I don’t follow rules. Well, not most of them at least.
It doesn’t mean that I don’t respect them, or even appreciate them.
It just means that I have found more success and reached my goals far quicker and with more efficiency by going against the grain, and thinking outside of the box.
Rules aren’t necessarily made to be broken, but sometimes it takes pushing the boundaries to get where you want to be in life. And I am okay with that…and you should be too. There are times when it actually makes sense NOT to follow the rules.
Here is the thing about rules that really concerns me...they don’t benefit everyone in the same way. How could they? Now, I am not talking about the rules of the road here, or something like that. I think it is to everyone’s benefit to come to a stop at red lights, or travel at pretty close to the speed limit. If not, chaos would reign supreme. And that is why we do need rules for the most part.
But where rules really piss me off is when people think that there are a bunch of different rules out there that business owners or entrepreneurs should follow without fail. Sort of like a recipe for success. Add a dash of this. A touch of that. A cup of magic sauce. And then…BAM…. you got your success pie sitting right there in front of you.
No chance. Complete and total bullshit.
While building our company and helping other entrepreneurs create theirs, I have learned that no two paths to success are the same. So it is a dangerous practice to look for a generic set of rules to follow. As much as schools or canned entrepreneurs might want you to believe it, a carefully crafted sets of rules are only going to hold you back.
Here is why.
Rules create boundaries—lots of them. They put you in a box, a bucket, or a category. And then you end up doing your best to follow these preset rules, since someone (at least it seems someone) way smarter and more experienced than you said so. In my experience, the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones that find their own path, and do it their own way. I often credit much of our success to the fact that we didn’t know the rules.
I am all for structure, but you have to be flexible in building a business. You are kind of like a boxer in the middle of a heavyweight fight. Totally unpredictable. You have to dodge, bob, move, and adjust to the obstacles standing in front of you. Business is the same way. As much as you’d like to predict each and every challenge and outcome, there is just no way to do so. The second you put your guard down, you are likely going to catch one in the chin.
Rules in a business are the same way. They can hold you back. But ignoring them can open your mind and your actions to greater potential and possibilities. So pick and choose the rules you follow. Carefully and strategically question them, and if they don’t fit into your vision, then don’t hesitate to disregard them.
So as you build your business/nonprofit/career, make sure to ask the following questions:
1. Does this “rule” align with my business, my vision, and me? If not, it’s certainly the wrong direction to follow.
2. Is this “rule” something that will make my business better, or potentially create challenges for it in the near future? It better be. Otherwise it will hurt you in the long run.
3. Exactly why do I feel the need to follow this “rule”? If you can’t answer this one then go ahead and disregard it entirely.
4. Is there a better way to reach my goals? If so, don’t hesitate…that is your path.
If you really want to hit it big and leave a mark on your industry, then you have to be willing to assess the rules and ignore them. It is not always easy. History might not support your choice. But some of the greatest and most powerful businesses in this world are the ones who defined their own rules, rather than following standard industry practices.
Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
Now that’s what I am talking about!