Break Rules, Dump Reasons and Get Over Fear Once and For All - Christine Kane

You’re standing in the chilly backstage at a convention hall reminding yourself to breathe as you wait to step into the spotlight for your first ever keynote address.

Your gruff accountant leaves you a message and says, “We need to talk immediately. Call me.”

The office manager you’re about to fire has all of your passwords stored in her head. They’ve never been written down.

Scary stuff, this.

But these instances are what I call “obvious” fear. You and I can pull out all kinds of stories like these. “You think that’s bad? I got one way worse than that!”

But there’s something even worse than any of this.

In my years of coaching, I’ve witnessed people get stopped or stuck or forever “delayed” by something else entirely.

Their own clarity.

Think about it. Nothing is quite as intense as the moment you suddenly see what’s REALLY possible for you.  When you see clearly how SMALL you’ve been thinking and how LOW you’ve set the bar for yourself.   When you realize that you could – if you just let yourself – take a chance and play a wildly bigger game.

Here’s a quick chat from a client who got a moment of clarity around what was possible in her business (accompanied by a minor panic attack about her own power to create something so big!)…


Once you get clear, the question in your mind becomes relentless:

Can things really get THAT good?

In other words…

I’m ready to let go of these old limitations.  It’s time to quit worrying about other people’s opinions.  I really can stop hiding.  Am I up for it?!

Most people – let’s be honest – aren’t. They may get a glimpse of their greatness. But that glimpse is quickly overtaken. The light is snuffed out by the most insidious, stay-stuck, do-nothing, play-safe, bullshit construct of all…

Their RULES.

You know what rules are, don’t you?

Rules go like this:

“Responsible moms don’t have businesses.”

“Being successful means burning out and giving up your whole life.”

“Only losers have to sell.”

“Smart people should figure everything out on their own.”

“Cool people don’t make money.”

Any of these sound familiar?  (If not, there are many more below in these comments!…)

Break Rules, Dump Reasons and Get Over Fear Once and For All

Like it or not, your RULES often run your life.

And if you’re not careful, your rules (not your heart) will make your choices for you.

And when your rules make your choices for you, then you have to fight to make sure no one can call you on these choices.   (‘Cause let’s not kid ourselves. You and I both know you’re not playing to win here.)

Tweet This Video

Someone’s bound to call you out!

So, you’ll expend lots of energy campaigning for the following:

1 – why you can’t change

2 – why you stay stuck

3 – why you can’t succeed

4 – why you can’t dream

In other words, you have to defend your rules.

And you’ll be crafty about it of course.  Your defense will be so strong that you’ll convince not only your friends — but you’ll also convince yourself.   And that’s when it gets really dangerous.  Because even YOU will start to believe the defense you created.

That’s because this defense is what you call your REASONS.

REASONS always make people back off because that’s what reasons are designed to do.

“I have a fear of being seen.”

“I’m ADD.”

“I’ve got two kids.”

“My husband won’t let me.”

“I can’t afford that.”

“I hate marketing.”

“I’m too busy.”

“I’m too old.”

“I’m too sensitive.”

“That’s too far to travel.”

You know the drill.

In fact, if you’re good at this (and I’m betting you are), you’re thinking of reasons that are even better than the ones above.

So let’s ponder this.

What do you do when you realize that it’s all a lie? That the reasons are not reasons. They are excuses. That the rules are not real. They are fear.

Well, if you’re like most of us, you dig yourself deeper in…

First, you’ll try to figure out WHY you’ve created all of these rules. (This is futile. All it does is take you into your story, your pain, your ego – and keep you stuck there.)

Next, you will “wait” for the rules to go away so you can be free to live your dreams. (Again, not much of a game plan. Plus you’ll discover that you actually LIKE your rules and reasons because they never require you to take action. You’re too busy waiting!)

There’s a faster way to cut to the core.

Do these five things:

1  —Write down your top 5 rules.

2 – Then, pick one rule and decide you’re going to break it.

3 – Create a new rule to replace the old one.

4 – Take even the smallest opportunities that come your way. (Because they will!)

5 – Ignore your reasons.

Let me share how this works.

One of my Uplevel Academy clients left a successful role in the academic world to start her business. During her years on campus, she had adopted a rule that it was not okay to be “seen.”  (#1) So, she didn’t have photos. She didn’t do video. She refused to put herself out there.

At my Uplevel retreat, she decided to break that rule for good. (#2)

Every time she faced an opportunity, she told herself her new rule. “Being seen makes me money.” (#3) She continued to put herself out there, make video, market her services.

And get this.

She’s got on the cover of a magazine! (#4) And yes, it brought her lots more business! (#5)

So, here’s what I want to know…

What’s one of your rules?  And how are you going to break it?

  • Nancy

    Christine, my #1 rule is, “You’ve been with this company for 25 years and haven’t done anything. What makes you think you will do it now?” #2 that seems to pop up is, “You’re too old, it’s too late now.” Thanks for this article!

  • Pamela

    I needed this. I realized my rules as I started writing them down. I have seven that really need attention. But I’m starting on the one, first. Thank you!

  • Nicky Kentisbeer

    This was very timely as I have just been working on your ‘Word of the Year’ which I loved doing. My word is actually ‘risk’ and the two words that prevent my risk taking are ‘fear’ and ‘uncertainty’. I must now do this exercise post-haste!

  • Christi

    I just started this new company ( to do remote bookkeeping for solo-preneurs as an “arm” to my already successful tax preparation CPA practice. And THIS ARTICLE is so on point it is scary. My biggest story is “You’re lucky to be successful… don’t get greedy or people won’t think you are nice.” The word that stops me there though is “lucky”. I have this rule that I got successful because I got lucky. AND IT WON’T HAPPEN AGAIN! Terror. Absolute terror ensues.

    But, I worked the numbers – I mean I am an accountant. I have the know how. I know my ideal client. I have everything I need…. and all around me I hear “You already have one successful business – WHAT ARE YOU DOING??”

    I’m trying to help more people who are freaked out by their numbers – that’s WTF I’m doing! And I’m trying to make a profit while I am doing it. And I’m trying to employ some very talented women who want to work part time so they can get their kids off the bus but also want to be productive and contribute to society. I’m TRYING (for the love of God) to make a freaking difference.

    And I have to break this rule about my first success being the result of LUCK. The new rule is that I can experience the consequences of my actions, faith and intentions. The consequences will come because they are from the “laws” of the Universe… not because I got lucky.

    • Christine Kane

      Christi – I love this. When i was a musician, I would face that same kind of voice any time i raised my performance fee. Like, “You’re lucky you even GET to play music for a living! And now you’re raising your prices? Hello diva!” 🙂 But then I did it, and it always worked out. Lots of rules got broken during that time for me! So – you’ve totally got this one. What a gift that you can see the pattern so clearly!

  • Maria

    Thanks Christine, this was a very good exercise. My main rule nowadays seems to be “You’d better not try and fail”. I think a healthier new rule would be “You’d better go for it no matter the outcome” (sounds more positive). But I really like the ring and playfulness of “If you fail, it’d better be spectacularly!”. This would push me to go for the really “big, scary” things that I long to do but keep from doing because of fear of failure. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Christine Kane

      How about… “going for bad is way better than never actually going for perfect.” 🙂 Just a thought. I like doing things badly. And i like congratulating myself for being bad at something and still doing it. (I’m not a brain surgeon or a sky-diver though – so that does help.) Also – big scary things can be broken down into little do-able things.

  • Lilia Lee

    I love this post. It made me realize that my #1 rule is “being seen is a bad thing.” So, I am going to follow the steps outlined above.