If You’re The One Making The Rules + Setting The Deadlines, YOU CAN CHANGE THEM.

you can change the rules

I am an inveterate rule-follower. 

I love nothing so much as structure and guidelines and an extremely concrete way to measure my progress and success. I loved school – all the gold stars and high marks and quantifiable gains. This is how I know I did it right. This is how I track my achievements. When I follow these guidelines and check these things off my to-do list, I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.

You can see this in my writing and my posting schedule. This is my air-tight, eight-step plan for getting over a breakup. (No, seriously. That ish works.) These are the activities I do every blessed day. Mondays are for True Story interviews; Wednesdays I post here; Saturdays are sponsor posts, Sundays are link roundups.

This approach isn’t limited to my schedule and editorial calendar, it extends its boring, inflexible fingers into the way I think about myself as a writer and businessperson. All my offerings must operate on a three-day turnaround. Since I don’t use Pinterest it’s not a useful tool for me. If there aren’t actionable takeaways, the blog post isn’t worth writing. I’m not the sort of blogger who __________. I am the sort of blogger who ____________. 

While there’s a lot of value in posting consistently, developing good professional habits, and putting a few things on autopilot – what would happen if we pressed pause for a hot minute?

What if you (and I) took a long, hard look at the rules + expectations + deadlines we’ve imposed on ourselves?

Ask yourself:

  • Do I really need to post five times a week?
  • If 90% of my traffic comes from ______, do I really need to  ________?
  • If 90% of my business comes from ________, do I really need to __________?
  • What if I gave myself _____ days to complete this project instead of ______?
  • Will the world end if I don’t _______?
  • Will my business collapse if I don’t ________?
  • What if I got really serious about monetizing my blog?
  • What if I stopped trying to monetize my blog and just wrote about whatever I wanted?
  • What if I chose to want less?
  • What if I opted for intentional ignorance?
  • What have I always believed I’m bad at? Am I really sure that’s true?
  • What have I always believed isn’t ‘right’ for my business? Am I really sure that’s true?
  • When I’m thinking about my work, where do I use the words ‘always’ and ‘never’?

When we re-write (or re-consider) the rules of our business, we're creating breathing room & space to grow. Click To TweetWe’re getting off the ‘should’ treadmill, we’re ducking away from the ‘always’ and ‘nevers’. We’re allowing for self-compassion, evolution, and maybe a day off once in a damn while.

Dear internet friends, if you’ve been living by rules that you wrote for yourself + your business years and years ago -maybe it’s time to re-write them. I know I’m going to.

Do you have rules for your business – subconscious or otherwise? Do you ever stop to reconsider them?

P.S. What to do when you feel ‘should-y’ about your business

photo by annie spratt // cc

10 Comments

Danielle

JUST the post I needed, Sarah! It’s so easy to get stuck in routines and not take the time to really dig deep and evaluate what’s really working and where we might have room to breathe.

Marie

You know, your advice is good for all areas of life, not just business! We all have self-imposed rules, often to do with what we see as “good” or “bad” for us.
Your last three points struck home (I have changed business/work for life):
“What have I always believed I’m bad at? Am I really sure that’s true?
What have I always believed isn’t ‘right’ for my life? Am I really sure that’s true?
When I’m thinking about my life, where do I use the words ‘always’ and ‘never’?”
It’s well known that dichotomous thinking isn’t good for our mental health, but yet it’s something we all do. To step back and have a look at our lives, and think- actually I may think I am rubbish at art, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take that art class or enjoy drawing. What would happen if I didn’t email back my friend with my self imposed limit of 3 days? What if I didn’t remember all my friend’s children’s birthdays?
Great post, thanks for reminding me to give myself permission to rewrite my own rules!

Andréa

Totally re-evaluating some of the “rules” I’ve made for my business over the years. It’s nice to be able to have the flexibility to do that 🙂

Sophie

This is so true! One of my big focuses for 2016 is to become really clear on why I’m doing things and if I really need to and if I can change the way I do things to make them work for me even more. Its a powerful thing that so many entrepreneurs forget.

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