Episode 1: How Feminine Energy Can Help You Be a Better CEO

Filed in All Episodes, Business Strategy, Emotional Intelligence — October 5, 2021

About the Episode:

Welcome to the first ever episode of Shamelessly Ambitious, I’m humbled and honored that you’re here. Today I want to share what it means for me to be in my luteal phase, and why I chose now to record the first episode of the show. Plus, we’re going to break down the difference between masculine and feminine energy and our CEO energetics. This episode will help you become more reflective rather than reactive so that you can be the best version of yourself. I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s dive in. 

Topics Discussed:

  • What you can expect from the Shamelessly Ambitious podcast
  • The feelings that the luteal phase brings and why Ash chose this phase specifically to record her first episode
  • The difference between masculine and feminine energy and when to tap into each
  • How to master your energetics so you can show up as the CEO you’re meant to be
  • The power and value that can be found in pausing before reacting 


Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode

Ash McDonald (00:00):

Oh, my goodness. We are here. You are here. I am here. This is the very first shamelessly ambitious podcast, and I am recording it from this beautiful, beautiful island home in port orchard, Washington. And I planned to record it here for a very specific reason, because I wanted to cultivate an energy around this podcast, a sacredness, a space where you and I could connect. We can chat like old friends and talk about the things that truly matter. And I’m going to start every episode sharing with you. One thing that I’m grateful for, and I would deeply appreciate at the same moment that you take a pause as well to think about what you are grateful for. I believe fundamentally that we create the energy with which we live in and to do that. We have to bring in a positivity and no matter what you’re going through or how hard or easy or fun or difficult life can feel in any given moment, we can always find essences of gratitude and joy.

Ash McDonald (01:09):

I will also start every podcast, episode sharing what phase I’m in, because I think that this information needs to be normalized. And throughout your journey of listening, you will hear more and more about a female superpower I E our cycle and how absolutely imperative it is that we understand it to its core. And I think hearing a little bit every single week about what phase I’m in and how that’s impacting me is going to help to not only normalize that conversation, but get you a little bit more comfortable with that topic as well. So, first and foremost, I am abundantly grateful for this view. I wish I could show it to you right now. The water just glistening, it just sparkles and the trees, I’m just surrounded by vibrance. And I can see a adorable little seal doing a back paddle. I kid you not almost directly in front of me.

Ash McDonald (02:08):

It’s amazing. And today I come to you in my luteal phase, the luteal for me often means inward. And I actually plan to have my luteal phase at this very moment while I was on this retreat, because I knew I would be alone. I am on day five of being alone cultivated specifically in order to create more restoration in my life. And I wanted to have the beautiful, intuitive reflectiveness that luteal phase brings the pattern recognition in our brain. That allows us to really heal at a deeper, deeper level, the desire to be alone, which also comes in luteal phase because I didn’t want to have FOMO. If I’m being really honest, I wanted to be a fully in the moment. And also the slowness. If I were an ovulation or flick phase, I might want to

Ash McDonald (02:59):

Get more done or move more quickly because that would energetically be where I am. But today and in the luteal phase, I’m okay. Moving slow. I’m okay. Sleeping in and being more feminine. In fact, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Today. I want to talk to you about CEO energetics. This is an important conversation. This is a very important conversation. We have all been there in those moments where something just does not go as planned. Maybe it’s in your life, maybe it’s in your business. It could be things like your launch, feeling like a total flop, your partner, your spouse, your person being an, your kids home at school because they’re sick or someone else’s sick. And now you have to rearrange your entire schedule. Maybe your assistant botched a job or didn’t do something she said she was going to do.

Ash McDonald (03:57):

And it is completely thrown you off your game. What do you do in those moments? What happens in those moments? When life throws you a curve ball, a sudden difficulty hits you square in the face? Well, the truth is what most of the time happens for. All of us is we subconsciously tap into our masculine energy. Now, let me give you a little variation here. So you understand the difference between masculine and feminine energy. Our masculine energy is reactive. It’s assertive. It is bold and courageous not to say that feminine is not, but hear me out on this being in our masculine allows us to make quick decisions and to make them pretty well most of the time to speak our mind and to get what we need quickly to do, to fix, to finish feminine. On the other hand, I always think of feminine as this really inquisitive side of us, pausing to reflect, taking moments, to feel an experience, to never speak without really clarifying what it is we want to say.

Ash McDonald (05:15):

But the truth is reaction is typically what we run to in moments of distress or stress. What happens when we’re stressed is cortisol is dumped into our body and it triggers this fight or flight reaction within us. Okay? So either react fast, fix this problem, solve it immediately, or get the heck out of Dodge, right? Like just ignore it, get out of here. And these tend to be very masculine responses. And it’s not only that, that tends to be our natural response is to tap into masculine under stress. But it’s also what we’ve been taught. Societaly when things go wrong, fix, solve, get out of it, right? Fight or flight. The problem with that is that we tend to respond in ways that aren’t truly authentic to who we are, particularly as CEOs and as leaders, maybe that, that launch that wasn’t going so well, you reduce your prices and desperation.

Ash McDonald (06:15):

I’m going to be totally honest hair and share. I have so done that I’m day four in my launch and it’s crickets. And all I can feel is anxiety and stress and overwhelm. And I’m reacting. I’m going to change my prices. I’m going to alter this. I’m going to whatever the case may be, right? Maybe you’re in a fight with your partner and your reactive masculine response is to say things you don’t necessarily mean. I am also raising my hand on that one. Maybe your kids are home and your full Workday is thrown out of whack. And so you’re impatient, you’re frustrated. And you’re the furthest thing from present with your kids. And maybe that, that assistant of yours who didn’t do what she said she was going to do, or maybe made a mistake. You don’t show up the way you were made to show up as a leader, you show up reactive and you you’re cold and you’re short and you’re not giving her an opportunity to learn, but instead, making her feel shame.

Ash McDonald (07:22):

I tell my clients often that one of my biggest desires as a leader and a mentor is to never induce shame. But the truth is it’s really easy to induce shame in others and in ourselves when we allow masculine to take over first. Now hear me. When I say this masculine energy is powerful and it’s good and it’s wonderful in its own way, but it’s not actually the best first response. So today we could go on a million different paths and directions when it comes to energetics as a CEO. But today we’re talking specifically about you, how you harness and utilize your energetics as a way to show up as a better CEO, as a more aligned, more fluid, more authentic CEO, the greatest version of the UW CEO, okay? This is important. This is important because those reactions, those examples that I just gave you, none of that is you.

Ash McDonald (08:23):

None of that is the true version of you. You are a feminine being, you are a leader. You’re amazing. So what would it look like if as opposed to turning instantly to our masculine, we instead turn to, to our feminine number one, number one allow the reaction, sweet sister. I am not telling you not to react. I’m asking you to react more intuitively. So in moments of deep stress, frustration, anger, whatever, how can you react differently? And when I say react, I mean, literally act within your body movement, going for a walk, meditation, breath, work, shower, right? Like whatever. Even just going outside for a moment, I want you to react. But without words I want you to react to your body can move, can flow. You can become an energetic match within your body to this reaction, right? Movement, meditation, breath, work, whatever it is that you choose, oh, allows for the pause.

Ash McDonald (09:35):

I E the feminine inquisition. And in that pause, I want you to identify what is true. Often our first response, anger, stress, overwhelm, anxiety isn’t necessarily our primary emotion or the real feeling that we’re experiencing. So during that launch, that feels like it’s flopping. I feel stressed. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I’ve done something wrong and I need to react because I need to fix it in this moment. But if, instead I pause and I really think about it. And I asked myself, what’s really true right now. What’s true is that I feel fear. I feel fear that I’m not going to hit my goal. I feel fear that I created something that isn’t going to work. And I feel fear that I’m going to make a fool of myself. That’s true.

Ash McDonald (10:31):

What else is true? Is that what I created is going to change so many lives and I can launch it as many times as I need to launch it. And the value of it hasn’t changed simply because nobody has said yes, the value of me hasn’t changed simply because nobody has said yes yet. Okay. So allowing this pause this moment to really think now if you’re in a moment with someone else. So in those examples of your kiddos or your assistant or your partner, my favorite phrase to use is, oh, I am really feeling right now. And if I react, it’s going to be really emotionally driven and probably not totally accurate to what I’m really feeling or what action I really want to take. I’m going to take a few moments to process this and I’ll come back to you.

Ash McDonald (11:29):

I promise you, there is nobody. Who’s going to hear that. Not your partner, not your assistant. Let’s, I’ll give you a different example for your kids, depending on how old they are, nobody is going to feel wronged by this. They’re going to be, they’re going to feel right, right. It, is that a phrase? Can we say that here? They’re going to feel right, because they’re going to think, wow, that is a true leader or, wow. My partner is amazing. Now for my kiddos. I would say something along the lines of, gosh, mommy is a feeling right now. And I just need a couple moments, just a couple of moments, and then I’m going to come back and I’m going to be fully present for you. My kids get that. Okay. So you want to articulate this pause with someone if you’re in it with them. Okay. So once you have identified the true feelings and the trueness of those feelings, right? So the fact that, yeah, there there’s fear that exists, but the actual fear that I’m carrying does not connect to. What’s true, right? What you have is a beautiful offer. What you have is a wonderful assistant, where you have the beautiful love story, right? With your partner.

Ash McDonald (12:39):

These are important facts. And what happens when we pause, when we’re inquisitive and reflective, as opposed to reactive and assertive is we give ourself time to reconnect to our center, to our most vibrantly, authentic us. And the beauty in that, as you come back to that moment, able to share reality, right? Able to make decisions that are sound, you see the reason why I wanted to bring this for our first episode together was because this is a common conversation between my clients and I, between my friends and I, between my colleagues and I, even between my husband and I, this, this concept of reacting under stress. And I’ll have my clients come to me like, oh my gosh, this happened, I think I’m going to do this. And I’m sure it gets a little old for them. I will say, let’s just pause a second.

Ash McDonald (13:38):

Does that feel like a reactive response or does it feel like a reflective response and more often than not, my clients will go, oh, you’re right. I was totally reacting. And it’s not really what I want. I don’t want to change the price of my program. I don’t want to stop honoring this membership. I don’t want to do whatever the case may be. Right. And what it allows for us is to tap into our intuition, which is outside of our cycle. Let’s be honest, one of our greatest superpowers as a woman, number two superpower, okay. Number one is our cycle. Number two is our intuition. Our intuition exists through the door of feminine energy. When we pause enough to listen and be inquisitive, we can hear the call of our soul. The Hey prices don’t need to change. Prices do not need to change, but you know what good work is showing up a little bit more behind the scenes and having conversations with people you’ve already had conversations with who are dying for this offer, right? Whatever the case may be, your intuition gets turned on. I literally imagine it as you know, when these big stressful moments

Ash McDonald (14:51):

Happen, there’s two doors, there’s the masculine and there’s the feminine. And I can either rush the masculine and slam that door open and kind of create a little bit of chaos in my life. Or I can slowly gracefully walk to the feminine door. I share this today because you, my friend are a woman. First, the goodness of you lies in you, the business you’ve developed, the relationships you have cultivated, the family, you have nurtured, they’re all a result of your woman-ness and the beauty of which you hold. Regardless of any of those things. I want to encourage you today and always to honor who you are to tap into the greatest versions of you and to pause long enough, to look in the mirror long enough, to know, and have confidence in the fact that you have the answers, whatever they may be, you already carry them. Oh, my friend. Thank you for showing up to the very first episode of shameless. Ambitious. I cannot wait to connect with you here again, every single week.


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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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