Ownership and boundaries significantly impact our personal and work lives!

I work with many clients in the area of ownership & boundaries. Through developing their sense of ownership and strengthening their capacity to hold boundaries they are able to eliminate obstacles that had been stopping them from achieving the results they want to see in their work and personal lives.


Boundaries can be slippery little things. They get squishy or undefined until we bolster them back up with clarity and definition. When they become undefined or are not consistently held, one of two things can happen. Life either gets messy, or we just can’t seem to get to the next level and thrive like we know we can. It’s kind of like operating on five cylinders when we are truly capable of operating on six or more.

When the prevailing state of our work or personal life is messy, confusing, overwhelming or just plain stagnant, it can be helpful to consider this idea of ownership and boundaries in order to gain momentum. Begin by asking yourself, “What am I not owning here?” Or, “What is my responsibility that I have handed over to chance or someone else?” A key to forward motion and getting unstuck is finding and taking charge of the area we are not taking full ownership of.

What are some essential points that are mine to take full ownership of?
Identity – Do I let others define who I think I am? Do I have a sense of a loved self that is internal rather than dependent on others or on my success? When we are solid in who we are, it is a foundation to all other parts of our selves. When we are not solid in our identity and sense of self, we find ourselves operating with less capacity relationally and professionally.

Feelings – Do I have access to how I feel? Am I aware of my feelings and communicate them to others in ways that are vulnerable and helpful? Taking ownership of our emotional health leads to a thriving life.

Values – Do I know what I value in my personal life, in my relationships and in my work life? Have I given this thought? Do I live out values that were handed to me by my family, church or culture rather than updating and defining my own so that I am living based on those? If you know what you value as important, you can make decisions that align accordingly. This alone can bring so much more peace and direction into your life.

History – Do I own the story I tell myself? Does shame or fear that originated in my past continue to motivate my choices today? Taking time to do the work of shaping our narrative helps us live more intentionally rather than reactively.

Failures – Do I take responsibility when I make mistakes, make the necessary adjustments, then lean back in toward taking healthy risks? Or do I blame my disappointments and mistakes on others? Do I blame the circumstances or bury myself with helplessness, self hatred and perfectionism? Failures lead toward growth and maturity and beauty when we take responsibility for them.

Passions & Purpose – What are my passions? What do I want my life’s purpose to be? Do I allow space for functioning in ways that align with that purpose? Oftentimes our passions can be the passions of those around us, rather than being defined and uniquely our own. It takes intentionality to shape our own passions. It takes thought and choice to define our purpose.

Talents – What are my talents? Which ones do I want to develop at this time in my life? Do I own my talents by doing what it takes to develop the ones I want to expand? Or do I help others develop their passions while at the same time neglect my own? Moms, pastors, team leaders and those in the people-helping field can lose the focus on developing themselves. Take charge of developing YOU. Your uniqueness matters in this world.

Finances – Do I have a working knowledge of my organization or family’s finances? Or am I trusting that someone else has it covered? What do I need to do to take more responsibility when it comes to my view of money? Sometimes it feels easier to ‘hope’ things will work out eventually. It can be scary to have the difficult conversations that talking about finances can bring. But being financially responsible is essential to the adult life, and a thriving life.

Time – Do I own my time in a way that benefits me and my goals? Or do I hand that one over to social media, other people’s plans, and a host of interruptions? Many of my clients have found that creating structure with their time increases their capacity to meet their goals in more effective ways.

Fitness – Do I take responsibility for my own body and my health? Or do I ignore it or make excuses when it’s time to choose healthy food or fit in exercise and rest? Living a healthy lifestyle is a priority that successful leaders make time for.

Rhythms – What are the rhythms that work best for me during this season of life: Getting in nature? Practicing gratefulness? Meditation or yoga? Listening or playing music? Taking time to connect with friends? Getting in the ocean? Making good food? Developing desired and healthy rhythms, designed uniquely by you, is essential to avoiding burnout.

There are so many other areas that may come to mind when you think about the area in your life that is not at its fullest potential. ‘Taking charge’ of something new, and defining what remains undefined, may be just what is needed here.

There is no one else who is responsible for our lives. It is up to me to define my life for me. It is up to you to define your life for you. We will look differently because I am me and you are you.

This month in my Growth Group we did some deep work on this. I gave each member a sheet with a large heart drawn on it. They were told to mark inside the heart areas they alone are responsible for. And outside the heart they wrote down things they were not responsible for. Each member used the cohort as their own personal ‘board of directors,’ to help them discover the pieces they were not owning that they needed to take charge of, and the pieces they were owning that it was time to let go of because it wasn’t theirs to own or it was getting in the way of their goals. This brought great insights to each person’s situation.

After determining the areas you desire to take ownership of,
the next step is to protect it with boundaries.

When we own something, we do what it takes to protect it. I have a friend who has a garden in the woods that she puts love and care into. Part of that love and care is protecting it from the deer by putting up fences to ward off their daily munching sessions. We, too, need to protect our time, fitness, values, finances, purpose….and so on. Our lives are full of invaders as well. Right?!

If a vegetable garden is worthy of protecting….you, and the things that make you uniquely you, are even more worthy of protecting. You matter….times a bazillion.

I would love to hear from you! How are Ownership & Boundaries impacting your personal and work life?