3 Steps to More Effective Boundaries in Your Business and Your Life
In this week’s post you’ll learn 2 powerful tools that when used together will not only improve your confidence and decision-making abilities, they’ll also enhance your capacity for true connection with others.
It comes down to your ability to be vulnerable in a boundaried way. This powerful combo enables you to get the successful results you’re seeking while enjoying the quality relationships which make it all so meaningful.
What exactly does that mean? Let’s start with vulnerability: uncertainty, risk, emotional openness and wholeheartedness are key components of vulnerability. And in my experience, these same qualities – and the ability to work with them – are found in the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders.
So vulnerability is important if you want to be a successful business owner, to be an effective leader, if your work involves guiding, coaching or healing others, and certainly if you wish to live a more intentional lifestyle…where your relationships are more fulfilling and you’re enjoying more of those things you like to do when you’re not working.
The practice of vulnerability is not for sissies. It’s a game changer yet it’s also an advanced business, relational and leadership skill. It requires strength, discernment, and boundaries.
So if you want more of the work and the life you love, establishing healthy boundaries along with vulnerability is a powerful combination and one that’s essential for sustainable success.
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This is because studies show that your vulnerability, as uncomfortable and downright scary as it may be at times, is also inseparable from your capacity for greater connection, creativity and even intimacy.
Yes, vulnerability is essential to connection, yet it’s only really sustainable when it’s used in conjunction with boundaries. And healthy boundaries take clarity, courage and commitment.
And this is in part why so many of us struggle with this combination. Either we set our boundaries too high and we sacrifice the ability to collaborate and connect with others as we’d like to – or we aren’t boundaried enough, so we’re overly accommodating and we compromise in areas that don’t serve us, our business or our relationships in the end.
So if you want more of the work and the life you love, boundaries with vulnerability is an essential part of the equation for sustained success in your business, your relationships and in living a more fulfilled, connected life.
Read on for why vulnerability with effective boundaries is so impactful ~ along with three ways you can set better boundaries today.
Why Vulnerability is So Important
We know that being real with one another is the essential foundation to a meaningful interaction, to experiencing connection, developing trust and even intimacy. Research by pioneers and thought leaders such as Brene Brown confirms that in order to connect with others, we need to allow ourselves to be seen, to be vulnerable.
Yet it’s important to remember that we can be ourselves, we can be vulnerable, without baring it all to everyone. That’s not what this is all about. It’s about being effective in and with our vulnerability.
Why Vulnerability Must Be Combined With Boundaries
That’s because while vulnerability is essential to connection, it’s only sustainable when it’s used in conjunction with boundaries. Vulnerability without boundaries sets you up for:
Overwhelm and overwork,
Frustration and unnecessary discomfort,
Feeling a little bit annoyed a lot of the time, and, over time
Exhaustion and burnout.
It can mean being less effective and successful in your work, your business, your relationships.
That’s because boundaries define us, our businesses and our relationships
Effective boundaries are critical to sustainable success, but what makes an effective boundary?
Boundaries define what is ok for me, what I will accept, and what is not ok for me, what I will not or cannot accept.
Boundaries clarify what our business is – and is not – about.
Boundaries clarify what clients we do – and do not – serve.
Boundaries clarify what products and services we do – and do not – offer.
Boundaries clarify our roles, where we end and someone else begins.
Boundaries confirm and protect our values.
Boundaries affirm the people we welcome into our lives – and those we don’t.
Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. One deep insight she shares from her research on vulnerability is:
Knowing your boundaries and taking responsibility for them gives you:
Improved Decision-Making Abilities and
Capacity for True Compassion
That’s because setting effective and aligned boundaries gives you the space for human compassion and connection. It gives you room to be generous and more loving — from a place that is not depleting you, your business, your employees or your resources – financial, energetic or emotional – at the same time.
So really, the value (or risk) in vulnerability comes down to how you employ it. And setting boundaries is key.
Why We Don’t Set Boundaries
Yet we tend not to set boundaries, at least not very effective ones. We want people to like us. We sincerely want to help. We want to make people happy: our clients, our colleagues, our friends and our partners. And we care about what they think.
Which too often means we let people – those same partners, colleagues, teams, or clients – get away with things that are really not ok.
And then we wonder why we’re resentful, why we’re unhappy, why we’re angry.
In our business, we wonder why our receivables are so high or why we’re working with clients who don’t respect us or truly value our services or contributions, or why we employ contractors who aren’t delivering on time or to quality standards.
At home, we wonder why our relationships are difficult or overly dramatic, we’re often tired for no apparent reason, we don’t feel the loving connection we once did with our partner, or we’re just a little bit annoyed a lot of the time.
If you’re seeking more sustainable success in your business or your work, if you’re seeking more meaningful, fulfilling relationships, try setting more effective boundaries in a heartfelt but firm way.
Three Steps to Simple Yet Effective Boundaries
How do we set healthy boundaries while still connecting with others? How do we decide when to open ourselves up and be vulnerable and when not to?
Get very clear with what’s ok and what’s not ok – for your business, for your quality standards, in your relationships.
Communicate that in a generous, caring and firm way with those you work with, those you deliver to or serve, with those you’re in relationship.
Restate your boundary in a positive way when a line is crossed. Often people don’t intentionally cross our boundaries. They may not realize they’re crossing a boundary at all – even if you think you’ve made it clear.
There’s much more nuance to setting effective boundaries than can be shared in one blog post. I’ll share more later on how to set boundaries with difficult people – colleagues, clients, friends and family members. And also on what kinds of boundaries work and can even create more distance or alienate you from those you care about most.
For now, working with the steps above, and doing so in the spirit of benefit of the doubt (assuming most people mean well and are not intentionally crossing your boundaries) can transform not only your business, but your entire experience of life.
Boundaries and Vulnerability: A Powerful Pair
So yes, vulnerability is essential to business success and effective leadership because it’s essential to human connection, but it only leads to lasting success when it’s used in conjunction with effective boundaries.
When we’re able to set courageous and congruent boundaries, neither too afraid to open up to others nor too eager to share everything, we have the space to be real, to be imperfect, and, ultimately, to truly connect with our fellow team members, clients and loved ones. And that’s what will ultimately lead to success that can be sustained in our business, our relationships, and in all of our lives. Something we can all do well to practice.
If you want personalized guidance to implement any of these tips, click here to apply for a one on one call with me. We’ll schedule a chat to explore how this can work for you and your goals while growing your business. You can learn more about – and reserve your spot in – the next Success With Benefits Group Program starting in August.
You can also learn more about me, read more blog posts, download free tips to create a business and a life you love, or check out the stories of people who have worked with me.