There Are No Rules

What do you mean, there are no rules? Aren’t there always rules?


Nope, not always.

Growing up, we were taught to follow all the rules if we wanted to succeed – in school, sports, even in our family dynamics.

  • Sit up straight
  • Line up by height
  • Answer only when called upon

But as a woman in business and as a grown up, aren’t you are better suited to determine which rules are absolutely necessary and which are, in fact, more like….guidelines? Of course you are.

Most rules are really just advisory in nature.

They are there to help keep you out of trouble. They are not there to keep you hemmed in, paralyzed with fear, or stuck in a spot that does not serve your business or enhance your life.

Now before you send me a raging email telling me about the benefits of having rules, let me tell you that I do, in fact, believe in rules…when they make sense. I also know that rules keep our society humming.

But many women never “graduate” out of the rule-following mode required for becoming a productive citizen.

Nor do they transform into the type of grown-up who can make rules for her own life, and use her good judgment about whether to follow the existing rules.

We outgrow rules. We do not outgrow our values.

As a woman entrepreneur and a grown up, I stopped following these rules:

  • you are not allowed to make more money than your parents did
  • women in small businesses are not the bread winners
  • be quiet, be small, don’t rock the boat, don’t bring attention to yourself
  • women in business shouldn’t / can’t make more money than their husbands
  • don’t ask for help / don’t collaborate / don’t share what you know with other people
  • girls are not good at technology / business / finances
  • asking for what you want is rude / pushy / unladylike / selfish
  • success is for other people

Make some rules, break some rules, create an adulthood that reflects what you believe and stand by your decisions.

Leave me a comment and tell me about your new rules!

Leadership and Success Expert

Dr. Ann Vertel is a leadership and success expert, motivational psychologist, and 20-year Naval Officer. She speaks, trains, coaches, and consults on personal leadership, professional development, and how to take charge of your life, your career, and everything in between. Want her to speak to your organization? Learn more…

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4 thoughts on “There Are No Rules

  1. Whether in the form of rules, or limiting beliefs, we sure can accumulate a lot of stinking thinking (as one of my mentors, Zig Ziglar, would often remind me).

    Kudos for your house cleaning of rules that were detrimental to your achieving your full potential. Here’s hoping your post encourages many others to do some house cleaning. Spring is such a wonderful time to clean our mind of stinking thinging that may have crept in over recent months (or even years).

  2. Thanks for your inspiring words, Dave – I’ve always been one to break or bend the rules, especially when they didn’t make sense. It was following the rules that I always had a hard time with! When we choose success, we also have to choose which rules we will no longer follow. I too hope others will be inspired to do some mental house cleaning and freshen things up this season!

  3. Absolutely love your rules! Been following them for years 🙂 Hopefully women in their 60s will pay particular attention to this post. Actually all women over the age of 18 should “burn” those rules into their brains.

    • Hi Judith – couldn’t agree with you more! Once women realize they do not have to justify what they want and need, and just go after their ideal life with gusto, they’ll be on the right track for a fulfilling life. I’m working to instill that now in my daughter and love to watch how much farther along she is than I was at her age. Thanks for the positive comments, Judith and for stopping by to say hello! – Ann

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