Where do you draw your line?
A few years back my wife noticed a persistent beeping noise coming from the garage. Upon further investigation she realized that it was originating from the control panel of Buddy’s invisible fence. Buddy was our family pet at the time, a high-energy yellow lab. The beep is a warning signal that is transmitted whenever the electronic fence has been compromised. When the boundary was broken, Buddy’s shock collar no longer worked, and he had the ability to escape the confines of his half-acre playground, without a sharp pain to his neck.
But here’s the interesting part. Buddy didn’t know the fence was broken. And needless to say, we didn’t tell him! For at least four days his fence didn’t work. He continued to chase squirrels and birds at breakneck speed, stopping in his usual spots just a few feet shy of the place where an unpleasant shock usually awaited him.
Buddy is a dog. He acts on instinct, not reason. He knows where his boundaries are, and he refuses to go beyond them because of the unpleasant consequences that would occur otherwise.
We as humans have unpleasant consequences that await us when our boundaries are crossed. Since we operate on reason, not instinct, we have the constant temptation to compromise the boundaries in the six most important areas of our life; business, family, relationships, finances, health and our faith. Once we cross the line in one of these areas, we would be delighted to trade the results of our poor decision for a hefty shock to the neck. But that’s not an option.
Our boundaries are first compromised in our mind when we lose sight of our purpose in each of these six areas. In other words, we lose sight when we neglect to be intentional. When we fail to be intentional our habits and instincts kick in and we become purposeless.
Rx: Here’s the solution for staying inside your lines; either wear a shock collar (ouch!) or look at these six most important areas of your life, and ask yourself one simple question for each category: What is my purpose for each?
In her song, “There is a Line,” performed by Susan Ashton, you’ll find some additional advice worth following, or perhaps worth singing….
Within the scheme of things
Well, I know where I stand
My convictions, they define who I am
Some move the boundaries at any cost
But there is a line I will not cross
No riding on the fence – no alibis
No building on the sands of compromise
I won’t be borrowed and I can’t be bought
There is a line I will not cross
Bill Edmonds is an “Outside-Insider” (an Executive Coach and Consultant), who works with Financial Advisors to help them reach their full potential in the areas of organizational and personal development. A former Financial Advisor himself, Bill spent 24 years with Merrill Lynch until his retirement in 2014, where he led a $100+ million per year revenue wealth management business unit as a Director with the firm.
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