Over the course of coaching women in leadership and business ownership, boundaries are the one area that always comes up.
But not always directly.
Often difficulties with boundary management are masked by the presenting issue of 'feeling overwhelmed', and 'I'm rubbish at time management - those techniques don't work for me', or of frustration at starting new habits but not maintaining them.
And yet we know that in order to prioritise ourselves, including our business activities, we really do need to get a handle on implementing, communicating and managing our boundaries.
So why is it so hard to do?
Boundaries reflect our relationship with others AND ourselves
Boundary management reflects deep issues, often issues that are not the traditional focus of coaching.
Boundaries reflect how we have been moulded by other people's expectations of who we should be.
Inherently, how we manage our boundaries in the present, is a direct function of how they have been shaped by our past.
This means that statements such as 'just learn to say no' miss the mark completely.
Because saying 'no' often triggers our threat system as designed by a combination of our genetic makeup and our interactions with others.
If we have learned in the past to protect ourselves from conflict or judgement by saying 'yes' to everyone else, then saying 'no' is interpreted by our mind as walking into a potential firing line.
And just who would do that?!
At the end of March I was honoured to take part in a panel discussion around boundaries for business success, hosted by the fabulous Susanna Reay, and featured alongside Carola Moon, Nicki Gabriel and Tania Blanco and you can listen and watch our discussion about why boundaries are important, and how to strengthen them for business success in this video:
If you have a trauma history, and find saying no to other people very difficult, even distressing, then it is vitally important that you seek out a coach who understands trauma, its origins and how it can show up in the present.