Episode 101: Navigating The Messy Middle & Tough Questions To Ask Yourself

Filed in All Episodes, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development — July 6, 2023

Welcome to Shamelessly Ambitious, where we dive into the real and raw personal stories and hard lessons. In this episode, I want to invite  you to see a glimpse behind the scenes of my recent move to our new, dream home. It has been a rollercoaster ride filled with unexpected challenges, but valuable lessons nonetheless. Join me as I share my raw and vulnerable experiences during this absolutely chaotic time.

The Illusion of Our Smooth Transition

Moving into our brand new home seemed like a literal dream come true… I had big plans for decorating and furnishing the house within our 10-day window between closing and moving in. In hindsight, I completely underestimated the amount of things that needed to be done in that time frame. If you’ve ever bought a house, you know you need to keep the majority of funds in your bank account until closing in complete. This delayed my plans because I wasn’t able to proactively purchase furniture or go through with any other big investments for the house. However, I knew it would all fall into place how it was supposed and hopefully how I envisioned it! Narrator: it was absolutely not how she envisioned it. 

Unforeseen Construction Nightmares

I hired a private team of contractors to add unique features to our home that seemed promising. However, what was supposed to be a short project extended well beyond our expectations… so much so that we are currently living in a construction zone as I record this episode. Our laundry room turned into a disaster, we had raccoons that were supposed to be removed prior to our move-in residing in our attic for weeks, and we’ve had sleepless nights for days due to all of this.

Discovering Hidden Flaws

As my mom and I cleaned the house, we began noticing numerous issues that weren’t apparent during the walkthrough and infamous “blue tape inspection.” From stains on countertops, faulty caulking, unfinished tubs, and incorrect installations. I’m now having to manage each project and it has quickly become a full-time job. You would think people would come in, do their jobs well, and complete the project before leaving… but no. And if you’ve ever built your own home, you’re probably laughing at me while reading this.

Finding Moments of Respite

Although, amid the chaos, I recognized the importance of self-care and sought refuge in a local coffee shop to gain some perspective. Thanks to my mom and Jake for holding down the fort because mama needed a break. As I sat at this cafe, I was doing a launch debrief for my business because, of course, during all of this I was actively launching 2 programs so this debrief allowed me to reflect on the results and identify areas of improvement for the next launch. I always do a launch debrief, but this one felt super important given everything that was going on. I asked myself a set of questions (featured in this podcast episode), and here are the lessons I learned as a result:

The Lessons I Learned

  1. Adjust Expectations: Realizing the need to align expectations with available resources and current capacity to avoid self-judgment and feelings of failure.
  2. Seek Support: Recognize the importance of asking for help and relying on others during challenging times because although we feel like SuperMan, we can’t handle it all alone.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Embracing a growth mindset and understanding that every experience offers an opportunity to learn and evolve.
  4. Prioritize Self-Care: Acknowledging the importance of self-care and creating moments of respite amidst chaos to maintain mental and emotional well-being.

Life often presents unexpected challenges that can test our resilience and push us to our limits. This move to our new home has been far from smooth, but it has provided me with invaluable lessons. By adjusting expectations, seeking support, embracing growth, and prioritizing self-care, I am navigating the messy middle and working towards resolving the issues at hand. Remember, life’s obstacles can be transformative if we approach them with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt.

If you’re also in the messy middle, I’d love to hear about it so we can support one another. Shoot me a DM @ashmcdonald on IG.

Rooting for you & thanks for being here to support me.


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I am the definition of duality—I swear like a sailor and break rules like it’s my job, but I also hold incredible space for my clients and work my ass off to help them achieve the success they’re after (but faster).

My background in counseling and my experience founding three multi-6-figure businesses gives me a unique perspective on what it means to show up and serve as an ethical and successful CEO. Leaning on my experiences, along with the experiences of the hundreds of women I’ve been honored to work with, I offer founders a psych-backed and human-first approach to scaling their legacies—both in and out of the office. 

I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to anything, but especially business. Because at the foundation of any profitable, sustainable, ethically sound business is one thing: humans being humans. And to do anything without first considering the human behind the action (i.e., with intention and vulnerability) is to remove our most powerful predictor of success—ourselves.

Around here, you’ll find a personalized and multidimensional client experience paired with a few tastefully dropped fucks. You’ll also find a new way of being in business that’s sustainable, ethical, and built around your life (not the other way around).

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