From Kat: Boundary Landscapes – more context & questions

boundaries cloud and grass


Elizabeth and I decided to dive into the topic of Boundary Landscapes because we both work with many clients on some component of this concept.  Boundaries are the most common area where people can get tripped up in their lives. One of the things that I know for sure is that the places where we stumble, or are repeatedly challenged, are opportunities for us to grow and learn. The Boundary Landscapes are fertile ground for experiential learning.


I believe that we, being human, come here with lessons to learn, taught to us by life unfolding. Our experiences are the perfect teacher. The lessons we are meant to learn often show up as challenges in our lives. This is because we learn faster when we are challenged in some way. When things are simple we don’t try as hard because the experience already comes easily. Until we learn a specific lesson, challenges in a certain area will keep presenting themselves – perhaps disguised in different clothing – but they will still show up repeatedly until we learn how to master them.


The more we approach ourselves with a sense of curiosity and wonder, the more clearly we are able to view our challenges as opportunities to learn. When I myself take this personal view of looking at issues that present themselves within my own Boundary Landscapes, then the lessons can be more of an adventure of discovery rather than a personal condemnation of what I am doing wrong. So, here’s to the adventure!


    Let’s Review

Let’s review the Boundary Landscape model that Elizabeth shared on Monday.  If you haven’t had a chance to read that post yet, I recommend you start there and then come back to this post.


In the overall Boundary Landscape we have two major components:

The first has to do with our dance with people, including ourselves.  These include our Internal Boundaries, our Personal Relationship Boundaries and our Professional Boundaries with those we interact with in our work and business.  

The second has to do with our dance in the world -our time, space and stuff boundaries.  All of these have to do with how we handle our time, space and stuff and other people’s time, space and stuff.  


We broke it down like this because it is helpful to chunk things into manageable bites. Most of us are well aware of our struggles, and having a model can help us to identify areas that may need more of our attention.


Align with What is Working

Before looking at what is not working in your life, it is helpful to look at what is working and align yourself to that, allowing it to support you as you take a deeper look at what drives your boundaries. I want to encourage you to take a closer look at your own Boundary Landscapes and identify a few areas where you are doing well. Perhaps the people in your life view you as someone who is honest and full of integrity: You do what you say you are going to do and others can rely on you to consistently be that way.


This is the kind of person that my corporate clients wanted me to find for their company. Reliability and integrity are two of the best traits you can have in your professional relationships. If this sounds like you, I want to encourage you to acknowledge this about yourself. Go ahead, tell yourself that you are rocking this area of your life!


If the above example doesn’t sound like you, I am sure there is something that you do that has a positive impact on yourself or others. Think about it and acknowledge the gifts that you bring to the world by being you.


The more you can align with the parts of your Boundary Landscapes that are working, the easier it will be to identify the things that may not be working as well in your life. Those are the areas that may need some additional attention from you. I want you to acknowledge what is working in your lives and give yourself some credit for how far you have come to be here today.  Life is a journey and we learn along the way. I like the saying “we did the best with what we knew at the time”.  There is hope in that statement for me. Hope that when we know more, we will do better. Once we learn that lesson, we will master it and behave accordingly. Once we have the awareness that our Boundary Landscapes can impact our mental, emotional and physical health, we can improve. We can learn how to create healthier Boundary Landscapes for ourselves.


    Some personal examples

Gently, yet consistently, looking at the areas that cause our lives to be challenged, helps us make the changes that we desire to create in our lives. If we are willing to pull back the covers a bit, we can see more clearly how our relationship within our own Boundary Landscape is helping or hindering our lives.


Perhaps you stumble with time management. (You are so not alone!) You eventually get everything, or at least most things, done that you intend to do but, you struggle with the timing. The lack of timing means you then end up becoming a Stress Cadette in the process. Stress can easily lead many of us into an overwhelmed state where we simply aren’t as effective as when we are relaxed and in control. Stress also plays havoc on our health affecting many systems including the adrenal glands. Learning more efficient time management strategies can help to reduce stress and increase your health, which in turn also reduces stress.


I consider myself an optimist when it comes to time and time management and have had to learn this about myself the hard way. In my 20’s and most of my 30’s, I did reasonably well in my professional life when it came to arriving on time for meetings and other things. However, I was constantly late to meet friends for gatherings and personal events. I became aware that my lateness was impacting my relationships in a detrimental way and about 10 years ago, I began to raise my awareness about how I was impacting others. I first had to become aware that this was an issue. Luckily, I had friends who cared enough about me to tell me they had an issue with my chronic loose boundaries with regard to time.  Next, I had to decide to make a change. I learned how to work with my time issue by padding on some time to my estimated arrival time considering travel and/or preparation for an event. Padding the time helped me to get more aligned with my time. The best bonus about being on time more often is that it feels a heck of a lot better showing up on time, than it does being late and getting stressed out about it. I am still not perfect here, but am much better than I was in the past.


Another area where I have had quite a bit of challenge is managing the clutter in my life. This issue would be considered my personal Boundary Landscape where I have difficulty sticking with my own clutter-boundaries. As I dove into this subject, I came to realize there are many components to clutter. I broke them up into three main areas: physical, emotional and mental. This year, I’ve done a deep head-first dive into this topic and created my first program (Gently Moving Forward: From Clutter to Clarity) about tackling clutter in a positive way. I am continuing to explore this topic in my life and am enjoying supporting others to release clutter and bring more clarity into all our lives. Breaking things up into manageable pieces to examine is a lot easier than navigating through being overwhelmed by disorganized clutter.


A few questions to consider…

I want to invite you to look a little more closely at these points in your own life. Your biggest challenges may end up being your biggest teachers and you may even end up helping others with the same struggles. Here are some some questions that can help you to access some of your own Boundaries Landscape.


Part One:  Our Dance with People


Internal Boundaries (boundaries with ourselves)

  • Do I trust myself to do what I say I am going to do?
  • Am I practicing good self care strategies?
  • Do I have enough time for the things, including people, that are important to me?
  • Do I feel overwhelmed? If so, how often?
  • Am I too busy?
  • What can I do to improve my own internal boundaries?


Personal Relationship Boundaries (friends/family/significant others)

  • Do I put other people’s needs before my own
  • Do I do what I say I am going to do with others?
  • Do the people in my life see me as reliable and dependable?
  • Do the people in my life take advantage of me?
  • Do I take advantage of others in my life?
  • Do I say “yes” when I mean “no”?
  • Am I afraid to say “no” to others?
  • Where can I improve in my Personal Boundaries?


Professional Boundaries (working/business)


  • Does my work take precedence over everything else in my life?
  • Do my boss, co-workers and/or colleagues trust me?
  • Do I have work/life balance?
  • How do I feel about my work?
  • How do I feel about my work relationships?
  • Where can I improve in my Professional Boundaries?



Part 2:  Our dance in the world


Time:  How we handle time (ours and others)


  • How are my time management skills?
  • Do I give myself enough time to get things done?
  • Do I give myself enough free time?
  • Do I respect other people’s time?
  • Do I consistently show up on time?  If not, why not?
  • What drives me when it comes to time?
  • Do I find myself thinking about the past?
  • Do I future trip?


Space: How we handle space (personal space, relationship space, physical space)

  • Am I respectful of my personal space?
  • Am I respectful of my relationships?
  • Do I have any physical, emotional or mental clutter?  Can I identify it?
  • Does my clutter impact me?  If so, how?
  • What decisions have I deferred in my space (personal, relationship and/or physical)?


How we handle stuff (ours and others)

  • What can I do to raise my awareness of how my actions impact others when it comes to my stuff?
  • Am I respecting the things in my life?
  • Am I respecting the money in my life?
  • Where can I bring more harmony into this area of my life?


I hope you will take a deeper dive into your own Boundary Landscapes by allowing yourself to explore a few of the questions above. Feel free to leave any thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below. Don’t forget to check back here on Friday for this week’s podcast where Elizabeth and I will continue to explore the Boundary Landscapes.

 We invite you to join us as we take on each week’s topic. If you are feeling the pull to join us, and to take a deeper look at your boundaries in a safe and fun environment, we encourage reserve your spot today for our


Women’s Boundaries Training & Retreat

November 2nd through 5th!  

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

 This is a rare opportunity to work with both of us in a small group setting. We will be staying at the beautiful Pelican House right at the beach and we will enjoy delicious meals prepared for us. The early bird pricing is $697 and that includes accommodations, all meals, plus (weather permitting), we have some wonderful field trips planned to visit the wild ponies of Shackelford Island and a sailing cruise to connect with the wild dolphins of the area.  We are also planning on connecting with local massage therapists and bodyworkers for you to schedule a massage for yourself – optional and not included in the price of the retreat.

 We’re gonna have fun and and we’re gonna rock our boundaries in a safe and nurturing environment supported by the natural beauty of the Crystal Coast.  Email and reserve your space now!!


See you next week!