I was listening to a song by Dido yesterday. It’s called This Land is Mine and it never fails to make me think about how I’m living my life. It’s a song about realising that your life belongs only to you.
All too often we allow others to get in the way of our success. We let them trespass and trample on our priorities and dreams. We tell ourselves that we’re being nice and doing the decent thing.
This used to be a real issue for me in a previous job. I was pretty good at designing things at lightning speed whenever a crisis occurred. I could turn a dull PowerPoint into a slick presentation in minutes, or come up with killer ideas for people just before their pitch. So I became known as the ‘go to guy’ when things needed to be done in a hurry. The trouble is that I also had my own deadlines to meet. My problem was that colleagues or managers would come to me when it was hitting the fan for them and I didn’t feel that I could let them fail, so I helped them out straight away. This meant I had to do my work in my own personal time. They were pleased and praised, but my deadlines slipped.
I made friends but it ultimately cost me my success there. I learned an important lesson.
Set Your Boundaries
It’s good to be selfless and giving, but there are limits and unless you know what they are, how can those around you? One of the things that successful people have in common is that they know how to set effective boundaries. So if you want to be successful you must identify your own boundary issues and set conscious markers for yourself. For example, if you have trouble saying “No” to requests from friends, set yourself a guideline such as “I will not agree to help anyone out until I’ve met my deadline for this essay, proposal or project”.[Tweet “It’s good to be selfless and giving, but there are limits. #inspiration”]
Reclaim Your Land
If you want success on your own terms, it’s time to stop people trampling all over your lawn. Put up your “No Trespassers” sign and start policing your boundaries. You’ll find that you only need to be strict about it for a while. Pretty soon, the people around you will get the idea and respect your wishes more. And when that happens, you’ll probably realise that you do too.
The Next Steps
Make a list of your boundary issues today. Is it your friends, your boss or your partner that thinks your land is theirs? Add a list of actions: what would you like to improve? Then do it, right away and don’t stop until you’ve made it clear that your land is yours, and you’re in charge of it.