SHARE YOUR STORY AND INSPIRE OTHERS

I just want you to know that you are never too old, you are never too late to be the woman you were meant to be, even if it took a hell of a lot to become her! #midlife #inspiration

INTRO

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my July Coffee post that I'd met a lovely lady named Anne who is a life coach in the UK. She generously gave me some of her time, knowledge and skills to help me wrap my head around all the recent changes in my life and I'll be writing more about that in a couple of weeks. Anne also offered to share her journey to life coaching on my blog, so let me introduce you to her today....

ANNE'S STORY

"Don’t be ashamed of your story, you might just inspire someone."

My story starts when I saw the above quote about 4 years ago on Pinterest and suddenly what had happened in my life up to that point made sense. I knew that this was a sign that now was the time to share my life experiences, my story and journey with other people.

BACK TO THE BEGINNING...

I’m a 50 year old woman living in the UK with my husband of 26 years, cat Daisy and new 7 month old chocolate Labrador puppy called Willow. I have a daughter aged 30 who emigrated with her husband to Canada just over 2 years ago. I have a young grandson called Georges and another grandson on the way in November this year.

My background is one of being a social worker for over 25 years. In that time the biggest reoccurring pattern in people’s problems was that most women struggled with confidence and self-esteem. This was something that I also shared.

I was brought up in a small Lincolnshire town with my older brother by wonderful parents who were loving, kind and supportive. I always felt that I had more of my dad’s genes as I was shy and lacking in confidence but I was always encouraged in all I did.

BIGGEST STRUGGLE, BIGGEST JOY...

My life changed completely at the age of 19. I became pregnant in the middle of my social work degree. I was in turmoil as you can imagine but my parents were shocked but amazing and the guy I was with stood by me.

I continued with my degree until my daughter was born on 25th June 1989. Little did I know that my life wouldn’t be the same again. I loved my little girl with an incredible fierceness, but I found being a mum so terribly hard. These days I would have probably been diagnosed with post-natal depression but then there was much less understanding of mental health then and in my family. I had amazing support from my parents, and I went back to university in Bradford when Harriet was 16 months old. My partner and I lived in Leeds and he got a job over there.

These were the most difficult times of my life, as we were under a lot of financial pressure and lacked support. At that time, I was emotionally and physically abused by Harriet’s father but in spite of this I was desperately reliant on him to try and regain my education and career. Looking back now it was incredibly ironic that I was studying about social work and empowering women to stand up for themselves but in my personal life I was in a cycle of domestic abuse and wasn’t able to see any way out of it still believing that he would change and I had no other choices.

We married when Harriet was 3 years old just after I graduated as a social worker and then 10 months later he left me for his secretary at work. Looking back now I know it was the best thing that happened to me but at the time I was a young single parent working full time in a stressful job. Thankfully I had moved back to my home town and so I was able to access support from my parents.

LIFE CONTINUES...

I continued to work as a social worker for over 20 years and bring up my daughter on my own for 12 of those years after I moved to Nottingham. My daughter was diagnosed with Asperger at 16. I struggled coping with her behaviour as a teenager and neither of us understanding what was going on. As a result this  made our relationship very difficult and challenging.

When Harriet was 16 I met and married the man of my dreams but the impact of my past life was starting to show and the cracks were appearing. I was struggling with depression and anxiety.

As my daughter left for university at 18 my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We then had some difficult years supporting him and my mum with the impact of this and then just as he was admitted into a care home my mum was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s with Dementia and her health deteriorated drastically.

This was a double blow because also at the time my daughter was going through her own mental health problems and my mum who had been my emotional rock throughout my life was no longer able to support me. I can say this was one of the hardest times of  my life and I often felt I had nowhere to turn.

LIFE UNRAVELS

Consequently 7 years ago I had a serious breakdown with anxiety and I ended up in psychiatric hospital for a period of 1 month. I was in a position where my husband had to give up work because I couldn’t bear to be away from him for even a few minutes. I felt I was a prisoner in my own head. I was a woman who had held a responsible management position in social work where I chaired meetings of often 20 people. A person who had brought up a child on her own, ran a household and supported others with their problems.

So, at this point I had no choice but to step back from the world and reassess my career and life options. Throughout my life I have struggled with confidence and I believed the negative stories that I had been told. I was ashamed of my past, overwhelmed by trying to everything on my own and feeling powerless to make any changes.

FAST FORWARD TO NOW...

I’m living a very different life. I left my job as a social worker and went back to college at 45. I reignited my love of crafts and sewing and used this as a transformational tool to aid my recovery and develop and learn new and exciting skills. I took the plunge into the world of self-development and modern day spirituality and felt so empowered by challenging my strong negative thought patterns and shifting my limiting beliefs that I was good enough exactly as I was… perfectly imperfect!
 Rather than continuing a cycle of counselling and therapy, I decided to invest in the services of a life coach. That was where the real magic happened. I began to see huge shifts in my self-esteem and self-love. I started to believe in the wonderful, resilient, beautiful person I was--inside and out. I was able to see that I was not my past mistakes and that actually the difficulties I had experienced and given me such resilience and skills that has made me who I am now and that I can cope with what life throws at me.

The biggest change for me was that I finally was accepting my grief and losses and saw myself as a survivor not a victim and I was starting to rewrite my own life story. I started to realise that I had everything I need deep inside of me and felt I wanted to share and inspire other women to feel the same. I made the decision to use the different skills and experience I had gained through my job and life and become a women’s life coach.  And in 2016 I had the proudest moment of my life, walking my daughter down the aisle to marry her very own man of her dreams!

LIFE IS STARTING TO SETTLE DOWN?...

A year and a half ago my daughter informed me that they had decided to emigrate to Canada. As you can imagine for me this was pretty tough initially. She was my only daughter and our relationship had improved significantly and suddenly I thought deep down “why does everyone I love leave me??” Nevertheless, again, good old Pinterest came to my rescue! I saw a quote:

‘They did not leave you, I moved them.’
God.

Using all the inner resources that life has equipped me with and all the techniques and strategies I had learnt over the past few years I have been able to accept that this was her leading her own life, making her own choices and decisions and that actually I had been a good role model for her.

18 months ago she gave birth to my grandson Georges and I visit as often as possible and regularly Facetime them both. My relationship with Harriet has changed and grown and I feel incredibly blessed and thankful for her journey and what blessings she has brought into my life.

NO LONGER FEELING SHAME...

Being in the right place to share my deepest darkest secrets has been a real journey for me! I now believe wholeheartedly that if I had not experienced what I had then I would not have learnt the lessons I needed to learn and not be the woman that I am today. As Brene Brown says “vulnerability” is my superpower and when we dare to step out and share our struggles it helps others stand up and share theirs.

Wrapped in grace, you will heal. You will carry the lessons you gathered in this season into the next one. - Morgan Harper Nichols. #quotes

I continue to have challenges now but I have learnt so many powerful strategies and techniques to support and guide me through. I have also been so honoured to do I job that I love and to  a coach to some amazing women who have trusted me to be their guide and cheerleader. Their biggest supporter and hold their hands as they make some incredible transformations in their lives.

I have learnt on my own journey that I have had to release and let go of many things along my path. Surrendering and realising we can’t always control everyone and everything is one of the biggest lessons. When we find the courage to step away from the past, face our fears and let go of them forgiving others and ourselves we make space for the exciting, joyful and  right opportunities start to present themselves.

AND FINALLY...

I just want you to know that you are never too old, you are never too late to be the woman you were meant to be, even if it took a hell of a lot to become her!

If you are feeling stuck in your life or wanting to know what the next step forward for you is in your life I’d love to offer you my latest mini guide FREE called “5 Simple steps to finding your lifepurpose.”(no email required)  


My name is Anne Bird and I’m a women’s life coach. I specialize in empowering women to let go of stress and negativity in their lives so they can create clear boundaries and live life confidently on their own terms.

Anne Bird - Women’s Life Coach
annebirdcoaching@gmail.com
www.annebird.com
www.Facebook.com/annebirdcoaching
www.instagram.com/annebirdcoaching


I just want you to know that you are never too old, you are never too late to be the woman you were meant to be, even if it took a hell of a lot to become her! #midlife #inspiration
I just want you to know that you are never too old, you are never too late to be the woman you were meant to be, even if it took a hell of a lot to become her! #midlife #inspiration

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This post was shared at some of these great link parties
Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

31 comments

  1. Hi, Anne - What a powerful story! Thank you so much for sharing it here.
    I agree 100% that we are never too old, and never too late, to be who we were meant to be.
    Thank you for this inspiration!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words.I feel that we all get to mid life with far more gifts and resources than we ever realise!

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    2. I loved Anne's story too Donna - and how she took her skills and turned them into something that speaks to her heart - something we can all learn from.

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  2. Hi Anne my philosophy has always been that age should not define us. I have recently studied and completed a Life & Health Coaching Certification, am currently studying my Cert III in Fitness and have run two marathons one at age 55 and then at 61. Life is what you make it and it really is up to us to embrace life. Thanks Leanne for introducing us to Anne and her inspiring story.

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    1. Lovely to hear your inspiration too Sue!

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    2. Hi Sue - I see so many similarities in how you and Anne have both taken the aspects of your life that are passions and turned them into something worthwhile that can be used to help others. That speaks to both of your caring hearts :)

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  3. Anne, your journey is a testament of courage. Congratulations for surviving your struggles and coming out on the other side with grace. A grandmother at 50, happily married and goals for the future sound like a successful story to me. P.S. much admiration for your husband who took his wedding vows to heart. Thanks Leanne for another inspiring post. Anne was obviously placed in your path for a reason.

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    1. Thank you so much Suzanne.Yes I'm aware at how blessed I am to have found a man who stuck with me in sickness and in health and his support has been crucial to my strength too.

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    2. Suzanne you summed it up beautifully. It's always such a blessing when we take life's lemons and turn them around. The fact that Anne has so much life experience to lead from and to use to help others (rather than wallowing in "poor me") speaks to her resillience and posititivity.

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  4. Hi Anne, And thank you Leanne for introducing us to Anne. I love your initial quote, Anne. If you can make a difference in one person’s life.... I appreciate your candor on your life’s journey. The phrase “Life unravels” speaks volumes. A beautifully written story that gave me goosebumps. “The woman that I am today” and vulnerability being your superpower. You are an amazing woman, Anne, and I know by sharing your story, you have inspired and empowered other women:)

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    1. Hi Erica - I love the concept that life can unravel and then the threads can be re-knitted into something even more beautiful than what has gone before - I think Anne's story is a perfect example of that isn't it?

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    2. Oh bless you Erica, you are making tears come to my eyes!😍Yes I do really hope that by being completely vulnerable and opening my heart it helps others see that it's possible to move on from tough things and rewrite your story.xx

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  5. I really enjoyed reading Anne's story here Leanne and boy what a story it is! Thanks Anne for being so honest and entrusting us with you story and how you came through to see that you are an amazing woman! I admire your strength of character that is evident in your words and I wish you well. x

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    1. thank you so much Deb, I appreciate you taking the time read my post!x

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    2. I learned a lot more about Anne through reading her post too Deb - and it explained a lot about where her compassion comes from. Life often deals us unexpected blows, how we choose to react to them is what develops our character (for better or worse!)

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  6. It's so nice to meet you here on Leanne's blog, Anne. Your story was a fascinating read. It's wonderful to see that you're in a good place now and helping other women. There were quite a few aspects of your story that I could very much relate to. All the very best to you (and thanks for introducing us Leanne). xo

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    1. Thanks Min, I hoped that it would connect with others xx

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    2. Hi Min - yes, Anne certainly had several hard hits through her life, but I love that she chose to rise above them and then use the experiences to help others - something we can all learn from.

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  7. What an amazing story! I love how you're able to use your experiences to help and enrich the lives of others. Wishing you all the best x

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    1. thank you so much Sammie-I do feel very blessed to do what I do now xx

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    2. Hi Sam - it makes all the difference in the world when you choose to use your setbacks as stepping stones to a different (but often better) future. It's easy to give up, but when we choose to work through it and grow, it gives us so much potential for growth.

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  8. Leanne, thanks for introducing us to Anne. And Anne, thank you for sharing your powerful story. You are one courageous woman! In both facing what you have faced and in sharing this deeply personal account. I adore the first quote about sharing your story and thereby being an inspiration to someone. I think that is the core insight into my own blogging approach. I too am challenging negative thought patterns & limiting beliefs, and learning to accept myself as I am today. It's an ongoing work in progress. One thing I took away from your story.... I do believe that I am (also) a resilient survivor, and never a victim (although my challenges are not nearly as challenging as yours, I will not get into a compare and despair and feeling less than because I didn't have it as bad...yes, I've done that before!). It's wonderful to see you're in a good place now!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Pat.I'm glad it has resonated with you too.We are all on our own path and I definitely still have my ups and downs! Yes, the key is to stay in our own lane and writing this post looking back has been so helpful to see how much I've changed and grown xx

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    2. Pat, I think most of us have had our hurdles (some higher than others!) and sharing our stories lets us know that we're not alone. Some have very big hurdles that they've overcome with amazing grace and I am always so inspired when I read what they've gone through, but you're right about not comparing and despairing (great phrase!) because it's not a competition - it's a supportive and encouraging journey that we share together and hopefully inspire others along the way. Your thoughts always inspire me!

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  9. Thank you for sharing Anne's story! Truly amazing and inspiring x Thanks also to Anne for your guide, I have downloaded it to read :)

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    1. Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy the guide.Do get in touch if I can help with anything else xx

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    2. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading Anne's story - she has been such a wonderful person to have come across at this time of transition in my life and her thoughts have been very much appreciated by me as I figure things out.

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  10. I admire you greatly Anne, for sharing those challenging times and being able to go with them and emerge as you have. Life throws us some amazing and frightening challenges and you are dealing with them well. Thanks Leanne for sharing. Thanks for linking up for Life This Week. Next week's optional prompt is 34/51 Self-Care: Share Your Story #5 26/8/19. Hope to see you link up then too. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse, I think each person who openly shares what they have lived through and conquered is a role model for the rest of us. Anne's story is one of those, and so is yours as you went through your cancer battle. Overcomers should always share their stories!

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  11. Anne and Leanne, thanks for sharing this encourageing story of lifes lessons and blessings. We will feature it on the next Blogger's Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

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If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com