When I look at the lives and accomplishments of the black women I most admire either for their business acumen or just the amazing lives they’ve been able to create for themselves, I realize they all have one thing in common.
They broke all The Rules.
And yes, I purposefully capitalized “The Rules” to emphasize their existence as this huge entity that tries to run our lives.
You know, all the “you can’t do that because” Rules like:
- You’re too young.
- You’re too old.
- You’re too black.
- You’re too poor.
- You’re too late.
- You’re not pretty enough.
- You’re too pretty.
- You’re too strong.
- You’re not strong enough.
- You’re not qualified.
Not to mention all The Rules that tell you that you have to do it just like this and don’t skip a step or it won’t work and oh make sure you don’t start until you’ve got all your ducks in a row and all the “what ifs” worked out and by the way you might as well wait until you’re 30 or 40 because that’s when you’ll really know what you want out of life.
Just think about how different their lives would’ve turned out if Oprah or B. Smith or Tyra Banks or Holly Robinson Peete or Ursula Burns had actually followed any of The Rules laid out for them.
Because contrary to what we’ve been taught over and over in school, success does not come automatically to those who simply follow The Rules.
Just because you go to college and get good grades doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll land your dream job. Ask all the unemployed college grads and they will tell you. Just because you go on to get a Master’s degree and your own condo and a nice car still does not guarantee you happiness in life. And we all know that even if you follow The Rules in any dating book or manual to the “T”, you are not guaranteed love for a lifetime.
Yet even though they really don’t work, The Rules will always be with us.
That’s because The Rules were created for all the people who are satisfied with “good enough.” They are perfect for the people who are fine with someone else telling them what to do with their lives and how to do it. The Rules are for people who are willing to settle for a mediocre life because they aren’t willing to put in the time or effort to create an amazing one.
But for those of us who want more out of life, The Rules are useless. We see that they can only take us so far and then we have to figure out the rest ourselves. We realize that we’re actually sick and tired of playing by The Rules anyway.
And then we decide to create our own.