Using Boundaries to Honor You, Not Your Role

I did something interesting this election cycle that at first I didn’t understand. I mostly ignored the stories about all of the dynamic, new candidates and their races. I stuck to the big picture reporting.

As much as I’d like to be able see any potential client in the media and then coach the human being inside of them and not their persona, I sensed that I’m still working on my emotional intelligence to be able to do that.

Also, I needed a way to keep my ego in check, to keep myself from saying - “oh I want to coach that person” where my focus was on something remarkable or exciting in that person’s public story, something that might engage my own ego-by-association, rather than trusting and spending time developing my ideas around how adult development can meaningfully serve those in public service.

I could have easily berated myself with internal chatter like, “If you really care about political leadership coaching, you should know the details of who is running or else you can’t consider yourself a real coach.”

Sharing this story, I want to encourage you to reflect upon the ways in which you can set boundaries in your life that protect your core mission. What influences might you need to dampen that “everyone else” seems to think are really important to pay attention to.

Know that boundaries can be “developmental scaffolds,” things that you have in place for a limited time that aid you in growing stronger, much like children learn to read with an adult sitting next to them.

Since we adults are still growing as we age, we too get to have supports that will fall away as we no longer need them. Remember that as you transition to acquiring the new skills of governing in this office at this moment in history, you may need new scaffolds even while you have been quite accomplished in other arenas at other moments in time.

Heather Jensen