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Knowing How To Set Boundaries At Work

Take a moment to think about how confident you are when it comes to setting boundaries at work. Not just with colleagues but with yourself too. 

There are different types of boundaries. Mutual boundaries that most of us could agree on and then our own that are completely unique to us. Overstepping boundaries at work can often look like taking on extra work when you’re already swimming in it or staying late every night. You may not want to take time off when you’re unwell. You could even skip your lunch breaks to get something completed. Crossing boundaries might even mean you’re too anxious to book your holiday leave, worrying about the workload when you get back. Allowing someone within your job to treat you… let’s say ‘like rubbish’. It’s not giving me self-love energy.  

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced at least one those mentioned above. It’s inevitable. Boundaries will be crossed from time to time. We will take on more than we can handle, we will say yes to things we don’t really want to say yes to and we will let things slide. That’s OK. That’s part of life. It’s just a problem when it becomes an ongoing expectation of you.  

Think About This...

It’s time to stimulate your thinking around boundaries. Give the following questions a little time for thought or write them down. 

  • Why do you think you allow your boundaries to be crossed? 
  • Do you worry about communicating your boundaries to other people? 
  • How does it feel when your boundaries are crossed, knowing you know you haven’t communicated them? 
  • How often do you cross your own boundaries? 
  • What’s the worst thing that will happen if you communicate your boundaries? 
  • What’s the best outcome of communicating your boundaries?  

Just know that this fear is normal. We must face it even if it is terrifying. Your wellbeing, whether that’s your personal life or your work life, is important. Boundaries, at the core of it all, are essential for finding that ‘alignment’ and true desire in your life. 

Setting Boundaries at Work

Reflect. What are your non-negotiable boundaries?

You must identify what you will and will not accept from others and yourself. You must be clear about them before you can communicate or take any action on them. Only we know what our true boundaries are. It’s important to be honest with yourself when setting up your non-negotiables. 

Set an example and take the lead.

Treat yourself how you want to be treated. Then, treat others how they want to be treated. It’s all about having all round respect. When a person feels valued and honoured, they’ll feel as though they can open up and be truer to who they are too. When you lead by example you will inspire others to do the same. Support someone else if you feel as though their boundaries are being overstepped. Knowledge is power – what you know might be a valuable tool for someone else. 

Be Mindful.

The people you work with might also struggle communicating their boundaries. They might not even know what they are. Some people will just keep taking and taking until they hit breaking point. Be mindful of yourself. Be mindful of others and what you’re expecting from them too. Are you acknowledging your own expectations and actions? Who knows, you could work with the same team every day and you’re all struggling to communicate your boundaries to one another. No one is benefiting from having their boundaries overstepped, except someone else. 

Have Courage.

You’ve either got it or you don’t. If you don’t, you can get it. It is (for whatever strange reason) scary setting your boundaries. But we’re adults. We have to take control and be brave. It’s not often people have clear direct needs. Communicated with grace and kindness – your boundaries will be greatly respected. People value honesty; it’s a great rule for life. If you want to reach for the stars you have to have difficult conversations and face uncomfortable situations. It’s all about stretching your comfort zone, little by little.  

Remember, Communication Is Key.

With absolutely everything and everyone you meet in life; you must communicate effectively. You can’t expect everyone to know what your expectations and desires are. It’s all in the delivery. You don’t need to explain your reasons for anything but just be nice about it, build your confidence and have the courage to set your rules. 

Final Thoughts.

Setting your boundaries and aligning yourself with them will have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing in your work life as well as your personal life. It will allow you to have better relationships and higher performance in your working environment and it will have a snowball effect into your everyday life too.  

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