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Boundaries to Success

I usually write about leading teams (because it's awesome); and here's a slight reframe.


The metaphor "put your own mask on" never strongly resonated with me. The premise that that a person is no good to help others if they are themselves not healthy enough to sustain their own existence. I like that. The metaphor for me is a bit dramatic. There are so many things in our lives that are not oxygen-masks-falling-from-the-overhead-compartment level crisis. But they're still important. That's where the danger lives.


Here are some examples of ways we disregard the mask advice where there is not a crisis:

"I can stay late again. I don't have much else going on tonight."

"He got the credit for my work, but as long as we get to where we're going, I don't mind."

"This isn't what we agreed to originally, but I can take on extra for the sake of the project."


There is no way to be an effective leader for your team or yourself without the ability or willingness to set boundaries and observe them. "Observe" generally means do them, rather than observing your boundaries getting smaller and smaller in your rear view mirror.


I started down the boundaries path thanks to a mentor. He advised me to not go to all additional/optional events all the time; even without a conflict or reason. If we go to every single time, that will be the expectation. Before long, a person is working all day AND all night just because that's the tone they've set. It's not a great recipe for success. It IS a fabulous recipe for burnout, however!


There's great conversation around self-care and self-leadership. It's more than time away. Being an effective leader includes holding firm to what you will do and what you won't. This helps prevent burnout and mission creep.


It's not easy, especially if you can't even see your boundaries any more. But making adjustments to reign in all of the extras is possible, even imperative for your effectiveness, health, and satisfaction.


If you've had to reset boundaries, please share a bit about that below. Help others learn from your experiences :)



Photo by Yann Allegre on Unsplash

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