• Erin

Chapter 34: Greatest Lessons Learned

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

Some years happen to be packed with memorable events and big milestones that you know are going to create lifelong memories that you’ll forever hold near and dear to your heart. After a few years full of lots of excitement, big milestones and changes, this year, set out to be quite the opposite, which could seem as if it may lack what other years held, but in reflecting, I realized it was a year that was full of a ton of self-reflection and growth, although there were many, here were my greatest lessons of impact during Chapter 34.


I Fell in Love With my Journey

My hands were trembling, as the words came out, all I could hear was my voice shake as I told my “real” story for the first time in my life. On this day, I spoke to a room full of powerful motivated women. But what they didn’t know, was for the first time EVER, I was sharing my truth, my unedited journey, the one that for years I was so ashamed of. Instead of telling the pretty painted picture I was so used to sharing, I pulled back the layers and told the real truth about my journey. For so long, I struggled with thinking my life had to be perfect in order for it to be great. After reflecting and dissecting my journey to deliver it - I did it! I not only overcame the fear of letting people in on my big secret (that I’m human and not perfect), but for the first time, I finally embraced every aspect of who I am - the highs, lows, and bumps in between. I had to accept that my story is far from perfect and those different paths that I fought so hard to control, unexpectedly took me to greater destinations than I could have envisioned. I wouldn’t be who I am without the beautiful, messy, imperfect story that makes me, me. I would go on to openly share my journey to fellow women and moms and although it never got easier, I finally fell in love with every ounce of my story - all the imperfection it contained and grew to appreciate it for everything that it was because after all these years I had grown to realize the messiest parts were actually the best parts after all.


I'm Passionate to See You Win

In being real with myself, I was able to be real and really connect with fellow women which felt oh so good! In doing so, I unleashed a fire deep within of wanting women to know the true power they have. Throughout my journey I’ve felt powerless, I’ve settled, I’ve faced many challenges and obstacles, but despite my road, being far from easy I was able to overcome the challenges set before me. I still went after my dreams with a strong fight, I found the power I didn’t think existed within me and I rewrote my story to create a life that I designed. My desire deep down is to help other women do the same. I want to see you WIN. You don’t have to face challenge after challenge as I have, but I want my challenges to serve as reminders that we all have them, I hope that I can use my journey and all its pieces to serve and help women to tap into the power that already exists within and inspire you to become the best version of yourself possible. With a ton of passion, lots to say and excitement to empower, share and connect with my women community, I turned my passion into a project and erinnaanee.com was officially born.


Trust the Timing

Usually easier said than done, as sometimes things happen in life on a different timeline than we may envision which I have been kindly reminded of so many times in my life, and this year once again delivered that lesson. Although I want something to have a certain outcome, it may not always turn out that way, or at the time I want it to. This year once again delivered that lesson, as I yearned for certain things to happen, that didn’t. It wasn’t easy - it still isn’t. But during these times I reminded myself, I’ve been here before, and although waiting may be hard to understand and not the easiest, it’s always worth it in the end and always works out better than you imagined it to be. In the midst of these times, it’s hard to trust the timing, but just as times have proved to be in the past, I had to be confident, knowing it will work out, it always has, and it always will, and it may look different than I had hoped but it may even unfold better than I could have imagined it to be too.


Slow Down to Be Present (literally)

I was feeling stressed, weighed down, pulled in several directions, I told myself for several days I needed to be present - slow down, reset, re-evaluate and make some changes. Even with the best intentions each day nothing changed and everything remained the same. Monday came and with my best effort, I intentionally woke up earlier, made my bed and planned to not work out, knowing I had a busy day ahead to allow me to try to slow down. Almost to school that morning, Kinsley realized she forgot her lunch, which immediately caused me to become frazzled knowing that was now one more thing added to my day. As my phone sat on my lap, a notification popped on my screen (which was abnormal since my notifications are turned off) as I glanced back up from looking down, I see us preparing to collide into the car in front of us. With the airbags fully deployed, Kinsley screaming at the top of her lungs “I love you” and Rylin frantically crying, we crawl out of our car and hold each other in disbelief. It was in that moment that nothing else mattered, NOTHING. I was rushed, I was frazzled and I felt the need to handle everything going on around me instead of being fully present in what truly mattered at that moment - safely driving my kids to school. The rest of the day could have waited, nothing else was important. As I struggled with the guilt and shame attached to the accident, I dug deeper to find the lesson at hand, in doing so I began to remember how I had been telling myself to slow down in the week leading up, and I didn’t. The accident smacked me in the face and forced me to slow down and make changes that were overdue. I have always known the importance of being fully present, and as important as it was to me, I didn’t practice it and it was going to continue to resurface until I actually made it a clear focus. Although, it’s still a daily challenge and a work in progress, I fully realized the importance of being present in the now, in all areas of my life - having my focus, my attention, my thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand.


Gratitude

Through the highs and lows of the year, one lesson remained the same, an overwhelming renewed sense of gratitude. I find myself easily getting caught up in striving for my next goal and found I needed to have a deeper sense of gratitude for what is currently. Without reflecting, it’s very easy to get caught up in our everyday lives without realizing that we may be living out what we wanted so badly a few months or years ago. I’ve made it a point to practice gratitude daily on a deeper scale, by starting each day reflecting on what I’m grateful for to find more appreciation in all things, big, small and mundane. This year served as a grand reminder that things that once came easy, shouldn’t be taken for granted as that might not always be the case and the things we might consider - the simple things in life; the things we do daily, even things we may consider necessities of everyday life can easily become overlooked for the true gift they are.


Sometimes our greatest lessons may not be revealed until much later, however, I found that reflecting gives you a chance to process everything more fully, it helps us gain insight and helps us to see how to move forward most effectively. Each year proves to be exciting knowing that I’ve experienced growth from where I was just a year ago. I hope that the things that I’ve learned will help you on your journey to becoming our best self.


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