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You can have healthy  boundaries at work!

You can have healthy boundaries at work!

Last week I started talking about healthy boundaries at work. It's fascinating how much easier we find it to build physical boundaries at home between us and our neighbors and yet how difficult it seems to establish boundaries within our careers.

So what do healthy boundaries look like? It really varies from one person to another.  What is acceptable and works for one person may look totally impossible for another. You really have to spend time identifying what your non-negotiables are. Non-negotiables are key to setting a healthy boundary with you and your work. Those non-negotiables are part of your core values. They are what is important and meaningful to you.

Some professionals are energized by being in the office environment while others feel stifled by it.  I recently worked with a professional mother who was locked into a role that required her to be in the office at her desk each day.  While the company she worked for is a well-known, employee-friendly one, the role was just not a good fit for her.  She needed autonomy and freedom within her day to structure her work.  Ultimately, she made the decision to move to another job that was a better fit for her and her non-negotiables at this point in her career.

Another professional I coached was seeking to build upon her past experience in sales.  She interviewed for a position that seemed ideal in the day-to-day responsibilities.  However, one of the requirements was a considerable amount of travel.  This professional mother still has a child at home and does not want to be on the road each week as she was in her earlier career life.  So while the opportunity looked like a great match in terms of expanding her experience, it crossed one of her boundaries regarding the amount of travel that she was willing to do currently.  Instead, she found a position that honored her boundaries while still giving her additional sales experience and is reaping the satisfaction and rewards of her work aligning with her core values.

So, what does this mean for you?  How can you adopt healthy boundaries with your work?  First, determine what your core values or non-negotiables are. Second, seek out the opportunity to make some adjustments within your current role to re-contract those boundaries.  If there is no opportunity for adjustments based on the needs of your current role, perhaps it is time to consider what your next steps will be so your career and your non-negotiables are more aligned.  It’s in this alignment that you will find greater satisfaction as you work to live rather than live to work.


Lesley provides individualized coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps working mothers uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!


Uncovering Your God-given Gifts

Uncovering Your God-given Gifts

Have you ever heard the saying “peel back the onion”? If you have ever cut an onion, you know they are designed with one layer on top of another on top of another. When you first cut the top off and try to peel back that brown outer covering, you can see the number of layers it takes to get to the very center of the onion.

Uncovering your God-given gifts is very similar. It is a process of taking off the outer covering to go a level deeper. But often you need to go at least one or two more layers down before you really understand what that gift is.

One of my clients easily identified that customer relations is an area that she thoroughly enjoys.  However, she has struggled to identify a specific job that she would really enjoy performing.  It’s because her current understanding of her gifts is too broad.  In order for her to move forward, she must narrow in more on her gifts. She must be able to peel the onion back and go a few layers deeper to gain clarity on what it is about customer relations she really enjoys most. That insight will become part of her compass as she evaluates various positions to determine what would be the best fit with her gifts.

If you are trying to identify what you want to be when you “grow up”, try looking a layer to two deeper at your God-given gifts.  Gaining more clarity and specificity on your gifts will give you the insights you need to yield a more successful answer to the roles you should be considering for your long-term satisfaction and fulfillment in your career.


Lesley provides individualized coaching to professional moms who are seeking greater satisfaction in their careers.  She helps working mothers uncover their God-given gifts, name their non-negotiable values, and align their career path with those gifts and values to have a greater impact on the world.  Access Lesley’s free self-assessment to determine how well you recognize and use your God-given gifts!


Part 2:  The Number One Reason You Are Stuck


Part 2: The Number One Reason You Are Stuck

Last week I told you about the huge amount of yard work that I need to complete.   I feel overwhelmed when I look at my flower beds, and I have said to my husband on several occasions, “I don’t even know where to start.” 

A few days ago my older kids had a day off from school.  So I sent my little guy to daycare, rolled up my sleeves, and asked my 12 year old son, “Will you help me with some shoveling for about an hour today?”  Although it was not his idea of fun on his day off, he did help, and what a difference it made!  As he was digging up my once beautiful hostas, which were now overgrown with violets, I began digging out the smaller sections of the flower bed.  I asked my 9 year old daughter, “Can you get the wheelbarrow for me?”  She said, “Sure!”  In no time, we had the bulk of one large flower bed cleared– all because I had asked for a little help.

As I look now at this large flower bed that has been almost completely cleared of weeds, I am amazed at how quickly progress has been made.  The amount of work accomplished would have taken me hours and hours to do on my own.  I reflected, “Why didn’t I ask for help earlier?” 

Imagine what would have happened if I had asked for help two years ago or even at the beginning of this summer!  1) The amount of weeds would not have been so great since they would not have had as long to grow.  2) My stress level would have been much less, and I would not have felt so overwhelmed.  3) I would have had more confidence in the appearance of my yard as it would reflect my vision for it sooner. 

This gardening project is a perfect metaphor for so many of my clients who desire a career change.  So often they feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.  Some have a vision for where they want to go with their careers while others just know what they no longer want (just like all my violets!).  It takes time for them to reach the point where they are ready to ask for help.  And that is the number one reason they are stuck!

Asking for help is a sign of readiness, an acknowledgement that you are actively taking steps to live into your desired state in life.  Asking for help indicates a longing for clarity on what is most important to you and aligning those values with your true gifts and talents.

How ready are you to be unstuck?  On a scale of 1 – 5 (1 = not ready at all, 5 = ready today), how ready are you to ask for help?


Part 1:  Are you on autopilot?


Part 1: Are you on autopilot?

I love gardening, but I hate weeding. Or at least I hate pulling two years’ worth of weeds and grass out of every flower bed in my yard. You're probably wondering, “If you love gardening so much, why haven't you stayed on top of it for the last 2 years?"

I honestly don't remember what reason I had 2 summers ago.  It seemed like a good one at the time.  Last summer I had just given birth to my third little one, and gardening wasn't possible with a newborn. Suddenly, this spring I looked at my flower beds and was appalled at what I saw -- our warm weather grass had not just crept into two of the large beds but had taken up residence, some very persistent weed had overtaken another bed, and the violets I once thought so pretty had infested my bed of hostas.  I asked myself, “How have my flower beds gotten so far out of hand?”

I felt overwhelmed when I realized how much work I would have to do to get them back to the semi-respectable place they had been a few years ago. For the longest time I wasn’t sure where to even start.  It seemed like such a large task.

This project reminded me of what it is like for my clients who want to make a transition in their careers.  I often hear “I feel overwhelmed at the thought of how to go about making a change.” and “I am not sure how I got to this point in my career; it’s not a path I had planned to go down.”    

Too often we find ourselves running on autopilot when it comes to our plans for work.  We are going down a path but don’t stop to confirm that it is still the path we want.  Or we find really good reasons for why we should stay where we are – “It’s not a good time for me to make a change.”  “I may finally get that promotion.”  “I don’t know where else I will go.”

This mindset towards your career can be changed.  You can take yourself off autopilot and begin guiding your career path again. Stay tuned next week to learn how to do just that and to learn what I did to get unstuck from the overwhelming feelings I had with the amount of weeding that was needed in my yard! 

When have you found yourself on autopilot?  How did you feel once you realized it?