Ep. #67: Imaginary Rules (Body Episode)

Imaginary rules are made-up rules that only seem real—so real that they keep you from getting what you want. Today I discuss how imaginary rules affect not just your business, but also your body. I also share with you another test to help you discern when you’re dealing with an imaginary rule.


Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps you earn more, and get out from under everything that’s weighing you down. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and I’m happy you’re here. This week we are discussing imaginary rules, these are the made-up rules that hold you back in business and in life, and the reason they hold you back is because they seem very real in our unmanaged minds, and today is our body episode so we’re talking about imaginary rules and how they affect your body.

But because everything that happens in your brain also affects your business, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that there are business implications raised in this episode, and I know they’re going to help you. Because here’s what I’m discovering in Rich & Thin™ Workshop, and with my one-on-one coaching clients this year: the same “shoulds” that are affecting your body also are the exact same problems in your business. We’re seeing this over and over again, so today I want to give you some examples of imaginary rules that do affect your body but that also hurt your business at the same time.

In our last episode, our business episode, I talked about one test for recognizing imaginary rules that undermine your wealth, and the test is called the “You can’t just __________” test, and when you use this test, you question everything that you think you can’t do, that you aren’t allowed to do. If you think you can’t do something that isn’t allowed, then just imagine doing it, and if there are no consequences, and so often there are no consequences, then you know you’re dealing with a made-up rule that you should just kick to the curb so you can go forth and prosper.

Today I want to talk to you about a second way to test for made-up rules, and it’s looking for “should.”

“Should” shows up as an imaginary and wealth-killing rule when we think someone– it could be us, it could be someone else—or something, a current circumstance that we find vexing, should be different than how it is now. When reality conflicts with the “shoulds” in our brains, that’s another sign that we’re dealing with a made-up rule that’s undermining our wealth.

My Body Should be Different

One example is when you think your body should look differently than it does. If you think you should be thinner or in better shape, what happens? You have reality. You have the circumstance of however thin or in shape your body is in the current moment, that’s the circumstance, and then you have your thought about it, which is that it should be different.

And the conflict between reality and the thought creates the emotion of frustration. Or maybe shame. Or inadequacy. Or feelings of insecurity.

And from these kinds of emotions, what do we do? When we are frustrated, shameful, and feeling insecure and inadequate, do we take action to move our businesses forward? Do we go to the event? Do we go out and visit the customer and ask for more business? Do we even show up online?

No. What do we do? We stay at home on the couch with chocolate or Chardonnay or Cherry Garcia. Maybe all three, if we’re really in an emotional tailspin.

And this perpetuates the problem. We get what we think, and if we think we should be thinner or in better shape, then we get the result that we still should be thinner or in better shape because we’re home on the couch in shame or frustration. So we don’t get the result of actually being in that leaner, fitter reality.

So that’s one way that “should” undermines our wealth.

Other people should be different

Another way that “should” commonly shows up as an imaginary rule that undermines our wealth is that someone else should be different than they are.

The government should be different

This show is apolitical, you can make money in any kind of political environment, and you can feel happy and wealthy in any political environment, but I’m going to talk about politics for a second, because never in the course of my lifetime have I seen so many “shoulds” adversely affecting people in their business or their body, or both, as during the current presidential administration.

The Trump administration has caused so many unhappy people so much of their personal wealth, not because of anything the administration has actually done, but because of the way their emotional lives have been waylaid by their rage about the administration.

Where does this rage come from? It comes from the idea that the administration is doing things that it shouldn’t do. The circumstance is that the administration does something, the thought is that they shouldn’t be doing it, that’s actually a very benign version of the thought, often it’s more powerful, and then the feeling is frustration or even rage.

The actions that result from this emotional state are once again, spinning in a whirl of negativity, and assuaging that negative emotion with chocolate, chardonnay, or even Cherry Garcia. We’ve all been there, but while this is going on, what are we not doing? We are not doing anything about anything. Rage feels like we’re doing something. I was having a discussion about this while I was walking with my Mom the other day. She was furious, and I wasn’t, and I asked her, “How is this helping anything? What is this anger accomplishing other than ruining your day and our walk?”

And she said, “You’re right. I can observe what’s happening, and wonder what’s going to happen without getting into a rage about it.” And I could feel weight falling off of her as she said it, and this is an important visual owner for all of us to have, because my mom isn’t a business owner.

The rage effect is even worse for us, because unless you are in the business of capitalizing on political rage about the current administration, and most of us aren’t, rage is only costing you money, because it’s distracting you from your purpose, the customers you serve, and in that respect, it’s harming your customers and whenever that happens, your wealth will always suffer.

And here, as with all things wealth-related in this show, we’re talking about far more than money. When you’re in a rage, what do you do? You eat. You drink. You stress. You don’t sleep. You don’t connect with your family or friends in any meaningful way. You’re making war, not love, and war undermines your health in too many ways to count.

So that’s the second “should” example of an imaginary rule that undermines your wealth.

My Customers Should be Different

The third and last for today, before we get to the solution, that leads to broke and bulky is that our prospective customers should be different than they are.

Here’s an example from the social media conference I attended a couple weeks ago. I spoke with a lot of frustrated people, they’re in some kind of job in digital marketing or doing something online, and they’re frustrated and they want to do something “bigger.” They want to step out of employment and start their own businesses, and what so many of them said was, “People don’t want this thing that I could offer and that I know they need and that will change their lives. They should want it, but they just don’t,” and then they threw up their hands in powerlessness, and I could see them mentally resigning themselves to continue on in the same old job where they are under-serving because they think no one’s going to buy that big important valuable thing that they could sell.

We’ve all done this to a greater or lesser degree from time to time. I know I have, but when this is happening, when we are thinking that our customers should be different in some way, what’s actually happening is that we are not owning the fact that we have an ineffective message. If your customers desperately need something, and you have it and you know it would help them, but they don’t think they need it, you have two choices. You can throw up your hands and say, “Well, that’s that. They just don’t get it. They should get it, but they don’t,” Or you can stop deciding that the customers and their current level of demand should be something other than exactly what it is.

What happens when you do this? You take ownership, and ownership is always the answer. If instead of saying, “My customers should want this but they don’t,” take the opposite approach. Ask, “Why is it completely reasonable that my customers don’t want this?”

This question is so magical, because it opens up your brain. It assumes that the universe isn’t cruel and arbitrary. When you ask yourself this kind of question, “Why did things work out exactly the way they should have?” or even “Why is this exactly what we should have predicted?,” you’re assuming that the universe isn’t cruel and arbitrary, but rather logical and predictable. You’re assuming there is a cause-and-effect relationship between inputs and outputs. If you do one thing, something very predictably happens, and you do something else, you can just as predictably cause a different result. You can influence things. This kind of thinking puts your brain on solid ground. And this is a good place for your brain to be, because often the universe is logical and predictable. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between inputs and outputs.

My body should look the way it looks right now because I stopped managing my mind for a little while when things got rough, swam around in a swimming pool of Cherry Garcia, and so it’s absolutely perfect that my body looks this way right now. The universe is operating exactly as it should, and so is my body.

President Trump should be our current president right now because, like it or not, something he had to say that resonated with many voters. Some of us like this, some of us don’t, some of us, like me, are neutral. In my mind, President Trump, like every other circumstance, doesn’t mean anything until we make him mean something. But in any case, whether we like him being in office or we despise it or we simply don’t think about it, the fact that he is there is a messaging issue, and the way to solve any messaging problem is not to get mad. It’s to get curious, and to become more effective.

The same thing happens with our customers. If we think they should be different, they should want this thing we offer but they don’t, then we are not looking at how we can show them that they need it and that it will change their lives. That they’ll be happier or healthier or more effective or whatever it is that you’re offering.

So I hope what you’re gleaning from today’s episode is that you can certainly want things to be different. I want a leaner, smaller body for so many reasons I can’t even list them all in what’s left of this episode. Some of us want a different president. Some of us want our customers to be different. We want them to want what we sell.

But when we think they should be different, that’s when we’re not looking at the reasons things are the way they are now, and when we don’t look at the reasons things are the way they are now, we don’t see the problems, and when we don’t see the problems, we can’t find the solutions.

And the solutions are where the wealth is, my friends. If you can solve problems rather than simply point them out and say they shouldn’t be there, you win. You win with your body, you win with your business, and you win with your life.

I want for all of us to win, and if I can help you start racking up some wins, let me know. kelly@richandthin.com. Thanks for being here, and I look forward to talking with you next week where we will continue our discussions of the rules, and how sometimes, breaking the rules is the road to wealth that helps everyone on the road to wealth. What? Yes, my friends, sometimes breaking the rules is exactly the way to go, and that’s what going to talk about next week. I hope you join me for that.

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