created a framework that helps me maintain them.
As moms, everything comes at us from all angles. We are in demand. People need us, people want us. They want our time and they want our energy. If you say yes to everything, if you don’t have boundaries, it’s impossible to thrive.
Without boundaries, you are most likely going to be in a place where you are spread too thin. So I want to talk about the most important thing for you to do to keep your boundaries. It is going to sound simple, but simple does not mean easy.
Let’s always come back to why boundaries are so important. Everybody needs something from us. At work, we have to set boundaries with our boss, with our colleagues, with our peers, and with our team. At home, we have to set boundaries with our partners and with our children. We have to set boundaries outside of our home with our family and our friends.
We even have to set boundaries with ourselves – what we’re willing to accept and not accept. That’s the key point about boundaries. Boundaries are not about other people and what other people do and don’t do. Boundaries are about us as individuals and what we are willing to accept.
Setting boundaries is not about anyone else. It’s not about changing others’ behavior. It’s about us, showcasing and acting on what makes sense for us. The number one thing you have to do to build better boundaries is to be consistent. You have to consistently show people what you will and won’t accept.
Let’s start with being consistent with your kids. If you know that when your toddler sleeps on your bed, you won’t get a night of good sleep, be consistent about it. What I’ve learned is that if I let him every once in a while sleep in the bed, because I’m just too tired to take him back to his room or to have the conversation, then he thinks, “Mom is fine with me sleeping in the bed.” And he asks and does it more often.
That’s a boundary that I have to be consistent with, so I can have better sleep.
At work, I am also consistent with colleagues popping in to have conversations while I’m working. “Hey, can we talk about this later? I’ll be taking a break in a little bit” or, “Hey, let’s schedule lunch sometime so we can talk then.”
I have to consistently show them that I’m not okay with someone just coming in and taking my time and energy in the middle of the workday. I can also express that I do care for them, and I want to hear what they have to talk about, but just not right at that moment.
Boundaries are not about other people. Boundaries are about you as an individual.
Being consistent with your boundaries is key to thriving.
How do you get consistent with boundaries, though? Because it is challenging, I have a framework that has always helped me to set and maintain my boundaries.
When you need to decide whether to say yes or no, ask yourself these six questions:
- Does it feel fun?
- Does it give me an opportunity to grow?
- Is it aligned with my core values?
- Will it move me towards a life I love?
- Is the opportunity cost worth the gain?
- Does this excite me or scare me?
I take on things that are 6 out of 6 yes. Sometimes, I can say yes to those with 4 or 5 yes, but the third question is a deal-breaker. If I answer no to the third question, that’s automatically a boundary I have to maintain.
This framework is a way to help you create those boundaries and to remind yourself why you have them in place. If things are coming at you, and they don’t pass those six questions, then you know that they’re not going to lead you to thrive in life.
If you don’t have boundaries, it’s impossible to thrive.
I want you to thrive in life, so use these six questions to help you set boundaries as new requests come your way.
Write these questions down, keep them in your notes, and with each new request that comes your way, ask yourself these questions.
If you want more tips on empowering yourself and creating more joy in your life and if you’re ready to take a step to thriving as a working mom, book a consultation call for my Career Ownership VIP Day here.