I am sure that you recognise the need to have good professional boundaries between you and your clients, patients and customers but have you stepped back recently and really looked at how healthy and resilient yours actually are?

And what about your boundaries with your colleagues, your family, your partner or your friends? Do you know when to say ‘yes’ to the right things for you and ‘no’ to the wrong things?

How often do you stretch your boundaries because there is pressure to do so, to go that extra mile?

How often do you stretch them because you want to help ?

How often do you stretch them because you feel that if you don’t then no one else will step up to the mark?

Your professional and personal boundaries are just one of the areas that we will be looking at in our powerful new workshop on 27th April (see below for details) as they are crucial if you know that you need to build your resilience in order to protect your mental and physical health, avoid burn out and still perform at your best, now and in the future.


Warning Signs

So let’s look at some of the warning signs that may indicate that your boundaries are a bit shaky (or perhaps the other person’s boundaries are not well maintained and they are putting pressure on yours).

Do you recognise any of these?

Client, Customer or Patient

  • They start to ask personal questions
  • They are keen to share their own personal information with you
  • They regularly contact you out of your usual working hours
  • They insist that you are the only person that can help them, even though there are others who can
  • They become more demanding
  • You find that you are relating your own experiences to theirs
  • You feel that you are the only person who understands their needs
  • They see you as their saviour
  • They make a special effort with their appearance when they know they will see you or you find yourself doing the same
  • You cherry pick and prioritise their requirements over others
  • You get defensive when someone questions your actions
  • You find it hard to say ‘no’

Colleagues and team members

  • You continuously take on extra work because you are not sure they will do it as well as you
  • You constantly take on extra work because you are aware of their workload and feel guilty giving them more
  • You find yourself sharing information with them about other members of the organisation, clients or patients
  • They are very interested in your personal life
  • They keep coming to you for the solution before thinking it through themselves
  • You find it hard to say ‘no’
  • You constantly compare yourself to others
  • You feel that you are the only one who has the skills to fix the problem even though that is actually not the case
  • You find delegation difficult
  • You encourage them to lean on you for their personal problems
  • There are often texts and emails out of hours
  • They are keen to gossip to you about others in the organisation
  • They over-share details about their personal life

Family, friends or partners

  • You constantly stop yourself saying what you really think as you are afraid of falling out with them
  • You find yourself sharing details about your clients, colleagues, patients or other stakeholders with them
  • You take responsibility for how they are feeling
  • You often blame them for how you are feeling
  • You find it really difficult to say ‘no’
  • You feel that they expect a lot from you and don’t give much in return but you would never voice this
  • You often find yourself doing things that you don’t really want to do for a quiet life
  • You feel guilty about putting yourself up the priority list
  • You are a gold medal rescuer and immediately jump in to solve their problems

So how many did you recognise?

When you are honest with yourself and recognise that sometimes your boundaries are a bit shaky then this is the first step to strengthening them.

Now step back and give yourself permission to build your personal and professional boundaries in a way that fits with you and what you want going forward .

Be clear on what is really important to you about your mental and physical well-being and how having stronger boundaries in place can help. What are you believing that perhaps is not really true?

Now decide what is the first thing that you can change and what needs to happen for that to happen?

I would love to hear your feedback on this article and it would be great to see you at our Resilience for Leaders, Managers and Healthcare Professionals on the 27th April.