HANNY ALLSTON TALKS BURNOUT, GUILT, AND GROWTH
Hanny Allston wears many hats: trail runner, business owner, orienteer, wife, podcast host, environmentalist. The Tasmanian is also a life coach who helps people find their place in the world. Here, she teaches us some of what she’s learnt in her 33 years on Earth.
Hanny grew up on a hobby farm south of Hobart. She was an avid swimmer but gradually fell out of love with swimming and in love with orienteering, which led her to Sweden, where she worked as a nanny for a couple with no children. One thing led to another and eventually Hanny found herself back at home in her early twenties feeling lost and unsure about what to do next. In 2009, she started Find Your Feet as a hobby, helping others learn about running and connect with like-minded people. She explains ‘I used to say “I want to help people find their feet” but I didn’t really know what that meant.’ Now she does and it’s become her business.
Find Your Feet’s philosophy – Be Wilder, Play Wilder, Perform Wilder – is one that Hanny wholeheartedly embraces. In order to evolve physically, mentally, and spiritually, Hanny believes you first need to get to know yourself and what you love to do. It’s about finding things that ‘make your toes tingle’, not just copying your friends or limiting yourself to what’s available. Many people make the mistake of worrying about their performance when they’re just starting out, without having a “why” to guide them. All too often this leads to burnout.
So how can you avoid burnout? Hanny recommends wave training, which involves working hard for a couple of weeks, followed by a period of rest, and then getting out there with a full energy tank and no agenda. Hanny says ‘What I want is to help people establish a way of life, not a training plan that’s going to get them to x place. It will, but I want people to feel empowered and growing.’ She’s noticed that many struggle with guilt, whether it’s taking time to relax or wanting to chase dreams “just because”. In order to grow, it’s vital that we recognise how toxic guilt is.
Hanny’s come leaps and bounds over the past decade. She says ‘I’ve worked really hard on myself to make sure my foundations are really strong. I love what I do. It gets me up every day, even on the hard days. I really understand my “why”.’ She has a mentor in Singapore and takes time out to do the things she loves, like trail running. A run to Federation Peak (aka “Australia’s scariest mountain”) redefined success for her: ‘It made me realise that success is not the accolades or results, it’s just a willingness to put yourself in that uncomfortable position where great things can happen.’ She put herself in an uncomfortable position again this year when she traversed the French Pyrenees Mountains solo – covering 700km over 19 days – and has come back better for it.
Like Hanny, Find Your Feet has grown dramatically. Her husband joined the business in 2014 and she explains ‘We made a conscious decision to build this business in a way that allowed us to take time out from it if we needed to recharge. If we couldn’t do that, then we couldn’t run a business.’ For Hanny, who’s on the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council, ensuring that the business is environmentally sustainable has also been crucial. In addition to coaching, they offer trail running tours across Tasmania and the world, and sell outdoor gear through their physical and online stores. Watch this space to see what she does next!