The advice you give others may apply to yourself more than you think. For example, I’ve coached people for years to establish rules, boundaries, and limitations in their businesses — for their clients and staff. That advice is good for you, too!
Fences make good neighbors. Think of rules, boundaries, and limitations as a fence, and think of what a good life that can make for you. (And if you don’t grasp that immediately, read on!)
You want people to treat you in specific ways, and not treat you in specific ways. You pave the way for the respect you get with the rules you make for your life. Take note, though, that these boundaries also remind you what you will allow in your life, for yourself and for others.
This way of thinking also helps you establish what limits you’ll set for yourself. You should be as demanding of yourself as you are others in terms of behavior and actions. These limits also help with your habits — creating and using them.
Without limits, guidelines, or plans you may not push yourself to grow and be better, or to take notice of where your attention is or should be. You can’t even work with your habits if you don’t have some kind of dream or design for your life. Dreams and life design are related to the limits and guidelines you have in your life.
So, what does it mean for your life and your business to establish rules, boundaries, and limitations? It means harmony, productivity, clarity, energy, and high performance. That’s a huge result from a simple solution.
Rules are the guidelines and regulations that help you get things done. It’s a collection of ideas of what you can and can’t do, like a code of behavior or conduct. You could even think of rules as etiquette. Rules can be the building blocks of your habits, for example, and might be part of how you set priorities.
Creating rules helps you save energy because the rules remove the need to think or make frequent decisions, an energy burner. That’s not to say you go through a life of rules without thinking or making decisions, but it is to say that you save your energy-burning thinking for important issues and decisions. You could have rules about when you go to bed, what foods you will or won’t eat, when you do your hygiene, what hours you accept phone calls or texts, or what charities you donate to. These rules are great fodder for forming habits.
Boundaries, on the other hand, define the space — physical, mental, and emotional — you create around yourself, like the line in the sand that others can’t cross. They create a framework to operate within. Boundaries specify what is acceptable or permissible behavior. Emotional and mental boundaries provide you breathing and thinking room when you need it. Boundaries are like the foundation of your life on which the rules and limitations are built.
Thinking of boundaries as ethics expands the possibilities of what boundaries can do for your life. What is acceptable in your life? What is right and wrong? Your boundaries are your answers and definitions for such questions, creating your code of ethics.
Limitations are the conditions or exceptions to the rules you create in your life. Rules get broken, and maybe are meant to be as part of life’s test. Limitations can help guide what happens when a rule is broken, or what the consequences are then. Some boundaries define the repercussions when the rules are broken or bent too far. Limitations help define what “too far” means in regards to bending and breaking rules.
You and others will break your rules. It’s best to know ahead of time how you want to respond to those eventualities because it’s easier to determine what actions will ensue when you aren’t emotional than it is when emotions are flowing or raging. These are the limitations that help guide you through potentially sticky or hot situations. This is how you minimize the land mines in your life.
Working through your rules, boundaries, and limitations produces clarity and paves the way for harmony. Putting thought into your life — the process of creating rules, boundaries, and limitations — increases productivity and level of performance because you streamline your actions and simplify your decisions. That streamlining and simplification conserves energy so you can get more of the right things done. As your life gets more peaceful, organized, and you become an even more successful person at whatever you put your attention to.
Rules boundaries, and limitations don’t just produce well behaved pets and kids, they produce satisfied, energetic, high performing adults too. Build beautiful fences in your life and see how you prosper.