Boundaries & Your Personal Brand
It seems that more and more people are talking these days about how having boundaries within our lives is optimal and productive. I’m not talking about physical boundaries. The boundaries I am talking about are those we enforce with people in our lives in order to respect our time, feelings, preferences and of course, our personal brand development. The alternative is a downward spiral.
I find in my daily interaction with clients, friends and potential clients that people just can’t say, “no”. I find it happens with certain types of people and professions more.
I get many junior attorneys and other junior professionals who fall prey to a lack of boundary. Just the other day it happened again: a junior attorney was late to our meeting because:
-”I had a client on the phone and I just couldn’t end the call so I could be on time to my meeting with you.” OR
-”I disagreed with my senior partner’s theory but didn’t feel comfortable saying so and then someone else voiced their dissent, instead of me, and got all the praise.”
Being able to say, “no”, with ease and grace is a gift we bring to ourselves and to others. It helps people understand where they stand with us. I liken it to training a puppy. Puppies need rules and discipline. Just the same- we need to know where we stand with people. I call this having a high “confront”, where you are able to eloquently and easily state your preference and views while respecting the person/people on the other side.
If you have a low confront, and thus low/no boundaries, people walk all over you and the result is a disastrous personal brand. Why would anyone think you could provide them quality service, if you can’t draw boundaries or dissent? The assumption is that if you can’t stand up kindly TO me, how can you stand up kindly FOR me and be my advocate in business?
So please take some time to:
1. Figure out what your boundaries are in general.
2. Figure out what your boundaries are in a particular situation.
3. Draw your boundaries. Practice on the small stuff so you’ll be able to draw the boundaries on the bigger stuff with the ease and grace of an effective personal brand.
In the end, you’ll see the world respects you and your personal and business brand more.