Break The Rules

Why is it we can’t say, “This is what I’m passionate about and this is what I believe in and this is why I do it?” 


We go to jobs and churches and volunteer at organizations where we’re told what to do and believe in and have vision for. Then, of course, the moment we step out of the boundaries of the regulations, it’s “eh eh eh, don’t do that,” and the reprimanding ruler is slapped across our hand.

And then meetings progress and programs are created to solve the problem of “Why aren’t we effective? Why aren’t people doing excellent work? Why are our people hiding from us and not being transparent?”

Because when no one can break the rules, then forward motion, excellence and effectiveness are killed.

We tell people to be extraordinary then give them average limitations. 

Leaders, please stop doing that.

Dear employers, bosses, pastors, teachers, elders, coaches, and presidents, stop telling us to be great within the boundaries of your leadership perceptions. Quit controlling our dreams and passions for fear it will break your mold of perfection.

We can’t be great when you don’t trust us.

And then when we do try to be great and step outside of box, assuming you trust us because we believe you to be good leadership, you drop the hammer on our passions and crush us under the weight of “Who do you think you are? This is not all about you. Where did you come up with this? You are totally selfish.”

Oh, I forgot that all along this was never meant to be my passion. It had to fit inside your perception of permissible.

Let’s all just be clear and open right now, ok?

Leaders, when you tell us to be great, you have just given us permission to break the rules, because my ability of greatness is going to look different from yours, but it’s going to help you be greater in the long run as well.

So if you don’t want your people to be great, just be honest. Tell us that you just want us to do our jobs and be robots. It will help everyone all around. And there are some people that are ok with being robots. Find those and surround yourself with them.

But for those of us that want to change the world, you’d better be prepared to be uncomfortable. You can lead us, but you can’t manage us. We’re going to break the rules.

Because when you want breakthrough in the world, you have to break through rules and preset regulations.

To those who have found that seed of greatness within youself and want to live out awesome, realize that many leaders will not be ok with that. You’re going to face bullying, degradation, opposition, and hatred. You’ll have to walk away from those people and it’s going to hurt very much.

Because all you wanted to do was help. You just wanted to make a difference.

That’s the price of thinking, of believing in owning passion for yourself and not reciting it from some creedal mission statement.

I was drafting an email yesterday that I started off writing, “I’m on the Young Activist Council of an anti-trafficking organization and we are seeking to bring awareness of trafficking to Chicago.” And then I stopped, erased the whole sentence, and instead wrote, “I’m passionate about ending sex trafficking in Chicago and I was wondering if you’d like to help in bringing awareness of this problem to our city.”

It’s much more difficult to take ownership of passion. Because then you open yourself up to criticism.

Who do you think you are?

What credentials do you have?

Where’s your experience?

Who are your references?

What’s your education?

What’s your plan?

Why would you want to do this?

And sometimes all you can answer with is, “I believe in it. It’s my passion.”

Most people like rules instead.

Because passion is way too dangerous.


Let’s live dangerous.

Give people a reason to be afraid of you, then leave the religion behind, and walk into passion living.

There’s not many people walking that path of passion living. You’ll face a lot of fears and abuse and being vastly misunderstood. But it’s worth the freedom and joy that comes from actually living a life that means something, that has a point, that has purpose and intention in every action.

I’ve realized in my own life that the moments that I’ve had the most impact and purpose are the exact times when I’ve crossed the lines of rules and expectations at work, church and other organizations. And reality? I’ve faced opposition each and every time. But oh so much reward and fruit.

What rules do you need to break today that will allow you to live on purpose instead of robotically?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s