play by (one's) own rules

play by (one's) own rules

To adhere to or follow only the guidelines or conditions set by oneself, rather than those imposed by someone else. I hated the oppressive corporate environment, so I started my own firm so I could play by my own rules. If you want to write for this paper, kid, you work for me, so you can't just play by your own rules!
See also: by, own, play, rule