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Boundaries: Can You Set Them? Can You Keep Them?

I’ll admit right up front I could be a better boundary setter. Well maybe not a setter, but rather a keeper. I can set those boundaries; I just don’t always stick to them. How about you?

When several of my private coaching clients asked about boundaries, I knew it was time for a post on this. We are all tested, whether that’s in our personal lives or our business lives.

What boundaries are might be the first part of the discussion. If we own property, we understand the concept of boundaries. This is where my property begins and what I am responsible for. It’s the same with personal boundaries. It’s where you begin and your sense of responsibility begins. Your business will have boundaries, too. Here are some guidelines for setting boundaries.

  1. Become self-aware. When you get into particular situations, what happens to you? Do you become anxious, lose energy, feel unsure, flee, fight, etc. Being aware of how you respond is the first step to learning to set boundaries that work for you.
  2. Start with simple boundaries or limits. This could take the form of setting your work hours, saying no to extra commitments (or even learning how to say no), placing limits on taking rush orders, only taking personal calls at night, etc.
  3. Once you set your boundaries, you don’t need to defend your position. It just is. If someone questions you on it, you just repeat your position.
  4. Stay committed to your course. If you give in this once, you’ll find yourself giving in again and again. You end up feeling guilty if you don’t. (I think that’s a woman people-pleasing guilt issue.) People will start to ignore your needs. And, you end up back in those feelings I outlined in number 1 above.

You know I like to talk about creating systems in your business. Systems support the business and let you get more done. If you think about it, boundaries are really just systems that help you live your life the best way. They put you in charge of your life. They also help you manage your business the best way for you.

If you want to read more on boundaries, I found a wonderful little book. It’s called It’s called Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

If you aren’t a boundary setter, make a commitment to start this week. Set some standards or boundaries for yourself. Just one boundary and build on that. It will make a big difference.

Please share your experiences with boundaries and what you did about them below.


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