2017-08-03 / Columns

And Finally, Rule Number 10

Think Outside, No Box Needed
By Jim Plouffe

Often I get asked, ‘Why only 10 rules?’ Ten rules can’t possibly cover everything there is to know about business and success in general. For my answer, I have to revert to a slight variation of what General Colin Powell titled his book. Powell’s book was titled, “It Worked For Me.” My answer to why only 10 rules is: “It works for me. Once you find anything that works, you should keep using it and keep doing it.”

This whole series of articles over the last few weeks all started because my friend and colleague, Ian, came into town for a wedding and we were able to meet for breakfast. Ian breaks his rules down into different categories. He has rules about family, friends, and business. Then he breaks his rules about business down into subcategories like hiring, firing, acquisition, and agreements. He has them all written down in outline form so that he can easily share them with associates and customers. His rules are much more detailed than mine because that’s what works for him. Ian recently e-mailed this rule that one of his friends uses: Don’t do dumb things, don’t act dumb, and use common sense and good judgment.

Some people don’t like using the word “rules.” It is too constraining or rigid for them. Many want to refer to their rules as keys to success, habits of success, and insights for success. Others want to make a stronger statement and refer to them as laws of success, but none of that matters. What is important is that you have rules, keys, habits, insights, or laws that you recognize as lessons you live by. Lessons that you have already paid the tuition for once. Or maybe you’ve paid the tuition several times before you understood the lesson. But now you’ve got it, and like General Powell’s book title suggests, they work for you now, instead of against you.

Just as I was writing this, I heard a television commercial say, “Sometimes you gotta do the wrong thing for the right reason.” That’s the kind of rule that someone who doesn’t have any rules might adopt to justify their actions, because it covers the wrong choice by claiming it was for the right reason. It is another way of saying the end justifies the means. Or you can use the awful and unethical process, as long as you accomplish something useful and commendable. It is lines like these that cause individuals to make the wrong turn on their journey to the land of success. Your rules have to keep you on track, and not make excuses for you.

Last week I finished off with rule number nine, which is, “Be thankful for what you have.”

Rule number 10 may make you think that I have just been leading you on for the last few weeks, because it simply says, “There are no rules, except the ones you make, believe in, or allow to have imposed on you.” Let that rule sink in for a moment. Read it again. There are no rules except the ones you make, believe in, or allow to have imposed on you.

The thing that this rule reminds me of is that I make the rules that my game of life and business is played by. That I may have to change my limiting beliefs about the game I am playing if I don’t want my opportunities to be limited, and finally, that there are some rules that I have to follow because they are imposed on me by powers outside of my control.

It is because we don’t follow our own rules, 100% of the time, that we are inconsistent in our actions. So make sure you know what your rules are, and make sure that everyone who serves you knows what your rules are, too. Your rules will make you consistent. Remember, it is not the number of rules you have; it is the number of rules you have that work effectively for you.

If you are unhappy with the status quo of your business, call (906) 643-6643 or e-mail jim@ThinkOutsideNoBoxNeeded.com. Jim is available for speeches and presentations to your company or organization and one-on-one coaching and consulting.

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