A question I always like to ask clients is, “If you had all the resources you needed, what would success look like to you?”

It’s probably pretty easy to come up with scenarios that include waking up in an oceanfront mansion with open windows and white flowing curtains, next to the most loving partner you know. I know this because I’ve heard it a thousand times, and it’s exactly how I would start my ideal day!

But then what? What do you do in your ideal life? Well, in order to get where you’re going, you’ll need to learn the route. Begin by noting what you love to do, where your energy level is highest. By recognizing when this happens, you’ll immediately begin to tune in to what excites you. Is it being with small groups? Presenting ideas? Quietly researching the next best thing? Write it down.

Then back up one more step and think about what it is in your life that pulls you away from those types of activities.

That’s where establishing boundaries come in.

Physical boundaries are easy to establish. You see it. In yoga, for example, the boundary is your mat. When you are on your mat, you are in charge of your physical space, your thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s clear; this is my mat, that is yours. If only all of life was so simple!

I like this concept because you can use it anywhere. I used it in a meeting once as I sat next to an adversary. Pretending I was on my yoga mat helped significantly to keep my thoughts, feelings and actions on my goals.

It’s the unseen, internal boundaries that are the hardest to establish. But they are just as, if not more, important. You’ll know ’em when you feel ’em.

How easily can you communicate important feelings and ideas?
Can you act upon your desire to stop someone from taking advantage of you?
Can you tell someone you need space and time?
Do you feel the freedom to express joy and sadness alike?
In a nutshell, can you speak and act from your heart without fear of repercussion?

When those streams get congested, or you find it harder and harder to express yourself, your internal stress will tell you that you are at the border. Your essential self is being tried and tested – and you alone are the Captain, Lieutenant and President of Border Control.

And that right there? That’s the rub! You are standing on the border and must decide whether to speak up, or retreat.

But, have no fear! Once you know you are at the borderline, you can search for your internal boundaries.

Learn what they are each time they come up – for you and no one else. Reach inside and pull them out so that Border Control can review and remember them.

This is the ultimate in self-care.

I’ve learned time and again that there’s really not much to loose, and everything to gain, when we maintain our boundaries. And if you lose something that doesn’t respect your border, then it wasn’t worth having in the first place. Sounds so cliché, I know…but it’s true.

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