The Path of the Evolutionary Leader

Relationship as a Mirror – Creating Healthy Boundaries

In last month’s newsletter I wrote about using your relationships as a mirror and tool for personal growth. And I wrote it from the perspective of family relationships. It is sometimes unclear how personal experience and growth impacts your professional experience but it does…it has to. After all, YOU are the common denominator in the equation. When you change who YOU BE in your relationships at home, you also change who YOU BE in your relationships at work. And, of course the converse is also true.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of growing your self using relationships as a mirror is to work on your boundaries. What do I mean by boundaries? Put very simply, it is knowing the difference between your business and someone else’s, knowing what does and does not work for you and being willing to communicate that well to others, and being willing to do what it takes to be in integrity with you…24/7.

Have you ever…

  • Had difficulty saying no?
  • Jumped in to take care of someone else without being asked?
  • Had difficulty telling someone the truth, fearing a negative reaction like hurt feelings or anger?
  • Told someone your opinion without being asked?
  • Micro managed someone?
  • Had difficulty negotiating for what you wanted?
  • Blamed someone else for your upset?
  • Stepped over telling the truth with people who upset you?
  • Blamed someone else for the WHOLE problem?
  • Taken blame for the whole problem?
  • Wanted the other person to change – thinking that would solve the relationship problems?
  • Assumed that you know what the other person thinks or feels without asking?

If you answer yes to any of the above, your relationships are being affected by your boundary issues. Further, your relationships across the board will benefit when you begin to take responsibility for YOUR self. Working on boundaries is simple and begins with self awareness followed by learning how to respond, rather than react and when necessary, taking a new and different action.

These simple steps will help you begin your process of change.

  1. Pick one relationship where your typical response is one or several of the above.
  2. Every time you interact with that person be the observer of your thoughts, your feelings, your words, and your actions; take close note of your reactions.
  3. As the observer begin to respond differently than you have in the past.
  4. Remember to take care of you – emotionally – so that you can respond, rather than react.
  5. Practice being the observer and responding differently for 30 days.

Here’s an example:
Let’s say you have difficulty saying no and there is one person in particular that it is most challenging. Every time that person asks you to do something notice what happens to you internally. What do you feel? Where in your body do you feel it? What thoughts occur? What do you impulsively do? Measure all of that against what you know about that person based on your experiences with them, not your reactions to them. Now, it may be time to take a new action. If your normal response is to say yes immediately, you might say instead that you need 24 hours to think about it. Take the time to determine what you really want to say. Follow-up and either accept, decline or negotiate. If your usual response is to back away, instead look within you; what does your inner knowing tell you? Build trust with you by testing and beginning to trust that inner knowing.

Remember, it takes 30 days of consistent practice to change a habit.

What are you willing to do to be anevolutionary leader?