Everything in our human world has boundaries. Everything has a beginning and an end – a start and a finish. In fact there’s only one thing we know that hasn’t any boundaries and that’s infinity. Think about the concept for a short while. Imagine something that has no start or end or sides. We’re thinking about space.
Mind blowing, isn’t it. There really is no limit to infinity. Problem is, we’re not wired to deal with the infinity of space and so we did something about it.
We have earth which as a planet is an entirety. Then we have our moon that’s a known distance away and we have our solar system defined and galaxies defined too. The furthest point we’ve reached in space is with Voyager 1 that recently left the heliosphere – the edge of our solar system beyond which our sun has no influence. The space craft is now in interstellar space.
Put simply, we’ve created names which define boundaries, turning infinity into a known number of steps, each with its own limits and dimensions. It’s a very human way of coping with the endlessness that is infinity. And, us being human, we did it with aplomb.
So why are many of us so terribly bad at setting our personal boundaries?
Personal boundaries are essential to a healthy mindset and, importantly, a successful sales career. By setting boundaries we understand what our limits are, and also our strengths. By creating personal boundaries we can gain authority and confidence and become sales champions.
Without boundaries we will simply be floating in an undefined space – in an infinity of our own making. And as we know, we humans can’t deal with the concept of infinity.
6 Ways to create effective personal boundaries
Do you ever find yourself saying yes when you should have said no? Do you act to please? Do you adopt other people’s way of thinking so that you’ll be accepted? Do you not speak up when you have something to say? Do you feel other people take advantage of your good nature?
By setting strongly defined personal boundaries you can overcome these negatives and become empowered, respected and self-confident. Imagine what that’ll do to your sales career! And here’s how:
1. Accept the need for personal boundaries
Personal boundaries are not a sign of weakness but a display of strength. Accepting that you need to set your personal boundaries is step one.
2. Name your limits
Be honest with yourself. What are your personal, physical and mental limits? Take time to define them. Think back to when you felt uncomfortable in others’ company. What made you uncomfortable? That’s where boundaries are set.
3. Be forthright
This is especially hard if your natural disposition is to please. With your boundaries set, the people you meet and deal with – in the office and on a pitch – need to know what your boundaries are. Do it without getting angry. Enjoy the privilege of knowing a person has overstepped your boundary and enjoy the task of telling them why.
4. Be self-aware
Personal boundaries are strange things. It’s not always all about others who cross them. You have to be determined to stick within them yourself. If you feel yourself slipping, correct yourself. It takes practise and of course practise makes perfect.
5. Congratulate yourself
Standing firm against others who are trying to better you, or prospects who are trying to outwit you, is a tough call but with your set of personal boundaries you should eventually make it clear to all (through your new-found strength) that you are deadly serious about your stance. And that deserves rewarding.
6. Prepare to change
See your new-found personal boundaries as a guide not as a book of law. Over time you’ll experience situations where your personal boundaries need to be modified in order to get the result you desire. Flexibility is key. Nothing is written in stone!
Are you ready for the challenge?
Success in sales is all about confidence, assertiveness and self-belief. It’s tough out there and it’s getting tougher by the day. Any advantage you can gain will pay dividends and setting personal boundaries is one of many proven methods of self-improvement that can shift your sales success up a vital notch or two.
In space we’ve reigned in infinity and made it a series of definable steps. I hope these few introductory points about personal boundaries will help you reign in yourself for a far more rewarding, definable, sales career.
By Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, an international sales training organisation. His motto is 'Have fun. Make money' and you can too! More sales techniques, advice and tips can be found in Doug Tucker’s book ‘Sales Commando, Unleash Your Potential’. The book gets straight to the heart of issues, complexities and opportunities and encourages and accelerates personal growth and sales success.