Here’s when you must break your rules

Rules are a part of every facet of life. There are family rules, school rules, societal rules, organizational rules, and religious rules to name a few. Rules are used to create order, exercise authority and act as a guide for conduct and procedures.

Perhaps rules are necessary for a thriving society. This may be true. However, rules can become a prison if not reviewed for relevancy and effectiveness.

For individuals, limiting beliefs can become rules when external experiences are internalized. For example, maybe you were raised to be a “good girl”. Because you do not want to let your parents down, you try to be the perfect girl by becoming what you believe others think you should be.   

As an adult, these flawed beliefs keep you suspended in time as you wait for the perfect moment to have the success you dream of. Now, you’re frustrated because others around you are achieving the things you desire. Now you’re asking yourself, “Why not me?”

Why Not You?

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I once read a story that provides a great example of why you should challenge your beliefs. A mother was preparing a family recipe that was handed down from previous generations. The mother was proudly teaching her daughter the coveted recipe and told her to prepare the food in a specific dish. 

When the daughter asked “why that dish?”, the mother replied, “Hmm, I don’t know, let’s call your Gigi to find out.”

When she got Gigi on the phone, she didn’t know either. She replied, “That’s how Nana always made it. I will ask her.” Nana lived with Gigi and so she went to her room to ask her.

Nana chuckled. “When your Dad and I started out, we were very poor and the specific dish was the only one I had that was big enough to hold the ingredients of the recipe.”

Generations of women thought they had to prepare the recipe in a certain type of dish when the dish Nana’s solution to her recipe situation.

What “dish” do you require for your recipe? Why?

Research has shown that women tend to underestimate their skills. It may be because of societal images in media, music, advertising, other people’s experiences or mindsets, false statements that were made to you when you were a child, etc.

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For instance, there have been many flawed explanations why more women are not in executive leadership positions and why it may take decades for gender leadership parity in the workplace.

Research has proven these explanations to be false (See explanations) as there have are companies who have achieved gender leadership parity (Learn more about these companies).

So why not you?

Rules serve an important purpose and are most times are necessary. But if you’re not careful, you can rule yourself from opportunities. 

With your belief system, you have every right to test the validity to make sure your beliefs serve you well and not block your success.

Nancy Gettridge

It’s time to take control of accepting who you are by getting to know yourself based on factual information.

You are stronger, smarter, more skillful, and talented than your limiting beliefs say you are. Get rid of the noise that’s keeping you on the sidelines. Challenge your limiting beliefs!

Take Action

You will need several pages of blank paper for this exercise.

Pretend you are an investigator trying to uncover the truth about your limiting beliefs.

1. At the top of the page, write one of your limiting beliefs (i.e., “I’m not qualified to ask for a promotion”)

2. On a new line, write the word, “Evidence”. You will now gather facts about the belief.

Using as many lines as necessary, write the facts you have gathered about the belief.  Note the circumstances regarding the origin of the belief (i.e. parent, classmates, teacher, etc.). What makes the belief true? Is it a fact or opinion? [ According to Merriam/Webster Dictionary, a fact is the quality of being actual (proven and certain). An opinion is a prediction about something without evidence or support].  

Note: Limiting beliefs based on someone else’s opinion says more about that person than you.

Is this the case with the limited belief?

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3. Skip a line and write the word, “Determination”

On the next line, write “True” if the evidence supports that your belief is true, or “False” if your evidence shows the belief is false.

If the belief is false, cross out the limiting belief at the top and replace it with the truth. For our example, cross out I’m not qualified to ask for a promotion. Replace the sentence with “I am qualified for a promotion” to reflect your new fact.

If the evidence supports that the belief is true, think about what actions can you take to change it? For our example, if you are not qualified for promotion, what will it take to make you qualified? More education, experience? Who can help you become qualified? Would a mentor or sponsor help? 

Do share! I would love to hear your results. 

Would you love to learn more about how your limiting beliefs may block you from achieving your purpose? I offer a free 30-minute Proactive Strategy session to help you get crystal clear on your vision for your career. We’ll identify the hidden obstacles that may sabotage your career success. You’ll gain insight into how you may hold yourself back.

I invite you to make an appointment below:

Change the trajectory of your career in 30 minutes

Our 30-minute Proactive Strategy Discovery Session can help you get crystal clear on your vision for your career. We’ll identify the hidden obstacles that may be sabotaging your career success. You’ll gain insight into how you may be holding yourself back.


Kay, K., & Shipman, C. (2014). The confidence gap. The Atlantic, 14, 1-18.

Minter, R. M., Gruppen, L. D., Napolitano, K. S., & Gauger, P. G. (2005). Gender differences in the self-assessment of surgical residents. The American journal of surgery, 189(6), 647-650.

Reuben, E., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2014). How stereotypes impair women’s careers in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(12), 4403-4408.

Casserole Dish Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

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