Why You Need Boundaries

I’ve spoken a lot recently about how my drive for achievement and my perfectionist tendencies drove me to burnout. Twice.

I even wrote a book about it.

You see, my driven, Type A, overachieving tendencies created a double-edged sword.

These characteristics helped me become a successful physician, business executive, and entrepreneur.

But they also drove me to overwork, over-think, over-stress, and burn out.

Does this sound familiar to you?

Many female physicians and other high-achieving women struggle with some combination of:

perfectionism
imposter syndrome
people-pleasing, and/or
hyper-achieving tendencies

Why?

Because these initially were the STRENGTHS that helped us succeed.

And they served us well. Until they didn’t.

But once we know what works for us, it’s hard to jump off that bus.

When we overuse our strengths, they become weaknesses.

We become:

Frustrated
Anxious
Exhausted
Depleted
Overwhelmed
Resentful

For me, learning about boundaries and, more importantly, learning to believe I had the POWER to create my own boundaries was a major tipping point in my recovery.

Why are boundaries important, especially for high-achieving women?

1- Setting clear boundaries allows you to manage your time and your energy, which are the fundamental elements of high performance.

2- Women have been socialized to be “nice”.
To be cooperative.
A team player.
To avoid ruffling feathers.
To put everyone else first.

In other words, most of us have been socialized NOT to set boundaries for ourselves.

So what exactly is a boundary?

I love the definition as described by Dr. Henry Cloud in his book Boundaries for Leaders.

Boundaries are what you create and what you allow.

“In the end, as a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: what you create and what you allow.”

~ and make no mistake, if you are a mother and/or a physician, you ARE a leader, regardless of whether you have a leadership title or think of yourself as a leader.

Cloud also describes the central principle of boundaries as OWNERSHIP.

You have to OWN that you are “ridiculously in charge” of what you create and what you allow.

This applies to both your work and home life.

Think about it.

💡What are you ALLOWING to happen at work or at home that is contributing to your anxiety, overwhelm, or exhaustion?

💡What boundaries could you put in place to CREATE a more sustainable situation, relationship, or environment?

Stay tuned—next time we’ll cover how to create healthy boundaries.

For now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Brene Brown.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves,
even when we risk disappointing others.”

Here’s to having the courage to set boundaries,
Denee