How to Write Your Own Rules

In my workshops and upcoming book, I talk a lot about writing your own rules.  If you've heard me use that phrase you may have wondered what I mean by that, or you may have nodded along like, "yeah, don't conform and all that."  I thought a new season (happy first day of spring!) would be a good day to talk about what I really mean about these rules.

What I Don't Mean:
It's true that our whole lives, other peoples ideas are pressed upon us.  Parents, teachers, peers, mentors, boyfriends, bosses, you name it.  But for the most part as we become adults we learn to break the rules we need to break.  In college (or sooner - I wasn't much of a rebel) we learn to break our parents rules.  As we get better at relationships we learn not to be boxed in by our significant other.  You get the point.

What I Do Mean:
It's really what we've pressed upon ourselves from all of those years (31 for me) of becoming ourselves that can be a hidden danger.  "I'm supposed to be a..." defines our job following our college major or a previous commitment to a career.  "I am not good at..." defines our limitations because of what we've tried once or what we believe to be true about ourselves.  "I love" or "I want to" or "I need" are all things we've by now decided for ourselves - most of us during our twenties when we're grappling desperately to understand who we are.

Who says those things are to remain true?

How to Fix It:
Redefine everything.  Have periodic self-check-ins during which you examine different areas of your life and the ways in which you express yourself.  Are they still the most exciting and satisfying qualities, actions, and expressions of yourself?  Is your career choice still your dream, or is there something else you long to do?Is your relationship, or what you're hoping to find in a relationship, still the right path for the person you've become?  Are the way you dress, the city you live in, your faith, your friends, your hobbies, still holding true to your truest you?

Be brave here by being open and honest with yourself, and then be even more brave and make the changes, however difficult or surprising to those around you, that you need to make.

Need a little help with that bravery thing, or with deciding what these new rules are? Connect with me, or reach out to a friend with whom you feel supported no matter what.

Have you rewritten a rule for yourself that changed the direction of your life?  Share with us in the comments below!

Additional Reading: Check out these inspiring career change stories from Spirit Magazine!  (Yes, I read this on my last flight...)