Prioritize With Purpose

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From the desk of Kelsey Buell,

Do you remember the movie Yes Man?

In this 2008 film, Jim Carrey plays a negative guy named Carl who becomes determined to change his life around by saying “yes” to everything, after attending a self help seminar.  

This change has immediate positive results: he learns new skills, experiences adventures, and meets a beautiful love interest. 

That being said, he eventually found that constant agreement led to dangerous situations, dealings with shady characters, and eventually, burnout. 

This movie plays off of the concept that the world teaches us we need to say “yes” to everything, when in reality sometimes saying yes to too much does not end up serving us well.

Furthermore, a 2017 article in Forbes quoted research that found people who have trouble saying “no” were more anxious and felt less in control of their lives. These people were less clear on their own priorities in life and had lower self-esteem. 

Your constant agreement to everything could be coming from an unhealthy desire for approval.

When I read this, it hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.

I like to say yes to everything, and I mean everything.

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I thought I was being an ambitious hard worker by saying yes, but I realized it was actually coming from a place of desiring people to “like me.”

So how do you set boundaries and start saying no to some things…?

…so that you aren’t spread so thin to the point of having a mental breakdown?

There’s one word I find that helps when I am being asked to say “yes”…and that word is…PAUSE.

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Instead of giving a quick yes, I slow my yes down by not providing an immediate answer and taking time to think about whether or not I can commit.

I pause, breathe, think, and follow this 3 step process:

  1. Know your values as your foundation for setting boundaries
  2. Ask yourself questions to determine whether or not you can commit
  3. Determine if and how you will say yes, and if you will say no how to do so gracefully

By taking time to pause and reflect, you give yourself an opportunity to process why you want to say yes, or why you might, in fact, want to give a no.

Additionally, there are 5 general areas of our life where we can set boundaries.

 In these areas we have the opportunity to say “yes” or “no,” depending on what we want for our lifestyle.

Which area of your life do you need to set more boundaries, so you can live up to your full potential?

  1. Time – How much time you spend with someone doing something or time at work
  2. Physical – How close do you let someone get to you? How much space do you share with others?
  3. Conversational boundaries – topics you’re open to discussing and note discussing
  4. Relationship boundaries – mutually agreed upon with close friends and partners 
  5. Content boundaries – Things you will watch or not watch / consume or note consume

Setting boundaries is also  essential for effective leadership. Here are some tips to consider when setting boundaries as a leader:

  1. Communicate expectations clearly: Clearly communicate your expectations to your team members, colleagues, or subordinates. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and boundaries within your team or organization. This helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures everyone understands the limits and guidelines.
  1. Be consistent: Consistency is crucial when setting boundaries. Enforce the established boundaries consistently and fairly for all individuals. Inconsistency can lead to confusion and undermine the effectiveness of the boundaries you set.
  1. Practice self-awareness: Understand your own limitations, strengths, and weaknesses. Recognize when you need to set boundaries for yourself to maintain your well-being, balance your workload, and avoid burnout. Leading by example and setting healthy boundaries for yourself encourages others to do the same.
  1. Encourage open communication: Foster an environment where open and honest communication is encouraged. Create a safe space for team members to voice their concerns, share their needs, and discuss any challenges they face in adhering to established boundaries. This helps build trust and allows for adjustments or refinements to the boundaries when necessary.
  1. Evaluate and adapt: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the boundaries you have set. Assess whether they are achieving the desired outcomes and adjust them if needed. Be open to feedback from your team and be willing to adapt the boundaries to better serve the goals of the organization and the well-being of your team members.

Remember, setting boundaries is not about being rigid or controlling; it is about creating a healthy and productive work environment that respects the needs and limitations of everyone involved.

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We know it’s hard to say no, especially when you have a giving heart and want to help.

What does God have to say about setting boundaries?:

  • Proverbs 4:23: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This verse encourages individuals to protect their hearts and exercise discernment in their relationships and interactions. Setting boundaries is a way to safeguard one’s emotional and spiritual well-being.
  • Matthew 5:37: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” This verse emphasizes the importance of truthful and direct communication. It implies that setting clear boundaries in our words and commitments is crucial, and we should avoid making promises or agreements that we cannot or should not fulfill.

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