Some of these rules we are aware of. Many of them we’re not.
Whether or not we are aware of all the rules we live by they can affect us in two ways. They can enhance our life and make it more enriching and fulfilling. Or they can hold us back and keep us stuck in a situation that no longer works best for us.
Our rules are often disguised as the thoughts and opinions we have about life and how we should live it. They are the beliefs we have developed over our lifetime through our various experiences.
They can come from the family we grew up in, our friends, the media, work colleagues or the career path we chose, to name a few.
We absorb the information we receive from the wealth of experiences we have throughout our life and turn them into our own personal rules for how we live our life. We often do this unconsciously.
As a result we move through our lives making decisions and basing all the choices we make off these rules without often knowing we are doing so.
It is not a very empowering way to live and I say that from my own experience!
Rules in of themselves aren’t bad. The concern is whether the rules empower us to live our biggest lives or if they hold us back to keep us playing small and safe.
Here is an example of how a rule drove my life for many years without me realizing it.
I grew up in a family where both parents worked the same steady job throughout my childhood. I was given the message whether directly or indirectly that this is the responsible path to take as providers for the family. There was no room for my parents to pursue other dreams they had. They had to wait until my sister and I had grown up and left home. The most important thing was to keep the secure steady job.
This is how I then converted that into a rule I lived my own life by for many years.
I left college and immediately looked for employment working for someone else. I believed this was the most responsible thing to do and saw it as the only option. I built a career. For many years I dreamed of starting my own business and following my true passion. I found working for someone else too stifling and unfulfilling. However I decided this would not be the responsible choice to make and that I didn’t have what it takes to be a business owner. Other people did that. So I continued to work in a variety of jobs many I didn’t really enjoy or like anymore simply because I thought I “should.”
I realize now how long I held onto this rule, this belief and for too many years I felt restless and unhappy in my life.
Fortunately, with the help of some many great mentors I gained clarity on how I had been living my life by this rule and numerous others and never even realized it.
Once I was aware of the rules I was unconsciously living by I realized I now had the power and choice to change them.
This how it played out. I finally found the courage to quit my 9-5 job and launch my own business. All while being a mom with a young child. The part of me that still liked the old rule of staying in a steady job rebelled. It told me how irresponsible I was. How I could never pull it off. How I was going to put my family at risk.
But I decided it was time I wanted to create a new rule I lived by.
I was also sick and tired of the rules of the 9-5 life.
The rules about when and how much time I could spend with my family.
When I could take vacation.
The rule of not always being able to take care of my sick child.
The rule of the type of work I did. The income I made. How many hours I had to work.
I was ready to create a new rule and share it with my family and my daughter. The rule that we should never just “settle” in our lives for what we think is the safe and secure path.
We must listen to that part of ourselves telling us to follow our passion and go for our dreams. That there is never a better time than now.
Life is just too short to “settle.”
My hope is that I will never here my daughter say “I would really love to pursue this dream but I’m going to put it on hold because I think I “should” do this (the safe path) instead.”
I want to see her go out with her arms wide open grabbing the dreams she has. Never putting limits on herself.
Living life by her choices rather than the “shoulds."
So if you are ready to change the rules you are living your live by and are excited to start creating the life YOU truly want for your family it all begins with understanding the rules we live by. How we developed. How they have affected our lives.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to get started:
What are the rules I currently live by?
Sit down and think about some of the choices or decisions you have made in your life. Particularly the ones you made because you thought you “should.” When we do things because we think we “should” this is a sign that we are making a choice based on a rule that is holding us back from living our biggest lives. Ask what are the “shoulds” in my life and what are the thoughts or beliefs that lead me to that decision. Then you will start to uncover your rules including ones you never even aware of.
Where did that rule come from?
Now we are aware of some of our big rules it’s time to uncover how we created these rules in the first place. Did they come from our families we grew up in. Was it something I parents told us.
Maybe we developed a particular rule through our experience in our career path and the people we work with. It could be from something we have read or heard in the media.
Try to identify how and why you chose those rules. When we have an understanding of why we started living by certain rules we gain more power to start changing them.
How have my rules served me in my life?
Once you start to gain clarity on some of the most significant rules that have been driving your life take some time to think about how they have been serving you.
What are the benefits of the rules? What are the costs of the rules in your life?
Have they pushed you to achieve your dreams or have they held you back and kept you stuck in a situation that is no longer fulfilling.
What has been the impact on your life from living by these rules?
Rules in our life are often designed to keep us safe. This is not always a bad thing. There is certainly a place for rules such as protecting our children from harm.
However when the rules we have keep us playing small and stuck in situations we no longer like and hold us back from living our biggest life it’s time for them to change.
What rules are you ready to change in your life?
Join me for a FREE training call: Learn How To Change the Rules So You Can Start Living Your Passion, Revolutionize Your Work Life & Free Your Time & Energy to Have More Fun With Your Family. Click her to Register Now.
Karen Steele is Founder of The Entrepreneurial Working Mom, avid rule-breaker in how she lives her life and creator of The Passion Shift™. Through her powerful 7-step Passion Shift™ program Karen shares her expertise and life-changing tools, tips and strategies to teach busy, overwhelmed working moms how to change the rules they live their life by so they can free their time and energy, find their passion and revolutionize their work life to create the fun, freedom and financial security they dream of for their families. Karen brings to her work over a decade of experience empowering women to build the confidence, courage and belief in themselves to create the lives they truly want. Register for Karen’s FREE Training call: Learn How To Change the Rules So You Can Start Living Your Passion, Revolutionize Your Work Life & Free Your Time & Energy to Have More Fun With Your Family. Follow Karen on Facebook