Are Rules Hindering Your Success?

By Duane Krip

Like a sea of bobble head dolls, I can feel a collective up and down head nod as you ponder this question…and most of you can easily bring to mind the rules of your company, bosses or industry that create unnecessary work, stymie your creativity or shackle progress.

We often feel constrained by rules in place in all levels of government; municipal, provincial and federal. Their rules potentially impede ease of progress, pull dollars out of your wallet or time out of your day. I could go on for pages about all the external rules we face every minute of every day that seemingly act as barriers to our growth, success, income and happiness…

…but these rules are NOT what really stands in our way! They are nothing more than a speed bump compared to the rock solid wall you create with your own internal self imposed rules. These internal rules are of your own creation and are devastating because they rarely align with your goals and aspirations. The most sinister part about these internal rules is that you are not aware of their incongruence with your goals and the resulting impedance of your progress.

As a case study example:

I present this story of a business person who had an ardent rule: “it has to be perfect!” Time had to stand still until she had perfection in every task she performed. Most people are blind to adverse affect of their rules. They view their rule as an admirable positive strength that sets them apart.

Unfortunately, in this case, the rule of perfection was driving her further and further away from her goals. She did not see that perfection resulted in slowness and stagnation of each task. This caused continual missed opportunities plus a whole host of other issues which led to an immense amount of stress. It wasn’t until she closely the examined the costs of this rule that the light bulb went on! She had to admit that the missed opportunities cost her at least $750,000.00 in lost revenue in the past 5 years!

When I examined my own internal rules, I was astonished when I filled three 8.5 x 11 lined pages. They came in every form, shape and dimension. I’m not going to list out all of them for the sake of time, but are a few highlights:

I can’t show weakness or vulnerability…

If I can’t win I’m not going to try…

The rules must be followed…

I must always be in control…

I must always be right…

It has to be perfect…

It is a sobering realization when you confront your rules then ask yourself what has having this rule or these rules cost you? How are they keeping you from attaining your goals? What would open up for you if you were to let go of the attachment to your rules?

Try this exercise. Take a couple pieces of paper and ask yourself these questions with separate answers for each category:

At work or in career:

-How should you/ must you be?

-Who should you/ must you be?

-What should you/ must you be?

-What must you never be?

-What must you never show?

-What must you always feel?

-What must you never express?

When you are with colleagues, clients, bosses:

-How should you/ must you be?

-Who should you/ must you be?

-What should you/ must you be?

-What must you never be?

-What must you never show?

-What must you always feel?

-What must you never express?

Then ask yourself…

1. What has it cost you that you had all these rules in place?

2. What has it cost others that you had all these rules in place?

3. How does it make you feel to have imposed all these rules on yourself?

4. What possibilities could open up to you when you shed these rules?

So, what are your rules costing you? After completing this exercise I’d love to hear what some of the rules are and what revelation you made. You can do so by posting in the comment section below.

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One Response to Are Rules Hindering Your Success?

  • Dana says:

    Wow! This post knocked me right right between the eyes….thank-you!
    When I did your exercise these are some of the rules I found:
    I need to be right!
    I can never show weakness!
    I must never express how I feel…
    My revelation is that my need to control might be pushing opportunity away! WOW!

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