Examples of Common Boundaries
Many adults struggle with ﬁnding time (or taking time) to practice self-care. If you value taking time for yourself for reading, meditating, writing, but rarely do it, your boundary can be strengthened here.
Coaches often request that their clients look at their calendar and put in the things they want ﬁrst; then build their work life and scheduling around that schedule. Of course, such scheduling has to be reasonable and realistic. Scheduling time for themselves ﬁrst increases the probability they will take the time they want or need.
Another example of a common boundary is managing a home ofﬁce. I tend to be an early riser and had a habit of going into my ofﬁce at 5:00 a.m., and reading and responding to e-mails. My wife thought the computer had abducted me. Working with a coach and mentor group, I knew I wanted morning time to be for reading and exercise, and promised to set a new boundary by keeping the ofﬁce door shut until 7:00 a.m. and make no appointments before 8:00 a.m. This new boundary also allowed me to leave work and shut the ofﬁce door at 4:00 p.m., thereby convincing my wife that I had indeed not been kidnapped by the computer.
In order to clearly identify your personal boundaries, you need to decide both what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior for other people who impact your life. Then you need to educate them about your boundaries. Finally, you will need to know of, and inform others of, the actions you will take if/when they violate your boundaries. Like any new behavior, initially boundary setting is difﬁcult. But with practice, you will unconsciously (automatically) set your boundaries.
Boundaries allow your clients to put energy into living the kind of lifestyle they desire. Unclear boundaries distract and drain their energy into defending themselves, keeping a constant vigilance, justifying their behavior, mismanaging conﬂict, and avoidance of contact. When they complain about how others may have hurt them, invaded their personal space, or when they play the game of ‘Ain’t It Awful,’ you can be certain that their personal boundaries are unclear to them and to others.
Working with clients’ boundaries can be an important part of the coaching relationship, and as clients ease their way into the changes generated by their new boundary setting, they will have much more energy available for pursuit of their goals and desires.