I am writing to you from France where I have just wrapped my second MADE: IN FRANCE retreat. At lunch today we had a conversation about breaking the rules. One of my retreaters mentioned that she was very uncomfortable with breaking the rules. Here’s what I asked her:
Are you so scared to break the rules that you are willing to break your dream?
Yesterday we visited Claude Monet’s House and Gardens at Giverny. Our tour guide shared a story with us about how Monet built his pond. Monet was very committed to his garden because it was the inspiration for his work. Many of his paintings were painted in his garden. At a certain point in his career, Monet decided to purchase the plot of land adjacent to his home so that he could create a pond on which he would grow, and then paint, water lilies.
How did he create this pond?
He diverted the local river. Without asking anyone. This, of course, pissed off the local farmers and other members of the small village of Giverny. Did Monet break the rules? I’d say hell yes. Did his water lilies in his Japanese garden change the world of art? Yup.
Todrick Hall organized flash mobs in the middle of Targets all over Texas to get Beyoncé’s attention. Did he have permission to do that? Sure didn’t. Was he breaking the rules? But of course! Did he wind up becoming a choreographer for Beyoncé? Sure did!
When I started my law practice, there was one way to build a law practice and it was how everyone did it. I chose to do it differently. I built an online law office and created a DIY legal kit for my clients though many naysayers told me I was wrong on both counts. Was my name dragged through the mud because I did things my way? Mmmmmhmmmmm. Have I helped thousands of people handle their legal and made several million dollars over the last 6+ years? Damn right I have.
Is it really a rule or just the status quo? Is it really a rule or just the way things have always been done?
I am not suggesting you do things that harm other people, but I am suggesting that there are rules that have absolutely nothing to do with harming others and everything to do with “well, that’s just the way things have always been done.”
Being an innovator often involves breaking “the rules.” Get comfortable being a rebel. The rulebreakers are often the ones remembered in history. They are the ones making major discoveries. They are the ones bringing whole industries into the 21st century. They are the ones writing books you will never forget and creating programs, products, and technology that change lives.
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