Maintaining Your Boundaries


My father was a child psychologist, and I gained a lot of wisdom from him about how to raise my children. One of his most valuable pieces of wisdom came when telling me about creating boundaries for my children to be successful. He said, “it’s no different than the frontier days. You have to tell them where the property lines, and that they can’t go beyond them, but other than that they are free to explore within them.”

Boundaries are key to leading the life that you want to lead. They allow you to create your ideal environment and give you the space to live the life you want to lead. It is important to understand that setting boundaries is not about setting limits on others, it is about limiting your exposure to behavior that doesn’t align with your values. Establishing boundaries is about figuring out where the property lines are, and maintaining them is about figuring out how to enforce them and create that ideal space.

Lean-in #4 of Grow Yourself, Maintaining Your Boundaries, consists of specifically letting others know what the property lines are - what you will allow in your space and what you will not. Then, whenever an offense takes place, you have grounds to stand up for yourself because you have established what is and what isn’t acceptable.

One of the best ways to establish your boundaries and what is and isn’t acceptable is by establishing a code of conduct. You can create your own code on The Code worksheet. I did this with my family because I wanted my children to perform extraordinary feats and I felt like that started with clear boundaries, but you can do this in your business, with your family, and in lots of different settings to establish the behaviors that are and aren’t acceptable.

Once you have done this, there is a common understanding of where the property lines are, making it easier to hold others accountable. The code of conduct is a constant reminder of the commitment you have made individually but also in group settings it is a reminder of the commitments you all have made to each other.

Many people behave rudely or inappropriately because we allow it. Don’t allow it. Call the penalty by telling the person what they just did was offensive to you or hurt your feelings. Let them know they crossed the property line. Ask them not to do it again. If the person persists in that hurtful or offensive behavior, then they don’t need to be in your space. You can’t change them so you have to make the choice to minimize the time you spend with them.

This can be a challenge in certain instances, like with your family or at your job, but understanding where your boundaries are gives you a clearer picture of how to navigate these scenarios and how to maintain them when the time comes.

Your cape awaits!

Tomi Llama

P.S. Crushing the boundaries? Now it’s time to find the right place to work for you to live your best life! Check out Lean-in #5, Picking the Right Place to Work!

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