Ever think, Well, that’s just the way it is? How often have you said something like that to yourself even when you wished things were different in your life, career, or relationships?
In today’s episode, I am inviting you to question those limiting beliefs. There are many possibilities that live outside of the status quo. There is a creative power in setting yourself free from perceived limitations by thinking, questioning, and stoking your own curiosity.
In this video, I am helping you identify whether you’re a rule follower or a rule breaker, plus giving you some strategies for problem-solving, outside-of-the-box thinking, and ways to expand your mental boundaries for success.
To start, let’s think about who creates our realities and limitations. I have a shirt that says, “Who makes the rules?” and it reminds me–I do!
Keep in mind when I’m talking about rules, I’m not talking about laws. By rules, I mean social norms and general assumptions around how I can and should operate in the world.
Learning how to do it your way, while navigating other people’s opinions and society’s expectations, has everything to do with strong, flexible mental boundaries.
When it comes to rules, we all come in with a blueprint – a psychological template influenced by both nature and nurture. Our inherent personalities and temperament plus the environment and influences we grew up with set the stage for how we relate to rules.
Are you a rule follower or a rule breaker? Rule-followers love structure. They thrive in environments where there are clear, detailed instructions and predictable outcomes.
Rule-followers like to complete tasks as outlined and can be resistant to change. They can’t stand vague policies or requests. They want to do the exact right thing and tend to think in black and white.
Rule breakers are more creative and independent thinkers when it comes to problem-solving. Restrictions can feel arbitrary for these personality types. They like to do it their way, challenge the norms, and can sometimes get a bad rap for it. They operate within the gray areas of life (and often prefer to).
Usually, we lean towards one or the other, and we can be a combination of these qualities or be a rule follower in one area of our life (like work) and a rule breaker in another (in romantic relationships).
I, for sure, am a rule breaker. When I was a talent agent running the New York office of a bi-coastal agency and I wanted to follow my deeper calling to be a psychotherapist, I put a plan together. I was going to work part-time, continue to run the agency while attending NYU’s accelerated 16-month program, and then open up my own practice.
Do you have any idea how many people told me I couldn’t do it? There was almost no one in the entertainment industry who was supportive. They told me no one had ever done that. They told me there was no such thing as a part-time agent.
Not one of them gave me a logical reason for the limitations they were trying to impose on me. So I decided I could do it, even if it had never been done before. And that’s what I did. Was it hard? Sure. Was it worth it? Hell yes.
Over the years, I’ve met incredibly successful people who, like me, refused to accept the limitations or “rules” and chose to forge their own path, do it their own way, and create something completely new.
When I was teaching acting at NYU, the actor/comedian Mike Meyers came to speak to my class. He talked about his early career as a sketch comedy actor and how he was told over and over again that he was funny and talented, but he wasn’t a leading man. He decided to write, produce and direct his own movies, and cast himself in the starring roles. Can you imagine if he had listened to the nay-sayers?
We can either dial into the negativity of the possibilities of what we can create in our life or decide to think outside of the box and be willing to take risks for what we want.
Whether you are a rule-breaker or a rule-follower, there are mindful, healthy ways to question the rules and strategies to set yourself up for success on your own terms.
What’s required to create a self-determined life that thrills you? Curiosity, creativity, self-awareness, discernment, and yes, flexible mental boundaries!
You have the power to change your life, one step at a time. Here are 3 strategies to free yourself from the status quo:
1. Question + Research
If you have a decision to make, a problem to solve, or want to make a shift, start to question how and why things are done. Pay attention to any feelings that come up around what you “should” do and challenge yourself to think deeply about why you feel that way and if it is valid for YOU.
Just because something has been done a particular way in the past doesn’t mean there is not a better way. Conventional wisdom is not always the wisest and, in my experiences, it is definitely not the only path.
Do your research. There are so many stories out there of people who have taken unconventional paths to success to inspire you. Cathy Heller’s podcast, “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” is a great place to start. Listen to my interview with her!
2. Look to Your Blueprint
Your “Blueprint” is the term I use to describe the collection of beliefs, influences, behaviors, and experiences you learned growing up, including how you were raised, what you observed in your family of origin, and the societal norms of your culture.
Uncovering this information can illuminate the conscious and unconscious ways you relate to yourself and the world around you. In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you blueprint questions to help you better understand your tolerance for risk-taking. Get your guide here now.
Raising your awareness of your risk-taking blueprint can help you see what might be blocking you so you can consciously make different choices.
3. Dial Into What You Really Want
Make some time and space to think through all the things in your life that you might want to make some changes around. What’s working? What’s not? Grab your journal and free-write.
Think about what you really want and think about what you are willing and able to do to get it. There will always be things that are out of our control, but I want to invite you to focus on the things that are in your control. Open your mind to your heart’s deepest desire and instead of thinking of all the reasons it can’t happen, start thinking about the reasons it can.
It is possible to be an outside-of-the-box thinker and be responsible. You must be willing to take responsibility for what happens when you begin to make shifts. If it doesn’t work, you have to have the mental and emotional agility to pivot.
You don’t have to change everything at once. You can start with small steps, taking the next right action and then the next right action after that. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake keep you stuck inside a box of someone else’s making. You have the right to course-correct and change your mind.
Healthy boundaries are essential to aligning your behavior with your true desires. When you learn how to identify and transform any behavioral blocks standing between you and your heart-centered desires and fulfillment, that, my friends, is when you become truly empowered.
If you want to immerse yourself in all things boundaries, I am thrilled to invite you into my signature coaching program, Boundary Bootcamp! Back by popular demand, we’re getting started on September 22! Here’s where you can get all the details and enroll.
I wholeheartedly believe in your capacity to create a life, a career, and relationships that fulfill AND thrill you, because you, without a doubt deserve it.
As always, take care of you.