setting boundaries

setting boundaries

Setting boundaries is an important part of having healthy relationships. It can be hard to start setting when you have a fear of alienating people or offending them–and you’re not weak or wrong because you want to try to preserve relationships or get along with others!

Yet this business of setting boundaries is essential to our well-being. It’s essential to our courage. Sometimes, saying “no” to someone else is the only way that you can say “yes” to yourself.

Watch this video to learn more about setting healthy boundaries and how to handle it when you set boundaries and your boundaries are triggered.

  1. Learn about setting boundaries with friends, without alienating them
  2. Understand why having boundaries can actually strengthen your relationships
  3. Learn what to do when your boundaries get triggered

Setting Boundaries in Practice

After watching the video, consider some specific ways that you can start to practice what you’ve learned. This is one of the best ways to create better habits : by immediately putting the ideas of setting boundaries into place. Where can you start? Write down the top three places in your life where you’d like to set boundaries. Forget being realistic in this case, and just move into “If I could have it the way I wanted, I’d want…” Then see what action steps emerge.

As you start, you’ll notice that you stop over-committing and are more likely to trust yourself. It’s part of how you choose joy. The more you practice setting boundaries, the better you’ll get at it!

courage in a world that has seemingly gone mad


I was thinking about what to write about courage and fear in the wake of terrible tragedies–mass shootings, terrorist attacks, the collective wound of institutionalized racism breaking open. I was thinking about courage in a world that has seemingly gone mad. How do we practice that?

And then, as I was still collecting my thoughts, ANOTHER thing happened.

It seems almost impossible to imagine, in so many ways. (That’s my/our privilege showing itself, by the way–the shock with which we experience this violence, when so many other people in the world must accept living with violence as a daily reality).

* * *

This was an entirely different post, when I first wrote it. It was more hopeful.

More weeks passed. More attacks. More senseless violence. More institutionalized systems showing their dysfunction.

I have found myself taking care not to run from my sadness.
I’ve been trying to feel it, without wallowing in it, because the people who are the victims and survivors of violence need those of us with more power, access, and privilege to DO something.

I talk on about starting a “revolution from within.” I use that phrase because I believe that it’s when we have the courage to look at our own stuff, our own wounds, our own denial of the problem, our own limiting self-beliefs, and the rest, that we can create true change. It starts from within.

The revolution of deciding that you’re not going to live a fear-based life, anymore, starts with you and ripples outward. You can’t be of service to others, when you haven’t investigated your own stuff. Whether we’re talking about white privilege or LGBTQ discrimination or gun legislation, or we’re talking about feeling overwhelmed and full of doubt when you try to go after a big dream, the stakes are the same.

You won’t change anything for the good, if you don’t start with yourself.

* * *

Here is what I want to say, about practicing courage in a world that has seemingly gone mad:

It is my commitment to remember that most of the time, most people have nothing but fundamentally good intentions. I need to remember that, as part of the psychological work of not being pulled into the undertow of grief that comes along with violence, which would then render me incapable of being part of the solution.

Most of us, most of the time, are getting up in the morning thinking about how to create better lives for ourselves or for the people we love.

Most of us, most of the time, are arriving on time(ish) to our jobs, and being of service. That person who got your coffee, this morning? The teachers who are with your kids, right now? The multiple tiers of people responsible for ensuring that internet service is up and running so that you can read this post?

–Yeah, those are the people you live among, most of the time.

Most of the time, most people are not awful people. I will not buy in to the idea that most people are more interested in hate and fear, than they are in love.

* * *

I want to add this: waking up is painful.

Waking up to how you’ve been complicit in the problem, unknowingly? Painful.
Waking up to how little control you have? Painful.
Waking up to how much someone else is suffering as a result of your behavior? Painful.
Waking up to how much someone else is suffering because you chose not to acknowledge their suffering? Painful.

Waiting to wake up, makes the waking up even more painful.

So if you want to change things, one way to practice courage in a world that has seemingly gone mad might be this: don’t wait until the last possible minute, before you decide to change.

Don’t wait until it gets as bad as it can possibly get, before you’ll finally take action–whether in your own life, or on behalf of someone else.

I will keep breathing with my grief.
I will keep on keeping myself informed.
I will keep speaking up so that my silence isn’t interpreted as agreement with violence.

I extend a shaky hand to you, so that we can be with each other in this, together, and courageously choose to make it better.

people make the difference

The first time that I ran the Courageous Living Coach Certification, a life coach training program for women, Valerie and Rachael were by my side in a volunteer capacity. This past year, they joined me to form a leadership within the program. It has been a mind-blowing experience of awesomeness and intimacy and connection–and it has convinced me like nothing else that going it solo in business, just as in life, is way less fun.

Valerie Tookes Rachael Maddox
valerie2015 rachael2015


The program also worked with some mentor coaches, former trainees who had graduated from the program and who were interested in continuing to work together in a mentorship capacity. This year, I’m so proud and excited to that our program will be working with these incredible women:

Elizabeth Applegate Julie Houghton Paula Jenkins
liz applegate julie houghton paula jenkins


Why did I go it alone, for so long?

For years in my business, I basically went it alone. I didn’t reach out very often to other people to collaborate. I didn’t invite people to help me lead or really even participate.

Because it felt safer.
Because there was less risk of rejection.
Because if I screwed up, no one else would see.
Because I wouldn’t need to deal with other people’s neuroses, feeling that push-pull pressure to caretake for them while simultaneously resenting being in that role.
Because then I couldn’t get blamed or shamed if I made a mistake.
Because then I wouldn’t be taken advantage of.

There’s a lot of pain in those old Stories. Ultimately, it felt like it’d just be easier to do it myself, than risk the pain or challenges of working through things with others.

What I understand about the alone thing, now

Yes, sometimes when working with others, I feel rejection, or mess up and they see it, or their stuff comes up and I feel the pressure of how to support them while still staying grounded, and on and on.

But what I’ve come to realize is that it is far more painful to keep going it alone, going it alone, going it alone than it is to work through the challenges and ups and downs and foibles and what-ifs of working with others.

If you need to choose, always choose people–because people make the difference.

Also, you will survive whatever comes your way. Flying solo doesn’t mean that you’ll get to avoid the things you fear. In my experience, they still manage to come your way when that’s the next lesson that you need to learn. While that statement is pithy and one that I have trouble trusting when I’m in the middle of all of my stuff, I ultimately know that it’s true.

Be with your people. People make the difference.