Life Doesn’t Get In the Way; It is the Way

I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, or maybe you’ve said it yourself, “Life got in the way,” to explain why a project didn’t get finished or a business has stalled.

This statement as always struck me as cognitively dissonant.

How is life something that only happens once in a while and, somehow, plays the role of antagonist in the story of your life?

Life can’t get in the way; it is the way.

Work, family, and play are all important and always present, one doesn’t stop for the other.

That doesn’t mean that the best-laid plans don’t change when something else in your life takes priority. You might change the completion date for a project because a family member becomes ill. Or you might not. Every situation is different.

Doing big things requires that you are able to do more than one thing at a time.

It also means that you don’t use “life” as an excuse for not attending to another “part” of your life.

There is a difference between changing plans, while still finishing what you started, and making excuses for why you didn’t finish something.

Remember, life can’t get in the way; it is the way.

33 thoughts on “Life Doesn’t Get In the Way; It is the Way


Hey Michael, long time bro 🙂

Great post and to the point 🙂

“one doesn’t stop for the other…” never really thought of it that way but certainly will start to think of it in that light now!

Thanks for the inspirational words!

Judith Fine-Sarchielli

Michael—You are always right there at the right moment, which was today. I am learning to let go and go with the changes while still on track with my goals. You inspire me when you let me know you are right there facing the same challenges and taking time to support your followers at the same time. Thanks so much!

Neelam Meetcha

Thank you Michael for the post, so true, we are all capable of doing more than one big thing at a time and that is the way.

Victoria Judge

I love this post. It’s easy to get so buried in the ‘doing’ of a business that you neglect all the other areas of your life. I’ve always thought the whole work-life-balance thing was a misnomer too. If you do what you love, and follow Michael’s advice on the life part, I reckon you’re pretty much set! 🙂

The Business Coach for Moms

Very good for you to remind us all. The beauty of coaching moms is that they have decided to be extreme multi-life-taskers and take on the challege of entrepreneurship AND motherhood. They fully understand that life IS the way!

Wendy Hollinger

Well said! And as an independent business owner, I am grateful life CAN get in the way, and I have the flexibility to be there, and still finish what I start.

Lisa Rothstein

Great points Michael. That is such a catch-all excuse, and I admit I’ve used it. no more!!

Roxann Bauerle

Michael, so true! How timely and relevant!. Hey, keep the truth coming!

That could be a bumper sticket – Life is the way!

Monica Strobel

Thanks Michael. Another example of how reframing something so simply changes it from a problem (life is in the way) to an opportunity (change it, consider how else you might do it, or abandon it). Appreciate the expertise!

Ali R. Rodriguez

And this is why I love you; because you’re talking to a bunch of big thinkers, than unlike Jack Nicholson, we CAN TAKE THE TRUTH…and then apply it.

Love this kind of reminder, Michael.

You are the Universe’s Mercury, Deliverer of the Truth.


I say “life got in the way” as a euphenism to explain not as an excuse. Here’s what I mean: rather than telling the world or MBA students or people who neither need to know or even want to know all the bad stuff that’s been happening I prefer to just say “oh life happened”, or “Life got in the way”.
I have a colleague whose husband is dying of cancer – she too says “life got in the way” rather then telling people, who don’t really care that much, that her husband’s chemo went badly or whatever.
So when peple say Life got in the way it may not be an excuse but a tactful way of signalling to others that there was a good reason but they prefer not to share it.

Susanne Morrone

Thanks for this post, Michael. Was reflecting prior to reading your e-mail about the boxes we all live in; how we need to open the lid and see things in a more holistic way. As human doers, life becomes a series of many fragments stuck together. Life is the way- see the whole of it. 🙂 You rock!

Sue Painter

Love this, just did an interview for Huffington Post in which I stated that overwhelm is a myth. 🙂 Same theme as right here, we’re on the same page. I’m Tweeting this!!

kim carruthers

Great post.I’m a fan of having written
goals to help me keep going in my desired direction even if other parts of my life change my speed of travel in that direction.

Francine Graglia



Hi Michael,
Thanks for that post. I’m actually in the process of improving my business and services. Feeling overwhelm sometimes but reading your post helped me think differently.

Thankyou for sharing

Michael Port

That’s great to hear Angelo.

Faina Sechzer

Another way to look at this is to know if you are making an excuse or a choice based on your life priorities. For example, after a life threatening illness, taking a break from work could be an excuse or a choice, based on concisely set priorities to stay healthy, or to maximize the time with family.
Michael,thanks for keeping us thinking:)

Sue Moran

Great post Michael. As the mother of three teenagers, “life” is crazy right now. It is also exciting scary, and challenging. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It just means that I have to be extra vigilant and keep all aspects of my life, and business, on track. No excuses!


Thanks for this! Short and sweet and just what I needed to remember today. Continuing my grind and appreciating “the way.” Best!


Life Happens.

The beauty of this life is the unexpected, both good and bad.
For personal and business I find great help and insight from keeping a journal.
It helps me record, clarify and work through some of the difficult and unpredictable things that are going on in life.
It also helps me to identify the things that are becoming pattern.
Things that become patterns need to be adjusted to or eliminated as soon as you have identified them.
If you do this consistently you will notice a remarkable reduction in the things that “happen” to you.
It’s like looking down the road ahead instead of at the handlebars while riding a bike.
If you look at the handlebars all the time everything will become an obstacle.

Jenn LeBlanc


This was great. Read it earlier today and have shared it with a few other coaching clients. Will also share on my SM networks because I think it’s very thoughtful. It IS the way ….



Sally Branch

I call my coaching business ‘Other Plans coaching’ – because’ as John Lennon and others have noted, life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans…and I leave it to coachees to decide whether to go with the flow orgbet back to their original plans (or a bit of both!) I do love your phrase Life is the Way – and I’d suggest also Life Happened!, instead of ‘life got in the way.’

Michael Port

Speaking of John Lennon, there is a great opinion piece from his son, Sean (who I happened to go to high school with), in the New York Times this morning, on the dangers of Fracking:

Cathy Presland

This is so true. I’m going through a few “life” things right now and it’s a great opportunity to focus on priorities and ask myself what are the really important things I can and want to complete.

Easy to stick our heads in the sand when stuff happens but whatever is happening will pass and it’s important to stay connected with people and opportunities…

Good post 🙂



Adjustment, flexibility, and an open mind (and likely a few other attributes), are all needed in order to accept the way of life. Thank you for the post MP. Short and powerfully sweet.


“life can’t get in the way, it is the way” absolute truth, it’s all about priorities in how you spend your time. Thanks for everything you to Michael!

Michael Port

You’re welcome. Thanks for the comment and adding your voice to the discussion.

Marc Wong

Well said. Simple and to the point.
Here’s one for you:

Don’t let life get in the way of living meaningfully.

We use “life” to refer to those pesky obligations, getting ahead, and things we must do to keep up with the Jones. They are indeed, poor excuses for not charting our own courses and achieving meaning.

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