Your authentic self: road blocks and afterburners

Life’s experiences can be divided into two categories: road blocks and afterburners. Things – and people – that either stifle you as a person, or move you forward and enrich you.

What is a road block?

Road blocks:
– cost you effort, energy, stress, and pain
– become a burden
– sap your soul and your time
– give less back than you invest in them
– may, on the surface, seem worthwhile, but their value is shallow and short-lived.


Some road blocks I identified in my life:
My too-big house. I was forever cleaning and working on it, instead of enjoying my free time, plus I had a big mortgage that was sapping my wealth.
Some “friends”. Some of my friends were always demanding help from me but giving nothing in return. A one-sided relationship is not healthy.
Too many commitments. I was giving my time in too many directions. I stopped some hobbies and charities, and now focus my time on a few, more meaningful ones.

What roadblocks can you identify in your life? Downsizing and making your life smaller can be a healthy way to become a more genuine, more purposeful version of yourself. We don’t have to be everything to everyone, and it’s okay to say NO.

What is an afterburner?

– propel your life forward in a positive, meaningful way
– make you happy
– give you health and wellbeing
– define you
– give you joy.
– make you richer, either bodily, financially, socially or emotionally.


Some afterburners I identified in my life:
Separating from my husband. My marriage wasn’t making me happy. My husband and I separated amicably, despite both being afraid of how this might affect those we love, and we’re much happier as a result. It has been an afterburner for both of us
Realising stuff doesn’t make me happy. We’re sold a belief that buying and owning things will make us happy. But my version of happiness is peace, quiet, travel, good food, simple joys, and time out with those I love. This “afterburner” is stepping away from the consumer culture and learning who I really am and what makes me happy. And it isn’t Stuff.
Eating simply to a routine. Turning my diet into a planned routine, where I eat fewer foods and less variety, has meant I now eat healthier and manage my diet better. I’m healthier and happier, with a better food budget as a result, and I save the “food as experience” attitude for eating out.

What afterburners can you think of that enrich your life and give you meaning?

The value of introspection

Sometimes it takes a while to identify your Road Blocks and Afterburners. It can be scary too. I know it was scary for me to acknowledge that some of the big things in my life, such as my marriage, simply weren’t making me happy.

But to be truly happy, we need to start by being honest with ourselves. If we can’t do that, be brave enough to do that, we don’t stand a chance.

I’m getting my life on track. I’ve turned out to be quite a different person to the person I was twenty years ago. I’m a more authentic version of who I used to be. I’m pleased with who I’ve become, and who I am growing to be.

Take some time, find your own Road Blocks and Afterburners, be brave – and let yourself grow.


  1. Lee, I really enjoyed reading this post. Being honest with ourselves is incredibly difficult (for me anyway). I sometimes cling to denial and find it painful to move through. Authenticity is a life long lesson for me. Thank you for sharing your expereiences.


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