5 Life Lessons Learned

I got a question this morning about what I should tell myself as young, from the life experience I have got so far (turning 60 next year). Those are the five lessons that came to my mind.

1st lesson: Learn to listen to your inner voice and then trust it and jump!

In my early years I was very shy and insecure. The only thing I knew clearly was that I wanted to move from home. My only way to do that early was to apply for a high school in another city. The only choice available was a restaurant school. My teacher in Swedish came upon me immediately and wondered what I did at this education — as she saw something else than a chef in me.

As a kid I wanted to work at the library. Me and my younger sister almost lived there — helping with putting back the books in the shelves and so. I had read almost everything it felt like. Swedish was always my top subject.

Now, almost fifty years later I am writing on my first own book about endless transformation and here I am on Medium with my second article. You can read my virgin-article here.

With a free upbringing my parents affirmed all my steps: my year abroad; the work at restaurants (it is always good to be able to cook) and later; work with kids (always good to take care of kids – they wished I should get some grandkids).

I at age 19

This freedom took me to all kinds of trainings in personal development all over the world, from Hawaii, US to India.

I realized that the answer about what to do with my life was inside me. That big question clicked when I did the Landmark Forum. The teacher called himself coach, and I got so inspired that I quit my work at the Stockholm University, where I had spent the last nine years thinking of if I should go for a PhD or not.
I also wanted to become a coach! That sounded so much more fun.

I jumped, I quit without having a new job, just this desire to become a coach. In Sweden, the majority were employed with all the great labor law benefits. One was stupid to quit before one had a new job. For me, that was one of the best steps in life I ever have taken.

So, lesson no 1, learn to listen inwardly as early as possible in your life. Trust that voice, your voice, and dare to jump no matter what others say or not.

I could have called this lesson — learn to know thyself — as I connect almost everything great in my life to this — the essence is still the trusting and listening to one’s own inner voice.

One of my favorites on this topic is Nancy Kline, whose mother listened to her as everything she said was gold. That profound experience from her upbringing lead Nancy to create a training around what constitutes environments for thinking — where listening is the key skill.

Today there is so much great material and teachers who lead on the topic of personal development. It is there for all of us! Like a big smörgåsbord. Many times even for free. And we need it continuously, likewise we need to exercise.

2nd lesson: Run your own business

I almost repeated this uncertainty even as a coach — I started my sole proprietorship — but as coaching was so new in Sweden I stepped back and got employed again, as a coach at least.

I got my coaching hours and proceeded on my journey and got certificated from International Coaching Federation as a coach — first ACC, then PCC and finally as MCC, a mastercoach.

It took 10 years before I got kicked out of the sweet nest as employed. Everyone, except myself, saw my potential of running my own business (again). That I had been the best-selling coach didn’t matter to me at that point. I felt fragile, like a bird with broken wings. And literally I had broken both my wrist and the thumb, on the other side. It was on tottering legs I started on my own again 2012, this time with a limited company.

Such a freedom and ease it also was! I was more committed to make it on my own this time. Still, I used quite some time in the searching for partnerships. As coaching companies are not that big, I finally got that instead of helping others with their brand, I better take care of my baby.

To sum up — the market is going toward people having their own companies, being masters in something unique, where the passion comes through.

This is fun and existing, and yes very developmental!
Come and join us!

3rd lesson: Get help from others

No matter how skilled we are in one area, for an unknown one, we are all newbies and are very helped to get teaching and coaching from some more experienced.

I love the nerds as they are going deep into something they really are interested in. Isn’t it fascinating how various topics we dig into?!

As a people-person I am forever thankful to my accountant getting the numbers correct every year to the tax agency.

Leave behind

“I can myself” is belonging to a certain age in the childhood where it is important and large to be able to do things on one’s own for the first time. Let’s leave that behind and invite others sharing their passion instead.


A biased opinion is to get coaching. I love being part of this growing profession. I have had many coaches myself and it has helped me a lot.

Coaching sets the focus on the big picture and one’s own relation to it. It goes back to the first lesson — to finding and listen to one’s own inner voice.

Another aspect of the coaching, which I found very helpful, is that a coach holds me accountable. For me that was crucial when it came to focus on selling, not only coaching.

4th lesson: Learn new things

I was +20 or so and I felt like an adult. I had the strange idea, that now I don’t need to learn anything more, as all the years in school was sufficient. I guess I was super tired of being in school learning things that someone else has decided. The older I get the more I realize how little I know and how fun it is to learn new things.

English as a world language

It is so fulfilling to master something. I would love a world language — what happened to Esperanto? Now English seems to be the number one, as it is the digital one.

For all of you that have it as your native language, please take on to learn a second one and join the seven billion people or so, that still not have English as their first or second language. It makes us humble to learn new things again and again. It makes us more compassionate about the learning process and what it takes to be a beginner.

Kindness helps!

I would love to see a very welcoming and applauding surrounding for every one that takes on to learn something new, no matter what age. Lifelong learning makes us vital and curious. It gives us confidence. I can do it. We can do it. Again and again.

What we have forgotten we wanted

I have been swimming my whole life. Like a duck, breaststrokes with head up so my hair didn’t get wet. I love swimming. It was just recently I realized I didn’t do it especially masterfully. I just knew I did something wrong with the coordination.

One day in the pool, I felt I wanted to learn to be a better swimmer. I found a friend who wanted the same thing, and together we found a teacher. To our big surprise, a retired man we knew a little had been a swim coach for the Olympic team in the US his whole life, and he accepted our invitation!

So, we started off, me with the breast strokes and my friend with the crawl. I thought crawl was too difficult — I didn’t believe in myself enough to even set it up for learning. How it was, one day I just did some crawl tags for fun. And now I am crawling some hundred meters! Slowly, but anyway! I am still surprised and thrilled.

That thought was a stored in my psyche. Crawl is too difficult. I can’t do it. Imagine if we walk around on this earth with many hidden thoughts like that. It doesn’t serve us.

Have a look in your life — what do you say to yourself that you cannot?

What dreams have you left behind?

What is it time for you to learn now?

You can too!

5th lesson: Say yes more

My last lesson for this time to my younger self, is to say yes more. Stop and listen to the voice of fear and dare to say yes. It will give you experience! You will know when you have tried it out for real. Instead of guessing or judging from distance. It will keep you open and curious. Keep the speed up and embrace what is coming in your way.

Saying no slows things down

Even your energy. We don’t have to say no to win time. Neither do we need to research and check everything before we say yes. And please spare us from being so suspicious and afraid.

Unless we are not in a time of our life when we are learning to set our own borders, and a no therefore can be of biggest importance. The learning then is to say no to that we experience as negative energy.

Bejaka livet — saying yes to life

Saying yes is taking on a positive attitude towards life, others and yourself. In Swedish we say bejaka — an appreciative and affirmative attitude. It’s a focus all of us can choose. What will bring me and us more joy at this moment? Life is meant to be meaningful and fun!

Remember the seriousness when you were young? I was at least. Luckily I loosened up and could even laugh about myself and see the humor in ridiculous things that happened. Like failing — as it would make me die (almost). Dear sister and brothers, we don’t always need to be good girls and boys. And we need to fall before we can walk. Can we please remember that once and for all? Laughing from heart and belly is so much more nourishing.

With this I wish you all dear readers a wonderful day!
Enjoy, is all there is!

I would love to hear what your life lessons are — please comment or connect!

You are welcome to be a raving fan! I promise you more articles on transformation.

Anna Eriksson, ICF Master Certified Coach with +30 years of experience in personal development and professional coaching. anna@avalona.se, www.avalona.se




ICF Master Certified Coach with +30 years of experience in professional coaching and personal development. Anna is from Stockholm, writes about transformation.

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Anna Eriksson

Anna Eriksson

ICF Master Certified Coach with +30 years of experience in professional coaching and personal development. Anna is from Stockholm, writes about transformation.

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