How To Get Out Of Your Own Way And Live The Life You Want

How To Get Out Of Your Own Way And Live The Life You Want

Excuses. We’ve all got a million of them. We find every reason under the sun to justify our inaction. We insist that the time isn’t right. The weather is too cold. We’re too fat, too poor, too indecisive, too finicky, too (insert your own excuse here). I’m not trying to alarm anyone, but unless you believe in reincarnation, this is the one life that you get. Are you using it to its full potential? Or are you just burning daylight? At some point, you have to take stock of your life. Have you accomplished the goals that you’ve set for yourself or are you just leaving everything to chance?

If I could be frank for a minute, there are people who are living like they are literally waiting to die. They have very little ambition, no drive, no sense of purpose. Somehow, they have allowed life’s circumstances to beat them down, to kill their spirits. They have bought into the lie that their dreams don’t matter. If plans don’t pan out the way that they’d hoped, they take it as a sign that they are being unrealistic; that they are reaching for the unreachable. They become easily discouraged, not realizing that the race really isn’t given to the swift but to the one who endures.


“The reason why your windshield is larger than your rear view mirror is because where you’re going, is greater than where you’ve been. Go. ” – Kirk Franklin

Sometimes, these things do not happen in a vacuum. If you find yourself always discounting the things that you really want to do, the places that you want to see, then it’s time to get out of your own way. You’ve heard the old saying that sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. There’s a lot of truth to that. Once we allow fear to permeate our thoughts it takes on a life of its own. The writer, Fulton Oursler, once said “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future”.

While you can’t change what has been, you certainly can make new choices that will be more life affirming. Besides, if we aren’t at the ready to shoot down our own dreams, there are always others who are all too happy to take up the slack. I call them “emotional vampires”.

These people will find seven ways to Sunday to convince you that you are being stupid for thinking that you have the right to create your own destiny. They seem to take pleasure in making you doubtful and miserable because that’s the path that they’ve chosen and like crabs in a barrel, they will do whatever it takes to pull you down with them. I mean, who do you think you are?


Your attitude determines your altitude

Surrounding yourself with people who look at life in a more positive way can become infectious. They can show you all of the possibilities that life has to offer. You will begin to get a new sense of yourself and notice that things can become less cloudy, less uncertain. You will find that things actually get easier when you believe in yourself.

Like attracts like, so if you are around negativity, you will become more negative and vice versa. Try to seek out the good things that life has to offer but know that not everyone is happy to see you prosper. Some people rejoice in another’s misery, but you can’t let that stop you from trying to attain your goals.

So start doing whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do. Whether it’s changing careers, moving to another state or country for that matter, taking a round the world trip, do it. A little careful planning is the key, not the obstacle. If it’s big enough to dream about it’s realistic enough to go after it. For me, personally, that is the one common thread that I have found in the travel blogging community.

There is a positivity amongst its members who come from every corner of the world, every faith, every religion but they share a commonality: A love of the world and the people who inhabit it. They seek to learn something new every day about their global community and nothing makes them happier than a full immersion in the experience. Moreover, they are all too happy to help you to achieve your own dreams. Sometimes, you have to let go of friends you’ve outgrown and find other like-minded kindred who share a love of the same things that motivate and inspire you.


Photo credit: gwennypics on Flickr

What obstacle have you personally overcome that allowed you to accomplish a lifelong dream? In what way has that changed your life?



Renee King
  • Alouise
    Posted at 01:04h, 23 January Reply

    I’m not sure what my life long dream is. But I do know that the travel blog community has helped me see there’s more options than a 9-5 desk job existence. Now that I’m in school I know graduation doesn’t have to mean resorting to something I hate. I can use the skills and knowledge I acquire and live the life I want. It’s a gradual process for me.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:37h, 23 January Reply

      That’s deep! It’s true, terrible economy notwithstanding, we can still direct our energies to things that we know will make us happy and fulfilled. I used to be a slave to my work….now I make my career work for me. It gives me the opportunity to do the things that I want to do, go to the places I want to go and provides a comfortable living. Whatever career path you choose, just make sure that it knows who’s boss. ;-D

  • jamie - cloud people adventures
    Posted at 02:11h, 23 January Reply

    nice post renee. i had noticed that about the travel blogging community too. hopefully posts like this will reach beyond them to the people that could really take some benefit from them. whether its travel or whatever, people seem to be reluctant to just have a crack.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:32h, 23 January Reply

      Jamie, exactly….whatever the challenge, people should empower themselves to meet them.

  • robin
    Posted at 06:53h, 23 January Reply

    It’s true that the travel blogging community can be a wellspring of positivity and encouragement. And it is very important to object and resist when negative people drain you. It is not ok.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:30h, 23 January Reply

      Yes, so true Robin. Sometimes, I find myself getting down when I’m around people who can only see the negative. They have a fatalistic approach toward everything and you can’t make them better. They will only drag you down too.

  • Lola
    Posted at 13:05h, 23 January Reply

    Loved this post Renee! And I feel so blessed to have met you in person too.

    Life truly is about discovering your purpose, following your own path (not others’), and uplifting others by living your authentic self.

    While the travel blogging community is extremely supportive, it can also be extremely competitive and you’ll find people (“haters”) getting in your way to prevent you from living the life you want, instead of focusing on their own true paths.

    Also love this line – “Sometimes, you have to let go of friends you’ve outgrown and find other like-minded kindred who share a love of the same things that motivate and inspire you.”

    Objectivity and a clear sense of purpose (and for me, faith) also will help you along your unique path.

    Tweeting this post now!!

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:29h, 23 January Reply

      LOLA!! I hope the contest is going well for you. Yes, I agree…..I guess I did imply that the travel blogging community is ideal. Nothing is….in fact, I anticipate that when companies start to really GET the importance of hiring travel bloggers, the competition will be fierce and things will have the potential of getting nasty really quick. I love your contribution to the conversation too…objectivity, clear sense of purpose and faith….all important. It really is about knowing who you are. If you are clear about that, nothing or no one can define you. Thanks for coming by, my friend….it was great seeing your smiling face in person too.

  • Andrea
    Posted at 17:53h, 23 January Reply

    Excellent post, Renee. A lot of this se timing is going around right now. Dare I say that the global financial crisis woke a lot of people up to realize that the “American Dream” wasn’t all that sturdy and even made some more far fetched dreams seem all the more attainable. What have we got to lose? John and I chose to spend our money travelling this year instead of doing the conservative thing and buying a house…because ghat is what we know will make us happier. Good luck to everyone out there who is following their hearts and changing their lives!

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:44h, 24 January Reply

      Thanks, Andrea! I agree, it did force people to decide what’s really important to them…if nothing else. Congrats to you and John for choosing your own path.

  • Ayngelina
    Posted at 09:17h, 24 January Reply

    The line about people literally waiting to die made me so sad because it’s really true.

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:42h, 24 January Reply

      I know….sometimes when I see someone like that, I want to tell them that it doesn’t have to be this way. So many have lost hope.

  • Laurel
    Posted at 10:42h, 24 January Reply

    Lovely post Renee! I think your comment about surrounding yourself with positive people is especially important since our friends influence our lives more than I think we realize sometimes and if you’re around people who follow their dreams, you’re more likely to do so as well.

    • Renee
      Posted at 05:22h, 26 January Reply

      Thanks, Laurel! You are right about how our friends influence us. People think that peer pressure ends the same time as childhood. Not so!

  • Adam
    Posted at 11:11h, 24 January Reply

    Great post, Renee! The travel blogging community is one big scene of positivity, isn’t it? That is also a big reason I like it so much. So much of what you said is so true. Some of my family members and friends think we are being selfish in the way we live and view life, as though we’re cheating or something because we our first priority is travel and not buying a house and a bunch of crap to fill it. It’s like some think we haven’t “paid our dues.” Like we have to work for 30+ years before we’re allowed to truly do what we want. I personally think that viewpoint sucks. Like you said, we only get one life, and I know we are going to do everything in our power to make this one count.

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:11h, 24 January Reply

      Thanks, Adam. Isn’t it amazing that the ones who should offer the most moral support are killjoys? Stand firm in your convictions…..owning a house is great, but the money I spend fixing it could go towards a trip!

  • David
    Posted at 12:39h, 24 January Reply

    “Sometimes, you have to let go of friends you’ve outgrown and find other like-minded kindred who share a love of the same things that motivate and inspire you.”

    I’ve done that in the last 15 years or so. As you get older, you start to lose friends due to family, commitments and so on.

    • Renee
      Posted at 14:41h, 24 January Reply

      David, if you guys would indulge me, I wanted to post a poem that reminds me of letting go of whatever you need to in order to grow:

      After A While
      1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall

      After a while you learn
      the subtle difference between
      holding a hand and chaining a soul
      and you learn
      that love doesn’t mean leaning
      and company doesn’t always mean security.
      And you begin to learn
      that kisses aren’t contracts
      and presents aren’t promises
      and you begin to accept your defeats
      with your head up and your eyes ahead
      with the grace of woman,
      not the grief of a child
      and you learn
      to build all your roads on today
      because tomorrow’s ground is
      too uncertain for plans
      and futures have a way of falling down
      in mid-flight.
      After a while you learn
      that even sunshine burns
      if you get too much
      so you plant your own garden
      and decorate your own soul
      instead of waiting for someone
      to bring you flowers.
      And you learn that you really can endure
      you really are strong
      you really do have worth
      and you learn
      and you learn
      with every goodbye, you learn…

  • The NVR Guys
    Posted at 14:22h, 24 January Reply

    Excellent post Renee. We couldn’t agree more. David already highlighted the following line, but I thought it deserved another mention…

    “Sometimes, you have to let go of friends you’ve outgrown and find other like-minded kindred who share a love of the same things that motivate and inspire you.”

    Well put.

    • Renee
      Posted at 14:42h, 24 January Reply

      Thanks, guys….I appreciate it!

  • Nancie
    Posted at 22:32h, 24 January Reply

    Right on, Renee!

    I got out of my own way 10 years ago when I moved to Asia. It’s been a whirl wind of learning and doing. Hasn’t always been easy, but so worth it. Let’s face it, if we/you/I don’t follow out dreams, who will?

    • Renee
      Posted at 06:03h, 26 January Reply

      Ten years? I didn’t know it was that long ago, Nancie. Well, I’m preaching to the choir then….lol. You are so right….only YOU can fulfill your OWN dream!

  • Nick Laborde
    Posted at 22:48h, 24 January Reply

    Personally I call them “Dream KIllers”. Since I’ve tried to eliminate as many as them as posible from my life, my world has expanded. It’s not easy when a lot of those dream killers are family but at the end of the day it is your life.

    • Renee
      Posted at 05:35h, 26 January Reply


      Yes, that is a very adequate description of what they attempt to do. Once you remove the dam (the negative folks), the wellspring of possibilities come rushing through.

  • Kelly
    Posted at 01:46h, 25 January Reply

    I think this post is fantastic! I too feel like I am sometimes surrounded by people who would rather see me fail than succeed.. I have my whole life. I grew up in a very abusive household, but I chose to use that as motivation to grow up and to be better than my abuser ever was.

    That’s just me.

    These days I think I surround myself with positive, happy people and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    • Renee
      Posted at 05:33h, 26 January Reply

      Thanks for coming by Kelly! I’m sorry that you’ve experienced such a horrible thing as a child. It’s gratifying to see that you did not let the abuser win. I heard Oprah say once, the best revenge is to live well. I will finish that thought off with “because that will just piss your haters off”. You are doing just that. Congratulations!

  • Lorna - the roamantics
    Posted at 03:01h, 26 January Reply

    This is AMAZING Renee!!! And actually, just when I needed it. And the poem?! The bow on this gift. Thank you 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 05:28h, 26 January Reply

      You are welcome, Lorna. It’s just something that has been on my mind lately. I’ve been asked to do a guest post on another site and it will be kind of a continuation of the same theme. I plan to post it here too. I think it’s important to DRUM this into people’s psyche….we have to be the masters of our own fate. I’m glad that it helped you in some way and yes, the poem speaks volumes.

  • Laura
    Posted at 11:42h, 27 January Reply

    I still feel like at 15. I feel that the options are out there, I just have to figure it out what to do with them, which one to choose. It’s like I’m at crossroads all the time, forced to choose between a conventional life and an amazing life. It tears me apart. It’s tiresome to always have to live up to someone else’s expectations.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:35h, 27 January Reply


      The good news is that you don’t have to live according to someone else’s rules. You have the god-given right to determine your own destiny. It won’t be easy. There will be a lot of pressure from people who aren’t that willing to give up the control they have over your life. You will have to have a good amount of intestinal fortitude to stand up to them. It’s probably one of the hardest things you’re going to do and one of the most rewarding. Once you get to the point where your point of view matters most, it will be easier to figure out the rest.

  • Christy
    Posted at 15:09h, 27 January Reply

    I love this line: “the race really isn’t given to the swift but to the one who endures.” Sometimes I have to remind myself that things will not happen overnight and I need to practice patience. Great article. We really were on the same wavelength this week, huh?!

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:45h, 22 March Reply

      Hmmm…somehow my response never showed up. Sorry about that, Christy! Yes, we were on the same wavelength that day since we posted similarly themed articles. Just keep pushing through because everything will fall into place in the end.

  • Tristan
    Posted at 11:12h, 04 March Reply

    Wow. Who ever wrote this inspired me, and also woke my ass up. I’m the queen of excuses. I love the part “I’m not trying to alarm anyone, but unless you believe in reincarnation, this is the one life that you get.” I have dreams of going to college for art, although I haven’t been very artistic lately. Or maybe Philosophy and religious studies. I need to get my ass out there, and NOW. I’m only 19 years old, but I’m lazy, and letting the days go by. I need to start while I’m young, and pull my head out of my ass. Thank you!

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:38h, 04 March Reply

      Hi Tristan,
      I’m glad that my article inspired you to take action. But don’t let this feeling of euphoria go to waste. Go out and make it happen. Check out local schools to see if they offer what you desire and what the requirements are to register. I was nineteen once. You will be surprised at how quickly those years pass. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that. However, you do have a say in how those years are spent. Don’t waste them….keep searching, keep striving….be the best Tristan that you can be. And when you’ve reached the end of your life, you can look back without any regrets or fears that you’ve missed out on anything!

  • Mike Maynard
    Posted at 09:09h, 15 June Reply

    Good advice, but we have to be careful that we don’t dash someone else’s dream while pursuing our own. We can help others to make their dreams come true as well. I just wanted to write and I’m doing that now. I have written one blog today and now I choose whether to hit the road or write another. I can do both just write this evening. I have helped a student this morning and so I’m not being selfish. I give myself time, my friends and my readers.

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:21h, 15 June Reply

      Hi Mike,
      First of all, thanks so much for dropping by to comment. I think that you’ve missed my point entirely. This post has nothing to do with dashing anyone else’s dream….not sure how you gleaned that idea from my post…it’s all about empowering yourself to fulfill your own. Not everyone has the strength or the inclination to fight for their own dreams and aspirations. I am attempting to give them that extra push so that they won’t waste another day contemplating about what others may think of their life choices.

      My position that we are all responsible for our own happiness/achievements/dream realization. This post attempts to validate and support that position. If you want to read articles that I’ve written that focuses on helping others, I hope that you will check them out under the Inspiration category because this article is about helping yourself which has absolutely nothing to do with being selfish.

  • Tannis
    Posted at 09:29h, 15 June Reply

    I! I am new to your blog, through LinkedIN. I just signed up t follow via facebook. I really enjoyed this post! Reading through your comments I saw the poem After a While. I have always LOVED that poem, thanks for the reminder. I hope you will stop by my blogs and follow as well!

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:01h, 15 June Reply

      Hi Tannis,

      Thanks for coming by to comment, I appreciate it. After a while really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? It’s a definite wake-up call. On the way to visit you………

  • Boschii
    Posted at 15:43h, 22 June Reply


    Can you please get out of my head and stop scolding me? I get it! : )

    This was a really great post…I am going through my trials right now as we speak….always having been the “Polyanna” for everyone else…I find it increasingly difficult to be optimistic and even able to get out of my rut…but I persevere…and thanks to you post…at least for the moment I am energized…in fact I think I will just have to print this out and tape it to my closet door so I can see it everyday…Coach! : )

    • Renee
      Posted at 15:52h, 22 June Reply

      One of the most difficult things to do is to declare our own independence. We sometimes feel that we can’t veer away from the script that others have written for us. It’s time to break free of those chains and stop feeling like we have to perform for others. You have to give yourself permission to do that….so reach deep down inside and tell yourself that there is a reason that God gave you life….so that Y-O-U could live it.

  • Brook K
    Posted at 01:10h, 24 July Reply

    Hi, I’m brook. And I came on this site looking for a way to escape my boyfriend. After Highschool ended I moved in with him and ever since I’ve been looking for a way out, but have nowhere else to go. I can’t find the motivation to work, he works. I stay home and clean and already feel like a house wife, which isn’t what I want to be (Not at 19 anyways.) I know I have plenty of time, but I want to travel and move away. Of course I would miss him, because we know each other so well and have been together so long, but I honestly think that’s the only reason we are still together…the fear of change and the attachment. I dont even know if we love each other anymore, I may find that once I leave I’ll feel like I made a mistake, which scares me. I don’t really know how to get out of this situation, I guess the first steps are to get a job and try to get my hospital bills paid off before i go into even more debt. I need to find a way to move out quick, even if it’s in a horrible place. I have no friends or family that will let me stay with them. Any advice?

    • Renee
      Posted at 17:22h, 24 July Reply

      Your comment really touched me. If it’s ok, I would rather send you an email later. You have the total power within yourself to change your life. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

  • Nancie
    Posted at 00:44h, 29 July Reply

    Having the courage to follow my dream to live in another country really has changed my life. Living as an expat isn’t always easy, but it’s rewarding. When I think about all the great things I have seen, and accomplished in the past twelve years it’s hard to believe. Pinch…yes it’s true 🙂
    Nancie recently posted…Travel Photo Thursday — July 26, 2012 — Beating the Heat in Budapest.My Profile

  • Nancie
    Posted at 00:48h, 29 July Reply

    See how we forget! I had totally forgotten that I had read and commented on this post in January, 2011. Guess what? I enjoyed this as much the second time as I did the first, and your message still resonates loudly. Congrats to you for sending such a powerful message.
    Nancie recently posted…Travel Photo Thursday — July 26, 2012 — Beating the Heat in Budapest.My Profile

  • Leigh
    Posted at 12:05h, 16 January Reply

    There are so many truths in this post.

    This quote, though, got me. “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future”.

    I also love the crabs in a barrel metaphor.

    What obstacles have overcome? Well, I’m in the process of overcoming some now. I live in Argentina and started my own company using art, travel, technology and all the other things I’ve learned over the last years. It scares the hell out of me.

    What if it doesn’t work? Then what? How will we support ourselves? Should I just get a regular job?

    I just have to push those thoughts out of my head, because they’re not useful. In fact, they make it more likely that we won’t succeed. Like that saying, worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want. I just know I’ve made my decision. I’m doing my best. I try to focus on the successes and analyze the things that aren’t working so I can make them work.

    Then just keep doing that.

    Loved this article, Renee! I’ll have to come back and read it as a reminder when I’m in my freak out moments.
    Leigh recently posted…The best of the best: 30 breathtaking books to read in 2013My Profile

  • Monica
    Posted at 20:13h, 28 January Reply

    Hi Renee,

    I don’t know how I stumbled across this website via roaming the internet, trying to find answers. I will call it fate. Life for me has had its ups and downs. People have failed me, unsatisfaction in various jobs, pressure from family and friends to “grow up” and become an adult. I am 28, just moved back in with my parents, work a low wage job, part time, and no romantic relationship. Even though these things are constantly bringing me down and making me feel less accomplished as my peers, I try to focus on the good things that has happened to me such as finally finishing my undergrad degree this past May, currently in a masters program for social work and love it! I just wanted to let you know everything you said in your blog resonates with me in some way. Thank you 🙂

    • Renee King
      Posted at 20:59h, 28 January Reply


      My heart leaps whenever I see a young person searching for answers and not giving into the negative aspects of their current life. And I stress the word CURRENT, because it will not always be that way. Don’t worry about trying to compare yourself to your peers; to do so will only make you an inferior version of someone else. Focus on being the best YOU that you can be. I’m glad that you have found something that you love…that’s half the battle. Stay with it, you are bound for great and wondrous things. Believe it. You deserve it. Congratulations on graduating and pursuing your master’s, this is only the beginning…stay tuned!

  • Kim
    Posted at 12:52h, 07 February Reply

    I’ve used Pinterest as a visual workspace to explore my dreams and solidify my plan to reach them. This is what led me to your blog. With about 90% of my boards being travel destinations, I think I’ve figured out what I want to do. 🙂 I was laid off several months ago, after years of unhappiness in my work, and it was a wake up call. My first response was to explore more fulfilling careers. After visiting many schools, interviewing people in various fields and even taking a couple of classes, I was no closer to finding a career that excited me. I finally realized that I can do any work as long as it pays enough for me to pursue hobbies that excite me! You are living proof and I thank you so much for the affirmation. An extra thanks for the poem. I plan to pull it out in the occasional low moment. Thank you!

    • Renee King
      Posted at 17:37h, 07 February Reply

      Sometimes, it takes a dramatic paradigm shift in our lives to question the life that we have been sleepwalking through. The answers don’t always come swiftly, but it does put us on a path to where we should be. Keep following that path and don’t give up. I think you are right to be searching for a life purpose, not necessarily a career. I think you are probably destined to work for yourself in some way. Maybe something that will allow you the freedom to travel while covering your essential expenses. I’m glad that there was something that spoke to you in this post and I hope that you find much success in your life.

  • Lee
    Posted at 04:55h, 26 February Reply

    We all make excuses why we can’t do something most of the time because we are scared to get out of our comfort zone. I have a little saying that normally helps me.

    It is to easy not to do something ………. Short and sweet normally enough to get me going and to achieve what I was after though hope this helps someone.

    Lee recently posted…Sweat Suits for WomenMy Profile

  • Tanya
    Posted at 14:57h, 08 January Reply

    Wow Renee I really needed to read this!!! Love It!!!!! I have out grown a friend!! She is very negative!! I love life and want to travel the world!!!

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