Relationship Success Strategies: Juggling Bowling Balls While Walking Across Hot Coals

Sep 19 07:02 2008 Ken Donaldson Print This Article

You’ve probably heard the old real estate cliché which asks the question, “What are the three most important elements of property?” You also probably know the answer is location, location and location.

But have you ever heard the similar question about life,Guest Posting “What are the three most important elements of a balanced life?” The answer to this question is boundaries, boundaries, and boundaries.

It's all about the balance challenge of life...

The Boundary Triad of Health and Wholeness

Boundaries are all about knowing where you end and others begin, as well as knowing where your energy needs to be divided from one area of your life to another. When you are aware of your boundaries and you reinforce them, you’ll find yourself operating in a flow, which essentially means there’s an ease in all you do. Life without boundaries (or the reinforcement of them), results in massive losses of energy and an experience of going against the grain.

There are three basics of boundaries dynamics: One which is internal and two which are external. The internal boundaries are totally with yourself. The external boundaries – proactive and reactive - are with others. Let’s take a closer look.

Internal Boundaries: These boundaries will give you a more balanced life. When you live according to your purpose and vision, everything revolves around this. Your purpose and vision are the center of your life, and they are expressed in all areas of your life. 

Evaluate your level of satisfaction with each primary area of your life on a scale from 1 to 10. If you find certain areas coming up with unsatisfactory results, or if there are areas which are dominating your life, reset your goals and reprioritize to get the maximum balance you desire.

Keep in mind, however, balance is seldom ever perfected but rather an ongoing readjustment. If you find you’re sacrificing disproportionate balance to or in one area (relationship, work, friends) you may want to re-evaluate that choice. This is often an early warning sign of some oncoming dysfunction which can still be prevented.

Proactive Boundaries: When you make a request, or express a need or want, you are being proactive with your boundaries. In other words, you’re not waiting to react, but instead are being forthright in stating and choosing what it is that you want and desire in your life. This all comes from knowing your values, deal-makers and deal-breakers, and living in integrity.

Being assertive means not only saying “No” to what you don’t want, but stating what you do want, proactively.

Want the aisle seat? Then ask for it. Want a booth instead of a table?  Ask for it. Want less ice or no ice? Then ask for it. I think you get the idea, right?

Know who you are (your purpose and values), and know what you want (your goals and desires). Then ask for exactly what it is you need to achieve all this.

You’re far more likely to get what you want in life if you ask for it than if you don’t!

Don’t assume people, even those closest to you, will know what you want and need unless you ask. Being proactive will make your life more fulfilling.

Reactive Boundaries: These are boundaries you set to repel anything which is unacceptable or inappropriate to you. You must first identify what is unacceptable and then enforce the boundaries you set. When someone does something which is intrusive, inappropriate, or abusive toward you, it’s your responsibility to set an appropriate boundary to protect yourself.

This may simply mean leaving the situation or distancing yourself from it; letting the person know what happened and what you want differently; and/or just simply informing them that the behavior is unacceptable. Avoid explaining or complaining. Just state what happened and what you want, or remove yourself from the situation.

If you believe you have no choices, you’ll feel stuck and like a victim as well. Always see the options and choices you do have. When you recognize these options and act upon then, you keep your power.

These are the three boundary dynamics in your life: Your internal boundaries with yourself, and both your proactive and reactive boundaries with others. Keep those in balance and you will be able to enjoy a purposeful, passionate, empowered and prosperous life!

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Ken Donaldson
Ken Donaldson

Ken Donaldson has been offering counseling, coaching, and educational programs since 1987. His programs are focused on empowering people to have more successful lives, businesses and relationships. Ken is the author of Marry YourSelf First! Saying "I DO" to a Life of Passion, Power and Purpose. Claim your FREE Relationship Success Special Report at

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