Q: Who makes the rules?
A: We all do.
Sure, you may not be asked to personally come up with the big rules that affect billions…
…those are for much cleverer, ethically unquestionable people like politicians, rulers and lawmakers to create…
And now that we’ve picked ourselves up off the floor laughing, let me clarify:
Everyone gets to create their own personal set of rules to live by.
The ones that determine how you run your biz, how you manage your day, how you look after your people, how you communicate your unique value or even how you eat a packet of crisps.
Those are YOUR rules for you to follow, and YOU get to make ‘em.
They may not be enforceable by law, but they’re important.
My own rules are crucial for helping me do my best work for myself and my clients, getting the best out of my relationships, keeping a reasonable level of sanity in a fairly nutso world, and basically enjoying life more.
Recently it occurred to me that I have quite a few rules…
…certainly more than Teenage Me ever thought I would (Teenage Me didn’t like rules one bit, but that was because he hadn’t yet realised he could make up his own)…
…and that some of them might be worth sharing with my fellow rebels, writers and entrepreneurs.
These aren’t the kind of rigid rules that wag their finger disapprovingly in your face.
They’re more chill. More centred. More… zen.
They’re simple guidelines for writing, working, and maximising your true, unique value.
Ladies and gentlemen, my ‘Zen Commandments’:
– Words are important. Use them carefully, and have fun.
– When writing, prioritise CLARITY over CREATIVITY. But PERSONALITY above all.
– Book fewer meetings. But show up to every single one (politeness and reliability generate respect).
– Pay people on time, every time.
– Walk long and often. When working from home, take a ‘commute’ walk out and back at the end of the day, to clear the mind and reset your perspective so you can enjoy your home. When you get back, it’s no longer an office.
– Ask better questions.
– You have the right to say yes or no, always.
– It can be funny to make fun of people, as long as you punch UP. Bullying is not cool.
– Personality informs process – which is why the best processes are interesting and unique, and people will pay to understand and use them.
– What makes people different is often what makes them interesting. But you are under no obligation to be interested in everyone.
– You’ll never be as cool as Jeff Bridges, but you can have a lot of fun trying.
– To get started more easily tomorrow, finish today’s writing in the middle of a word or sente-
– Review yesterday’s copy this morning. You’ll notice new things.
– Often your first ‘big idea’ is the best one – but rarely are your first 100 words of copy the right ones. Draft, and edit.
– Don’t call it a newsletter.
– It takes a lot of work to get to the point where it doesn’t feel like a lot of work.
– Rules are adaptable. The circumstances they’re created in will change – so can you.
What rules do you live by?
Hit up the comments below, I’d love to know.