Kelly Botsford is a Senior HR Business Leader, a mother of two children under the age of 10, and a graduate student. I was really curious how she managed to keep fresh knowledge flowing into such a busy life.
I always ask the topics of particular importance before I get into the details of how they pursue them. Kelly answered me differently from how most others respond. “The things I tend to gravitate towards are (a) anything having to do with helping companies deliver their business through increasing employee engagement and (b) helping employees and companies implement work life strategies and policies that work for both parties,” said Kelly. She went on to say, “I attended a conference of peers where I had some time to do some reflecting, and these were the big outcomes. I started with a list of 110 things.” Kelly had the forethought to realize that it was her objectives that should drive her topic interests. “I had to find a way to look at the things that I love which are engagement and work-life balance (which I prefer to call work-life harmony) and find a way to make them about the business. Otherwise, I would not have had the chance to do them at all.”
Kelly had figured out how to set boundaries for herself. As she explained, “Before I heard you talk about boundaries (I had a given a lecture to one of her graduate classes.), I always thought of boundaries as confining and limiting. I’m not good at limits. After your talk, I could see boundaries as enabling, as a tool to use to decide for myself where I will invest my energy. I saw them as being applicable to my goals, and it was liberating!” Kelly uses boundaries to shape what she does, using them to help rather than hinder.
She also applies this concept in how she invites new knowledge into her work. “I drive without music so that I can use the time for thinking,” she said. She reads what she can, focusing on what is recommended by trusted sources, and trusting that regular scans in relevant topics is better than trying to dive deep on everything. Her definition of boundaries helps her determine what is relevant. Kelly uses LinkedIn for gathering new insights but uses FaceBook only for family connections. She has a set of blogs, forums, and networks she skims regularly, setting a time limit of 45 minutes to an hour each day to do so.
Kelly really has learned and applied this lesson. “When I can come up with solutions and implement them quickly, I have a real measure of success of whether I am keeping myself refreshed with new knowledge. When I know where to find the answer, I consider this is measure of success, too.” You can see that boundaries serve Kelly well.
In Riding the Current, I say that boundaries need to be large enough to hold your dreams and small enough to carry. If you have trouble knowing which boundaries to set for yourself to get the best results for your time, check out Chapter 2: Selecting the Vessel in Riding the Current. You won’t regret it.