Break some brules!

Break some brules!

There was a time in my life – before my business, before my book, before my speaking career – when I was in a job that I hated, drowning in student loan debt, and living in a basement apartment with my cat. I felt utterly trapped, and I absolutely WISHED things were different but I was struggling to see my way out.

While desperately wanting something different, it felt like salt on my wounds when others (smart, caring, well-meaning people) thought my circumstances were NORMAL.

It’s considered surprisingly normal to have student loan debt that’ll take decades to pay off. It is considered entirely normal to work at a job you tolerate, to live for weekends and dread Mondays. It’s considered normal to be tired, frazzled, and feel like there’s never enough hours in the day.

And, sadly, it’s considered normal for the dreams you have for your life to gather dust.

It’s normal, sometimes, for us to be doing all the “right” things – to be suffering and dreaming while we’re there – and, through all of that, have people telling us “this is just the way it is.” Pursuing a story-worthy life without regrets is not only generally considered odd, but ridiculous and irresponsible.

While I didn’t know what to call it at the time, I eventually grew to understand that all of this is the result of a society steeped in “brules” (a.k.a. BS rules).

I discovered how “brules” were fueling unhelpful narratives, narratives that often keep people from believing in and pursuing their dreams and goals.

“Working in a strong career track is responsible, so you should stay no matter how much you hate it.”

“It’s better to be safe than risk it all and be sorry.”

“Given your student loan debt, embrace basement dwelling because it’s affordable.”

I discovered how these so-called “facts of life” and “this is the way it is” beliefs were bullshit limits. I discovered how brules – social constructs and commonly held beliefs that are so baked-in to our cultural understanding and worldview that they generally go unnoticed and unquestioned – were ruling not only my life, but the lives of ALL of us.

Yes, I was doing the “responsible thing.” But I felt trapped and miserable.

It was keeping me away from my dreams.

So, I set out to learn how to break them.

And it changed everything.

From there, I redesigned my whole life, blazed the trail of my own business, and even wrote books on the topic.

And now, I’ve created The Brule Breakers Club so that YOU can break brules and live differently too. The Brule Breakers Club is a space that supports and encourages you to realize that change is possible, that what you WANT is possible.

That ALL that you want is possible.

Your dream life, and dream career. Your dream finances, dream relationships and dream living situation. And your dream travels…

Whatever your dreams are, they are POSSIBLE, if you break the “brules” that tell you you can’t.

I invite you to take the leap and become a Brule Breaker.

A brule breaker is a person who doesn’t settle for status quo “it’s just the way it is” existence.

Rather than default to “norms,” they question convention, they challenge unhelpful narratives that keep most people in a box. They go beyond where most stop, where most people are kept from pursuing their dreams and goals. They break the brules.

Brule breaking isn’t easy.

Since brules are so baked-in to our cultural understanding and worldview, they generally go unnoticed and unquestioned.

Brule breakers do the work of deconstructing brules. They identify default patterns and they challenge psychological and behavioral blind spots so that they can live their best life without false limitations.

This is best done in a supportive space that encourages you to realize that change IS possible, that what you WANT is possible.

That’s why I created The Brule Breakers Club. Brule breakers are dreamers and doers, trail blazers that help one another make the changes needed to live their dreams and become self-actualized. Brule breaking changes everything. Breaking the brules of life is what helps you create a new kind of freedom.

>>> Visit bookofbrules.com for details & join now! 

This is a silent hidden dream killer

This is a silent hidden dream killer

This is a silent hidden dream killer

My brain is ablaze with some psychological jargon from my educational background in Psychology and behavioral health. Hang in there with me for the next few paragraphs as I get you up to speed on a concept you may or may not be familiar with. I promise this’ll make a whole lot of sense and give you some perspective and juice for how to go about making the changes you want (especially the changes you want to make but aren’t actually doing anything about – yet). 😉

The American Psychological Association defines learned helplessness as “a phenomenon in which repeated exposure to uncomfortable stressors results in individuals failing to use any control options that may later become available.” 

Ok. Here’s my less-textbook-y version:

  • On an emotional level, learned helplessness boils down to the experience of becoming comfortable with managing discomfort. 
  • On a cognitive level, learned helplessness boils down to believing that you have no control. 
  • And, on a behavioral level, it looks like either no action, or, a whole lot of busyness centered around tasks that maintain current circumstances.

Understandably, if you believe you have no control and you’ve become quite skillful at managing discomfort (so much so that maybe it’s become a strength, something that gives you a strong sense of self-confidence and pride) it makes a whole lot of sense that things continue the way they are!

I mean, from that place, WHAT WOULD BE THE POINT of empowered new action when to do so would be intentionally deciding to trigger your own feelings of uncertainty and insecurity?!

Here’s why this matters:

It matters because it creates a closed loop. When something happens that creates discomfort for you… instead of feeling and thinking, “hmmm… how can I change these circumstances or shift something to eliminate this discomfort and make my life better?”… your brain is conditioned to assume that this discomfort is something that you are powerless over and therefore simply must manage and live with.

And this is something you’re often NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT aware of.

Instead of determining HOW to make an empowered change, or how to eliminate the discomfort, the default mode is to manage and tolerate it, resigned to believing that there is no other option.  

This is learned helplessness. 

And left to its own devices, it’s an absolute dream killer. 

Learned helplessness creates a blind spot that MUST be seen in order for you to thrive.

It’s tricky though, because this pattern can become deeply ingrained, (hidden in what looks like logic), and is therefore very difficult – though NOT impossible – to re-pattern, to break out of this loop. 

Here’s a quick example of common things you see when people have learned helplessness. 

If, for example, as a child, you learned that you don’t get to have a say in what happens, that you don’t get to change or influence the situation, that your discomfort doesn’t matter, isn’t accommodated, or cared about … you may have learned instead to toughen up. To get thicker skin. To adapt. 

What commonly happens too is that the strength and ability to adapt that you build as a result, becomes an integral part of your identity.

“I am strong” 

“I’m a survivor.”  

“I’m tough.” 

“I can handle it.” 

No doubt, you are ALLLL of these things! (I’m all of these things too.) 

But, just check in here: Have you ever said any of those things I just mentioned?

If yes, I want to invite you in this moment to consider – even though it may not feel true — that it MIGHT be evidence of learned helplessness.

What we know is that when something really is a blind spot, it’s really really difficult to SEE that it’s there.

And here’s a friendly reminder: Just because you can handle discomfort, doesn’t mean you have to! 

To help you amp up your awareness, do this simple next step: Make a list.

Jot down at least 3 things you wish were different about your life, big or small.

To be clear, you do NOT need to see how to change them. That’s not the assignment. 

Simply write them down. Name them, for now, as a way of saying, “I see you.”

Perhaps world hunger or your lack of retirement savings tops your list, which is fine. But hear this: While nothing is off limits, do not overlook the little things. In fact, when beginning to repattern learned helplessness, the smaller the better.

Jot down a few now. Come back to it throughout your week as you notice more.

 

PS – I’ll be back next week with part 2: Unlearning helplessness.