One Word for 2014: Boundaries

Every year I participate in the the three words meme started by Chris Brogan several years ago, in which we list three words to live by for the upcoming new year. I enjoy the goal setting exercise and the challenge to achieve each year. I also enjoy looking back at the end of each year to see how well I did.

This year I’m only listing one word to live by for 2013.

Yes, there are many things I want to achieve in 2014. For example, I want to think smaller with my client list and reach out to small, local businesses to help them with their social media and marketing strategies. It’s a win- win situation because I get to work on growing my local network and by helping small businesses achieve growth, I’m also doing my part to stimulate the local economy. But “local” isn’t my word.

I also plan to continue to work on my health. I recently joined a gym and lost 10 pounds as a result. I have been enjoying healthy eating habits and making sure I’m setting a good, healthy example for my son. Seeing results has been quite motivating and I’m not quitting any time soon. But “health” and “weight loss” aren’t my words either.

My word for 2014 is:


Personal Boundaries

Simply put, you don’t need to know everything about me.

I’m an oversharer. I joke about it often, but you always see me online often sharing news items, photos, and anecdotes. I’m probably very annoying about it too. You see, when you work at home like me, and you have to be on Facebook for your clients all day, you’re likely to spend a lot of time sharing. I do my best to set filters for myself so I’m only sharing certain things with family, friends, and the folks I know through business, but lines are being crossed.  To me, nothing is more awkward than meeting up with people but having nothing to offer in a “catching up” conversation because you share everything online.

If I honored every Friend request I receive on Facebook, I’d probably have reached the 5,000 limit some time ago. I’ve always tried to take the word “friend” seriously on that particular network and with a few extremely rare exceptions, don’t honor friend requests of people I don’t know personally or have a relationship with. That’s one boundary I’ve been able to stick to.

Even though I’m always compelled to share, I need to reign it in. I’m not leaving social media (as if!) but I do want to make a conscious effort to not share so much, and to use my filters better. Feel free to slap me upside my head if I get a little too chatty.

Professional Boundaries

Last year one of my three words was “family.” My goal was to stop working so much and spend time with my family. I achieved that goal by setting some professional boundaries. I knocked off work at a decent hour so I can spend the after dinner hours with my family, cut out most weekend work, and removed myself from what I felt were negative situations.

I think when you work with clients it’s important to have lines that can’t be crossed. I am not very good at telling my clients what is on my mind if something doesn’t sit right with me, and I have to be better about that. I also think that when you work at home, especially with a variety of clients, you tend to work odd hours check up on things on the weekend. I’m going to continue where I left off last year to make sure my professional boundaries aren’t crossed.

Boundaries is a good word and I’m going to rock it in 2014.

Further reading:

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  1. TXWriter says:

    Nice list of goals Deb! As someone else who chases after the work/life balance genie and can relate to most of this. :)

    I thought your comments about Friend requests was interesting. I have a similar problem with LinkedIn–I often get connection requests from people and I have no idea why. I always review their profile to see if I can find any common denominators, but sometimes there just aren’t any.

  2. Claire Wagner says:

    Glad to see some more wise advice from you, Deb. It’s been on my mind a lot as my work life shifts to mostly salaried work and very little freelancing. Boundaries are definitely a challenge. Thanks and Happy New Year!

  3. Mia says:

    Great article you have post. Boundaries are definitely a challenge.