These are rules to remember that I wrote when I was 12 years old.

Rule number 1: never eat spaghetti when you go out on a date.

Rule number 2: when you are walking on the sidewalk with your boyfriend, let him walk on the outside.

Rule number 3: when you’re reading a book to your boyfriend, be sure you know how to pronounce all the words.

Rule number 4: don’t wear jewelry that your boyfriend hasn’t given you.

And last but not least, rule number 5: If you have lots of boyfriends, be sure not to get their names mixed up.

This list illustrates a very important key to success. Rules are meant to be followed AND broken.

There’s a delicate balance between following the rules and breaking them. If you obey all the rules all the time, you’re merely a follower who can fall off the edge of a cliff simply because the sheep in front of you did it.

If you’re constantly breaking the rules, you’re a threat to society and have some maturing to do.

Good leaders are good followers and good followers are good leaders. Some of history’s worst leaders never learned to follow and they became arrogant tyrants.

Multiple published studies show that success comes from being a good follower and a good leader.

Good followers are trustworthy, humble, and willing to learn. Good leaders are trustworthy, humble, and willing to learn. A key to success is to be trustworthy. How do you demonstrate trustworthiness? By always striving to be your best and being willing to speak up when needed.

When sociologists researched a plane crash years ago they discovered that the co-pilot could’ve prevented the crash if he had spoken up, but he didn’t speak up because his culture required him to never question those in charge.

Breaking the rules does not make you untrustworthy; sometimes you must. In order to make progress, you must find the delicate balance between following the rules and breaking them. Like everything in life, both sides are needed for wholeness.

You can’t have something without nothing, masculine without feminine, light without dark, yin without yang. For the utmost success and good graces, you yourself must be both a good leader and a good follower.



Heather Hans, LCSW, MSW, MBA, CPIC, is a Visionary, Healer & Teacher, and the author of The Heart of Self-Love: How to Radiate with ConfidenceIt is Heather's firm belief that loving oneself is necessary to have fulfilling relationships and a successful life.  Join Heather’s 30-Day confidence challenge at