I was listening to a song by Dido yesterday. It’s called This Land is Mine and it never fails to make me think about how I’m living my life. It’s a song about realising that your life belongs only to you.
All too often we allow others to get in the way of our success. We let them trespass and trample on our priorities and dreams. We tell ourselves that we’re being nice and doing the decent thing.
This used to be a real issue for me in a previous job. I was pretty good at designing things at lightning speed whenever a crisis occurred. I could turn a dull PowerPoint into a slick presentation in minutes, or come up with killer ideas at short notice for a sales team just before they set off to pitch to new clients. So I became known as the ‘go to guy’ when things needed to be done in a hurry.
The trouble is that I also had my own deadlines to meet. My problem was that colleagues or managers would come to me when it was hitting the fan for them and I didn’t feel that I could let them fail, so I helped them out straight away. They didn’t care about the effect it might have on my work deadlines. This meant I had to do my work in my own personal time. They were pleased and praised, but my deadlines slipped.
I made friends but it ultimately cost me my success there. I learned an important lesson.
Set Your Boundaries
It’s good to be selfless and giving, but there are limits and unless you know what they are, how can those around you? One of the things that successful people have in common is that they know how to set effective boundaries. So if you want to be successful you must identify your own boundary issues and set conscious markers for yourself. For example, if you have trouble saying “No” to requests from friends, set yourself a guideline such as “I will not agree to help anyone out until I’ve met my deadline for this essay, proposal or project”.It's good to be selfless and giving, but there are limits. Know your boundaries. #selfesteem #inspiration Click To Tweet
Reclaim Your Land
If you want success on your own terms, it’s time to stop people trampling all over your lawn. It’s important to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. Just like a well-manicured lawn, your personal space and well-being require attention and care. Put up your “No Trespassers” sign to let others know where your boundaries lie and start policing your boundaries. You’ll find that you only need to be strict about it for a while. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but pretty soon, the people around you will get the idea and respect your wishes more. And when that happens, you’ll probably realise that you do too.
The Next Steps
Setting your boundaries is not always an easy task to accomplish. Start by making a list of the boundary issues you face today. Is it your friends, your boss or your partner that thinks your land is theirs? Add a list of actions: what would you like to improve? Identify where you feel that others are intruding on your space and write down specific actions you can take to improve the situation.
Whatever it is, make sure it aligns with your values and needs. Then do it, right away and don’t stop until you’ve made it clear that your land is yours, and you’re in charge of it. Don’t hesitate or put it off, as that may signal to others that your boundaries are not important. Keep at it until it’s clear that your land is yours, and you are in charge of it.
Remember, taking care of yourself is not selfish, it’s essential.