O Anna Anderson
Female Empowerment Coach
“You know the Bear Hunt book?” Anna asks, “Well I love it, because it’s just like life – you can’t go round it, you can’t go under it – you have to go through it. It sums up resilience for me. When you stop and think about it, for a seed to become a plant, the seed has to break apart completely and lose its complete identity in order for it to bloom. And sometimes for us, that breaking apart process feels so hard and so painful. But believing that if you can get through every single day in a kind and loving way, and trust the process, you’ll come out the other side OK.”
Anna’s approach to life and the challenges and stresses it brings is refreshing and infectiously uplifting. Which is probably a useful thing, as she is an empowerment coach, helping women to thrive so that they have a positive impact in the world.
“I’m a massive believer in the dark night of the soul” she explains “Sometimes the toughest of times are actually the making of us. When we stay steady and strong, and trust that there’s a greater good on the way, the good arrives. Life is a journey – there is not a final destination of being and fixed and happy forever, it is a process. Like anyone else, I am tough some days, and not others. I have certainly developed my resilience over the years”.
For eight years, Anna had been working hard, had emerged herself in her career, and was climbing the corporate ladder in the City. She was loving her life, partying and having great fun.
But she suddenly experienced a life changing moment when she was 28 years old. The the rug was ripped from under her feet when she found herself single…and pregnant. This was certainly not part of her life’s plan. “One minute I was in my twenties, working in the city, drinking in the evenings, having a great party life. Next minute I was a single mother, living on my own, feeling incredibly vulnerable with no coping mechanisms to be able to handle my new life at all.
“I know now that I was suffering with PTSD. Becoming a mum on my own, with no friends with babies, I had no idea how I would survive. I was very vulnerable and wasn’t getting the emotional support I needed from my son’s father. I wasn’t dealing with my son going to stay with his Dad, it happened way too soon and I’d physically shake when he rang the doorbell to come to pick up Isaac for the weekend. I was just living an absolutely fearful life. I had developed such a strong bond with Isaac that when he wasn’t with me, I drank to numb the pain. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t have a relationship with myself. I had based my identity on was what other people thought of me, not what I thought of myself. So I was just giving all of my power away to everybody, and I didn’t have any self worth.”
Anna went back to work after 12 months, and commuted every day with her one year old son so she would be close by if he became sick. But it didn’t take long for Anna to become physically and emotionally exhausted. She admits she felt utterly broken.
For many people, there is a significant moment when things changed. Anna’s rock bottom was the day she handed Isaac to his father one Saturday morning, closed the door behind her, and had hit the gin by 10am. “I knew this was really, really not good. I knew things had to change”.
Things did change – overnight. The following day Anna started to google jobs she could do around caring for her son. Up popped an advert for running a yoga business. “That was the pivotal moment in my life. Within weeks, I had taken on a spiritual practice that taught me to love who I was first, and put me before anybody else, so that I wasn’t at the bottom of the list trying to please everybody. Instead I was at the top of the list; I knew if I was to do a good job of raising Isaac, I had to be OK. Just like they say on planes, you must put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else”.
Anna trained as a yoga teacher and took a trip to India and built a business teaching yoga in her local area. Discovering that so many women benefitted from yoga for emotional and physical healing, Anna was able to quickly grow her business in size and strength. She expanded her portfolio of new found skills to include life and health coaching. Advising on what people eat is a big passion for Anna “When my clients change their diet, it has an astronomical impact on their mental health, they see a huge difference in two weeks”.
Anna admits her Mental Toughness has developed over the years and that often it’s often the tough times that are the making of us. She certainly didn’t expect to be a single mum at 28 but she wouldn’t change a thing. “I could have continued in a job that was breaking me, but I was so unhappy. My entire life is now built around creating time with Isaac. I take him to school and I pick him up, every single day. We’re so close, we adore each other – he’s just so awesome”.
Funny isn’t it. The last thing Anna ever expected to happen to her – that nearly broke her – has been the making of her. Now that is Mental Toughness!
Find out more about Anna at https://www.annaandersoninc.com/
If you’re interested in developing your Mental Toughness, get in touch with Penny Mallory at [email protected]