Michael Bungay Stanier on setting boundaries

Today’s episode is really special to me. It was recorded live with my friend Michael Bungay Stanier, author of “The Coaching Habit” and “The Advice Trap.” We had a conversation on LinkedIn Live about my new book, “Betting on You,” and the conversation covered a lot of ground: the importance of setting boundaries, advocating for yourself in negotiations, and more.

For once, I was in the hot seat, and Michael asked me tough questions. It’s my hope that our conversation doesn’t just inspire you to buy my book, but that it also inspires you to put yourself first every step of the way.

Slack Off By Setting Boundaries

A lot of us feel like we are working too much, but are we really? If you feel like you’re working 70 hours a week, that may be true — in a sense. You might be in front of your computer for 70 hours, but odds are, you’re spending quite a lot of time being angry and frustrated with yourself and ensuring a continued slide into burnout.

This brings us to one of my core principles: If you want to put yourself first, then you need to learn to slack off. How do you do that? By setting boundaries and learning to say, “No.”

And look, I know saying “no” isn’t always the easiest thing. But you can practice saying “no” in very small ways. If someone’s bugging you during a Zoom call, take control of the meeting. If a parent or friend is asking you to do something you don’t want to do, take control of your scared inner animal inside and tell them, “No.” That way, in the big moments, you’ll have the muscle memory to help you set the boundaries that will allow you to put yourself first.

Negotiate Your Worth

Let’s start this section with an exercise. I want you to put your device down, put a mask on, and go out on the street to find me a person who doesn’t feel they’re underpaid.

Or better yet — don’t. All of us, at some point or another, are underpaid, and women are far more likely to under-negotiate than men. But don’t go into a negotiation blindly. Make sure that you are doing your research. Talk to veterans in your organization. Get the data you need to have the strongest hand — and to truly know what you’re worth.

And again, make sure that you are practicing negotiation. You don’t do that by constantly asking your supervisor for a raise. Instead, just like with setting boundaries, you practice negotiation by examining the small things in your life. Doing the dishes too much? Negotiate. If you’re finding that difficult, then work on that muscle memory before you ask your boss for a Zoom meeting.

Quit Like An Executive

So, you’ve decided that your job is standing in the way of putting yourself first. You’re ready to burn your way out the door.

Don’t. Instead, you need to leave with dignity and grace — and with a full sense of your worth. That’s actually what executives do, and it’s what you should do, too. Don’t just give your two weeks’ notice. Instead, ask for your worth on the way out the door. Get a severance package. Get the extra compensation you know you’re worth.

And then, go out and live a great life. As a great philosopher once said, living life well is the best revenge.

Resources from This Episode