Mary Reynolds


lisa fabrega

july 26-min

Ever think watching a movie about a landscape designer would help you have a huge breakthrough around your boundaries? 

Well, that movie exists and I’ve got to tell you about “Dare To Be Wild,” which I found on Netflix a few years ago. 

It’s a TRUE story about the life of a woman named Mary Reynolds. Mary is the youngest woman to win the Gold Medal at one of the world’s most prestigious gardening expos, The Chelsea Flower Show in London. 

Winning that gold medal was considered “impossible” for her for so many reasons.

Mary had a humble beginning, growing up on a farm in Ireland. She always felt the plants speaking to her as a child and spent hours underneath the hawthorn trees on her family’s farm.  As an adult, she pursued a career in landscape design.

She had a unique style considered “faux pas” in the landscape design world. She believed gardens should be wild and return people to their connection with the earth. Many gardeners at the time considered that an eyesore in a world full of neatly-trimmed hedges, chemicalized backyards and award-winning geometric garden designs that were considered “superior.”

Now here’s the part where we get to learn from Mary about Boundary Capacity™:

As a young woman, Mary got a job with a prestigious landscape designer in London who worked with a bunch of celebrities and wealthy individuals. She was the “secret weapon” for that famous landscape designer and worked long hours, underpaid and poorly treated.

Her boss frequently took credit for Mary’s designs. Mary never called her out, preferring to be “agreeable” so as to not lose her job. 

Then one day Mary’s boss STOLE her entire personal sketchbook filled with years of garden sketches, fired her and kept her sketchbook to use as her own designs for future clients. 


This devastated Mary and left her without any clients or money. But she had a wild idea – if I can enter and win the Chelsea Flower show, I’ll have my pick of clients for life! 

She did enter and eventually won, beating out the boss who stole her ideas in a very satisfying, real-life twist.

But that’s not the part of the story I’m interested in. The most inspiring part of this story happens between when she was accepted to the show and won.  

Because when she was accepted, she was forced to set boundaries and in doing so, showed the Universe she was serious about what she said she wanted.  

Shortly after she entered, she found out she had to come up with $350,000 to pay set up costs for the garden she was going to build for the show. She didn’t have the money AT ALL, so she had to go on Irish radio and do interviews (she was mortified, but had to get out of her comfort zone.

She also had to follow the guy she wanted to hire as her head garden builder for the show all the way to Ethiopia to get him to say yes. She firmly held to her desire, not taking no for an answer, sleeping on the dirt floor of a hut for 5 weeks to show him how serious she was.

He eventually happily agreed to come back to London with her to build the garden. 

This was all WAY out of her comfort zone. But she wanted it so much, she was willing to risk not being “the nice one with no opinions or desires” anymore. 

She had to say ‘no’ to a lot of people and INSIST heavily on some things to create the garden she envisioned.

Before she got fired by her idea-stealing boss, Mary didn’t have good Boundary Capacity. She let her previous boss treat her like a doormat and never said a word.  

This is a perfect example of what happens when you decide you won’t set boundaries because you want to be “liked.” 

Whenever you do this, not only do you create this out-of-integrity, out-of-alignment dynamic which people can FEEL (because you are literally going against yourself by not setting boundaries or asking for what you really want)…

But now, when people sense this about you, that’s how they introduce you to other people. And everyone starts treating you like a doormat.  

When Mary was working for her previous, idea-stealing boss, Mary did have a chance to meet some of the celebrities her prior boss worked for and potentially get hired by them… but they all treated her like she was invisible and inconsequential BECAUSE they thought of her as a doormat, too. 

That’s how she was energetically telling people to treat her with her lack of boundaries or clearly stated desires.

When you don’t set and hold boundaries, people think “oh, she’s so easy and nice.” They walk in the door thinking and telling others “oh, she’ll do whatever you want.” Being “nice” means you’re being introduced as a doormat.  

If you’re embodying “doormat energy” and you get introduced to the wrong person, that’s a BIG problem. 

You’ll end up like Mary Reynolds with people who steal your ideas, don’t give you credit or honor your prices, and think they can do whatever they want with you. And you’ll have to work twice as hard to get people to take you seriously.

And that’s just at the “Chelsea Flower Show” level, so to speak. If you’re not working on your Boundary Capacity at the level you’re at now…

What happens when you’re playing for bigger stakes?  

Could you maintain your boundaries with and say no to Oprah? 

With a “Good Morning America” producer? 

With a big-time publisher or publicist? 

A client whose paying you a very large sum of money?

A big time investor?

Or even your own strategic business coach?

Do you know how many people I’ve met whose coach or big-time colleague/client stole their idea and made money while giving NONE of the credit to them? Or whose colleagues or clients got “inspiration” from them all the time, yet never mentioned WHO inspired them?

It used to happen to me when I didn’t have well-developed Boundary Capacity. I had a colleague I looked up to siphon friendship, inspiration, and ideas off of me for years with little in return for me. 

I had clients sign up to work with me, thinking that just because they paid me for ten months of coaching, they could then rip off my entire business model and positioning.

Those Boundary Capacity deficits held me back for a while. But when I finally started setting boundaries with people like that, my revenue soared past its sticking point.

Or do you let people you admire steamroll over your spirit?  

Do you let your strategic coach cut your ideas off, ignore your intuition and expect you to do everything they tell you, even if it doesn’t feel aligned? Do you just do as your told and don’t speak up?

I once worked with a client who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars working with business coaches who wouldn’t listen to her. She tried every brand rewrite and funnel plan they threw at her and NONE of it made a difference. 

It wasn’t until we started to work on her Boundary Capacity™ that things started to move. Because now her creative ideas dominated her decision making process, NOT another coach’s vision.

There’s one last thing that Mary Reynolds did that is a perfect example of improved Boundary Capacity™.  

Remember when I told you a few days ago that Boundary Capacity is “your ability to not only guard your time and energy but to make specific, clear and easily granted requests from the Universe?”

Shortly after Mary decided to enter the Chelsea Flower Show, she wrote on a piece of paper, “Thank you for my Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.” 

She wrote it down every day and then ALL the actions she took were about boundary setting and REQUESTING what she ACTUALLY wanted from everyone around her. If she hadn’t done that, she wouldn’t have won.  

I love that part of the story because it also highlights the other side to boundaries no one ever notices: Boundaries aren’t “walls”, they’re CLEAR requests we make to the Universe about what we are and aren’t available for.

Now, you may not be a landscape designer like Mary… but where are YOU unknowingly announcing to people that you’re a doormat and inviting them to step all over you? 

Where are you not being clear about what you want by not having the right boundaries for your next level?

  • Do you do this with clients who think they are always entitled to your time or can dictate to you how you should do your job? Do you let them always ask for things out of scope or text you at all hours of the day?
  • Team members, who are overcharging you and yet refusing to follow your operating procedures and doing subpar work? 
  • Family members, who constantly interrupt you when you’re trying to get your work done? 
  • A boss who keeps taking credit for your ideas at meetings without throwing some shine your way?
  • Colleagues or clients, who steal your ideas without consequences?

All of these things are Boundary Capacity™ issues.  

And you can see how refusing to set boundaries and hold to them can seriously impact you emotionally, financially and more. This is why your Boundary Capacity is so important to you being able to achieve your goals.