The Revolutionaries Playbook

A Guide To Discovering Your Inner Rebel

Rebellious leaders have the knowledge required to break the rules. 

One of the most influential female rebels who changed her industry—and the world—is Coco Chanel. Born in 1883 in Saumur, France, Chanel rose from humble beginnings to revolutionize the fashion industry, challenging and forever altering the way women dressed in the 20th century.

Before Chanel, women’s fashion was dominated by corsets, heavy fabrics, and elaborate designs that restricted movement and prioritized appearance over comfort. Chanel introduced simplicity, elegance, and comfort into women’s wardrobes. Her introduction of the “little black dress” in 1926 was, and still is, an icon in fashion. It was designed to be affordable, accessible, and, above all, versatile—qualities that were unheard of at the time. She also broke the norm by using fabrics traditionally reserved for men’s wear, such as jersey, in women’s clothing. Making her designs more comfortable and subtly challenging gender norms and expectations about femininity and how women should present themselves.

Beyond her contributions to fashion, Chanel’s lifestyle was rebellious too. In a time when women were expected to fulfill primarily domestic roles, she lived independently, never married, and built a business empire. Coco Chanel’s legacy is a testament to how a rebel can challenge and transform an entire industry.

We need more rebels in the world. 

They are crucial for driving social, culture, and technological advancements. Not to mention, they hate the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. But being a rebel doesn’t happen accidently. It requires intentionality. 

I’ve worked with rebels of all kinds, and each one is highly in tune with what makes them different. Whether you’re seeking to leave a mark in your industry or aiming to get more in touch with your rebellious side. And becoming rebellious starts by recognizing the qualities that make you different from those in your industry. 

Recognizing Your Rebellious Qualities

Rebels stand out from the crowd because of the distinctive qualities they embody:

  • Creativity: An innate ability to think outside the box and approach problems with innovative solutions.
  • Risk-Taking: A fearless approach to challenges, viewing potential failure as a stepping stone to success.
  • Resilience: The strength to bounce back from setbacks, undeterred in their mission.
  • Questioning Conventional Wisdom: A natural skepticism of the status quo and a drive to explore new possibilities where others see limitations.

But these aren’t the only traits that make them a rebel.

Afterall, rebelliousness is non-conformity, so we can’t have any one trait be the “key” to rebellion. They also have unique traits that make them different from those within their industry. And those traits often become a part of their brand. 

Here are a few questions to consider when finding your rebellious qualities: 

  • When faced with a problem, how do you handle it differently from others? 
  • What do you do that people routinely compliment you on? 
  • Recall a time when you challenged a widely accepted belief. What made you stop and consider the norm no longer acceptable? 
  • What from your past naturally aligns, and gives you an edge, in your current industry? 

Some of these questions might be hard to answer, and require reflection if you are going to answer them truthfully. But they will help you dig into your unique rebellious qualities so you can identify what is unique about you. 

Many of my clients have not only identified what makes them unique, but then they have positioned themselves—and their branding—around this difference. 

Cultivating Your Rebel Mindset

Becoming a rebel is as much about mindset as it is about innate traits. It’s about cultivating an attitude that embraces the unconventional, learns from every experience, and persists through challenges. 

Here’s how you can nurture your rebel mindset:

Embrace Failure as a Learning Tool

One of the hallmarks of a rebel mindset is the ability to see failure as a crucial step on the path to success. Thomas Edison’s journey to inventing the lightbulb is a classic example. He said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Tips to Embrace Failure

  • Reflect on what went wrong and why, without assigning blame.
  • Identify the lessons learned and how they can be applied moving forward.
  • Celebrate the attempt, not just the outcome, to reinforce a positive attitude towards taking risks.

Develop Resilience

Resilience is your emotional armor in the face of adversity. Rebels understand that the road less traveled is often filled with challenges, but it’s their resilience that allows them to navigate through and emerge stronger.

Strategies for Building Resilience:

  • Maintain a supportive network that encourages your rebellious tendencies.
  • Setbacks are temporary; focus on long-term goals to keep setbacks in perspective.
  • Practice self-care and mindfulness to manage stress and recharge your creative energies.

Nurture Curiosity and Continuous Learning

A rebel’s fuel is their insatiable curiosity and commitment to lifelong learning. The quest for knowledge, new experiences, and perspectives is what drives innovation and creativity. It’s about asking “why” and “what if” and being open to where those questions may lead.

Ways to Stay Curious:

  • Diversify your sources of information and inspiration; explore topics outside your comfort zone.
  • Engage with a community of like-minded individuals to exchange ideas and challenge each other’s thinking.
  • Set aside time for personal projects or hobbies that allow you to explore new interests and skills without the pressure of performance.

All admit, some of these mindsets might sound obvious, but stay with me. 

It’s easy to nod along and say, “Yeah I know all of these.” What isn’t easy, is being stuck in a boring or difficult meeting and keeping all three of these mindsets at the forefront, even when things get tough. It is our human nature to shut down, push away, or block anything that is different. 

Being a rebel doesn’t allow you to do that. 

Balancing Rebellion with Collaboration

Rebels need to navigate the balance between maintaining their individuality and working within a team. The key lies in mutual respect and understanding that diversity in thought can strengthen outcomes. 

Here are a few strategies for effective collaboration: 

  • Communicate your ideas clearly, highlighting the benefits they bring to the team and the broader goals.
  • Practice active listening, showing respect for the perspectives of traditional thinkers and finding common ground.
  • Be adaptable, willing to tweak your ideas based on constructive feedback, ensuring the team moves forward together.

Challenging the status quo doesn’t mean disregarding the value of existing structures. Instead, it’s about introducing new ideas in a way that is respectful, thoughtful, and ultimately beneficial for all involved.

Frame your proposals in a way that addresses potential concerns and demonstrates understanding of the bigger picture. Encourage open dialogue, creating a safe space for others to express doubts or suggestions. Then, lead by example. Show how new approaches can lead to positive outcomes, and be patient as others adjust to change.

Embracing your inner rebel is about more than standing out. The goal is to make significant and meaningful change to the places you influence in life. This won’t always be easy, but it will be more within reach if you know your own rebellious qualities and lean into them. 

Need Help Writing? 

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You break the mold, we’ll handle the writing. Contact us to learn more!

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