On today’s episode, Angela returns to the show to talk with Charlie about boundaries. They did a joint presentation at the Think Better, Live Better conference, which was an interesting process for them. Since not all of their listeners were at the conference, they decided to bring a taste of their presentation to the podcast and share some of the concepts and lessons learned.
[4:05] - Angela and Charlie decided that they wanted to talk about boundaries because they’ve been getting asked similar questions over the course of the decade they’ve been doing this work. The five keys that sort of govern their whole philosophy on becoming your best self in the world are: intentions, awareness, boundaries, courage, and discipline. They’re all interrelated, but boundaries come up frequently when we need to give ourselves space from things that aren’t helpful to us, and create space for the things that are helpful to our growth.
[8:03] - Most clients don’t realize that they need help with boundaries - sometimes what they need is externally driven, but what needs to be addressed are internal boundaries that will allow the other things to happen. Charlie gives the metaphor of the car and the driver; the trick is to know whether the problem lies with the car (ourselves), or the driver (our circumstances). Most often, it’s the driver.
[11:00] - The importance of boundaries is that drawing boundaries really allow us to get what we want and what we need in life. Putting the right things in place for the right reasons will allow us to get to the best results and best life.
[11:35] - One of the things that has come up for Angela is the fear that setting boundaries might push away the people we love, or that it might hurt somebody that we care about. The opposite usually ends up being true, and you’re enhancing the relationship with that person and making it stronger.
[13:15] - What’s the difference between positive and negative boundaries? Negative boundaries are the boundaries by which you push something away or put a wall up between yourself and other things. Positive boundaries create space around you for things that you want. It’s important to be intentional about what you’re creating space for, rather than just pushing people and things away. Boundaries don’t always have to do with relationships; it is also creating boundaries between ourselves and the noise that that may not be supporting us. Creating positive boundaries can be harder because we have to identify the things that are worth fighting for, and that in turn is a declaration that we ourselves are important, and our self-worth is a priority.
[16:30] - This self-worth piece is a very important aspect of setting boundaries. In order to set those boundaries, we have to be able to say this is what I’m worth, and what I want and need matters. These are things we often don’t tell ourselves, but creating boundaries can encourage more positive self-talk and self-worth. This is a practice and requires us to keep pushing to get what we need and want.
[20:20] - There seemed to be a very gendered dynamic in the people that came to talk with Charlie and Angela after their presentation at the conference. Women may struggle more with creating some of these positive boundaries because of some of the socialization in the world today. Angela was able to help people find a language that worked for them to help describe their boundaries to the people in their lives.
[21:25] - As we set boundaries, it sets a good example and allows us to be role models for our friends, and people in our communities and workplaces. When people see you setting boundaries, they’re drawn to that. They see you getting what you want and need, and making time for what’s important to you, and it gives them permission to do the same thing.
[24:15] - One of the struggles people have with boundaries is that it’s all very general. There are several different dimensions of your life that we can think about where we might want to implement boundaries. The key thing is wherever you are over-committed or depleted, you have a boundary issue. Be intentional about creating boundaries around those areas and think about what you’re trying to change in those areas for your boundaries to have real grip.
[27:10] - When setting boundaries, it’s important to think about ourselves as a whole. It’s important to think about all the dimensions - professional, personal, play - especially the ones where we don’t have good balance in our lives at the moment. Charlie and Angela talk about the importance of the “play” dimension; if it brings you joy and happiness, make it a priority!
[32:35] - Angela encourages the idea of working on one boundary at a time. As you’re thinking about boundaries for yourself and what that looks like, start with one thing or one area where things are out of balance. Set a boundary and work on it diligently rather than trying to set several at a time and getting burnt out.
[35:45] - Getting people on board with your boundaries is important from an accountability and support system perspective. We want to have important conversations with the people who matter most and invite them to support us in setting up new boundaries for ourselves. Charlie discusses some ways you can approach these conversations in a professional context, to help improve your work-life balance.
[42:10] - While today’s conversation is over, there is more to be said for our work on boundaries and how they can help us be our best selves in the world. Look out for a follow up post on this, and if you have any questions, email Charlie or Angela using the contact information below. The invitation/challenge for this episode is to start thinking about some of the dimensions mentioned and where you want to make a change in your life, and what type of boundary would support you in making that change.
Mentioned in This Episode: