The word “boundary” has a negative connotation these days. And yet, it is a key concept that defines how to achieve successful relationships of every kind. Every person has limits. Each person’s limits are different based upon many factors. There is no one-size fits all personal or professional boundary. This is what can make relationships risky.
Entering into any type of relationship, agreement, partnership or contract requires a lot of due diligence and even when due diligence has been performed at the highest levels, there is always inherent risk present. You just don’t know what the other person is capable of doing when faced with challenges that might arise during the engagement. Even in the absence of challenges, the other party may fail to perform.
I’ve been an entrepreneur all my adult life and have conducted business all over the world with small, mid-sized, fortune 500 companies and solopreneurs. The risk is all the same, but the damages that can occur as a result of not knowing, setting and honoring your own boundaries can vary from minor to catastrophic. The bigger the fish, the greater the potential loss. But, regardless of the size of the fish, the sheer waste of time and energy expended to correct the breach is a drain financially, mentally, emotionally and physically.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything. ~Warren Buffett
Here’s How to Know, Set and Honor Your Boundaries to Maximize Your Success and Minimize Your Losses:
1. Know Yourself and Your Values. What behaviors are unacceptable to you? What’s you rule about 2nd chances? Do you allow 1 strike, 2 strikes, or none? What’s your #1 core value that if someone can’t abide, you walk away?
2. Don’t Violate Your Own Values. If you can’t honor your core values than you can expect nobody else will and it is the surest way to fail.
3. Walk Your Talk. If your behavior isn’t consistent with your promises or in general is inconsistent, the weakness will be noted and capitalized upon.
4. Clearly Communicate Your Requirements and Expectations. Take the time and make the effort to clearly set forth your requirements. This is an area where I see many companies and solopreneurs fail which causes them loss and hardship which could have been avoided.
5. Don’t Bluff. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you set a clear boundary with a promise to seek remedy, then follow through. Making false threats only escalates the problem, is a character trait of a poor leader and set’s you up for potentially even greater losses.
6. Fearlessly Set Your Boundaries. Learn to say no. Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. If you’ve been wronged, harmed or damaged by wrongful behavior of another party, then step out of fear and into action. Nonaction or delaying action can cause you to suffer far greater consequences than standing up for yourself early on.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: A CFO of a major national bank had just committed perjury against me in a take-over attempt to seize everything I owned! WTF!?? Even my well-seasoned attorneys couldn’t believe it. My very expensive team of attorneys immediately told me I’d get crushed and lose everything if I tried to go up against the giant with the truth. They told me to cut my losses and payout the huge amount of money and hand over the assets that they were demanding. I was exhausted after months and months of court proceedings. I was about to throw in the towel, when I thought about how my letting this guy get away with this was going to give him the confidence to keep doing this to others. I had to take the risk and honor my core values which included honesty and having a social conscience. Exhausted, I dug deep, sorted through mountains of data and correspondence and found the one bit of evidence that confirmed his fraud. Fearlessly, I reported the individual to the appropriate authorities and sent the evidence along with a letter to the founder of the bank (against all attorney advice). He immediately fired the CFO and dropped the claim. I later received a thank you letter from an executive within the bank stating that both the employees and customers had endured years of abuse from this man.
Time Management is hailed as the one of the major keys to success. And yet, I’ve long ago discovered that how you manage your mind is far more important than how you manage your time. If you can’t take control over your thoughts, then any effort at time management is going to be ineffectual.
Focus is about being in the present moment. The degree of focus that one can achieve is directly related to one’s ability to manage their mind. Those with the greatest capacity to manage their thoughts, especially putting at bey intruding thoughts, achieve the greatest degree of focus and are the ones that attain great success.
For a long time, I believed the concept of “being in the now” was too new agey of a concept that gave us all a scapegoat for not taking responsibility for having to think through and make tough decisions on events in our lives that need to be made in advance. I felt the concept robbed us of our ability to think outside of the box because it kept us in the box of the present moment, failing to transport our mental capacities to another dimension beyond the here and now. But, what I “now” (pun intended) know is that being mentally strong enough to control being present in the now, is having the mental prowess to become a world class success.
My earlier belief that it was a free-pass on taking responsibility for one’s life, came as I witnessed many people who used the concept as an excuse to avoid the realities of their lives. The decision about what you are going to do at any given moment (either to be responsible or irresponsible) is a personal choice, which either choice sets you up to cop out of your responsibilities or take charge of your life.
Take this Quiz to Find Out If You’re Copping Out or Opting in to Being Present for Success:
1. Does “going with the flow” mean that you don’t have a plan for your day?
2. When “in the moment” do you frequently have intruding thoughts?
3. Do you sometimes “come to” and realize you narrowly avoided a mishap?
4. When immersed in a task at hand and an unexpected event happens to disrupt your focus, does it derail you from being able to remain calm, rational and able to complete the task at hand?
If you’ve answered yes to at least one of the questions above, it means it’s time to practice upping your mental prowess abilities to allow you to be more fully present to the achievement of maximum wealth and well-being. Notice that I say “practice”. It’s just like batting practice. You show up, you practice hitting the ball and when you miss, you don’t give up. You look at how you can do better next time. And, you keep showing up for batting practice, no matter how good you get, because you know there’s always going to be another big game ahead and you’d better be prepared to be at your best.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: Ironically, I had planned to pen a different closing confession. But, as I sat down to write this blog, I lost all power in my house and neighborhood. Then, the helicopters and ambulances started to roar around me. It’s now been over two hours with no power. It’s very cold in here. I have no heat. Everything in the fridge is melting. And, just now the power on this laptop is about to drain completely out. I have maybe a minute left to finish here before shuts down. When the power went out, I initially ran amok trying to call utility company, family, emergency services, etc. Then I caught myself…I thought, well, I can panic, get stressed-out, and pack ice boxes, or I can sit here and use the quiet to write my blog as I had planned. I sat down and began to write. I still have no power.
This article originally published on Forbes.com
We’ve all been told and conditioned to believe that success is whatever you define it to be. The great untold truth is that this is a misguided directive that has prevented a huge percentage of the population from achieving sustainable success.
In my coaching practice, I regularly ask my new clients what their definition of success is. The most common response is a big pause and then an impromptu answer. The second most common response is a nebulous, non-specific one. For example:
Coach: “Can you please tell me what your definition of success is?”
Coach: “What does happiness mean to you?”
Client: “Feeling fulfilled”
Coach: “What fulfills you?”
Client: “Having a lot of money?”
I think you get the unclear picture presented. There is one hardcore fact about achieving success that I’ve learned. If you can’t clearly and specifically define it, you’re either going to:
1. Not achieve it.
2. Take the long, slow road to get there.
3. Not be able to sustain it if you, by chance, achieve some.
I remember as a young entrepreneur starting out, I was determined to become “successful,” and I thought I’d better be clear on society’s definition of success. I consulted the go-to resource for the answer. I grabbed my Merriam-Webster dictionary, and this is what it said:
“a: degree or measure of succeeding
b: favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence“
Upon reading the definition, I felt disheartened and confused. How could success be caught up in fame, respect or money? It just didn’t feel right. So, I kept researching. I then came across a famous success expert’s definition. In his book Born to Win!, Zig Ziglar says that success cannot be defined in one sentence, but instead it is comprised of many things.
Now I was really confused. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a clear, specific and universal definition of success that was one-size-fits-all. Why was there so much lack of clarity on the meaning of success?
In my personal journey of overcoming life-threatening health challenges, financial adversity and spiritual tests — and then becoming a self-made multimillionaire, medaled amateur athlete and coach to people from all walks of life, from main street to Wall Street, gang members, cons and ex-cons — I discovered the true and singular definition of success, the one that is indeed the one-size-fits-all definition. It’s the one definition that, if used collectively by society, would help us achieve success more rapidly and sustainably.
So, here it goes: Success is defined as a balanced achievement of wealth and well-being through consistently living the truth of ones’ grace-inspired values.
A broken definition of success is one that does not take a holistic approach. It leaves out some aspect of the whole person. The whole person is:
Does fame provide nourishment to the whole person? Does accomplishing one singular goal? Does wealth cover all aspects? No. Only a balanced achievement of wealth and well-being can do that. And, one can only accomplish that balance through consistently living the truth of their values. If not, the “success” is at risk of failing. I could go into a multitude of real-life stories of people who achieved some aspect of success and then lost it because they either compromised their values or, through not knowing their core values, failed to prioritize living them out in all their decision making.
How do you start to clearly and specifically define what wealth, well-being and your values are? First, ask yourself these two essential questions:
1. What is the most important thing in the world to you?
2. Why is it the most important thing to you?
Answering these two questions will start you on the path to clearly understand what innate forces drive you so that you can craft a picture of what a balanced achievement of wealth and well-being looks like — one that supports your core needs and provides you with fulfilling and sustainable success. After decades of success coaching and working with both individuals and corporations, I’ve discovered that every single goal anyone goes after is an attempt to fulfill only one of two things: security or recognition.
When defining success and goal-setting, take your whole person into account, know your core values, understand what’s important to you and understand that you’re always either seeking security or recognition. Make sure that all you seek is grounded in humility rather than ego to ensure you’ll achieve sustainable “success,” as defined as a balanced achievement of wealth and well-being.