Wait, what happened to my boundaries?

I’ve noticed a stark increase in no-shows, last minute cancellations and double (or triple) scheduling oneself. For training sessions, coaching sessions and other meetings.
Read more about this in the no-show epidemic.

Is it just me?  I think not.

It seems to be the way of the world and we all need to adapt to the ebb and flow of signups and last-minute cancellations. If I expect a lot of changes, I’m far less likely to be irritated when it happens – and this mindset is much better for my mental health and stability.

But I also wonder about people’s planning processes. Is this really about people having a hard time knowing how to plan their time? Do we need to re-learn how to prioritise?  Or to say no more often?  Can’t say no?

I wonder what goes through someone’s mind when they book an in-person training programme on the same day they have committed to something else – like moving house or a long-haul flight, but they still intended to participate.  Is this a problem about understanding one’s boundaries? Or is our attention just incredibly fragmented?

Maybe I’ve just become an old-timer – is the idea of following through on your commitments now extinct? In my world, it feels disrespectful to sign up for something when you only intend to be a passive listener while doing something else, or you’re not really committed. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned with this view.

It seems that during the pandemic with most of us working from home, we learned just how flexible we can be. We pushed boundaries of booking our calendars with back-to-back virtual meetings all day long, cancelling at the last minute when needed. We came to accept that.

Should recovery from the pandemic also include getting back to a saner schedule where we say yes and no more deliberately?

We damage not only our self-trust every time we don’t follow through on something we scheduled, said yes to or promised ourselves but also we can be perceived as fickle or disrespectful to others when we make a ‘commitment’ and have little intention of honouring the ‘yes’ We damage our trustworthiness in the eyes of others.

The more we do that, the more we don’t even believe our own commitments anymore. Every yes uttered to another person is registered in our minds as a ‘maybe’ and we might not even be aware of that.  And you might be asking, why can’t I keep the promises I made to myself?

But we can re-build this self-trust by working on these aspects:

  • Be more conscious every time you make a ‘commitment’.
  • Only say yes when you mean it.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Give yourself a 24-hour delay before saying yes or no to an invitation.

As, coaches, trainers and leaders, we can help our clients, participants and colleagues increase their self-trust by talking about this and helping them to prioritise and commit – not just to sessions we are a part of, but to everything they schedule in their lives. Let’s not judge the no-shows (it’s likely just a coping mechanism!), but ask them how they can be more committed and honest with themselves and how can they develop more self-respect and self-trust so they can prioritise and have the confidence to say no.

Rewired to Relate

Rewired to Relate

Rewired to Relate helps you understand why it’s difficult to say no and set boundaries.

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