Nine Life-Changing Bloggers Reveal Their Renegade Paths to Success

I’m all about the renegade spirituality: re-thinking worldviews, challenging assumptions, questioning how beliefs are formed, and trusting experience over authority. Creating a spiritual practice for myself, based on what makes me fulfilled, compassionate, and strong, has been the most important endeavor of my life.

It’s astounding how much I’ve had to trust myself. It has also amazed me how much resistance I’ve met and continue to meet over some of my ideas. For example: whatever your spiritual beliefs are, it’s all good with me as long as they encourage you to be a kind, compassionate and kind person with a strong sense of self and integrity.

Sounds pretty innocuous to me! But I’ve discovered that as soon as I use that word “belief,” all sorts of people’s biases, assumptions, and fears come into play, and I’m including myself. Despite my own fears and doubts, I’ve come to my spiritual worldview through trusting my instincts, testing my assumptions, and building something that provides the results I want (see above: kindness, integrity, fulfillment, etc.)

I think anyone who wants to succeed in creating positive and powerful life change has to buck the system somewhere. If you’ve been following the rules and you’re not where you want to be, then obviously you’ve got to break at least one rule. Or get a new set of rules. Or shred the rules.

I asked nine amazing, successful bloggers how they’ve had to think like a renegade to get the results they want and become the person they are now. In the comments, share how you think like a renegade. What kind of innovative strategies have you used to buck the system and find success? When have you met resistance to a new idea, but went ahead with it anyway?


What piece of conventional wisdom or advice in your career and/or your personal life do you ignore because it doesn’t work for you? In what way are you a renegade thinker in your field?


Gala Darling, International Playgirl

“I believe in making my own luck.”


Gala: “I think there is a general kind of belief that if you’re truly talented, truly good at what you do, truly exceptional, that you will be ‘discovered’ by someone & that will be your ticket to success.  Maybe the New York Times will stumble across your Instagram feed, or Todd Selby will just happen to be standing beside you at a bar.  Perhaps someone from Random House will email you & tell you they want to publish a big, fat book of your best blog posts.

This doesn’t happen anymore.  There is no higher power or authority, no “kingmaker”.  It’s up to us to create these opportunities for ourselves; to push harder than anyone else; to position ourselves in front of the right kinds of audiences.  Tonight I read this fascinating piece by Seth Godin about the importance of ‘picking yourself.’  It’s so on the money.

I believe in making my own luck — & it has made my life so much more magical.”

Corbett Barr, Founder of Insanely Useful Media and ThinkTraffic

“Why not build real value?”


Corbett: “The blogosphere is filled with people who advocate trying to build a business online by looking for the latest Google loophole or SEO trick or traffic tactic. I’ve always taken the opposite approach. Why not build real value? Why not care about your customers? Why not try to solve important problems? Taking the opposite approach has worked out well for us.”

Joan Otto, Financial Blogger at Man vs Debt

“I absolutely have rejected the ‘set it and forget it’ mindset.”


Joan: “In the area of personal finance in particular (which blends our blog at Man Vs. Debt and my personal life!) I absolutely have rejected the “set it and forget it” mindset. I don’t do automatic payments, and I balance my checkbook to the penny. I don’t know if that makes me a renegade or just a dork, but I’m pretty obsessive about wanting to see the numbers for myself. I think that applies to so much beyond finance, too – I believe that facing so many parts of life head-on, whether that’s weight loss, finance, health, spirituality, personal development… that is the key to success!”

Caleb Wojcik, Founder of Pocket Changed

“Most people are just in it for the quick wins, I guess you could say I’m in it for the slow wins. ;)

Caleb: “The conventional wisdom of ‘playing it safe’ was thrown out the door when I left my steady cubicle job with great pay and benefits to be an entrepreneur. After nearly four years of doing the same work over and over again I knew I couldn’t work in that environment for another 30 plus years.

In the personal finance/make money online niche there are a lot people just trying to make a quick buck by selling pick axes to the gold miners, but I always push for the long-term wins people can get. Becoming debt-free can give you more freedom, earning money through an online platform can make your career more flexible, and working for yourself can give you self-worth. Most people are just in it for the quick wins, I guess you could say I’m in it for the slow wins. ;)

Sibyl Chavis, Founder of The Possibility of Today

“I really have to take my time with things and feel that I have done absolutely everything I could.”

Sybil: “The piece of conventional wisdom that I seem to continually ignore is the advice to just move and get your work out there. I really do understand the thinking behind this piece of advice because sometimes you can sit on something for too long and think you’re “perfecting it”, but really you’ll never know until you see how it resonates with other people. However, I really have to take my time with things and feel that I have done absolutely everything I could and poured all of my passion and energy into whatever I created. Striking the perfect balance that works for me is something I continually work on, but often times that means I do ignore the conventional wisdom.”

Tammy Lenski, Conflict Resolution Expert

“I’m going to choose my own path and I’ll make a new path if I have to, because that’s where creativity and innovation live.”

Tammy: “I tend to ignore most of it, frankly. The minute I hear phrases like, “That’s the way you’re supposed to do it” and “That’s how everyone does it,” my mind immediately goes into questioning mode. I was raised to think that way. Fifteen years ago I ignored the convention of having a bricks and mortar office, choosing instead to go to my clients and/or work with them via phone and skype. I ignored the conventional practice at the time, which was to do divorce and family work, choosing instead to focus on workplace conflict. I particularly ignored the arrogant idea that “good mediators” mediate only, and I added coaching, teaching and consulting to my mix of  services. I could go on and on with examples but the bottom line for me is this: I’m going to choose my own path and I’ll make a new path if I have to, because that’s where creativity and innovation live. If I can’t be creative and innovative in the way I build my life and work, how on earth can I possibly help my clients creatively resolve the problems that are tangling them?”

Caroline Leon, Founder of Life is Limitless

“I don’t try to be authentic, which to my mind has become another buzz word and has people trying to “be” something (why would we ever have to try to be ourselves?)”

Caroline: “The first thing that came to mind when I read your question is a piece of advice I’ve heard many times over the years and that is to “play it cool”, which is something I’ve heard said about love and relationships and also can be applied in a slightly different way to the world of work.

I’ve never been one to embrace the notion of “cool” and I think that “playing” it cool is just another way of putting up a facade. I believe in just being me, I can’t even contemplate being anything else even if that means that sometimes I let my weaknesses or vulnerabilities show.

My take is that I would never want to become successful for being someone other than myself so when I write on my blog and when I meet new people, I don’t try to be authentic, which to my mind has become another buzz word and has people trying to be something (why would we ever have to try to be ourselves?) I’m just me. Sometimes shy, sometimes goofy, but always me.”

Lisa Faulkner, the Pole Dancing Professor

“Be a rebel. Surrender to your tears, even in public.”


Lisa: “Please don’t cry. My entire body cringes when I hear someone whisper these words. I want to ask, “Why not?” Then encourage, “Please do cry.” When a woman apologizes for crying in front of me, I thank her for the gift of her tears. I’d do the same for a man, if he’d cry. Tears are a precious gift.

In our stoic culture, tears are acceptable only at weddings and funerals. Why is it that? Don’t we feel joy, sadness and other emotions worthy of tears at other moments in life? I know I do. When I was a child, everyone told me they could read my emotions like a book. Even in college, I blushed and cried easily. But once I entered the working world I learned to control my emotions and contain my tears. I shut off public displays of tears completely after a manager yelled at me for crying at a meeting. For five years I rarely cried and when I did it was it was an exhausting ordeal in the privacy of my bedroom. Then one day I cried again in public on a walk to work. It melted a chip on my shoulder the size of a brick I didn’t realize I had been carrying. My road rage, impatience when shopping in crowds and waiting in lines disappeared. Still tears embarrassed me; I fought them. A few years later I began expressing emotions from deep within my body in sensual movement and pole dancing. With practice, I welcomed the full range, witnessing a rainbow in myself and others. Now I cry easily. In dance. At retreats. With my husband, family and friends. In coffee shops. In airports. On planes, even in the middle seat.

Be a rebel. Surrender to your tears, even in public, because the pattern I’ve noticed is that tears, especially of achy yearning, transform into joy and love once felt and expressed.”

Marthe Hagen, Founder of The Freedom Experiment

“I always write very intuitively”


Marthe: “The piece of conventional wisdom I ignore about blogging is that you should stick to a posting schedule and have an editorial calendar. This doesn’t work for me at all, and I always write very intuitively. This works so much better for me personally, and I have no count of how many times I get e-mails saying “your post about this topic came to me at the perfect time.”


Special thanks to Corbett Barr for the post format idea, and for his amazing course Start A Blog That Matters. Check it out. Seriously.

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19 Responses to Nine Life-Changing Bloggers Reveal Their Renegade Paths to Success

  1. Marthe November 28, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Congratulations on your launch!

    And I’m honored to be in such good company! :)

    • Amy November 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Thank you, Marthe. I feel you’re all good company for me. :-)

  2. Joan November 28, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Thanks for including me – and congratulations on the launch! I’ve enjoyed reading the other posts today as well!

    • Amy November 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Thanks for checking out the site! And a big thanks for participating in today’s launch post. :-)

  3. Tammy Lenski November 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Kudos on the launch and thanks for including me among the renegades. Lots of good wisdom in that post and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, nodding my head in affirmation time and time again.

    • Amy November 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

      Thanks, Tammy, I know what you mean. I loved how everyone had a rule to break, but everyone found something different. The paths we forge seem to be as individual as we are.

  4. Lisa Faulkner November 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    What a beautiful new site! I’m honored to be a part of your launch, especially among bloggers I admire. I’ll be sure to explore those that are new to me. Congratulations, Amy!

    • Amy November 29, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      Thank you Lisa, and thanks for being a part of the launch!

  5. Crook November 30, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Heya i am there’s finally someone here. I came acrossthis table and I think it truly handy it helped me released a lot.Hopefully to give a specific thing back as well as aid otherslike you actually helped me.

    • Amy November 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks for coming by! Paying it forward is a great plan. :-)

  6. Megan November 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Yes! I hate it when someone asks me not to cry as if I’m invalidating my own feelings by crying or making them uncomfortable. They rarely ever say ‘don’t be upset.’

    ‘I don’t want you to cry [over this]‘ is the worst, I think.

    Thank you, Lisa, for validating my response.

    • Lisa Faulkner December 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      I’m so glad that you can relate, Megan. I think you highlight a key issue, others often feel uncomfortable with tears. They want to help, but not know how. Or it may remind them of their own pain that they don’t want to feel or face. It can be scary. I believe we can get more comfortable with tears as a culture if we practice.

  7. Amy December 1, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Hi Megan!

    Crying is a perfectly normal physiological response to stress, loss, emotional shock, anger, happiness–so many things. We tend to associate it with lack of control or emotional weakness, which is completely wrong. It has also been feminized in our culture, meaning it’s “something women do,” which is harmful for men’s emotional health.

    Seems to me crying serves a very healthy purpose.

  8. The Dame Intl December 1, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I relate most to Gala and Corbett’s ideas.

    • Amy December 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      Hi Dame!

      They make great points about getting out there and making yourself successful, while providing something *real* for your audience. Very important ideas, and they work.

      Thanks for coming by1

  9. Caroline Leon December 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Amy, congratulations on creating a blog that matters – it’s truly wonderful and I can’t wait to see more. I’m so honoured to be included in this post, thank you! :)

    • Amy December 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Thanks so much Caroline, and thank you for being a part of the launch, especially when you were so busy.


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