Self

7 Unexpected Benefits Of Setting Boundaries At Work (& Exactly How To Do It)

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young woman sitting at desk, working

Every profession presents challenges. How do you effectively navigate those challenges while maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

It’s all about setting appropriate personal boundaries — for yourself and for your customers or clients.

When you haven’t put strong boundaries in place, you can easily (and unconsciously) take on your clients' or co-workers' stress, anxiety and emotional turmoil. This can negatively influence your level of energy, your focus and your overall well-being.

Which, in turn, can have an adverse effect on your long-term professional success, and even your health.

RELATED: Is It Burnout Or Depression? The Key Symptoms You Need To Watch For

Seven benefits that are enabled when you set clear boundaries at work

Clear boundaries can help you in a number of ways, enabling you to:

You can express your identity

With clear boundaries in place, your confidence can grow as your expertise becomes well-defined, and clients learn what to expect from you.

You can create order and better manage chaos 

Without clear boundaries, it can be difficult to effectively regulate daily demands, ideas, responsibilities, opportunities and activities which can quickly lead to overwhelm and chaos. Boundaries provide the necessary structure to help you avoid it.

You can guard your energy against negativity 

Firm boundaries let in what you do want — good people/opportunities/interactions. They also help you keep out what you don’t want — toxic or negative people/circumstances, so you remain safe and able to express yourself authentically.

You can create greater alignment and productivity

Clear boundaries are often built upon our values, purpose and mission. When you’re clear on these key areas, it’s easier to attract to you the ideal relationships, clients and opportunities that are similarly aligned.

You'll be able to lead effectively 

When you can stand clearly in your boundaries based on your core values, it communicates to others what you will and won’t do — can and cannot do based on your integrity.  It lays the groundwork for building trust, and dependability and helps you to avoid burnout.

RELATED: 8 Habits That Successful Leaders Practice In Order To Build A Lasting Legacy

You can guard against manipulation by others

By having steadfast boundaries in place, it’s far more difficult to be preyed upon by manipulative or narcissistic personalities. Enabling you to say no with grace and grit.

You're beter able to protect personal assets  

Your boundaries help safeguard your time, talent, skills, and abilities. Helping you to avoid getting consumed by your work and client challenges.

RELATED: 3 Easy Strategies For Empaths To Set Energy Boundaries

What happens without clear boundaries

When we fail to put firm boundaries into place, there are consequences. Do any of these feel familiar to you?

  • Loss of respect from self and others
  • Loss of control of the direction of your business or life
  • Increased distractions, disruptions, and chaos
  • Loss of interest and passion for life
  • Falling short of goals can lead to guilt, anxiety, or depression

Without personal boundaries, it becomes more difficult to live the life of purpose, passion and contribution that you’re meant to live.

Now that we have a better understanding of how setting clear boundaries can really be of benefit to our lives and careers we can turn to the next big question.

RELATED: 4 Things You Must Know To 'Find Your Passion' & Become The Happy Person You Were Meant To Be

What prevents us from setting strong boundaries?

We know that we need to do it, and yet we set porous boundaries (if at all). This can keep you stuck on the hamster wheel, feeling drained and not able to give your best to your work on a daily basis.

Here are ten common triggers that cause many folks to not maintain their well-intentioned boundaries, either personally or professionally.

Do any of these qualities, emotions or circumstances apply to you?

  • FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear of failure
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear of rejection
  • Lack of self-worth
  • People pleasing
  • Over-giving
  • Imposter syndrome
  • Social conditioning

If you said yes to any of the above, rest assured there is a way forward.

RELATED: Do You Have Imposter Syndrome? 5 Triggers That Can Crush Your Confidence

10 steps to help you maintain healthy boundaries

1. Identify your core values  

Start by building the foundation of your work based on what’s truly important to you. What calls you to the work you do and the deeper WHY for doing it? Answering these questions helps to form the core drivers that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions.

You can use them as a signpost both personally and professionally, helping you to discern what you need to say yes to and what you need to say no to in the moment.

2. Practice self-reflection

Get a journal and make note of where your own fears, self-doubts or past traumas are getting triggered by your clients' or others' emotional turmoil. Write them down and reflect on how those beliefs are serving your growth or holding you back. If need be, seek out assistance to help you release those past traumas from your mind, heart and nervous system.

3. Build compassionate communication skills

Utilize effective communication skills that demonstrate you’re listening, enabling your client to feel seen, heard and valued (while not becoming their therapist). Here are some important tools to master:

  • Building rapport and trust
  • Active listening skills
  • Making people feel validated for their perspective
  • Reacting without bias
  • Tactics for de-escalation

RELATED: 5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Active Listening Skills (& Build Better Relationships)

4. Set clear expectations

Establish a framework upfront with clients and acquaintances for how you will work together. What it includes and more importantly what it doesn’t include.

5. Consistency is key

Be consistent in maintaining the boundaries you’ve created. If you find that your client is calling too often, politely remind them of the agreements made upfront and direct them to review your communication protocols, billing guidelines and time agreements.

This might sound like: “I understand your frustration with the process, but each time we speak, I have to bill for giving you the same information. I respect your time and do not want to charge you unnecessarily. I promise you will receive an update as soon as we have one.”

6. Remain neutral

Do your best to not get pulled into their emotional whirlwind. You can stay engaged with positive empathy in a neutral way.

This might sound like: “I am so sorry this is happening to you. I can’t change what has happened, but I am glad you took the necessary steps to address it. We’re here to help you.”

With just a little support, clients can better manage their own emotional noise and give more energy to the task at hand. You can also point them to other valuable supplemental resources or colleagues that can provide the deeper level of emotional support they need throughout your work together. This helps to advance the process and improves their perception of their experience in working with you.

RELATED: The 'Magic' Word That Opens The Door To Courageous Choices Every Day

7. Practice saying no. 

Decide What you need to say Yes to and what you need to say No to. Practice in the mirror with yourself first if you find telling someone “no” challenging. This can feel really empowering once you master the art of saying no.

8. Redirect the outbursts. 

If your client is getting irate and out of hand, then redirect their energy by asking them pointed questions to help refocus their emotions and energy. If they still can’t calm down, then cut the work session short until they can recompose themselves.

9. Be your own champion.

Just as much as you might love the law, I know there are other things that bring you joy as well. Making time for other important people, pets, causes or activities in your life is super important. The time spent in these areas actually helps release “Happy Chemicals” dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins in your brain.

When you do things you love, things that feed your heart, these chemicals can flood your system. Helping to lower your stress levels, increase your sense of well-being and enhance your immune system.

RELATED: 4 Reasons The Strongest, Most Confident People Couldn't Care Less About 'Self-Esteem'

10. Focus on self-care. 

If you’re not taking care of you and your emotions, how can you be fully present for those who are looking for your guidance and expertise? Increasing your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) through reading various books, online courses or talks that can help create greater awareness to your own blind spots.

Doing this kind of inner work to identify and release your own emotional baggage can be very freeing. Allowing you to have greater presence, peace of mind and clarity both personally and professionally.

If you or someone you know is challenged with creating better work/life balance with their practice, here’s a free resource that can help them start to pinpoint why that is.

RELATED: 5 Emotionally Exhausting Signs It's Time To Set Boundaries With The People In Your Life

Michele Molitor, CPCC, CHt, is a certified coach and hypnotherapist, and co-author of the best-selling book, Breakthrough Healing. For over 20 years, she has worked with high-achieving professionals, helping them reduce their overwhelm and reclaim their confidence, calm and clarity to create a thriving life and career. 

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This article was originally published at Linked In. Reprinted with permission from the author.