Break Your Own Rules

Posted by: Jo Banks

Date: 12-10-2015

Do you have too many rules?  Maybe it's time to break them...

Have you ever noticed how many rules you have? Rules like:

  • Always put family, work or others first
  • Never be late/always be on time
  • Never challenge a ‘leader’ (or someone you perceive as being in charge)
  • Never talk over someone else/never interrupt
  • Always keep your house or desk clean

Your rules are how you 'carry out' out your values and beliefs, it is what gives them meaning and is often where real conflict occurs. Often we can have exactly the same values as someone else; however, our rules around how to ‘live’ our values can be completely different.

For example, one of my top values is respect and to be respectful, one of my key rules is that I will never be late for anyone or anything (I will be an hour early before I’ll ever be 5 minutes late). However, whilst many people may have the same value, respect, very few seem to have the same ‘lateness’ rule as I do, which can be frustrating to say the least!

Where do our rules come from?  They are completely made up! Most are a product of our upbringings, programmed in to us by our parents/care-givers (my mum drilled in to me from an early age that I should never be late) or form from distinctions we have made throughout our lives. It therefore stands to reason that very few people outside our families will have exactly the same rules as us; this can lead to conflict. Also, the more rules we have the more chance there is of them being broken, resulting in us experiencing some level of pain.

The next time you find yourself in conflict with someone either personally or professionally and you just can’t seem to get through to them (especially when you know that you have the same/similar values), look at whether your rules are different.

The good thing about rules is that they aren't set in stone, it's likely that they have been passed down from generation to generation without ever being questioned. You don’t have to continue with ones that have been ‘programmed’ into you if they no longer serve you; you can consciously choose to get rid of them or make new ones.

Start to notice how many rules you have and ask yourself whether they're serving you or whether it's time for a change.


Do you need help changing something in your life?  Why not contact us for a free, no obligation consultation about how we can help you.

JO's FIRST BOOK: Thoughts Become Things

Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.