Setting Boundaries with Information You're Consuming Online and Off

This is what happens when you read things that weren’t meant for you…


A great way to learn more about what your ideal client or reader wants to learn about is to look at book reviews on websites like Amazon.

Criticism can be something that hits a nerve with people and makes them want to shrink back and hide. Some people even go as far as to avoid receiving criticism by opting to never speak up for fear of sounding dumb.

I was recently looking through online book reviews on Amazon for client research and I like to read the 2, 3, and 4 star reviews to try to find constructive criticism about how something could be better. What I found is: people who read books and write negative reviews are often not writing constructive criticism, they are just writing criticism.

You can learn a lot about someone by listening to the negative things they say about another person.

Why are people being so critical?

Most likely it’s because that particular book wasn’t written for them. There’s a common saying you hear when you’re trying to niche down your business to a specific audience:

When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

It’s great advice! People want to buy from experts and the majority of time they will pay more for an expert than they would a generalist. A lot of subject matter experts will become authors and publish their research or stories.

One thing you should understand about reading these books is they are written with a very specific person in mind, and that person might not be you, and that’s okay!

Client Story: The Side-Hustler

I came across this for the first time a couple of years ago with a coaching client who was doing “all the things” while working a full time job, running a side business, cooking dinner for her husband every night, making sure her house was clean, and trying to live a fulfilling life.

She was completely burned out and exhausted.

I asked her what book she was currently reading and she said, “The 10x Rule.” I would guess that book wasn’t written for someone who gets 4 hours of sleep a night, who’s running a business and working a full time job, and also implementing productivity and efficiency strategies every single day.

More Access to Information Isn’t Always Beneficial

The thing about the Internet is it makes this information accessible to everyone even though the messages aren’t speaking to everyone. In order to protect yourself from self-induced anxiety and overwhelm you need to have the conscious filter for information beyond what your thalamus, aka the selective filtering system of the brain, is showing you.

Client Story: The Overachiever

And if you aren’t feeling anxious by the information you’re receiving then you might be feeling depressed, like another client of mine who said to me in our first coaching session, “Maybe I’m lazy.” This woman is raising children, married, working a job, and running a business, she also has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

If this sounds like you, you’re not lazy.

If the messages you’re reading are making you feel you aren’t doing enough, then maybe a better question to ask yourself is:

“Was this message meant for me?”

Boundaries with information are just as important as boundaries with toxic people. Your happiness depends on it.