I usually hear “this” when someone’s in need of boundary work -

“I feel exhausted, like all the time. And I’m doing everything I can think of to change it.”

And then I say, “like what?”

And they look at me sort-of defensively, and then recount a truly impressive list of actions, from exercising, to changing their diet, to taking more vitamins, to getting more sleep. All good things. But not the right thing, and so they stay exhausted and overwhelmed.

OR I get this.

“I’ve decided I’m no longer dating unavailable (or self-centered, or barely functional or angry, etc.) men/women, and I feel good about my decision. But it’s like they’re just drawn to me. By the second or third date, no matter how they appeared on the first one, it turns out I’m dating the same person all over again and I don’t know what to do to change it.”

OR I get this.

“I’ve sacrificed for my career. Everything I do right now is tied to making Partner in two years. I’m checking all the boxes. Which worked in the beginning. I progressed quickly. But now no matter what I do I can’t seem to break through.”

When I hear words like these I’m always moved by just how hard we, as women, are willing to throw down for what we want. The sacrifice, the effort, the resources.

It’s admirable, but something about it’s sad too. Because we’re all working really hard, like too hard, to get what we want.

But let me propose something.

What if the way we’ve been thinking about the problem’s been part of the problem all along? What if we’re squandering energy unnecessarily on things that won’t really fix what ails us?

Sure, getting targeted skills and support toward your goals is often key. But when you’ve been there and done that and you’re still stuck, chances are you’re missing the real solution, the one right in front of you.

The solution

Here’s the plain truth. Everyone could use work on their boundary-making skills.

No matter how “successful” many of us are - whether it’s with relationships, or career, or general life goals - we feel we’re not where we want to be, or in fact could be, but are not aware that immature boundary skills could be at the heart of the problem.

And while the problem’s right in front of us, it often gets missed because our inability to make healthy boundaries is not so obvious. It’s not a problem we can touch.

So we skip right on to shoring up our credentials, or getting a new hair cut, or taking a pill before we’d ever think of such a thing as working on boundaries.

But here’s the thing.

Your ability to limit what you don’t want in life - what depletes you - and actively reach for what lights you up is a requirement for experiencing happiness and well-being. It will profoundly affect your quality and experience of life.

Your skillfulness with boundaries affects everything you do

Whether it’s the life of your relationships, your work and career, or other meaningful pursuits, your ability to exercise healthy boundaries is one of the most fundamental requirements for success and a good life.

Solid boundary skills:

  • Build and support self-esteem

  • Result in strong relationships that actually give you pleasure

  • Help you navigate the external world of uneven work opportunities with confidence, clarity and energy

  • Support you in knowing who you are and what you want, and then going for it

  • Allow you to leave what doesn’t work, and never did, behind. Really leave it behind so you can move freely forward

Only one thing’s required

I’ve seen over and over how boundary-making improvements in even one area tend to generalize across the board. People start to see changes in areas they weren’t even targeting!

Because boundaries are boundaries, and once you figure out how they work and how to make them, that skill goes with you wherever you go. Boundaries with kids carry over to boundaries with co-workers, carry over to boundaries in dating, with bosses, relatives, strangers, and even yourself.

Developing healthier boundaries then is the one thing that can change everything.

I’ve got you covered

While most of us have some understanding of boundaries, mostly that we need them, and for some, that it’s ok to have them, our understanding of boundaries doesn’t run that deep. We’re in the majority if we think that boundaries are vaguely about saying No and holding a line in the sand.

Which means we’re completely missing the ability of boundaries to powerfully support and usher in the most brilliant version of ourselves, the version that’s tied to our aliveness and passion.

But missing out doesn’t have to be your only choice. You can start building the boundaries you need and want. And you can start right now.

You can start now

Many of you are already deep into working on your boundaries with my Shine Lab Podcast series: Know Your Boundaries (new episodes arrive every Tuesday morning, and are available on all the major podcast platforms. And if you’re new to podcasting and don’t use a platform, you can access the series on my website.)

But for those of you who aren’t podcast listeners, or are, but want to go deeper with the material, I want to give you the heads up that I’m right now working on a pilot, online workbook of my Know Your Boundaries Series. This workbook project is designed to be more personal, with higher engagement and accountability.

It’s a workbook we’ll do together, expanding on the material in the podcast series, with leveled exercises that get you started toward boundary-making mastery regardless of where you currently are.

I’m super excited about the online workbook format, and will keep you posted as the pilot moves toward enrolling it’s first group of boundary workbook’ers. To stay informed of developments and pilot dates, sign up here.

Just think what you could do, what we all could do together, if we were operating with the most advanced level of boundary-making skills possible? If we were living our brilliance, boldly shining our gifts and passion into the world? That’s the dream.

Let’s discover it, together.