10 Things I would tell my younger self with Hannah Pirnie

Not so long ago we came across a poster that spoke of how you do not inspire others by being perfect, you inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections. We hope you get the same sense as you read this interview with founder of Translating Sport and Translating Me, wife and mother of three – Hannah Pirnie.

How would you describe what you currently do?

I coach clients.  From the new mummy meltdown, the lonely expat, up and coming executives to confused professional soccer players all wanting to make a difference in the world whilst figuring out; who am I, what do I want, & how to get there.

You seem to be in “good space” today. What were things like ten years ago?

Ten years ago I had just finished university, returned home to live with my parents in the town and church community I grew up in. I was looking for my first job in the real world and engaged to be married to my childhood sweetheart.  Scared to get out of my comfort zone, and break away from familiarity. Little did I know that brave decision would be the best one I ever made, taking me into London and then 5 years later out to South Africa.

Image courtesy of Apolonia/freedigitalimages.net
Image courtesy of Apolonia/freedigitalimages.net

Wow. If you could look back and whisper (or shout) 10 things to your younger self, that would nudge her towards the woman you and God would like her to be, what would those 10 things be?

1. It’s all about you, and the love you show on a daily basis.

Someone once told me about a young boy who was struck by all the injustice in the world, he prayed: “Lord, give me the strength to change the world.” Then as a young man, he realised the injustice was just too great, he prayed: “Lord, at least let me change my family and close friends.” Towards the end of his life, upon reflection, he prayed: “Father, at least allow me to change myself”. The lord replied, “This is the prayer you should have asked in the beginning.”

10 years ago – I prayed the first prayer often, I wanted to change the world, and upon reflection, the way I act on a daily basis to notice where God is at work, are much more sustainable than the many mission trips I did. If we want to change a broken world, we have to be prepared to start with ourselves. Trust that God will do the rest.

2. It’s all about you – just the way you are.

Believe that you are enough, stop hustling, achieving, working harder and striving for success – what is success??? I worked so hard 10 years ago, striving for a car, nice house, next promotion. All the things that look great on the outside, but the happiness and feeling great didn’t last, none of these things honoured the authentic person God created me to be. Instead of striving the whole time, start to believe you are enough get to know your own values.

3. Learn how to ask questions.

I still have a horrid habit of listening to people so I can jump in with my own thoughts, rather than really understanding what they are saying, what they are feeling, and taking notice of them. Valuing their thoughts and feelings rather than adding my own experiences.

4. ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’, Psalm 46:10.

Take regular time outs – each day, week, month, year. Elite athletes have a structured rest days added into their training plan – so should we. Stop racing through life at such a pace.

5. Be quick to laugh and learn to laugh at yourself.

You can’t control circumstances – but you can control your response:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

6. Give it a try – stretch yourself, every Professional was beginner once.

Travel, hang out with people from different background, culture, faith – learn to notice how God is at work all over the world, through variety of different types of churches, families and individuals.

7. Surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you.

“What you stuff your face with, shapes who you are.” It’s the people that love you in spite of your flaws who you should cherish, forgive and strive to make happy. Whether they are your boyfriend, your best friend or your mother. Relationships of all kinds will have their ups and downs, but working things out and making the other person a priority is the only way to make them stronger.

8. Be careful who you marry.

Make sure he values the same things you value, that he is happy to support your career aspirations and parenting values, that you both want similar things out of life.

9. “Your opinion of me is none of my business”

Let go of what others think of you, I still struggle with this – I chase external validation, I want the medal or gold star, I often didn’t do things because I was worried about what people would think of me. Its better to try and fail than to never try at all. Don’t let other people’s opinions stop you from doing what you want to do. Take a small first step or open a door to new opportunities and let God do the rest!

10. Becoming a mother has taught me to notice the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.

To experience things as if it was the first time, to see the joy around us, to create joyful moments.

What would you say you are still working on or through? 

I am still learning to:

  • Take time to write down 3- 6 character traits / values that you want to live by and brain storm/ create a bucket list of the different ways you can bring these to life, try come up with 50+. Each week action one thing, then at the end of the year you will have done 52 intentional things that make you feel great and make you better at being you.
  • Each conversation learning to ask 2 – 3 questions.
  • Structure in a daily 15 minutes quiet time, a weekly treat, monthly weekend break, annual holiday.
  • Prioritise hanging out with myself and God.
  • Taking a moment to switch off and relax.
  • Trying new thing or different ways of doing things each week / month or year.
  • Developing true friendships – investing in those friends that bring out the best in me, and breaking away from those people that bring you down.
  • Slow down and appreciate the people & world around me.

How would you summarise the 10 things you would tell yourself?

I summary I would say:

  • Take responsibility for yourself
  • Love yourself
  • Live authentic you
  • Stop comparing – just stop
  • Create bucket list – start being intentional
  • Choose relationships wisely – friendships and marriage
  • Slow Down
  • Relax
  • Notice extraordinary creation of this world
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Hannah Pirnie

About Hannah Pirnie

Since moving to Johannesburg, South Africa from the UK in 2010, Hannah has embraced expat life, becoming mother to beautiful daughter and twin boys, along with gorgeous ridgeback dog Jonty, enjoying motherhood, supporting spouse, and certified executive and career coach. She is the founder of Translating Sport and Translating Me. These two companies support individuals to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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