Fence-runs are part and parcel of the repair and maintenance routine on rural and remote properties.

 Owners or workers regularly hop on a bike or in a ute and ride or drive around the fence lines to ensure that stock can’t cross from one paddock to another or, more importantly, escape a boundary fence into an adjoining property.

 Lack of attention to this task can have disastrous results. A bull can ‘jump fence’ and impregnate a whole herd of resting cows.  Cattle can escape and walk onto a road, endangering themselves and any traffic on the road.

 Boundary fences get priority over internal fences.


Those of you living in the human zoo also need to build and attend to your personal boundaries.

You cannot possibly respect yourself if you are not clear about what you want and, indeed, about what you don’t want and then making it known.  As cited in my messages so many times, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.

Indeed, knowing what you want and saying so is attractive; people feel secure around you.

Scott Peck, author and psychiatrist, in his book, The Road Less Travelled, describes lack of clarity around your boundaries as ‘drawbridge problems’: having no idea that you can control your personal drawbridge, defining who can enter your personal space and how they can treat you.

Your very psychological security is dependent on how clear and assertive you are around what you will and won’t allow.  You have the right to say to someone, “I do not find it acceptable that you….
– talk over the top of me
– yell at me
– tell me that I have no reason to be hurt
– ignore me
– criticize me” etc

Only this week, as I was coaching an executive, who was rather upset about  how people are treating him,  I quietly and assertively said “I can appreciate this is really concerning you and I am going to request that you stop using  swear words when discussing this situation with me”.

I then went on to use the nature and manner of delivery of my request as a tool that he could use with his colleagues: simply state what you find acceptable and unacceptable. When offended, he’s just been getting upset and acting irrationally.

A much-respected client of mine sent me a quote earlier this year that said, “Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right”.

There is much truth in that statement as long as you are not losing sight of your own needs in order to keep the peace.  Constant compromising leads to anger (at yourself), resentment towards the other person and, ultimately, brings dis-ease into your life. It also undermines your essential feelings of self-respect and choice.

As Stephanie Dowrick explains in her wonderful book, Choosing Happiness, “Peaceful does not mean passive; it involves highly conscious choices that help you grow in self-confidence and maturity.”

Ms Dowrick goes on to say that ‘You can’t always control the way others behave towards or around you. You can, however, limit the time you spend with people who don’t treat you well. If anyone is treating you badly, you should not spend any time with them at all’.

As you define your boundaries moving forward, take heed of Bill Cosby’s famous words, “I’m not sure what success is. However, I sure know that failure is trying to please all of the people all of the time’.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves,
even when we risk disappointing others.
Brene Brown








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