After your plan is in place, boundaries must be set in order to give the decision the proper environment to thrive in. Not setting boundaries around your decision is like driving without a seat belt. It’s the equivalent of riding a motorcycle on the highway with no helmet. Why would anyone do that? Yes, it may seem okay at the time but definitely lacks the main ingredient that can prevent an epic fail. The boundary is a precaution to make sure the decision will not end badly, and the desired results are achieved. It just doesn’t make sense to not have everything needed in order to reach your goal.
One Friday morning I was sitting at my desk working on my laptop when the phone rang. I answered the phone to hear a woman’s weary voice on the other end.
“RJ, is this RJ? I really need to speak with RJ Hodges,” she said, and actually used my full name so that told me this was someone I had to know really well. When I asked her name, she replied,
“This is Angela Turner,” and then proceeded to tell me how I knew her.
It turns out that Angela was a friend of a good friend of mine. To be honest, it took me a second to recall who she was because we had only met maybe once or twice before. Angela went on the tell me that my friend referred her to me for coaching and she needed help with a decision she had made, but was unable to make it happen. Angela was a single mother with two young children and her decision was to go back to school in order to create a better life for her and the kids. I first and foremost applauded her effort and ambition. I knew going back to school and being a single mother was a huge step because of the sacrifices that would have to be made. I stopped doing everything I was focused on prior to that call to help Angela identify what was hindering her plan of going back to school. The first thing was to ask her the same questions we just talked about when creating your master plan. Angela had a well thought out plan, and I was pleased to hear that she had really taken time to think about where she was at currently, where she wanted to go, and how she planned on getting there. Going back to school and furthering her education was going to be the vehicle to get a paralegal certification so that Angela could potentially get a job in a law firm where she had a great contact.
The plan was perfect; the problem was this going back to school thing. Angela’s biggest hurdle was she already had a full-time job which she needed to keep in order to provide for her family. Working full-time and taking care of the kids seemed like it left no time to go back to school in order to advance. So right then I told Angela that I hoped she had a few minutes because I knew if she would just listen and incorporate what I had to share, it would make a tremendous difference in her life. The first thing I did was ask Angela to describe her daily schedule. This would include everything she did from the moment she opened her eyes until the moment they closed, without leaving out any details.
The one thing I noticed was that even though Angela went to work and took great care of her children, she also spent quite a bit of time with her friends every week, even if it was just them stopping by her house for a couple of hours. Angela was involved in a couple of social organizations with friends that she truly enjoyed. Also based on her responses, Angela was a social media junkie. It is amazing how much time people spend posting or looking at things on their favorite social media sites. In the midst of her describing her days, there were certain questions that I knew to throw in to find out what else she was doing that she might want to purposely leave out. I’m a professional so I can’t just rely on her to tell me everything – it’s mandatory that I keep a few tricks up my sleeve. The key here is you have to be honest in order to identify hindrances, and Angela did that.
I went on to explain that having her friends come over, the social organizations, and the social networking sites were becoming enemies to her decision and were roadblocks that would inevitably destroy her plan. Those are very harsh words, but I needed to add some shock value so that she would get my point. The reality was, time was hindering Angela from going back to school and I had just identified a lot of time Angela was spending doing unnecessary things that she could let go of in order to reach her goal. The boundaries she needed to create were letting her friends know there would be no more dropping by until she got her certification; the social organizations may have to do without her for a little while; and definitely restrict her social media time to only one day per week. Angela didn’t seem extremely excited about my suggestions, but she knew they had to be done “if” she truly wanted to accomplish her goal.
Putting those boundaries in place would allow her to take an online course in the evenings while still being at home with her kids. Angela was amazed that her issue was so simple to resolve. Something she thought was impossible was literally made possible by just putting some boundaries around her decision in order to make sure her plan would really work. Where does your plan need some boundaries to succeed?