Sometimes it takes being trapped to mark your territory

Setting boundaries should feel empowering. 

In those moments when we’re strong enough to stand up and say to the world, this is my limit, we would hope to experience sense of pride and satisfaction. 

But in many cases, setting boundaries can spark feelings of anxiety, resentment and guilt. Especially when we’ve been socialized and encultured into considering people’s needs before our own. 

The fear is that we’ll appear selfish, inflexible, uptight, uncaring, entitled or rude. 

I’m reminded of the famous advertising campaign from the eighties and nineties, just say no. The first lady’s suggestion became the clarion call for the teen drug prevention movement, even though numerous studies found no direct relationship between reduced drug use and her campaign. 

But although that slogan became a bit of a punchline, the principle behind it always stuck with me. Because it taught me that the simplest, easiest, fastest and most effective way to set a boundary was to say no. To confidently reject any unnecessary obligations that held no possible benefit for you. 

In fact, if you want to get technical about it, saying no is a complete sentence. There needn’t be anything to modify it. Not a reason why you’re saying no. Not an apology for being unavailable. And not and endless rumination loop over the consequences of refusing. 

What’s interesting is, once you try saying no a few times, even if only to practice, you quickly discover that most people aren’t even thinking about you anyway. They’re not worrying about what you think and concerned with how you feel. There’s no reason to feel guilty. 

Once you realize that, you’re set free. 


When was the last time you felt empowered to set a boundary? 


For the list called, “99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren’t One,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

Never the same speech twice. Customized for your audience. Impossible to walk away uninspired.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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