07:56 Monique: And so, Chelese, what is the definition of boundaries?
08:00 Chelese: That is a great million dollar question, Monique. And really, what I’m going to pivot us to is, what are healthy boundaries? Let’s go there. What are healthy boundaries? And I’m just going to read something here. I’m going to invite your audience to close their eyes as I’m saying this, and here we go: Healthy boundaries define who we are in relation to others. They also help us know what the extent and limits are with others as well. And essentially, boundaries are how we teach people who we are and how we like to be handled. And the Reader’s Digest version of that, Monique: Boundaries help us say, “This is who I am.”
So, that is a definition that I really like to relay to my clients, to live out in my own life. And here’s the thing. One of the things, and that’s a million dollar question, is this is who I am, but first, we have to know who that “I am” is. We have to have a clear understanding of that.
09:03 Monique: Yes. And as you are sharing that, yeah, I heard the “what are the boundaries” and an extent with others, right?
09:10 Chelese: Yes.
09:11 Monique: And then it was “This is who I am.” And I was like, “Oh, those are two big nuggets. And from a coaching perspective, one of the things I’ve discovered in working in particular with young professionals is that piece you’ve just mentioned, that “Who I am” and having self-awareness. So, what makes setting boundaries? And if we think about it in the workplace, so important for young professionals.
09:34 Chelese: You’re young, you’re guns blazing. I want to make a good impression. I want to put in the hours necessary, whatever those are, to make that good impression. And what ends up happening is we sometimes find ourselves out of balance or out of integrity or not showing up authentically in the workplace because at the end of the day, we might be in a situation where we are not taking care of ourselves. We don’t have time for personal life because we’ve given 150% to trying to give this image of being the, let’s say in quotation marks, “perfect employee”.
But here’s the thing. The perfect employee is an employee that is grounded and balanced and is able to set healthy boundaries because here’s the thing. If we’re not setting healthy boundaries and we’re running all over the place doing all sorts of things that are potentially not amplifying what our true strengths are, what ends up happening is we are spread so thin that the high impact things that are going to actually really propel our careers forward are diluted because we’re doing all this other stuff.
10:40 Monique: And so, when you say there’s no personal life, not taking care of yourself, what are some of the evidence? What are some of the specifics that you’ve seen possibly in individuals you’ve worked with on being out of balance shows up?
10:55 Chelese: Yes. Let me just tell you. I’ve seen it in people that I coach, but I’m also going to just say guinea pig in my own life, Monique. The things that show up are: you may feel resentment, you may feel bitterness, you may feel anger, and you also may feel guilt. And sometimes you may not energetically know, well, where is this coming from? But when we’re out of alignment and we’re not taking care of ourselves and we’re not living a life that is-- and I like to go back to this whole thing where we are living well, and that’s a big question. What does it mean to live well, right? And if we’re in a situation where we are spread and we’re saying yes to everything, we’re not taking care of ourselves, it shows up in all of those emotional ways. Yes, anger, resentment, guilt, the things that I’ve said, but it also can show up physically in terms of stress, not being able to sleep, not eating well, perhaps overeating because we’re stressed, not having time to exercise to neutralize some of the energies. So, it not only impacts us emotionally, but it also impacts us physically.
12:04 Monique: Yeah. I was actually-- I was just going to ask you that as a follow-up to the emotions that you identified and that physically and stress and sleep. And something that I know I’ve witnessed, I remember firsthand when I had hair falling out. I was so stressed. And when you’re in it, it’s so hard to even acknowledge that, “This isn’t right, this isn’t healthy,” because I’m just in it. So, what am I doing? I literally took hair, bags of hair to my hairdresser, this was years ago, to say, “My hair is falling out. What’s going on?” Not thinking that it’s something that I actually could control. And so, I’ve seen clients show up with that when-- and it’s in the coaching space, that is where unpacking and they’re sorting through their thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, actions. They’re coming to that conclusion on their own. I said, “Oh, I play a role here.”
13:04 Chelese: Yes, absolutely.
13:06 Monique: Yeah. I’m contributing to this.
13:08 Chelese: No, a hundred percent Monique. And that’s why sometimes people hear these buzzwords “setting boundaries”. And you see all the memes. It’s saying “No” as a complete sentence and all of that. And that’s all well and good, but how do we do it? Who do we need to become in order to be able to set healthy boundaries? And it goes back to, who are you? What’s important to you? What are your priorities? What does it mean to you, to you to live well? And until we answer these questions and have a degree of self-awareness, or even to be in touch enough with ourselves to know when we are going outside of those boundaries, then we’re going to continuously find ourselves in this space of being out of balance and having all of these less than favorable things that happen to us emotionally and physically.
14:00 Monique: I love that “Who are you being”.
14:02 Chelese: Yes.
14:03 Monique: That is such a big concept because what I’ve discovered with young professionals in particular, and you alluded to this, is we’re so focused on the “what”, is the “What we’re doing?” It’s so that others see us a certain way, so that we’re pleasing others. We’re making that good impression, as you said, guns blazing, only to discover, huh, and really given time to sort through who am I? Who am I being? So, talk more about that, if you will, in terms of how you support your clients in that space.
14:39 Chelese: Absolutely. So, I’m going to share just a quick quote that will set the foundation for answering this question. And it says: “We teach people how to treat us by showing them how we treat ourselves.” And we look at this from a business context, I’m an executive wellness coach and I also do live coaching. And this is a fundamental life-ism, a life issue in terms of setting boundaries. And it goes to that part of that quote that says “how we treat ourselves”.
One of the things when I first started working with clients is we start asking those harder questions: who am I? What’s most important? What makes me tick? What does living well mean to me? How am I treating myself? Because until we learn how to love ourselves and treat ourselves with respect, how can we expect others to do that? So, in working with clients, it’s fundamentally holding space for them to answer the most important questions that are going to be the foundation by which they show up, and again, going to that, how are they going to show up, who are they going to be in all sorts of aspects of life, whether that’s at work, whether that’s at home.
15:56 Monique: And what has-- what in your experience has been,is most challenging for individuals in that process of awareness?
16:03 Chelese: Well, one of the things that’s challenging about it is we haven’t been taught how to set boundaries. Some of us, if we’ve been blessed to come up-- been brought up in a household where that was taught or modeled for us, great. Oftentimes that’s not the case. So, that’s the beginning point. It’s just to understand and have compassion for ourselves that, you know what, this is a skill that I never learned. So, I need to go and give myself compassion and give myself the time to learn how to set healthy boundaries. And especially when we come to, let’s say, and I’m putting in quotation marks again, that “people pleaser energy”, right? A lot of us may suffer from people pleasing energy or are recovering from people pleasing energy. And we can--
And this is what I want to say just to add some energy in our discussion, is there’s no coincidence that there are multiple blogs, Ted Talks, books, masterclasses about setting healthy boundaries. But yet, we still find ourselves with this dilemma of, “I’ve read this book, I’ve taken this class.” I may have even seen a coach for several sessions, but I’m still struggling with this. And what I have found with clients is you got to go into your toolkit and bring out even more than just the psychological aspect of this. We’ve got to start looking at the subtle energies that contribute to our inability to set boundaries.
And what I’m talking about here, Monique, is our chakra system, right? So, with our chakra system, there are seven-- they’re multiple chakras, but I’m going to talk a little bit about and reference the seven chakras. And I’m going to hone in on the third chakra, which is your solar plexus, which is your core, which is your gut. Okay? When that area of your being is out of alignment or out of balance, it’s going to negatively impact on your ability to set boundaries. Now, the reason why that’s the case--
And just so your audience can understand the baseline about chakras, let me just back up. Imagine you have energy throughout your body, and there are different areas in your body where different energies impact different areas of your life. And imagine these energies have a color. They each have a color that represents the areas. The solar plexus area is bright, vibrant, yellow when it’s healthy. But when it’s not healthy and out of alignment, it’s very dull, almost like a pastel yellow, right? And oftentimes through life, no fault of our own, whether it be trauma or what have you, we’re not shining brightly in that area. We are out of balance in that area. And as a result, we may suffer from things like worthiness issues. So, just imagine if you’re suffering with worthiness issues, Monique, how hard it would be for you to stand up for yourself and set a healthy boundary, because you are afraid of risking rejection, you feel as though you may not feel comfortable with conflict, a whole host of things.
So, with my clients, we work on understanding not just surface level, but also to some degree, the root and the energy implications of why it’s so difficult for them to set boundaries and to maintain boundaries with people.
20:48 Monique: The chakra system, what is the origin of that body of work?
20:54 Chelese: That body of work has been around. It’s a form from Eastern religion. It’s been around for over 1500 years. When you think of things like chakras, for example, a lot of us have taken a yoga class or practicing yoga, that is dealing with your chakra system and your energy body. And in recent times, we’re seeing that these modalities are also being introduced in different ways in corporate environments in everyday life. It’s becoming more mainstream because we’re realizing that, you know what, all of these things that I’ve been working on, or perhaps being coached on for many years, I still find myself where I take two steps forward, but three steps back in this area. So, therefore, perhaps I need something else in my toolkit.
And here’s the thing. These ancient modalities have been taught, like I said, for over 1500 years, but just now more recently, it’s become more mainstream. And in my own life, how I was introduced to it is, I felt out of balance in my life. And I was led to Reiki, for example. I became a Reiki master, which is an energy healing modality with this very strong emphasis on the chakra system. And honestly, that’s why I say, it’s not just about my clients, it’s about my own life. It changed my life tremendously in terms of me being able to feel as though I now have the tools and the guard rails to live, literally live my best life and live well in a way that I hadn’t before after reading many books, after even been to many therapists and the whole list of things. This has been able to allow me to live my life this way in a sustainable way where I feel alignment, balance, and far more fulfillment than I ever have in my life.
22:47 Monique: And what is the period of time over which in your personal experience this journey has been for you?
22:54 Chelese: Oh my goodness. I have to say, it’s been my lifetime. But to narrow it down, for example, my Reiki training, if you will. When I initially wanted that, it was solely for me to heal and grow and learn skills for myself, put things in my toolkit. And to complete that training was a nine-month journey, right? And it is a lifelong journey to continue to do the necessary work, to keep myself in alignment with the chakra systems. But it’s--
So, when you say the journey, how long did it take? That kind of says, well, there was a beginning and then I was there, it’s a lifelong, it’s a lifelong journey. But what I want to say about that is with clients, for example, I’ve had clients that I’ve worked with in, by honing, and let’s say going into the gym, if you will, Monique, or going into the lab and really focusing on our energetic body, along with all of the other tools that come into my coaching practice. They have been able to see major shifts and how they show up not only in the workplace, but in their personal lives in like a three-month period, sometimes sooner.
And when I say a three-month period, the progress starts first at a place of having a level of self-awareness. So, let’s say that’s ground zero. And then as we continue along that co-creation of that pathway to having healthier boundaries, I found at that third-month mark, right? And when I say three months, we’re talking about meeting probably, a couple of times a month, where they’ve seen a major shift, not only at work, but in their personal life in terms of their relationships. But most importantly, Monique, the way they feel, the way they’re showing up, the way they’re taking care of themselves, that they’re no longer feeling the anger, the resentment, and the guilt. They’re able to show up feeling authentic and energized, and that they are in flow, and that they are spending their time now in the areas where they can provide the most impact at work and at home.
25:03 Monique: Well, and I appreciate taking that explanation even further because in today’s get-quick-fix for solutions and a magic pill, that’s what I was hearing as undertones, just as you were describing your personal experience, is that this is a journey.
25:27 Chelese: Absolutely. You’re absolutely right. And in approaching it, it’s a practice, just like with anything. The more we practice, the more reps we get, the easier it becomes. Right? And once people have a realization of that and they find themselves in an environment where they can get the support, whether that’s with a coach or what have you, and a safe space for them to explore, talk it out, figure it out in terms of what are those things that are like those pain points, if you will, I think everybody can understand it that way.
Most people will come to me, and they’re going to be maybe three to five pain points that are related to lack of setting boundaries. Right? So, we’ll identify those things. Yes. And we can put a plan in place to communicate, let’s say, healthy boundaries. But until we do the inner work and that inner work, like I talked about earlier about our worthiness – do we believe we are good enough, are we worthy enough to expect, Monique, expect that people will respect our boundaries – then that’s where the issues are going to be. That’s where the issue will continue.
And I just want to just draw your awareness back to the chakras, for example. Not only when we align our chakras and our chakras start becoming more vibrant, that beautiful, vibrant yellow, because our core has been strengthened. Not only does it allow for us to be able to communicate and request or demand boundaries or healthy boundaries, but it also the way we show up, because we are more grounded and our core being is stronger, then the way people relate to us and perceive us changes. So, therefore, the way they approach us also changes. Does that make sense?
27:21 Monique: Absolutely.
27:23 Chelese: Yes.
27:24 Monique: It’s what you’re putting out and getting back.
27:27 Chelese: Absolutely. There you go. Right there.
27:30 Monique: And in your experience is that outcome realized by men and women alike, or do you find that there is a gender that tends to preference, or it’s not gender-specific, it’s individual?
27:44 Chelese: It’s not gender-specific. It’s definitely individual because energy is energy. Right? And so, when we say male versus female, are we saying masculine versus feminine? Well, we have both.how it’s communicated may be a little bit different, but there is no difference when it comes to the energetic alignment that occurs in a man or a woman or anyone.
28:11 Monique: Nice. So, as we’re drawing to a close, I want to open it up certainly to final thoughts to give you an opportunity to share on this topic of setting boundaries. And before moving to that space, just in my experience, in particular, with coaching groups and setting boundaries, and certainly more at a leadership competency level, and I’ve heard individuals say, “Well, I’m setting boundaries and they’re not respecting them.” So, how is the conversation then? How’s the coaching opportunity to take shape when that lens still remains with what others are or aren’t doing?
28:58 Chelese: Yes. That’s a very, very good question and one that surfaces a lot, especially in the beginning until some of the energy work is done, right? It’s almost like, this may be too strong, but similar energy of like a victim. I’m doing all these things, but they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. And here’s the thing. until we believe-- and listen, that we believe that we’re worthy of respect to be respected, if there’s any crack in that armor, that beliefs, anything other than that, then that crack is what allows people not to respect your boundary.
So, let’s just say that, “Chelese, well, I don’t really feel like there’s a crack in that boundary. I feel like I’ve got it in other areas. Let’s say I’ve been practicing this. And 9 out of 10 people, it’s working, but I’ve got that 10th person at work that I try to do this and they continue to disrespect the boundary.” In those instances, what I say is, “Continue to communicate, right?” Oftentimes what happens with people that continuously disrespect boundaries, we sometimes are not on our game, for example. I’m going to give you an example. Let’s just say that there’s this person at work. They’re getting on your last nerve. You’ve been trying to set boundaries with them, but they don’t respect it. So therefore, our energy towards that person, we may become frustrated, angry, and not come to the energy, grounded, calm, core, shining that bright yellow, right?
So the difference is, when we’re sitting in that place of groundedness and our core is strong and we’re vibrantly yellow, if you will, just as an example, then we’re going to show up or we’re going to-- when that person disrespects a boundary, we’re going to effectively use a speech act and request over and over again that they respect that boundary, right? And demand that they respect that boundary and assert ourselves that they respect that boundary. And of course, if all of these things don’t work, but oftentimes they do, then, of course, you have to take different actions. And perhaps in an organization like that, you would hope that perhaps that person, because I would venture to say, they’re not only disrespecting your boundaries. They’re probably doing that with others as well, that perhaps that person needs some coaching and you’re not--
31:25 Monique: Or the organization has allowed them to still flourish and advance because they’re part of an inner circle.
31:31 Chelese: Absolutely.
31:34 Monique: And they have a veiled privilege to be a certain way, which is counterproductive.
31:38 Chelese: Absolutely. And here’s the thing about that. let me say something about that because that’s very true.is that either we will get to a place where that organization, who we have become, we are so out of alignment with being able to exist in that toxicity that we will find ourselves moving elsewhere.
32:01 Monique: And that’s power.
32:02 Chelese: Absolutely.
32:03 Monique: It’s power in knowing you have options.
32:34 Chelese: There you go. That’s exactly what-- so, here’s the thing. Sometimes the journey of being the young professional is learning about the things that we don’t want, because sometimes we got to figure out what we don’t want in order to get to that other side of what we do want. So, it’s all a process. It’s all a journey. We haven’t made mistakes. It’s part of why, part of that introductory stages of being a professional. There’s a window. And if we don’t learn some of these things or get the support to learn some of these things, then this could carry on for your entire career where you’re not setting healthy boundaries. But we want to intercept it early so that we can position ourselves to be in an environment where we find ourselves the most aligned and the most authentic.
And to your point, and until we get to that place of truly believing that we’re worthy, right? Because when we don’t feel more worthy, we feel like we got to just stick it out here because maybe no one else is going to hire us. Right? But once we understand that we’re worthy and we understand our value, then yes, we show up and we’re like, “You know what? This situation is out of alignment, so I’m going to position myself for a place where I feel more aligned, where my boundaries are going to be respected.”
33:15 Monique: Nice. And will you get it right the next time? Maybe and maybe not.
33:21 Chelese: Yes.
33:22 Monique: And I’d hearken to say, there’s an opportunity to maybe shorten the horizon, or months of time when you maintain. Consider that a win for yourself. Or you just stuck it out for three years, and now it’s a year and a half, you’re seeing the same thing. “Okay, I see it. I now know to move a little quicker.” And so, you don’t know it. Give yourself some grace.
32:46 Chelese: There-- oh my goodness. Absolutely. Give yourself some grace. Absolutely. Grace is the biggest thing in terms of loving ourselves and just caring for ourselves. It’s giving us that grace and understanding it’s a journey.
34:00 Monique: Yes. And the grace and the loving that you have displayed here for our audience is phenomenal. And I appreciate all that you do for others in this realm. And so, final thoughts, what do you want to say or impart on our listeners as it relates to setting boundaries?
34:23 Chelese: Oh, I would love to. So, what drives me, and boundaries is just one part of this, is for people to feel free, people to feel liberated. And by learning this skill, this wonderfully powerful skill of setting boundaries, I believe it allows us to get closer to that place of living well.