30 Entrepreneurs Define What A Life On Your Terms Means to Them & 2 Re-live Their Worst Moment as Bloggers


I started really dedicating myself to my blog after Caleb Wojcik published my first guest blog post on Pocket Changed. I didn’t really have a plan until Corbett Barr came into the picture and taught me how to start a blog that matters.

Week 7 he has us developing launch content. One of those pieces of content is supposed to be something epic, like a round up post. So that’s what I did.

Then I decided to take it a step further. I decided that instead of doing one epic round up post, I was going to do two.

Because that’s what people who are meant to do great things do. They one-up themselves every chance they get. 

I wanted you to hear from everyone and anyone I’ve ever admired or respected. That meant approaching people I didn’t have time to contact before, people who I’d only recently gotten to know but admired, and people who I didn’t have the means to contact until now.

At first I was going to ask the same question as I did the first time; and I started to (see my two link bait ladies).

Part of the way into writing up all of the emails (yes I do them one by one tailored to each individual), I felt like I was cheating.

It was too easy. I’ve done this already. “I need to ask them a different question,” I said to myself.

But what?

Then it hit me. I’ve been working on a post to define what a life on your terms really means, but I’d been having trouble with it. I was supposed to go out weeks ago, but I just couldn’t seem to put anything coherent together.

That’s because a life on your terms is a life on your terms, and no one else can define those terms for you. I had no right to tell you what it meant.

I figured I could only tell you what it meant to me.

But I was wrong again.

I can also tell you what it means to others, so that when you are defining it for yourself, you have some inspiration to turn to.

So, off to work I went. I worked my ass off.

But it’s worth it if I can bring you, my wonderful reader, more value. I know there are a lot of places you can be. But amazingly, you’re here. So I’m going to make it worth it.

I asked 26 of the most influential professionals in my life this question:

What does the phrase ‘a life on your terms’ mean to you? Or, asked differently, how would you define that phrase as it applies to you as an individual.

These people are, quite literally, living a life on their own terms. I’ve learned a lot about how I define my terms from reading their quotes, and I hope that you do too. Also, don’t forget to share:



IMPORTANT: I write all of the bylines next to each photo of the contributor. I write them because I want to emphasize the specific parts of their brand that have touched me the most. Also, I want you to know I put in a lot of time choosing who I want to feature because it’s important to me to give you the best. They had nothing to do with the bylines. Although they are mostly factual, I may embellish when I get too excited. Don’t blame them, blame me. 

This isn’t just a Table of Contents. If you want to get to someone in particular, click on their name and watch the magic happen.

Glen Allsopp
Erika Napoletano
Natalie MacNeil
Chris Pirillo
Rand Fishkin
Brian Gardner
Matt Cheuvront
Bamidele Onibalusi
James Chartrand
Steve Pavlina
Johnny Truant
Henri Junttila
Tyler Tervooren
Chris Brogan
Penelope Trunk
Colin Wright
Tia Sparkles Singh
Derek Sivers
Lori Deschene
Peter Shallard
Peter Clemens
AJ Leon
Willie Jackson
Nate St. Pierre
JK Allen
Sibyl Chavis
Jon Morrow
Izzy Arkin
Amber J. Adams
Kristi Hines
Liz Seda
Iris Barzen

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Erika Napoletano is my favorite redheaded ranter. Erika is the talented mind behind Redhead Writing a refreshing blog that you should stay away from if you have tender sensitivities or you can’t handle the truth. It may be a little masochistic, but my favorite part of Erika’s blog is The Bitch Slap, where she lets us know in an occasionally NSFW, but always entertaining way, how we’re letting ourselves down. She also creates some really awesome blog porn. Also you should check out her book, The Power of Unpopular cause it’s just as rad as she is. 

Connect with Erika on Twitter or on Facebook

Living a life on my terms means never having to apologize for being human to other humans.

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Glen Allsopp is a 22 year old South African online legend who runs a blog called ViperChill. He’s the creator of one of my favorite plugins, OptinSkin. You can find it all over the web, including on my blog. He’s known for his long, in depth content, and has even got a shout-out from in the Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. His Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging post is referenced all over the web as the go-to guide for guest blogging. 

Connect with Glen on Twitter or on Facebook

I’m not a huge fan of the phrase to be honest, and online I’ve come to see it associated with people ‘living on their own terms’ selling products on how ‘live on their own terms’, which is kind of ironic. Outside of that though, to me it means knowing that you can get out of your bed the next day, and take advancing steps towards your goals without anyone – and generally anything – holding you back.

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Natalie MacNeil a woman out to change the world, one women entrepreneur at a time.  Her blog, and best selling book, She Takes On The World, helps women all over the world become entrepreneurs and commanders of their own lives. You can find Natalie on Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Insider, to name a few.

Connect with Natalie on Twitter or Facebook .

To me, life on my terms means that the only limits are the limits I place on myself. There is no one or nothing holding me back and I’m free to be who I want to be, dream what I want to dream, and spend my time in the places in the world that energize me.

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Chris Pirillo is the personality and mastermind behind LockerGnome.com. Although Locker Gnome seams like your average technology blog on the outside, on the inside you’ll realize it’s much more than that. The posts on Locker Gnome range from video games to curing blindness. If you’re looking for somewhere to spend the day online, this is a good place to choose.

Connect with Chris on Twitter or YouTube.

I do my best to live without regret, reflecting on mistakes and doing my best to learn from them, pushing forward (and sometimes losing sight of the steps it takes to reach my goals), and going to bed with a clean conscience.

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Rand Fishkin is the undeniable hero of every SEO on the planet. He is the co-founder of SEOmoz, the web’s most popular SEO software for a few reasons. The first being that the software is epic (I know from experience) and second, they are a human technology company. Rand’s leadership is the picture of what future businesses will need to be like to retain valuable people. If I wasn’t such a bad employee, this is one of the only companies that I would consider working for

Connect with Rand on Twitter or on Facebook

To be totally honest, I get a little worried when I see that phrase. It makes me think of people who want to disregard concern for others or live in such a way that puts themselves ahead of the rest of humanity. Perhaps I’m merely making a negative association that isn’t overtly implied, or perhaps it’s that, in my past, the phrase was associated with the wrong kinds of people.

In the most positive light, I see “a life on your terms” referring to the practice of being exceptional. That’s something I wholly embrace, because it represents the voyage of a unique outlier that finds new and innovative ways to solve challenges, optimize, and create a better world. I love to question existing wisdom and overcome irrational biases. I’ve taken to calling this the “choose short men (and tall women)” principle, and it’s one of my favorite things to do.

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Brian Gardner is the brilliant founder of StudioPress, which is the the best of the best when it comes to premium WordPress themes. See for yourself. He is also a partner in Copyblogger. His blog is one of my favorite resources for WordPress customization tips and he has a top of resources for web developers and designers, including awesome tutorials.

Connect with Brian on Twitter

A life on your own terms means that you work for yourself, and aren’t subject to any kind of entrepreneurial direction other than your own intuitions. Being your own boss allows you to take control of your destiny and steer the ship.

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Matt Cheuvront has been teaching people all over the world the wisdom of living life without pants since 2009. His blog, Life Without Pants, encourages you to live a personal and professional life devoid of restrictions. He’s also the Founder and Brand Craftsman at Proof, a branding company that helps people think strategically about their brands. 

Connect with Matt on Twitter or on Facebook

Living a life on your terms is the only way to live. But what does it mean? It’s not as complex as you may think. It doesn’t mean you need to throw the bird to your boss and quit your job. It doesn’t mean you should pack your things and move across the country.

Living a life on your own terms comes down to choice. Creating a life for yourself that allows you the ability to have options and make choices – rather than living responsively – having those choices and decisions made for you – by your boss – by your spouse – by your friends. The key to success, happiness, and personal fulfillment comes down to taking the reigns of your own life and pursuing what you can and should be doing because you choose to do so.

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Bamidele Onibalusi is the owner of a blog called Young Pre Pro, where he helps you learn to write for traffic and money. I first found Bamidele from a guest post he did on Corbett Barr’s Think Traffic site. I was instantly hooked. His blog is chock full of resources for all kinds of writers. If you are really serious, he has a list of paid services as well. 

Connect with Bamidele on Twitter or on Facebook

For me, a life on my terms means living my life to the fullest without having to be wary about external influence.

It’s not about avoiding feedback or criticism, but I see a lot of things wrong with how things are in the world we live right now. For example, I’ve never agreed with the idea that one should go to school, get good grades and get a job.

I don’t believe or agree in a life already determined by someone else; I believe living a life on my own terms is living my life without following a set code – especially one that has been followed for generations – but instead carving out my own path.

If I don’t agree with something, I do it my way without regards for the general consensus. That’s what I see as living a life on my own terms; it could be watching a particular movie 25 hours at a stretch for 3+ days in a roll and it could be working on my website for up to 20 hours if I want to (both of which I’ve done before).

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James Chartrand founded Men with Pens in 2006. James is a genius writer and copywriter, earning the Men with Pens blog a Top Ten Blog for Writers position for the bast four years. But it’s not only a blog. It’s also a world-class web design and copywriting company. If you want to learn something from James, you can sign up for her writing course for business owners, Damn Fine Words. P.S. If you want to know why she calls herself James, read this Copyblogger article

Connect with James on Twitter or on Facebook

I think the phrase ‘life on your terms’ is bandied about a little too much as meaning ‘quit your job and become self-employed’. Truthfully, self-employment isn’t as fun or easy as some people crack it up to be, and it requires dedication, determination, and a lot of hard work.

I see ‘life on your terms’ rather differently. To me, it means a blend of financial stability, security, and overall happiness. No stress, a thriving family, and contentment with what you do and the integrity within which you operate. You can achieve that whether you work from home and make your own schedule or whether you get up each day for a commute to your office where you work for someone else.

No matter what you do, no matter what your career, if you can come home, look around and say, “I like my life,” with a sense of fulfillment, then you’ve built a life on your terms.

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Steve Pavlina writes the best personal development tips I’ve ever read. The purpose of his website is ‘to help you grow as a conscious human being’ which he does very well. I’ve gotten much of my inspiration from articles like this, and this. Click here to find out how he went from felon to the father of personal development. He’s earned it. 

Connect with Steve on Twitter or on Google+

I don’t require life to live up to my expectations, so I have no terms for it to satisfy. When it isn’t looking though, I squeeze the juice out of it so it has little energy left to create obstacles.

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Johnny B. Truant is who I would have been if I were born a man (sorry Johnny). He is legendary. He is shocking. He’s a “lovable jackass”. He’s kind and caring. He a genius that writes kick-ass tough love motivational posts that are emotionally charged and usually hilarious. But most of all, he believes everything we need to know about life is in the film The Matrix. I happen to agree. He also participates in The Self Publishing Podcast and his course, Question the Rules, is a content rich, action packed course severely under-priced. 

Connect with Johnny on Twitter or on Facebook

It’s pretty much literally what the phrase says: It’s a life lived according to what you’d like to do, by your rules. That means you have to be conscious about what your decisions are giving you and costing you. If you choose to live your life on the couch, that’s your business as long as you’re doing it on purpose rather than by default… but most people who live consciously will choose a life with more adventure and more fulfillment. But above all else, you must always stay AWAKE as you go through life.

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Henri Junttila is my Swedish friend who writes a blog called Wake Up Cloud. He helps you turn your passion into a business. He does consultations and mentoring. He also has a huge library of digital products making him something of an expert when it comes to creating information products to sell.

You can connect with Henri on Twitter or Facebook.

To me, living a life on your own terms means you can do what you want, when you want and from where you want.

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Tyler Tervooren has a Ph.D.  in Riskology. He shares his abundant knowledge in this field on a blog called Advanced Riskology. Tyler has some of the most entertaining stories I’ve ever seen on a blog. His 1% Club is a diary of challenges he’s going to do that less than 1% of the world will ever do. He’s also the author of one of my favorite e-books to date.

Connect with Tyler on Twitter or Facebook

To me, living a life on your own terms means you can do what you want, when you want and from where you want.

To me, it means not just making my own choices about how I live, but also making those choices based on my own values and priorities rather than someone else’s. It’s so easy to think you’re following your own path and still get frustrated with the results because you don’t realize how much of the decisions you’re making are still influenced by people you give too much power to.

In practical terms, for myself, that’s meant I’ve consciously stopped trying to look to others—friends, relatives, blogs, etc.—for answers to problems I’m having and spent that time, instead, trying to think of my own solutions. It’s less comfortable, and it doesn’t always go perfectly, but I feel a lot happier about the direction of my life when I do it.

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Chris Brogan is a blogger, author, and writing coach. He is the President and CEO of Human Business Works, a champion of bravery, the co-author of the best selling book Trust Agents as well as the soon to be best selling book The Impact Equation (Pick it up. It’s amazing. I’ve read it.). He also does a bunch of other epic stuff that you can explore on his blog. 

Connect with Chris on Twitter or on Google+

“A life on your terms” means choosing how you earn the money you need, how many hours it takes to earn it, who you serve to acquire it, who you help with it once you’ve earned it, and the people you surround yourself with along the way.

Success means saying no to what you don’t choose so that you have much more opportunity to make your “yes” even more valuable.

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Penelope Trunk is the founder of Brazen Careerist, a unique blog offering different, and sometimes controversial, career advice to next-generation professionals. Her personal blog is witty, honest, and sometimes satirical but always fun to read. She’s also the founder of two other start-ups and her career advice runs in hundreds of newspapers. If you want more of Penelope, consider a coaching session with her. 

Connect with Penelope on Twitter or on Linkedin.

Everyone has to figure out what they are going to give up. You give up a lot when you decided who to marry. You give up a lot when you decide where to live. You give up a lot when you decide which job you will take.

A life on your terms is when you consciously decide what you will give up instead of letting it just happen to you.

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Colin Wright currently lives in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. I say that because Colin moves to a different country every four months, and you get to tell him where he’s going. You can vote for where he should live next on his blog, Exile Lifestyle. On top of that, he writes a ton of books and runs a publishing company. Oh. And he also designs t-shirts. He also has a really cool ‘quote wall‘ on his blog that I’m going to imitate soon. It’s brilliant. 

Connect with Colin on Twitter or on Facebook

A life on my terms means doing what I want, when I want, where I want, with whomever I want.

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Tia Sparkles Singh runs a blog called Your Life Your Way, which is just another way of saying A Life on Your Terms. Naturally, I had to have her. Her personality is infused into her blog like a force of nature to be reckoned with. She makes up words and, literally, sparkles. If you want to sparkle too, consider signing up for the super secret Sparkle Flight Club, an online 30 day community experience journeying into your Inner Self, Passion, and Purpose. 

Connect with Tia on Facebook or on Twitter.

Life on my own terms means having the freedom to do what I want, when I want,
and choose “work” that makes my soul soar vs having to march to someone else’s
drum. It means that WHAT I do is simply an extension of WHO I am, and I get paid
to be ME! Living on purpose and taking 100% responsibility for my life + happiness.
Loving and accepting myself fully, stepping into my best self, being fully self
expressed. Waking up excited about life and its unlimitless potential every day.

And I AM!! Living my life MY way.

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Derek Sivers is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, musician, and programmer. He claims to have been a circus clown, but I have yet to confirm these details. He writes about everything from business to music, life and everything in between. I don’t even know how many companies he’s started and, somehow, he manages to answer every single email.

Connect with Derek on Twitter or on Facebook

Seems pretty self-explanatory at first.

But it should include the freedom for your terms to change at any time. You can change your mind about what you want to do, update your goals, change direction, etc.

Your “terms” can also change to the point where the whole meaning of “life on your terms” can change.  For example: you may start with that meaning that you get to boss people around, be uncompromising, and tell everyone exactly how you want things to be.  Eventually you may realize that’s a very ineffective way of getting what you want out of life.  So you learn to listen more than command, be as flexible as a hayfield, and help encourage your team to do things the way they do them best, as long as you get the results you want.

Now are you still living a life on your terms?  Maybe your former self would say no – that you’ve sold out – you compromised!  But your newer wiser self knows this new approach is better, more effective, and makes you happier.

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Lori Deschene is the brilliant woman behind Tiny Buddha, a blog that gets you to slow down in a busy and complex world. Every post brings you a little bit closer to personal peace and happiness. One of my favorite parts of Tiny Buddha is it’s large collection of quotesLori is also the author of Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions.

You can connect with Tiny Buddha on Twitter and on Facebook

I believe that living life on our own terms means we choose what we do based on what aligns with our individual preferences, passions, interests, values, and priorities.

I think we often assume that living life on our own terms means working for ourselves, and this may be true for some of us. But for others, living life on their terms may look like doing what’s expected of them, if that’s what they legitimately want. It’s about deciding for ourselves what’s right, whether other people agree, disagree, approve, or judge.

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Peter Shallard  is a business psychology guru and therapist helping entrepreneurs get out of their head so that they can create even bigger and better things. Use his Clarity Couch Challenge if you want to get a feel of what it’s like to work with Peter. Or, if you’re ready to discover your full potential lying dormant in your mind, and eliminate mental obstacles, go ahead and become a client

Connect with Peter on Twitter and on Facebook.

“A life on my terms” means being, in the words of William Ernest Henley, the captain of my fate and the master of my soul. I was first motivated to start my own business, honestly, because I was excited about freedom. Helping people and getting paid to do what I loved were important too, but primarily I wanted to be unencumbered by the day to day snore-fest of a “9-to-5”.

I think the definitions for “A life on my terms” will be different from person to person. However, I firmly believe that the path of entrepreneurialism offers the most radical, powerful version of a life on your terms.

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Peter Clemens is the founder of The Change Blog, a place where you can go to discover how you can change your life so you can live a life you love. He’s also runs a blog called Audio Book Addicts, which I approve of because I am also a huge fan of audio books. If you are looking for a quick fix for inspiration, Life Change Quotes, is a great place to start. 

Connect with Peter on Twitter and on Facebook

For me it means living the life I want to live, rather than the life that family, friends or society think I should. While I will be influenced by others, ultimately I’m free to determine the direction of my life through the choices I make.

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AJ Leon says that he used to be an average guy, but all evidence points to the contrary. He runs a blog called The Pursuit of Everything, which is about living on purpose, doing meaningful work, and making your mark on the world. He’s currently travling around the world in 1,080 days. I highly recommend his ebook The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit. It’s free, and it’s more than worth your time. 

Connect with AJ on Twitter or on Facebook

Five years ago, I was working as a successful finance executive in Manhattan. I made great money, had a corner office and enjoyed the benefits of a fruitful career. The one problem was that I hated my life because none of those things actually mattered to me. In my experience, the idea of “living a life on your own terms” is a mixture of three things – living with intention, doing work that truly matters and changing the world through acts of service. I’ve never met a person who is “living life on their own terms” that isn’t embodying all three.

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Willie Jackson is an incredibly modest, but brilliant, marketer, writer & poet (is there a difference? j/k Willie!) and engineer. He used to work on the Domino Project with Seth Godin, but now he’s working at W3 EDGE so that we can all have faster websites. He has a very good escape story I recommend checking out.

Connect with Willie on Twitter or on Facebook.

To me, the phrase means going “off script” and building a life that reflects your values and interests, as opposed to the ones handed down by society or parents or peers.

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Nate St. Pierre is a joker, ocassional blogger, and a brilliant project leader/consultant. His most notable projects are Mixup (the web), ItStartsWith.US, Love Bomb, and Love Drop. He spends his time building projects from the ground up and coming up with witty things to say on Twitter. 

Connect with Nate on Facebook or on Twitter

Living life on my own terms means that I spend my days in meaningful ways. I earn a fair salary for doing work I enjoy, that also provides solid value to others – preferably (but not necessarily) from my own business. I spend time with family, and also with myself, both relaxing and exercising my mind to prepare it to undertake projects that change the world – which I have the talent, time, and freedom to do, based on the lifestyle I’ve been intentional about creating. I do things that matter.

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JK Allen win’s at life by running a popular blog, The Hustler’s Notebook (soon to be Hustle Methodology), running a web design business called Growth Effect, leading a mastermind forum called The Hustle Project, and working a 9-5 job. He’s a rare breed of entrepreneur called an intrapreneur, and he never stops hustling. 

Connect with Jk on Twitter or on Google+.

A life on my terms is living according to my own plan; without consideration of expectations that others may place on me. It’s about not being a pawn, but being the king of my own chessboard (life). It’s about asking why, and saying no whenever I feel the need.

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Sibyl Chavis is a Harvard Law School graduate and corporate dropout who decided that she wanted more possibilities that she could ever have at her day job. Her blog, The Possibility of Today advocates living better today than yesterday every day of your life. Her epic content has catapulted her blog from 0 to 37,000 Facebook fans in only a year. 

Connect with Sibyl on Facebook or on Twitter.

To me, “Life on your own terms” means reaching your personal definition of success, whatever that may be. We all want to reach our personal definition of success and that requires us to look not only into our minds, but also into our hearts. It also means that we are probably going to need to make some changes; or reignite our passion; or take advantage of new possibilities. The most important thing is that we can never become complacent or settle for anything that falls short. There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

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Jon Morrow is the associate editor of Copyblogger, the founder of BoostBlogTraffic.com, the leader of a phenomenal Guest Blogging apprenticeship course (yes I am a student!), and the hero of aspiring bloggers all over the world. Jon’s emotionally charged but always useful content has earned him a cozy life in Mexico where he spends his time sleeping with his readers and teaching others how to write. 

Connect with Jon on Twitter.

To me, it means fighting for everything you want and not taking no for an answer, even when everyone else believes your goals are truly unreasonable.

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Izzy Arkin did the unimaginable and went from a regular teacher in Los Angeles to Ninja in training in Japan. Izzy uses a combination of videos, blog posts, and an his ninja toolkit to help people turn their dreams into a reality. He documents his journey on his blog, The 30 Year Old Ninja

Connect with Izzy on Twitter.

A life on my terms means becoming a ninja. I used to be a teacher in America. After 4 years I had new degrees, a fancy resume, and was a depressed mess. Following some intense soul searching I decided to pursue my childhood dream: to become a ninja. So, I quit my job and moved to Japan. Now I work part time and intensely train in martial arts. Living life on my own terms means daring to listen to my heart and actually following it.

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I am shamelessly using Amber and Kristi to bait all of you back to my first round-up post during the re-launching of my blog.

A few weeks ago, I asked 33 entrepreneurs the following question:

1.) Can you name the lowest (or one of the lowest) points in your career, and how did you get past it?

2.) How has that affected you as a person and as a business owner?

I asked Amber and Kristi the same question and here are their answers. If you want to see the rest of the 33 answers, visit my post 33 Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal it All.

Amber J. Adams is a spunky rule-breaking Gen Y-er. She is the founder of a blog called The Fab Life Project, a personal development blog eliminating “woulda, coulda, and shoulda’ from your vocabulary . She tells you the hard truths, motivates you, and challenges you to define your own happiness.

Connect with Amber on Twitter or on Facebook

The lowest point in my blogging career has been trying to decide how much of my opinion I should share in the name of standing up for issues I believe in. The reason this has been such a problem, is that so many of my views go against the industry that I work in. I’ve had a few times where I have been looking at different positions, and I’ve had to decide if I should hide specific posts on my blog.

I hate this because I want to be as authentic as I possibly can, but sadly corporate life doesn’t always reward that, or want to know how you really feel about all of their bullshit.

As a business owner, I have learned that you have to be flexible about your strategy, and make changes when necessary. And you have to try to find the middle ground in difficult situations.

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Kristi Hines is what I like to call a ‘Super Blogger.’ Not only does she create epic content for her blog, Kikolani, but she is also a freelance writer on sites like the Social Media Examiner, KISSmetrics and more, and covers topics from blogging to online business, SEO and social media.

Connect with Kristi on Twitter and on Facebook. Connect with Kikolani on Twitter .

1.) As a blogger, my lowest point came near the end of 2008. I had started my blog to share creative writing and photography, but hit a creative slump around that time. Plus I really wanted to write more about blog marketing, but didn’t know what to do about my current audience who were all there for the more artistic posts. So I ended up taking a few months off of blogging altogether.

2.) After the time off, I decided that I just wanted to re-brand the site altogether, and I accepted the fact that I would lose the audience base I built up. It turned out to be a good move – I was rewarded for my decision in time with a new, even larger audience and recognition for my new focus. The biggest break was when I was listed as one of the top 10 social media blogs by Social Media Examiner in 2010.

What it all taught me is that sometimes it’s better to take the risk of losing the things you’ve built to change directions and go for your passion. I ended up applying that to my career and moved from a 9 to 5 job to working for myself as a freelance writer, something that I probably wouldn’t have been able to do if it weren’t for changing the direction with the blog when I did. So all in all, the risks can be well worth it and pay off, even if taking them seems very daunting at first.

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The End?

That was supposed to be the end of the list. Technically, it is.

But I thought some people deserved the floor.

And by some people, I mean you and I. We’re also entrepreneurs aren’t we?

I’m not saying that I think I’m in league with everyone above. But one day I might be. I hope to be, and I think I will be if I work hard enough.

And so will you. Maybe you’re not quite where you want to be yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also define what ‘a life on your terms’ means to you.

I’ll go first. And then you’ll go. Leave your answer in the comments section along with your best byline possible, including links to your projects.

Liz Seda is the founder of a blog called A Life on Your Terms, where she writes about how you can live the life you want to live, professionally and emotionally. She advocates self-acceptance, self-interest, and the sacredness of the individual and human potential. She’s also a niche site addict, aspiring compulsive guest poster, animal lover, a tiny bit too energetic, impulsive giver, and life-lover. Also she’s a sucker for corny teenage movies. 

Connect with Liz on Twitter or on Facebook.

To me, a life on your terms means to live an authentic, conscious and happy life, devoid of unearned guilt, full of respect for myself, while doing work I love and taking responsibility for every aspect of my life.

Everything I do is because I want to do it. I don’t honor obligations that I don’t agree with, I don’t give to causes I feel are worthless, I don’t befriend people I don’t respect, I don’t do work unless it contributes to my lifelong goal of happiness, I don’t skirt responsibility, I don’t blank out, and I don’t require anyone to be anything other than who they are naturally.

I love without restraint, I believe with my whole heart, I give without regard to myself to causes that move me (like this blog & my family), and I hold my life as an end in itself. I love my life and living a life on my terms means that it will always be my life.

In one week I’ll choose what I think are the best two answers to the round-up question in the comments (or via email) and I’ll include both of you in this round up. I’ll replace myself and mystery person with you in the round up photo. I’ll include your byline, links to your projects, and your quote.

You’ll have to be signed up for the newsletter which you can do here or below the post (you can unsubscribe if you really hate it).

Here are the two winners!

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Iris is my lovely German friend who is in the middle of launching her blog, Bright Little Socksa place for people who’d like to wear bright socks and change the world simultaneously. A German college student on a mission to change the world, Iris is challenging the status quo and wants to use her life as proof that it’s possible to live like you mean it and still put food on the table and pretty dresses in your closet. She refused to even touch the corporate world and that’s how she got to work for Sensophy and The en*theos Academy

Living on my terms is what I’ve been working on over the last couple of months. I wouldn’t say that I’m fully living on my terms just yet, but I’m working on it everyday.

Living on your terms requires a lot of self-knowledge. You need to know your values, strengths and purpose, so that you can live in alignment with them. Living on my terms doesn’t necessarily mean that you enjoy every single day, it means that you know that what you’re doing today matters, because you’re building the life of your dreams.

My favorite quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

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Jacob is a fellow blogger and entrepreneur. He’s launching a new project, Efficient Human, to help you get up start doing what counts. 

When my dad was in the Marine Corps, he was promoted quickly because he was very good at what he did. He was demoted twice as fast because one day a superior officer was pushing him around (nothing unusual in the military), and my dad punched the guy in the face.

When my dad got out of the Marines, he became an iron worker. He worked for someone else for about 10 minutes before he realized he needed to run his own company. He would never have survived as someone’s employee.

My sister once described my dad very succinctly by saying: “Papa was nobody’s bitch.”

That’s a life on your own terms. And that is in my blood.

As much as this is a mindset to be cultivated, it is also something that exists in my core, and I couldn’t escape it if I tried.

To some people, subordination is comfortable. It is authentic to who they are. Living on their own terms is the same thing as living according to other people’s expectations.

Here is what’s authentic to me:

-I do not give control of my schedule to anyone else. Nobody tells me when I start work, and more importantly, nobody tells me when I stop.
-Nobody tells me how much to produce, and nobody limits me with their scrawny expectations of what they think I can do.
-Nobody tells me how much vacation I get, or when I am allowed to take it.
-I don’t put cover sheets on my TPS reports.

A life on my own terms is a life without limitations, where no one breathes down my neck, and my successes and failures are my own.

Every day of my life is a gift; I can take advantage of each day, or I can waste it. At the beginning of each day, I am the one who makes that decision. At the end of each day, I look in the mirror and answer to myself.

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{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Henri September 12, 2012, 12:12 pm

    Good stuff, Liz. Thanks for including me.

    Funny how Colin Wright said almost the same exact thing I did, except he added “with whom I want” at the end there, which can be interpreted in many a way 😉

    Also, Jon’s answer rocked.

    • Liz September 13, 2012, 12:50 pm

      I know right! It’s like everything Jon says rocks.

      I guess the question is, who has better grammar, you or Colin?

      Thanks for stopping by Henri!

  • Natalie MacNeil September 12, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Fantastic post Liz! I know it took awhile to compile (hey that rhymes!) and it was definitely worth all the effort. Thank you so much for including me and my She Takes on the World mission.

    • Liz September 13, 2012, 12:52 pm

      Of course! Thanks for participating even though you’re on an e-diet.

  • Nate St. Pierre September 12, 2012, 12:28 pm

    I love these kinds of articles when they are curated by talented people with a good heart. Now I have at least five people to learn more about and connect with! Thanks for making it good for all of us, Liz.

    • Liz September 12, 2012, 5:38 pm

      So you think I’m talented? *bats eyelashes*

      Just kidding! Thanks Nate. I’m glad you got something out of it, and I’m glad you participated.

  • Jacob September 12, 2012, 2:14 pm

    Liz, this is awesome, as was your other roundup post. I can’t imagine how long this must have taken you!

    I’ll email you with my byline and quote, and the info on the project I want to interview you for.

    Rock on!


    • Liz September 13, 2012, 12:53 pm

      Definitely post your quote! I can’t believe nobody has done it yet. It’s free publicity!

      • Jacob September 20, 2012, 1:11 pm

        Hey Liz, I emailed you but here’s my quote just in case:

        When my dad was in the Marine Corps, he was promoted quickly because he was very good at what he did. He was demoted twice as fast because one day a superior officer was pushing him around (nothing unusual in the military), and my dad punched the guy in the face.

        When my dad got out of the Marines, he became an iron worker. He worked for someone else for about 10 minutes before he realized he needed to run his own company. He would never have survived as someone’s employee.

        My sister once described my dad very succinctly by saying: “Papa was nobody’s bitch.”

        That’s a life on your own terms. And that is in my blood.

        As much as this is a mindset to be cultivated, it is also something that exists in my core, and I couldn’t escape it if I tried.

        To some people, subordination is comfortable. It is authentic to who they are. Living on their own terms is the same thing as living according to other people’s expectations.

        Here is what’s authentic to me:

        -I do not give control of my schedule to anyone else. Nobody tells me when I start work, and more importantly, nobody tells me when I stop.
        -Nobody tells me how much to produce, and nobody limits me with their scrawny expectations of what they think I can do.
        -Nobody tells me how much vacation I get, or when I am allowed to take it.
        -I don’t put cover sheets on my TPS reports.

        A life on my own terms is a life without limitations, where no one breathes down my neck, and my successes and failures are my own.

        Every day of my life is a gift; I can take advantage of each day, or I can waste it. At the beginning of each day, I am the one who makes that decision. At the end of each day, I look in the mirror and answer to myself.

  • James Chartrand - Men with Pens September 12, 2012, 3:12 pm

    Wow. That’s one hella good roundup. Well written, full of interesting quotes and info about even more interesting people, and all I can do is stand up and applaud. You wrote a roundup that’s a cut above, and you asked a good, serious question that garnered just-as-great answers.

    Well done, you!

    • Liz September 12, 2012, 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much James! Thank you!

  • Dewane Mutunga September 12, 2012, 3:18 pm


    You amaze me with every new post. Your voice, style, and delivery is SO refreshing.

    You’ll be at “Rockstar” status in no time. Keep doing your do.

    • Liz September 12, 2012, 5:40 pm

      You know, people say that about my voice all of the time but I just don’t see it!! Thanks for being there from the beginning!

  • Izzy September 12, 2012, 9:39 pm


    First off I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be in this post.

    Next, I have to to say this was downright awesome! I know that I should have known who more of these people are but I didn’t (notice the past tense). Now I’m super excited because I went through the list and opened up a bunch of separate web pages and now get to read all of this new content from some people that sound pretty darn awesome.

    I have to give you some credit you asked a great question. And I have gone ahead and clicked over to your first round up – for the same reason. The question from the first round up is great and I am very interested in how people respond.

    Awesome x 97 Liz :).

    • Liz September 13, 2012, 12:52 pm

      Aww shucks Izz. Thanks. I’m glad you discovered some awesome people. Everyone on this list is amazing. The sad thing is, I could probably make two more lists and still have more amazing people left to ask questions to.

      Always love seeing you here!

  • Coach Comeback September 13, 2012, 12:33 pm

    New Favorite quote “Realists (which is how pessimists describe themselves) are more often right, but optimists are more often successful.” ~Danny Iny

    1.) The lowest point in my career would be when I lost all of my rental properties as well as my own home. Not because of the market, but because my family crumbled!

    I had a few choices to make: I could easily get back into a 6 figure corporate position that I had just left a year prior that I hated or I could see this as an opportunity to try something new.

    2.) What ended up happening was that I become completely liberated! Do you know how powerful and freeing it is to overcome your worst fear?

    It’s like if you were being terrorized by the biggest bully in school the entire year. You pretty much hate going to school. You are in fear of every corner. You walk with your head down. It makes even the great moments seem dull because you are paralyzed with fear.

    Then one day, quite by accident, you find yourself in the middle of a fight with the bully. You can either “fight for your life or lay down and wait to die (quoted from Jon Morrow). So you choose to fight! And you fight! You swing for the fences. And while you are fighting it gives you a surge of energy! You realize you have never actually defended yourself your entire life.

    You feel empowered! You start getting stronger. You don’t even feel the bully’s blows anymore!

    You are starting to back him down. Soon you realize you are chasing him away!


    How do you think your school days will go after that experience?

    That is what has happened to me!

    I no longer fear what “could” happen. I know that even if the worst does occur… I WILL SURVIVE!

    Knowing that I am free to go after anything was the biggest “consequence” of surviving my worst fear.

    My name is P. James Holland and that is how I became Coach Comeback. I share my experiences and others at http://coachcomeback.com that teach people how to apply “CPR” to your life. I believe everyone has a story. And I believe somebody out there needs to hear that story.

    That is why I started working with some of the greatest achievers I have come across on my latest project The 30 Day Comeback found at http://30daycomeback.com

    I have been able to interview some really amazing people who shared with me the most fantastic Comeback stories of their lives. I hope you will all listen in and maybe someone’s story will be exactly what you need to hear to put you on your path to making your own life comeback

    • Liz September 13, 2012, 4:04 pm

      Love it James!

  • Sebastian September 13, 2012, 4:27 pm

    Awesome job on the post! I really like what your building here.
    As others already said you have a very unique style and voice that makes you stand out.

    Let me know when you want to practice your German;-)

    • Liz September 17, 2012, 9:30 pm

      I can’t practice my German in public Sebastian! I’ll be too shy. Maybe we can Skype one day and talk about blogs!

  • Johannes September 15, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Hi Liz,

    I’m glad to return and see that you’ve made quite a lot progress with site. I just wonder one thing:
    What ever happened to the challenges set forth in
    http://www.alifeonyourterms.com/a-blogger-challenge-say-goodbye-numbered-list-question-blog-post-titles/ ?

    You promised that, I quote, “For the entire life of this blog I will follow these rules:”
    – No numbered lists
    – No lists for link baiting

    I’m confused, did you change your values? Or is it just a Machiavellist interpretation of the promise you gave? 😉

    Best regards and good luck with this from Europe,

    • Liz September 15, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Haha Johannes! I can’t believe you know about that. I didn’t think any of my older posts were read.

      Well, I haven’t changed my values, and I’m still holding myself to that challenge. But they’ve evolved a bit. Here are the original promises:
      1.) I will never begin my title with a number – At the time I was a beginner. I didn’t realize that in order for me to ever write a list post, I would HAVE to do this. See #3.

      2.) I will never use question marks in my titles, nor will I phrase the title in such a way that a question mark is implied – I haven’t done this. All of my post titles are statements. Except for ‘Excuse Me Sir, Can I Speak to Your Owner?’ which is actually a statement. Had I written ‘Are you in control of your desting?’ then that would have violated this point.

      3.) I will never write a list just for link bait if it’s better communicated in a different format. – I’ve never written a list post if it is can be communicated in a different format. I’ve written 3, and they couldn’t have been communicated any other way.

      Thanks for keeping me in line :).

  • Johannes September 15, 2012, 5:24 pm

    No worries. I read the article back then and left a comment, so I somehow remembered that 😉
    But thanks for clarifying.

  • Iris September 17, 2012, 4:27 am

    First off: WOW! Amazing round-up. I normally don’t enjoy round-ups as much, but this one was really good. I agree, your voice is unique and your writing style is amazing (this is the journalism student inside of me speaking). I just discovered your blog through LYL and I’m excited to be here 🙂

    I’d love to take on the challenge to be included in the post, so here’s my answer:

    What does the phrase ‘a life on your terms’ mean to you? Or, asked differently, how would you define that phrase as it applies to you as an individual.

    “Living on my terms is what I’ve been working on over the last couple of months. I wouldn’t say that I’m fully living on my terms just yet, but I’m working on it everyday.

    Living on your terms requires a lot of self-knowledge. You need to know your values, strengths and purpose, so that you can live in alignment with them. Living on my terms doesn’t necessarily mean that you enjoy every single day, it means that you know that what you’re doing today matters, because you’re building the life of your dreams. ”

    My favorite quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” -Nelson Mandela

    I’m curious to hear what you think about my answer, so please let me know!


  • Liz September 17, 2012, 9:32 pm


    I love love your response. Thank you for telling me you love the round-up. It’s really great blogger fuel. You know?

    Talk soon! And do forget about Monday morning confessions.

    • Iris September 25, 2012, 5:05 pm

      Glad to give you free blogger fuel anytime you need some 🙂

  • Adam Johnson September 21, 2012, 4:40 am

    Hi Liz,

    I’ve been wrestling with commenting or not. I’ve obviously decided to comment.

    The main reason for my struggle is similar to what Rand has to say. A life on your terms can so easily become self-centred, selfish and downright nasty. It can become a world of spoiled dilettantes who confuse their good fortune (being born into a world where they can even think about a life on their terms) with talent (they earned it, and so they’re going to enjoy it). That world is horribly brittle and not one I want to know.

    I don’t think that’s what you’re all about, but it’s so easy to leap to that conclusion. That is why I have read but not responded until now. I needed to make myself comfortable with what you are about. I hope you don’t mind…

    So to me and mine.

    A life on my terms is being able to chose the path I wish to take to make the world a better place.

    I believe that I am truly blessed, and it is my obligation to repay that blessing back into the world. Yes, I do believe in obligation!

    I repay my blessing by choosing, and sticking with, things that matter. They will inevitably go through times when I wish I could drop them, but I don’t.

    I do this by using my talents with as much humility as I can muster, but acknowledging that I am not perfect and will sometime fall prey to false pride.

    I do this by putting myself out there, relentlessly pursuing the worthwhile objective even while it offends those who would prefer the world to remain stuck in the status quo. I try to pursue my objectives without arrogance, and am sorry when people take offense.

    I do this by trying to build up people around me so that they can surpass me. I see myself as having succeeded when others claim my ideas as their own.

    Ultimately, a life on my terms is understanding that the world is imperfect, but dedicating my life in my own way to making it a little bit better.

    To make up a byline (now this is hard!)

    I work to make the world better by doing waste better. Literally. I have worked in waste management for 15 years, and do it because I believe in it. I have founded new recycling businesses, run Councils, consulted, regulated.

    I think about waste a lot, cut it from all different angles to see if there are new perspectives that might be shed, toss in all sorts of thoughts to disrupt the status quo. Because, ultimately, the status quo is pretty ordinary, and it is only there because good minds haven’t applied themselves to the challenge. I blog at http://www.garbologie.com.

    Alongside this, I want to develop myself as a better husband, father and human being. I want to be able to live a life that is authentic to me, that enables the people around me to be everything they can be, in short, a life that is worth living.

    Thanks for the chance to share this. Great work in pulling the post together!



    • Liz September 21, 2012, 11:13 am

      Hi Adam!

      Of course I don’t mind. I would never want you putting your name on something you don’t believe in.

      With that said, you’re right that I’m not about promoting an abrasive and hurtful society. I’m just about loving individual potential. I love when people can look inside themselves and see value rather than base their worth on external factors.

      Thank you for deciding to leave a comment and thanks for your kind words!


  • Adam Johnson September 29, 2012, 10:27 am

    Hi Liz,

    I’m back, this time having started working through your line-up. As you might have noticed, last time round I’d been a bit focused on your writing and not the people in your story.

    I just wanted to write and say that I really like your judgement. I came to you via AJ Leon, and find that I like many of those you have listed. So once again, well done and thanks! I’m enjoying the exploration.


    • Liz September 29, 2012, 1:57 pm

      Yay! Thank you. I’m happy to earn the respect of my peers. I hope you explore often and keep challenging me to be better.


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