Kathy Grosso
Certified Professional Coach

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Boundaries Part I - A Different Perspective

I recently held a coaching session with a client about her continued effort to set boundaries with her colleagues at work. She is a competent, energetic, and personable woman; ready to take on any task that furthers the important work that she does everyday. Folks that she directly works with, as well, as the many folks she has mentored, the national committees that she chairs, and formal and informal relationships that she has nurtured...these all compete for her time and energy. She wants to, and often does, say ‘yes’ to it all, including time for her husband, family and friends, pets, exercise, etc. Through our sessions together, we’ve talked a lot about how time can feel infinite and how energy is not. How, at the end of the day, what is most important tends to get the least amount of time and for sure, the last remaining remnants of her energy.

We acknowledged how often we hear the word ‘boundaries’...setting boundaries, distinction between emotional, physical, and social boundaries, boundaries at work, etc. However, there was a shift in the conversation when we started talking about boundaries being made up of what we feel is most important. Boundaries made up of what we will say ‘yes’ to; the people, places, activities that feed our souls and contribute to our big over-the-top ideals. This felt different than the negative connotations that seem to surround the discussion of boundaries which is, things you’ll say ‘no’ to; activities you won’t participate in; people you won’t engage with; or eliminating certain time sucking tasks.

So, what if we started thinking about boundaries differently; more pro than con? To be honest, I don’t have this entirely worked out in my head yet. I know that it ‘feels’ different to think about boundaries in this way. It feels more positive, forward moving, energetic. It feels like ‘yes’ and possibilities. I’m a visual thinker and learner so I want to spend time thinking about what comes to mind for me when I think about my boundaries being made up of what I want to do and who I want to spend my time with. I’m also very pragmatic and am feeling compelled to include those things that we have to do; those people and activities that may not be ‘feeding our souls’ but that move us towards our most important values.

Be on the lookout for “Boundaries Part II” and in the meantime, what comes up for you when you think about setting boundaries based on who you want to spend time with; activities you love to do; places that draw you in; relationships that you want to nurture? And, is there an image that comes to mind?