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Setting Boundaries Get You There Faster

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We all cut open our leg when we were younger trying to sneak under the barbed-wire fence to get to the pond on Old Man Burns’ property, right? Oh, wait… maybe that was just me.

Old Man Burns put up the sharp, prickly, metal fence around the boundaries of his property to keep young scallywags like me from “trespassing”. I say “trespassing” because that is what that police officer said I did when he went to speak to my parents later that day. Not a fun day. First, the trip to the ER to get stitches, then a visit from one of Spokane’s finest, and to top it off, I was grounded for a week!

Imagine Mr. Burns’ pond is your business. Don’t you want to also protect it from people like the younger version of me? Boundaries come in all sorts of different flavors. Sometimes, a boundary is ethical. Sometimes it is moral. Sometimes it is personal. You need to always keep your boundaries secure to protect your “pond”!

If you are like billions of other people around the globe now working from home, boundaries are more important than ever. If you are working at home and have children at home, without boundaries your entire day will become a butt binge, with Netflix or Roblox consuming your day.

If you are working at home and have a spouse also working from home, boundaries are important so you both can accomplish the work that needs to get done. Maybe you have a code that if the door is shut in the room you are working from that is a boundary just like Mr. Burns’ razor-wire fence.

Speaking of Old Man Burns, it turns out that he had no objections of the neighborhood kids going to his pond to catch tadpoles or snakes (gross!), but he insisted they knock on his door first. The great part about that is there is no fence to sneak under. Think how much different that day would have turned out for that younger me if I had respected the boundaries of my neighbor?

Boundaries are sometimes intangible.

If you have multiple clients it is not a good idea to talk about one to the other without prior permission. If you are working as a Virtual Assistant and you learn about the inner workings of one client and their secret sauce, it would be dreadful for you to leak that to their competitor intentionally or accidentally. Because you can’t put up a physical boundary in those instances, most companies will have you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in advance. The agreement will spell out specifically the boundaries of what you can and can not talk about in regards to proprietary information you might have learned. Here is an example of an NDA. The companies that hire you are not being mean by asking you to sign an NDA. That is them, putting a boundary around their “pond.” It also establishes a very clear working relationship between you and your client.

One of the best books on the subject is written by Henry Cloud. The book is called, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. You can get the book on Amazon by clicking here Boundaries book by Henry Cloud

Without boundaries you might tend to wander far and wide with your business, Boundaries keep you focused. Although a client’s NDA might be a boundary between them hiring you or not, you can also set your boundaries when someone hires you for your services.

The Chick-Fil-A Boundary

I’ve been known to eat a CFA chicken sandwich (with extra pickles, please) like other people even though I try not to eat meat anymore. But when I did eat at Chick-Fil-A on a regular basis I had to abide by one of their big boundaries. They were closed on Sundays! It’s because of the owner’s religious faith. However, according to a recent BusinessInsider.com article,

“The chicken chain’s founder, Truett Cathy, decided to close all locations on Sundays because of his Christian faith. While Cathy’s original reasoning was rooted in religion, closing on Sundays is also a brilliant business decision, experts say.”

That boundary (like the boundary of barbed-wire surrounding Mr. Burns’ pond creates desire. It’s human nature to desire something we can not have. So, by limiting sales to 6 days a week instead of seven, CFA does more business per outlet than most fast-food restaurants.

Boundaries are good. Really, they are!

Have a great day!

 

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