We all operate within boundaries – some imposed by our social and contractual relationships with others, most imposed by us on ourselves as a result of our own forces of resistance.

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” 

Stephen Pressfield

I suggest these boundaries are not static – they expand or contract depending on how you feel, what you’re listening to, who you’re mixing with.

The more our status is threatened, our sense of uncertainty increased, our sense of autonomy threatened, our relationships pressured and our sense of fair play offended, the tighter those boundaries become. Like a noose around our effectiveness.

The thing with invisible boundaries of course is that we have to go beyond them to know that they are there, and we can only do that by leaning into the discomfort of crossing them.

Many of the tools we use to become efficient, and to cope with ever increasing workloads, tighten our boundaries. Systems, protocols, templates are all ways of keeping us within boundaries. The intention with which they were designed are almost always good, but are very specific to a set of conditions at the moment in time they were created. Time and circumstances have moved on since then. They can now keep us contained in the safe bur mediocre middle, where safe is an illusion waiting to be shattered.

The person we don’t engage with because of the assumptions we make. The idea not expressed because of the fear of ridicule. The stand not taken for fear of being marginalised. The list goes on. We all have our own that alk beside us every day.

Meaningful progress is rarely safe, or comfortable but the alternative is stasis and entropy. Extinction of our job or business – or society.

If you’re not often uncomfortable a lot of the time, testing your boundaries, the world will leave you behind.

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