Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should

I’m preparing to head to the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina for a month to “test drive” living there and to dive into a new creative project. This misty, relaxed, tree and waterfall-rich region calls deeply to me and I can’t wait to explore all the creativity, connections and magic I know I’ll unearth there.


Image: A photo of the Blue Ridge Mountains by artist Rob Travis entitled, “New Beginnings.” The light in the part of the country is ethereal.

In typical Renee fashion (I’m a 3 on the Enneagram-read How Well Do You Know Yourself?), I was planning on throwing together and leading a small one-day retreat while I’m there.  I thought, “These are powerful and fairly easy for me to do—why not?!” But I woke up yesterday morning after an intense night of dreaming and realized this period in NC is sacred and I need to protect it. If I planned to lead a retreat while I’m there—even a small one—the work involved would pull me out of “being” and into “doing.” Unfortunately, I can’t help but pour all of myself into whatever I take on; it’s just how I’m wired.

Around my office, we frequently recite one of my favorite mantras, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Many of us are blessed with an abundant supply of ideas and are good at bringing these ideas to fruition pretty effortlessly. And others of us (myself included) are diehard “HOPOS”—my friend’s Margaret’s term for those of us who love to “help other people out.” But as I gain firmer footing in the second half of my life, I now realize how precious my energy or life force is and I don’t like to take on any new projects unless every cell in my body says, “YES!!”

So in July I will practice doing less so I can experience more. And I know I won’t regret it.


Join me at one of my three fall/winter retreats; watch a video and learn more about our self-renewal retreats. Photo: A magical, intimate spring retreat at www.1440.org in CA.


  • Hire me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and my clients include Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit agencies, national conferences and women’s organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com to explore how I can help you.
  • Retreats are ideal if you’re in transition and exploring, “What’s next?”  Join me this fall for a deeply restorative women’s self-renewal retreat; I’ll be in MA Sept. 21-23, in CA Oct. 26-28 and back in MA Jan. 27-29: learn more.
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Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.



  1. One of the best thoughts from you for me.
    My entire life up to this point is lived in service of others ( I did want to be a nun as a young child)
    But living this way left me wanting.
    I decided last week to Tell a New Story (Landmark Education lingo)
    My story has me at the center and inspite of feeling selfish I am moving forward.
    I send you love and gratitude for all of yourself that you have passed on to me.❤️