I originally came up with the Heroes & Legends idea because of the women in my life like Erin Hareng. Erin simply does not stop. She has a high-level job where she teaches as much as she learns. She is raising two little ladies to be the next generation of feminists. She is a great chef, has a beautiful home, is a big time Christmas decorator, and does crazy exercise challenges that has her running over muddy hilltops while carrying her canoe to the next step. Erin keeps so many balls in the air and makes it look easy; though she is the first person to admit that it’s not. Her patience and willingness to take on tough projects are to be admired.
Perhaps more importantly, she promotes and supports the people she believes in with energy the rest of us struggle to find. The fact that she can take time from her busy life to ensure others feel appreciated is what will win her awards.
So let’s here what she has to say about life, success, and how to be a doer.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you this person yet?
Does anyone know the answer to this question? I’m sure some do, but I don’t! I continue to be surprised by new opportunities, projects and career choices that weren’t on my radar 3, 5, 10 years ago. Who I want to be is someone who is happy and enjoying what they are doing. I am that right now and will continue to make career and life choices based on that guiding mission.
What is your favorite part of your life?
People!!! I just love, love, love people and all they have to offer. There is so much to learn on this planet and I’m fortunate that I have a job and activities that give me a peek into the lives of others.
What’s the most annoying part of your day?
People!!! My brain has the inability to understand folks who aren’t happy to be here. My temper gets a little short, I admit, around these folks. I’m a get on the bus or get out-of-the-way type of person.
How do you handle a stressful day?
My kids think dogs and birds and playgrounds and fuzzballs on the ground are the coolest things ever. The world is amazing to them. Hang around that for a bit, and you’re good.
And then there’s wine. Wine helps.
What is the biggest secret to your success:?
Giving without asking. By investing in others – through resources, finances, emotional support – it comes back to you tenfold. Plus it feels awesome. So I really do it for selfish reasons, because I feel awesome.
What is the biggest “duh” thing you do the rest of us don’t?
See the last answer.
Oh, and read a book about time management. I learned quickly that the person working until 8 p.m. is not necessarily the person with the most responsibilities. Work smarter people.
What was harder for you to accomplish than you expected?
So many things have been hard or different than I expected. But I expect that my hardest challenge will come in a few years, as the girls get older. I struggle, as most women do, with feeling not good enough or not pretty enough. I want to make sure I provide a good example for them. How I treat myself will play a large role in how they feel about their selves, too.
What comes easiest to you? Does this help or hinder your awesomeness?
Ha Ha! I’m a doer, and can be a little bit of a bull-in-a-china-shop about it. It helps and hinders. It helps because not enough people are doers. There are a lot of talkers. That’s how it helps – it moves people and projects forward. It hinders because not everyone adapts to that approach. I’ve gotten better over the years at adapting my style, but I know some are intimidated by me because of my assertive style.
Have you had the same goal(s) your whole life or do they change? If they change, how often?
Going back to question #1, they are always changing, but the goal is always happiness. We are only here for a short time, so why spend those days doing things you don’t like? I do say that, however, coming from a place of privilege. I have the resources available to be able to do that. A lot do not have the same opportunities that I do.
What is your ratio of life-planning to life-happening?
A good mentor once told me to always have a vacation on the books. If you make life happening a priority, it will happen!
What else should we know?
I’m a feminist and I’m not afraid to say it. Women need to help each other navigate their career and life choices. Stop judging – let’s just help each other get where we need to go. And if you take me out for dinner, I’ll talk for hours on this topic, so consider yourself warned.
Bonus question: Do you have things as under control as it looks? If so, how do you find balance? What do you let go? If not, do you think it looks that way? Is it important for the rest of us to try to make it look easy? (Ok, that’s a bonus five questions…)
Do I have things under control? Yes, this type A has everything under control. However, I don’t like being the one in control of everything. The balance, I believe, is in feeling comfortable delegating tasks – in home, work, volunteering.
I do think there is something to be said about not keeping up the appearance of everything being perfect. I want folks to know that I’m not perfect, that I struggle with lots of things, but that I know this is OK. I don’t want to compete with women and pretend I’ve got it all together. I would rather open the conversation about things I’m struggling with and find answers with them.
If you would like to network with Erin, check out her LinkedIn profile. As you can tell from above, she’s a good person to know. I’m so proud to call her a friend.