Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Bingham.
Ann, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my own One New Thing Project almost a decade ago. I had a picture-perfect 20-year marriage to my college sweetheart. I had great kids, (13 and 15 at the time.) We lived a privileged life, there was no doubt about that. A nice house in the burbs, and good jobs.
It was. Until it wasn’t.
I have a neurodegenerative disease that was progressing faster than any of us expected it to. I kept thinking that so many others had it so much worse than I did, what did I really have to complain about? I was so deeply happy, yet I was totally and completely unable to enjoy that happiness. I felt else around me had life all figured out, and I was faking my way through it. I felt completely alone.
I still feel guilty saying that I couldn’t enjoy the amazing life that I had. I definitely felt guilty at the time, so guilty that I couldn’t say it out loud until my friend admitted it first. It wasn’t until a girls’ night, over a pitcher of margaritas and chips and salsa, that she tentatively mentioned what had been weighing on me.
“Do you ever feel like this is all there is?” “Do you ever feel like everyone has it together and you don’t?”
ALL. THE. TIME.
I was a director at a prestigious pre-school at the time. One sunny day, I wandered onto the school playground. I was immediately pulled in by the giggling shrieks of a three-year-old. He was playing with shaving cream. As he slapped his hands together, wide arcs of foam would fly several feet in all directions. He’d burst into uncontrolled joy-filled laughter. Over and over. Clap, splash, laugh. The other kids flocked to him. It pulled me in. It was impossible to not be overtaken with that little boy’s joy. I wanted that feeling.
How does a 40-something woman get the joy that comes so naturally to three-year-olds?
The answer was easier than I expected. Try new things. Consistently.
My first new thing was Malaysian Mooncakes, sent to our school from Singapore. That was almost ten years ago, and over 250 things later. From star fruit to trips to Mexico, from Ethiopian food to flying on a trapeze, I’ve done things that are big, and small, loud, and quiet. I’ve loved some, I’ve hated some. But along the way, I hustled joy in a way that I never thought possible.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
When I started the One New Thing Project, my goal was to try one new thing each month for a year. In the beginning, many of my friends were skeptical. To be frank, I didn’t have a great track record at following through on long-term things. To keep myself honest, I decided that I would post my new things on social media. It was hard to find things to do in the beginning. After I went through my initial “that would be cool” list, It was tough to find things. I also did a lot of things by myself because my friends and family weren’t into trying the new things that I wanted to do, at least not then. Over time, they started to suggest new things for me, and wanted to join in.
I’ve also had some cataclysmic failures. When you’re trying things that you’ve never done before, you have to expect that will happen. However, the great thing about that is that it taught me how to fail with grace. As a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, I had become really good at avoiding situations that where I might fail. Now I put myself in them on purpose, but the stakes were really low.
If I failed, my ego wasn’t terribly bruised, it was easier to pick myself up, dust myself off, and look at the experience objectively- apart from myself. I slowly began to see that I wasn’t an awful human or stupid because my painting with Pinot picture looked like something a distractible kindergartener might make. Instead, I could separate myself from that experience and decide how to solve the problem going forward (like maybe using different brushes to paint).
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m a speaker, coach, and best-selling author. I inspire women all over the world to become more confident, more resilient, and more creative by slowly stepping outside of their comfort zone. I recognize that’s not easy to do on your own, so I’ve created a community to support people embarking on their own One New Thing Projects. Because getting started and coming up with ideas can be difficult, I have One New Thing experience boxes available for purchase. These are carefully curated new experiences designed to be just outside of your comfort zone delivered to your door.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
My greatest cheerleaders have been my family. My husband Rob, my daughter, Alex, and my son, Ryan have been along for most of my adventures. I’ve become a very different person since I started this journey, and I truly could not have done this without them.
My other cheerleader has been Alison Hillman. She and I met at a local co-working space. Alison has given me unflinching feedback on my work. She has enthusiastically celebrated with me, given me tough love when I needed it, and cried with me when times got tough.
- $55.00 One New Thing Box
- $19.00 The One New Thing Project Paperback
- $7.99 The One New Thing Project Kindle
- $70/hr Individual Coaching
- contact for prices for group training on Finding Greatness Just Outside Your Comfort Zone
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.theonenewthingproject.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/myonenewthing
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/myonenewthing
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/myonenewthing
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6O6PHnPzfyu8YJIRNBlwNw