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Breaking the Rules

August 4, 2013

‘Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly and not looking good while doing it.’  This may be one of the singular most important lessons I’ve learned.

I was raised on the adage that ‘anything worth doing is worth doing well’.  Belief in that one-liner has kept me from having as much fun as I know I’m meant to have.  I’ve not only deprived myself of new experiences. I’ve also eliminated experiences I previously enjoyed by adding my own tagline ‘and you have to look good while doing it’ .  Depending on the year, I’ve deprived myself of playing the piano, drawing, painting, dancing, singing, running in the rain—because I’m either not good at it, I don’t look good doing it, or I’m afraid of it (for both previously stated reasons)!?#@*

Well no more!!  The rest of 2013 is my half year of finding and breaking hidden, unspoken, unconscious rules around what I can/can’t do.  Here are the ones I broke last weekend.  And just for the record, with both of them, I neither looked good nor was I good at them.

Never wear shorts after menopause.  I haven’t worn shorts in years and I used to look forward to summer just to wear shorts because I thought I had great legs.  So to break the rule in public I put on a pair of shorts and filled up the tires on the bike that I haven’t ridden in a couple years.  I was tentative and unsure on the bike and I promise you I didn’t look good.  And just for good measure I also broke the rule that I can never wear anything on my head because my hair will look weird when I take it off.  I got a helmet and used it.  So I didn’t look good, I wasn’t good at it, and I was mildly afraid I was going to crash and burn.  And guess what?!  Nobody cared!!  People smiled and said “Hey” when we passed each other, and I had a really great ride!

Now I’m looking for new rules to break and new things to do poorly.  I’d love to hear some of your rules and whether or not you’re willing to break them.  So please leave a comment.


  1. Chris says:

    Another powerful seedling! Here are some of mine that I am attempting….learning to play guitar on my own…went running in the park and I have not really jogged/run seriously in over 15 years unless I am late for my train. Thanks for this perspective…it is a gem.

    • Robyn says:

      I’m so excited for you, and strangely your comment makes me even more motivated to keep looking for, and breaking, my own rules! Robyn

    • Carol says:

      Thanks for sharing . . . I am with you . . . when you’re over 60, I guess you do become more FREE of spirit. I am more outspoken now too 🙂 God bless!

      • Robyn says:

        Yes, and I think these days I’m a bit more confident that I can communicate in a way that will get me closer to what I want–I think when I was younger I’d sometimes shoot my mouth off and get myself further away from the outcome I wanted. So maybe just having more time under our belts makes us a little smarter?! Thanks! Robyn

  2. Carisa says:

    I was asked to be a hair model which required me to walk in heels down a runway. Completely out of my comfort zone, but I did it knowing that I didn’t look graceful!

    • Robyn says:

      Lol – I’ve often thought that about you! I think what we’re figuring out is that we end up needing to be our own heroes! Robyn

  3. Karen says:

    I think we get caught up in the imaginary ideal of what we should look like while doing something uncomfortable. I know I do. You stepping out and meeting the challenge head on is great inspiration and as I get older, I need to stop believing I’m 20 years younger but understanding what people my age look like while “stepping out.” Will let you know how I look and how I feel when it’s over!! Thanks for leading the way, friend.

  4. Bill says:

    I love this idea. Goes along with the idea of setting your goals low so you won’t be disappointed. Bill

    • Robyn says:

      Thanks Bill. And using mindfulness and acceptance to meet experiences, even disappointment becomes a whole different ballgame…something to experience and not run away from. Sometimes it’ll be there and sometimes it won’t, but in either case, we’ll be living really vibrant lives. Robyn

  5. Melissa says:

    This hits so close to home! Very inspiring… Often times I find that I am actually happier when I do things that are outside of comfort zone. Maybe I should do things outside of my comfort zone more often! LOL! And doing things that I’m not good at, or – heaven forbid – I don’t look good while doing, are most certainly out of “the zone.” I love this! I’m on a new mission 🙂

    Thank you, Robyn!!

    • Robyn says:

      It’s amazing how easy it is to just keep doing what we’ve always done! I’m tickled that you’re inspired! Robyn

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