Personal Boundaries: The Key to
Creating Life Your Way
When you think of the word
boundary, what images does it conjure up; A fence around a pasture, a
concrete barrier between two lanes of highway, how about the Berlin Wall?
These are all physical
boundaries. What about
boundaries in your life? Saying
no without guilt, for example, provides a great boundary around your time.
Have you ever seen Stephen
Covey give his demonstration with the bucket of rocks and the pail of
sand? It is one my favorite
visuals for boundaries.
He holds up a full bucket of
sand and a pail of rocks and asks a participant how to fit the rocks into
the sand. One after another,
the participants try to push and force the rocks down into the sand.
At most, they can get a small part of one or two rocks down into
the sand. The rest of the
rocks are just left out.
If you are not utilizing good
boundaries, this is how you are living your life.
You are starting with a bucket full of sand and are trying to fit
in the big stuff to no avail.
Let me explain.
In his analogy, the rocks represent the things that are most
important to us in life; our core values, our core goals.
The sand represents all of the little stuff; the phone calls,
emails, junk mail, junk pile, gossip, obligations forced upon us.
There is no end to this stuff.
It is voluminous and WILL NOT go away.
The sources of little stuff
are endless; your needy co-worker, your mother-in-law, your grown child,
the unwanted sales person, the chatty neighbor, the gossipy friend. All of this stuff will fill the bucket that is your life if
you let it. And, then how do
the big things fit in? The
career goals, family, time for you.
The answer to the Covey
Puzzle is to start with the bucket filled with rocks.
That is your core. From
there, pour the sand around. These
little things can fill in the crevices, the little bits of time in our
lives, while the rocks stay solid. Life
is filled first with what is important and the rest fills in where there
is room. Some of the little
stuff may be left out and thatís okay because the core is there.
The boundaries you set to
protect what is most important to you are the key.
Saying no without guilt, relieving yourself of obligations and
spending time on the activities that add value to your life, instituting
consequences when others are not respectful.
Which bucket do you start
your day with? Are you trying
to fit the rocks around the sand or the sand around the rocks?
Will you create your life the way you want it or will you let
others dictate your journey? You
choose! Boundaries are your
Ross, founder of Womans-Work.com is a Professional Coach and President of
Focus Forward Coaching. She
brings a unique blend of energy, insight and compassion to her work with
clients and has done so for more than 15 years. Her passion is
helping people create positive, purposeful change in their lives.
has authored a variety of e-books including; Flex Your Work For Freedom:
How to Ask for and Succeed in the Arrangement that Works for You.
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