Your Rules and Reasons - Christine Kane

There are lots of scary moments in business:

A dire warning from your burly accountant.

The moment you step on stage for the first time.

Having to fire someone who has all of your passwords.

Watching your website crash mid-launch.

But you wanna know something?

There’s something even more scary than any of this stuff.

And that is CLARITY.

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.

Once this clarity happens, the question in your mind becomes relentless:

Can I really be THAT big?

In other words…

I think I’m ready to let go of these old limitations.  I think 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, bulls*t construct of all…

Their RULES.

You know what rules are, don’t you?

Rules go like this:

“Responsible moms don’t have businesses.”

“If you were any good at what you do, you wouldn’t have to market.”

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

“Creative types can’t do business.”

“Selling is for douchebags.”

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

“Responsible people don’t leave their jobs.”

“Cool people don’t make money.”

Any of these sound familiar?  (Feel free to add your own. We’ve all got them.)

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 scramble to make sure no one can call you on these choices.   (Cuz let’s not kid ourselves. You and I both know you’re not playing to win here. Someone’s bound to call you out!)

So, you’ll expend lots of energy campaigning for why you can’t change, for why you stay stuck, for why you can’t succeed, and for why you can’t dream.  In other words, you must do everything you can 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.”

“It’s the holidays. I’ll deal with it later.”

“I’ve got two kids.”

“My husband won’t let me.”

“I can’t afford that.”

“I don’t like marketing.”

“I’m too busy.”

“I’m too old.”

“I’ve never made enough money to try that.”

“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 (and more true of course!) than the reasons 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.

Do you dig down deep to discover WHY you’ve created all of these rules?

Do you wait for the rules to go away so you will be free to live your dreams?

Do you journal about each and every reason?


You do three things.

1  — Write down some of your rules. (Do it in the comments below.)

2 – Then, pick one rule and decide your going to break it.

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

Let me share how this works.

One of my Gold Mastermind clients left academia to start her business. She had a rule that it was not okay to be “seen.”  So, she didn’t have photos. She didn’t do video. She refused to put herself out there.

In July, at my Uplevel event, she decided to break that rule for good.

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

And get this.

She’s just got on the cover of a magazine! (And yes, she’s really excited!)

So, here’s what I want to know…

What are your rules?  And which rule are you going to break?





  • Brittany

    Two of my rules I wrote down were 1.) “Good leaders are good speakers and I’m not that good of a speaker, because I worry about turning red easily (which is what usually makes me turn red)”, which at this very moment I wanted to write down “..silly”, but even that is a lie I tell myself, that turning red is silly, most people could care less. My #2 rule.) “Good leaders teach good because they have good memory (makes them sound smart). Where as I catch myself all the time with a word on the tip of my tongue. I focus more on people and emotions than facts. Besides these rules, many people look at me as a good leader, but I am always critical of myself. I am looking past these two rules, and having faith that I will be a good leader as I currently accepted a crew leader position in a male dominated field. I was not going to apply for the position, because I doubted myself as a leader. It took encouragement from other crew members who told me I should. I applied, got the position (yay), and I really want to be a good leader. I know I’m capable!

  • Gess

    Thank you everybody for opening up here, because you really helped me to make MY LIST of rules. A LIST! I’ll skip what I think you already said and add this one: I need to do everything by myself otherwise others can limit me and my vision. (= ending up not doing a thing because it CANNOT be done all by myself!!). Is that relative to me getting familiar with ASKING exactly what I want instead of letting others read my mind, Christine?
    So here it is: “Others are a limit just in the measure I allow them to be. Worth to mention the HUGE amount of diversification and expanded vision they can bring.”

  • Dori Staehle

    One of my new services I added to my ADHD coaching and consulting practice is drum therapy (Who wouldn’t want to whack on a drum?!). I contacted a few special needs organizations this week to set up drumming classes for young people (In hopes of selling the parents on my coaching and consulting packages.).

    Today, one of the organizations asked me if I’d consider doing a block of 4 classes – for free!
    So…I paused for a second and I said “No. I have spent a great deal of time and $ on training and percussion instruments. I also have 17 years of research and experience under my belt and I’ve developed my own program. I feel I should be compensated for my time and effort.” The woman on the phone said: “Fair enough.” The rule I broke today is “You have to give stuff away to get clients.” 🙂

  • Taís

    I think my rule is that I’m afraid to have my own business and to be “a slave” of it. Plus, I don’t feel comfortable enough to rely on my own experience and resources, it feels like I need constant supervision or feedback from bosses/superiors to feel sure about what I’m doing. I need clues on how to break this.

  • Evelyn Dunphy

    I have this big wall that says that none of this applies to selling paintings. I know the art has to big good, and that’s my first responsibility but how to apply any of the upleveling advice to marketing my work is a mystery……I’ve asked this before and sorry to be so dense about it.

  • Lauren Ebbecke

    I, too, have the rule of not moving forward until the packages are created, the website completed, I know exactly who my peeps, etc… Tonight I let go of that perfection as the universe has answered! I have a woman who contacted me to see if I would do wellness coaching via phone or skype. At first, I panicked……then I contacted a trusted Gold sister who said “Hey just invite her for the Get Acquainted Call. If she says yes, send her the questionnaire of 5 questions ahead of time……..and so on”. Needless to say, I realized I can break my rules of perfection (and fear) and it is time to play big! I may not have it all in place, but it is time to take further action and get clients!!!!:) Wow! Great Article!!!!

  • Cathy

    You could take out Jessica’s name above and insert “Cathy”. I don’t make a schedule because I don’t have time, can’t focus, I’m too creative to work that way, I’m just a procrastinator, I’ll always fly by the seat of my pants…blah, blah, blah. New rule: I CAN and I WILL make myself a schedule and follow it through. I’ll get things accomplished, reduce my panic and anxiety level and increase my income in 2013 and beyond……Thanks so much Christine. You always manage to send the right message at just the right time!

    • Christine Kane

      Cathy – Well, this is because you are brilliant at what you do – and have some learning to do around making it into an upleveled biz. It’s do-able! And congrats for setting a big intention for 2013!

  • Xixi

    Hello, Christine, I have been reading your newsletters. This one came in at the perfect timing as I just created my first IndieGogo campaign to support my second year project at the University of Santa Monica. It brought up so much of my visibility fear. I didn’t like being seen either. I will turn that around and break this useless rule!

    Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Hilary

    My rule/reason is that what I love to do (teach art in a spiritual/personal growth way, like art therapy, except art *coaching*) is not valued enough. People don’t want what I have to offer. There’s no money in it. So that is a belief, and I am not sure how to change it. The wonderful thing is that over the past year I have been working so much on changing other beliefs that at this moment at least, I can’t think of anything else that is holding me back – only my fear that there is no money in what I want to do. But I am doing it anyway!

    • Hilary

      okay, I have to admit that the whole being seen is a big one too. Oh god, the thought of my friends seeing what I am doing, watching videos (video!? me?!?!) and smirking or laughing. “OMG, who does she think she is, she looks like an idiot!” That is what imagine. Yee gads.

      • Christine Kane

        You can take action anyway, Hilary. I thought that too about my friends when I first made music. And then – after I left music and began doing this – the same thing happened. Guess what? The ego never really does shut up. 🙂 So it’s up to us to take action anyway. Also – it really does help to have a coach and a mastermind. That way, you have your own “board of directors” who have your back. They will drown out any negative voices that come up!

  • Natalie

    OK — here goes. My big #1 rule. I know it well, but there is power in putting it out for others to see…

    If I’m not perfect, then I’m not enough. (Corollary: if what I create isn’t perfect, then it’s not enough.)

    My new rule [deep breath]: I’m perfectly OK just as I am. What I put out into the world is absolutely enough.

    I’m already feeling my rigidly held attitude soften… Thanks, Christine. This was perfect timing, once again.

    • Christine Kane

      Natalie – If you’ve ever been in one of my programs then you’d experience firsthand how imperfectly I take action! So I can say firsthand that imperfect action is everything!

  • Heather

    My rule, since I got married, was that I didn`t want a “big job” because I didn`t want to sacrifice my family time for overtime and travel. Now I realize my family time is spent doing dishes and making lunches while my family lives their life. I intend to break that rule and get a big job, hire someone to clean the house and buy the lunches so my spare time can be spent doing quality activities with my family.. mess free!

  • Kelly

    1. My area is saturated with people in my field and everyone else is more qualified than me.
    Well, that’s the biggest one.

    There is high demand in my area for what I have to offer.

    • Christine Kane

      What action are you going to take to break that rule Kelly??

  • Roxane Lessa

    My old rule was, I’m not someone who is good at making money. And it seemed so real!! And I’ve already broken that one 2 x since July. My other one is I don’t know how to do this well, so I’m not going to try. My new rule is straight from you- take imperfect action. I can’t tell you how freeing that one is. I know I will get some flack when things don’t go perfectly, but hey, at least I’m doing it, and learning how to do it better next time. Thank you Christine!

    • Christine Kane

      You’re most welcome Roxane! And congratulations for taking big steps! Woohoo! 🙂

  • Trudy Mercy Brown

    I have started “breaking my rules”, and then I’ll get stuck again. I go a little ways, then stop. I did quit my job in corporate America and and moved forward starting my business. I go two steps forward and one step back. I think this is the rule I am currently struggling with as well – being seen. I was “locked” away in my own little box for the past several years, and now I have to break out and be more visible – going online is going in front of the world! Its so different than just going out in front of a few, and I’ve historically been a pretty private person. I have to break my rule that its not ok to brag on myself as well. Working harder on that and today I’m going to break the privacy rule. I’m going to open myself up to share my work with the world!

  • Lisa Jemison

    The rule I’m going to break is “It’s okay to skip class.” The class I skip or reschedule sometimes is my workout. Something really physical and spiritual happens when I put on my shoes and propel myself through space in activity. It’s not just about fitness, it’s about my mindset the whole day. I show up better in my business when I show up for class. My new rule is “It’s not okay to skip class. Even if my mind screams otherwise with excuses!

  • Sally Falb

    I can’t believe how difficult it is for me to actually write this down. I’ve shared it with friends and colleagues, but somehow putting it is writing to what seems like the whole world is a challenge. Anyway…I’ve been a certified transition coach for over a year now, my business is struggling to get clients, and my big rule (I think) is standing in my way. That rule is to “always be honest.” Now that in and of itself isn’t a problem, in fact I’m pretty comfortable with it. However, when it comes to marketing myself, I feel like I’m not being honest when I present myself as the expert when I lack the experience (paid, of course) necessary to warrant that title. So, with that said, my new rule is that I have a lifetime (over 60+ years) of incredible experiences that yearn to be shared with others and my coaching skills and tools help me to serve others in a most beneficial way. Now…I’ve read that three times, fighting my rule #2 to always do everything perfectly….(I keep telling myself to click “submit” so here goes)

    • Christine Kane

      Sally – Marketing yourself simply means that you learn how to communicate the massive amount of expertise you have gained over these years. Positioning is a huge piece of this. What you’re describing here is so do-able. Now – here’s my question… what ACTIONS will you take now that you are breaking this rule? (And congratulations! You’re taking a huge step here!)

  • Maria

    This is good. My “rule” is “I can’t get a job abroad again, I have to stay close to my family”. So Im replacing it with ” I can take a job abroad and still keep close to my family”. And I’m re-starting my job hunt!

  • Christine

    Hi Christine- I loved the “break your own rule” exercise in Atlanta. One of my biggest rules has been “It’s not OK to move forward until you know EXACTLY what’s going to happen.” (When does this ever happen in life??) A close corollary of this rule is “You shouldn’t make any public comments unless you look like you have it all figured out”. Which I don’t. So I’m breaking that rule by posting here. To you and everyone reading- I don’t have it all figured out but I’m moving forward with my business anyway!!!

    • Christine Kane

      Go Christine! (And yeah, I don’t have it all figured out either!) 🙂

  • Andrea

    Hi Christine, i live a difficult moment where a client breaks my rules. Se wants to stop the work. So that is very uncomfortable. We have a contract and she wants to get out. But it showed me that I have set up a rule on not bother them and I cannot do anything. So I broke it 10 minutes ago and made a clear statement on how it works. So my new rule is: I set boundaries and have a strong message what it means to work with me. It is build in trust but no bazar( come and go, buy and leave) . If you have any advice on that topic I woul be grateful!

    • Christine Kane

      Not sure what you are asking here Andrea. But I want to congratulate you for taking a proactive step for your boundaries and policies.

      • Andrea

        Thank you. I do not know how to act if someone wants to stop individual coaching. Is that possible? If they quite even if there is a contract.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for the post this rings true for me today as I don’t make the time to create a proper schedule that I can stick to because I want to live life freely and trust the universe!!I am afraid that if I use my mind too much that my creativity will suffer because of the stress of it all. Maybe my rule is that putting plans of action together concerning marketing and social media is too stressful!ha ha so I am going to change the way I think about it. The universe is my dog and marketing is so much fun!!;)
    Thanks for the light shedding:)

    • Christine Kane

      You are welcome Jessica! (And yes, lots of times the “free spirited” types have a very limiting rule that tells them their left brain will ruin their free spirit. Not true.)