How can one set the right boundaries both in business and relationships?
What is the question one should ask him or herself to get clear on which boundaries should be and what’s the best way to set them in business?
First thing is, boundaries are not walls that we create to shield or protect ourselves from others.
They are in fact doors, which means it’s not a way of dismissing another person but a way of showing them:
“Hey this is where the door is, this is how you navigate your connection with me“
I cannot tell you what boundaries to apply because my life is different from yours.
The place where the door is in my home may not be the one in which you need it to be in yours.
Let’s start with that, how do you know what boundaries to put up?
Well a good place to start is to know; where does it hurt? where do you feel they’re being violated? where do you feel being taken advantage of? where do you feel resentful towards somebody?
Ask yourself this question if you know who you resent or where you felt taken advantage of, that’s going to point you to a place in which a boundary is lacking so start there, now, how do you establish boundaries in a conscious way?
The first thing is understanding that you can say no without closing your heart, you don’t have to be “My way or the highway“, you don’t have to be someone who is very dismissive in the way in which he or she communicates…
You can lovingly say no to someone and this is the most difficult thing to do for a lot of us because when we were told no as children, it was often with violence or with a disconnection,
Love was withdrawn from you when a no was given and therefore we experienced rejection.
“No” was rarely met with a heart, with empathy, with compassion, with curiosity.
So the first thing for you is at the base level, can you remain open as you’re about to set your boundary? Can you keep your heart open? Can you not kick them out of your heart as you’re about to express to them the right way of communicating with you?
Secondly, you want to be specific and clear, here’s an example;
“Hey when we agreed on doing this work you said you were going to have things ready by today, and you didn’t have them ready, I felt lack of trust and I felt afraid that this partnership is not going to work and i would like for this not to happen again, next time give me a deadline that you can honor or as soon as you know that you have it ready communicate with me.”
“Hey i noticed that when i talk you’re checking your phone, in that moment i feel angry because i feel like you don’t care about what i’m sharing and I want to have a relationship where I feel seen, it’s painful to not feel that way right now so I would love that when we we’re talking or when i’m sharing something with you, it’d be good for the two of us to leave your phone and if there’s something really important that you need to do communicate with me so that we can make time apart for a connection.“
if you pay attention there’s different ways of saying this, the way that most people go to is: “I can’t work with you” “I’m gonna fire you” “I’m gonna quit“, right?
Attention, drama, blame, the second example about the relationship focuses on how you never pay attention or is passive aggressive.
There’s ways in which we react with an ugly energy to others when boundaries are crossed, so, the second step is communicating in a healthy way, and communicating a healthy boundary has three elements in it, it has:
- Specific feedback:
It’s when someone does “x” and you’re comunicating to other people the impact of their actions by doing so. It’s not “I don’t feel you love me” or “I want you to love me better” because those aren’t boundaries nor specific.
What is being in a good relationship with you? What do you need for this relationship to work?
Most of the time your business or partner may want to be in a good relationship with you, if you dont communicate with them how to do so, it’s going to be challenging to achieve it.
Assume that the way they’re acting is not with evil intent nor wanting to hurt you, but out of ignorance.
Assume ignorange before you assume ill intentions, from that point you can understand how to communicate properly with that person, clearly and specific.
- Share and make yourself clear:
Never just tell someone what they did wrong without an invitation around what doing it right looks like so, be very, very precise:
“Hey this was sometihng that i didn’t like, something taht made me feel this way, and this is what i would like from you.”
Be very specific, otherwise, it’ll be just a complaint, maybe a well-worded one but it’s just a complaint.
Acknowledge what happened but above all demonstrate what you want, what kind of communication you require from this person, offer solutions.
Never mention a problem to anyone without offering a solution.
- Boundaries without consequences:
Maybe the most important and most overlooked one, if you set a boundary and the person crosses it again and again, without repercussion, it was not a boundary, it was a hope.
Be clear, honor yourself and the other person by fulfilling what is settled, without threatening people, knowing inside you that if this person continues acting this way then you cannot trust them to do business together, if they persist with problems or drama (in your relationship) then consider letting go.
“Hey, listen, i mentioned this before, we had this agreement and i realized that for you it’s hard to honor this and i understand, no judgement, but it’s not the kind of relationship that i want.“
Leave it at that, because you can be very practical and respectful, people know how you feel, it doesn’t have to be an argument, it doesn’t have to be this anxiety inducing thing.
You’re walking down the street and someone tells you, “Hey, do you want to support the starving children?” you can say yes or no, thank you, and that’s that.
That’s a boundary, you don’t hate them, they don’t hate you, they’re not bad people, you’re not a good person either, whatever!
It’s a preference, do you want vanilla ice cream? chocolate?
Ultimately you want to develop that relationship, you want to feel at peace saying yes or no to somebody without closing your heart.
So, summed up.
Your boundaries have to be defined by you, what questions can you ask yourself?
Start with where it hurts, what are you resentful for? when did you feel taken advantage of?
Those are places where boundaries are lacking, then be specific in your feedback about those boundaries, never say what you dislike, invite the other party into a solution, into a better way of doing things, because people want to win with you and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Finally, if this is something that gets crossed repeatedly, understand that if your boundary has no consequences when people cross it, then it’s just a hope.
if you teach someone that your boundaries have no weight, they’re good for nothing. It’s playing cry-wolf. You understand that, okay, this person is never gonna act on any of the things that they say are important to them so the best thing for our relationship is that you order your boundaries, and there’s consequence, maybe a different conversation needs to be had or it may be you leaving that relationship.
There’s many things that are possible, i’m not saying you have to break up the moment that something doesn’t work or that you have to dismiss your business partners the moment that someone is late.
It has to be clear that it’s important for you and that it will not go unnoticed, that you won’t play pretend being a nice person and accommodate everybody at your expense.
Never ever bend over backwards for other people thinking that youre being nice, because it’s disgusting in the end, if you’re gonna resent them and resent yourself then everybody loses…
Boundaries are healthy, you’re showing somebody where the door is and inviting people to know how to win with you, making it easy for them.