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Training Others On What Your Boundaries Are

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United States

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To succeed, you have to establish boundaries.


But boundaries are only as good as your ability to communicate them.


If people don’t know your boundaries, they become ineffective and are more likely to be discarded.


Training other people on your boundaries requires learning how to say no. That doesn’t mean being rude or putting other people down--it means being clear about your boundaries and limits. Be clear, be direct, but don’t be rude.


If you have a boundary not to take meetings after 6 pm, say no to after-hours meeting requests. If you have a boundary to not travel for work in the summer, say no to projects that require you to travel.


Communicating your boundaries requires empathy or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. When someone comes to you with a request, practice empathy to understand where they are coming from. Seeing things from their perspective can help you frame your response.


Provide context around why you’re saying no. Make it clear that you’re saying no to the request, not the person.


When people ask for meetings to pick my brain, I say, “I’m sorry, I’m not taking any meetings for the time being. Best of luck; I’ll be rooting for you.”


When people approach me for a speaking engagement that doesn’t match my career goals, I say, “I’m sorry, I’m not a good fit for your project. I wish you the best.”


When possible, find a potential solution. Pass the person to someone else who can help or find a way to help them later. But don’t let your solution get in the way of your boundaries.


The more you say no, the more comfortable it will become. Soon, you’ll be training your colleagues and managers about your boundaries to take control of your time and goals.

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