If you know me, you know I love breaking the rules. I’ve done it all my life. Sometimes in small ways, other times big. I especially love breaking the rules when it comes to business and marketing.

There’s no shortage of books and podcasts telling you exactly and precisely how to be successful. Just follow their 10 steps to success, pay their fee, and you’ll be killing it in no time.

That’s where I started learning early on there’s no proven path to success. Some of the most successful people, regardless of industry, have beaten the odds and shocked the world by not losing. By all odds, they should have lost big time, yet they built something out of nothing, all the while ignoring the advice of “experts” telling them to do it differently. Go ahead. Take 30 seconds and think of some of the biggest leaders in business and entrepreneurship today. Did they follow some secret set of rules to get to where they are? No.

So instead of writing a list of rules you should be following, I’m going to share a list of rules you should be breaking this year. Let’s get to it.

1. Doing your job exactly how the successful person before you did it

If Johnny On The Spot was a success in your position before you took over, good for him. Just don’t try to replicate it.

You’ve got your own personality. Your own strengths. And certainly your own weaknesses. Don’t lie to yourself and think if you try to do everything exactly as your predecessor did, it will work out just as great for you.

Bring new ideas to the table. Shake things up. Push the boundaries, and ask the tough questions. These are the things that will bring you into the conversation in your company and allow your voice to be heard. They hired you because they wanted you. Go be you.

2. Curating your social media feeds to look like that of your successful competitors

This is the quickest and surest way to dissolve into the abyss of unknown small business failures.

Find your brand voice and personality and create content around that. Keep it consistent. If you’re a fun company, have fun with it. If you’re a serious company, be serious, but add value in your content. Be helpful and accessible.

Get out a stack of Post-its and have your team write down attributes that make your business unique. Personify your business through character traits. Then find the top three or four and create a plan to incorporate those into your content and marketing consistently.

3. Talking, dressing, and acting like the person you look up to

Similar to #2, this is a sure way to make sure you don’t stand out. You might look good to your boss, but what about your boss’s boss? You’ll just look and sound like a mini-me version of your boss. There’s zero value in that.

Instead, brand yourself as an individual in the workplace and standout. Show empathy to your coworkers, go above and beyond (for real, not just in lip service), and stand out. Wear goofy socks. Let your tattoos show under your rolled-up sleeves. Get a fresh haircut that’s new this season. Create a happy hour group with people you normally don’t associate with and get to know them. You’ll create new bonds and relationships that aren’t just surface but actually add value to your role in the workplace. It’s all about who you know, right?

Knowing more people in your organization adds to your institutional knowledge by proxy. You’ll be the person who people come to for solutions and insight because you’ll know who to go to in order to get things done. And you’ll have some sweet crazy socks while doing it.

4. Trying to implement a system because some guru said so

A lot of people waste a lot of money and, more importantly, time, trying to live out the same breathing techniques, diets, exercise routines, reading habits, and sleeping patterns of someone who is successful and does all the above. Get over it. Imagine if every successful person wrote a book about their personal habits and labeled it as the secret to success. It’s not wrong. It’s just the secret to their success.


While this post was about rules you should be breaking, if I had to suggest one rule you adopt this year, it would be:

Be a healthy version of yourself.

Determine how much sleep you need to be effective throughout the day and actually get that much. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise and drink water. Don’t overcommit yourself to extracurricular activities because they make you feel good. These are the things that will help you be successful in life and business. That’s how you’ll set yourself apart.

The more you do those things and stop doing the other crap, the sooner you’ll see your goals developing and turning into reality. It’s hard work, and there will be roadblocks. That’s part of the journey. Embrace it.