September 15

Coffee With Mike – Setting Up Boundaries



One of the pictures I've got hanging in my office is a picture of a bunch of horses, and they’re within a collection of trees that are spread out pretty far, and it's just a rolling hill with tall grass. It just looks nice, it looks peaceful to me, and the caption at the bottom is just one word. It says, “freedom”, and I think about that and I thought what makes them free? Really, it's the difference between a prairie and a pasture. What's the difference between a prairie and a pasture? 
The difference is the fence. In the picture I'm talking about, these horses have this fence, and there's a lot of room within the fence, but there's also this fence. That's a boundary, and it's the boundary that sets them free. Without the fence, they’re actually at risk without the fence. We have people who can come in, as well as they can leave. It’s the fence, the boundary, that sets them free. 
I began thinking about boundaries and how important they are, and so I think that when we start working with each other, we need to understand boundaries, right? I mean certainly there are personal boundaries: personal space boundaries, and language boundaries, and things like that, but I'm not really talking about that stuff right now. What I'm talking about is being able to set up your idea of the future. How you can create this journey you want to be on, creating your future? You gotta have boundaries, right? 

If you're trying to go from one place to another, you're going to get in the car and when you get in that car, what are you going to get on? The road. On that road, what do we have? Well, we have lanes, and every once in a while, we have stop signs. Every once in a while, we have red lights, and we have all these boundaries that kind of guide our behavior, that tell us, “if we want to get from point A to point B, we have to go down this road.” Stay in this lane. Go through these traffic stops, to be able to get there safely, and not only for us to get there safely, but for everyone else to get to wherever they're going safely. That's what boundaries are for. 
So, boundaries are not, “hey I can't do that.” Boundaries are more about, “hey this is going to help me be successful. This is going to help me get to where I want to go with the least amount of trouble.” So, the thing I'm thinking about is, boundaries are really helpful. 
For instance, when I think about my office, I see walls, I see a roof, I see a floor, I see a door, I see windows, I see doors. I see all kinds of things in my office that makes space usable for more than one person, and so the boundaries are important for us to have functional office space. I think boundaries are helpful in creating your plans for the future. You need to identify your boundaries because the boundaries would enable you to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way, and hopefully the most enjoyable way. 

"How you can create this journey you want to be on, creating your future? You gotta have boundaries."

I'm asking you to think about, when you think about the future are you identifying your boundaries? For instance, are you thinking about the budgets? Are you think about the costs? Are you thinking about the events? Are you thinking about the timelines? Are you thinking about the people you're going to invite to join you in those things? Are you thinking about who's not going to be invited to those things? Are you thinking about the time you want to be alone? There are boundaries, right? When you retire, people usually need their own space. You might have office space, even if it's a cubicle, it's your cubicle, it’s your space. 
Where is that going to be in your home? What's the boundary? So, when you think about your future for retirement, or you think about your future in your career, think about what boundaries need to be set up in order for me to get from where I am to where I want to be. Not just about the opportunities, but also think about the challenges. Think about how we can make this as enjoyable and as efficient as we possibly can. Boundaries are what's going to make it most enjoyable, most efficient, and most functional, and that's what a plan should do for you: set the boundary. 

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