Triggering Others, Impulsivity & Never Settling (A Story) – Shamelessly Ambitious Episode 124

Filed in Business Strategy, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development, Podcast — October 17, 2023

I want to get real and share some deeply personal reflections about my life journey and how it has shaped me as an entrepreneur. I’ve been dealing with a lot of weird stuff that’s been coming up lately, so grab a cup of tea, settle in, and let’s dive into my story.

If you’re a part of my email list you’d know that I’m kind of going through it. You really never know when grief is going to hit. You can’t plan for hard times and emotional distress, but I’m really grateful to have practices in place to ground & heal my nervous system.

My Midnight Thoughts

The other night, I woke up with a whirlwind of thoughts racing through my mind. So I did what any normal person would do and I took out my notes app in the middle of the night and typed out all my thoughts so I could go back to sleep.

I normally get pretty vulnerable in this space, but what I’m about to share is probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. Vulnerability is such a pillar of my brand because I believe that vulnerability breeds connection and I’ve always wanted to build a business like that.

But first, a little backstory — I’ve been connecting with my team on how I want my content to be delivered on each of my different platforms because I realized the importance of creating different tiers of connection, kind of like a concert audience, where each level offers a more intimate experience…

For Instance…

My Instagram community is the audience that’s witnessing content from the surface. Not that I’m “closed off” there, but that community is just in the audience and following along. My podcast community has front-row seats that involve a touch deeper connection and more context around the stories I share. My email list is the backstage pass. This community offers more intimacy, vulnerability, and a closer glimpse into my true self.  Finally, my membership, The Empire Society, is the real deep behind-the-scenes experience (like you’re on the tour bus traveling with me), where I share everything.

Throwback To Little Ashley

I grew up in a blue collar family that worked their asses off but often faced struggles, specifically financial struggles. My dad had a pessimistic outlook on life. His perspective was that “life is tough” and “it’ll always be that way.” Complete doomsday. This mentality and upbringing deeply impacted me, and I made a conscious & subconscious decision to take a different path because although I love my parents, I never wanted to struggle the way they had.

Back in the 80’s — yeahhh I’m an 80’s baby, what about it 🤪 the way to a better life was through education. So, I was the first person in my family to attend college and later pursued a master’s degree. I wanted a better life and was determined to break away from the cycle of struggle I witnessed. Because of this, education became my ticket to a brighter future and my journey into therapy and counseling psychology began.

Embracing Change and Risk

My journey was far from linear, though. I had various majors in undergrad because I couldn’t quite find my match… who can relate?? Ultimately, I wanted a flexible, well-paying job that allowed me to be a mother while maintaining my independence. Eventually, I was introduced to a teacher who would later become my mentor and she opened my eyes to what seemed to offer that perfect blend.

I’ve always had a gift for making people feel safe and therefore, I was drawn to psychology and sociology. Not to be cliche but I have some fucked up issues of my own that made me want to understand human behavior and help others (like every other therapist ever). I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again: what we teach is generally what we need most. Through my education, I made bold decisions and embraced risks, sometimes impulsively && spoiler alert — I still do these things to this day.. I’m just in a constant and relentless pursuit of happiness.

Challenges of Entrepreneurship

Because I’m always willing to take risks and do things “normal” people wouldn’t, I’ve faced some challenges. Entrepreneurship has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but my biggest challenge hasn’t been pricing, marketing, content creation, or any of the traditional stuff. It’s been dealing with the unacceptance and judgment of my decisions from others. My drive toward an “unconventional life” has made people uncomfortable and, for a while, I wasn’t sure why.

So, maintaining relationships while constantly evolving has been a realllll struggle. My impulsive decisions and constant change have made some people distance themselves. This has been particularly challenging in friendships, where I’ve faced rocky moments…

I’m not gonna sit here and say I’m the best friend, but I am fiercely loyal to those I care about and I’ll move mountains for them. I’m loyal to a fault sometimes.

This is where I hold back my tears… I’ve had moments more recently where I’ve had internal questions of “would certain relationships in my life be different if I would have just been regular… normal… the type of person that just keeps one job, who stays in one house, one city, one life, and just does the normal thing.”

&& it’s not that the normal thing is bad becauseI have no opinions on that matter. But my way of being a risky person or even my choice to be vulnerable on social media has really triggered people.

I try to put on a brave face. I try to act like “it’s whatever, they don’t understand me, or they’re just jealous of me” and while I do think there are instances of that, I often wonder why I can’t just be content with the mundane.Sitting here today, though, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am proud of the decisions I’ve made to get where I am, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt sometimes.

Moving Forward

As I navigate the consequences of my choices (even though as I said, I regret nothing) I’m learning to find solace that not everyone will understand or support me. I’m finding peace in acknowledging my emotions and seeking comfort in self-compassion. I suppose I’m in a season of reflection and growth, but I’m committed to staying true to myself no matter how hard and uncomfortable it is to face these emotions coming to the surface.

If you resonate with my story or seek a supportive community, I encourage you to join my email list or step inside my all-inclusive membership. Remember, vulnerability and authenticity are powerful tools in building meaningful connections.

Rooting for you always & know I’m here for you if you’re also facing some weird, emotional stuff lately.


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Ash McDonald is a 3 time founder and multi 6-figure CEO. She’s a therapist turned business mentor that helps female founders scale their legacy with a psych-backed, human-first approach. She studied at the University of Northern Colorado where she received her BA in Sociology and holds 2 masters degrees from the University of Colorado Denver in Counseling Psychology & Sociology. 

Before stepping into full-time CEO, Ash ran a private practice where she served and helped patients for 4 years. During this time, she also provided consulting & business strategy to other aspiring private practice therapists. After closing her practice she continued her entrepreneurial journey in the network marketing space - successfully owning & operating two separate six figure companies. During her 7 years in network marketing, she spoke on stages in front of thousands, traveled around the world to consult with other business owners, and established herself as an industry leader. 

In 2019 Ash founded her online coaching & consulting business that she’s spent the last 4 years building into the empire that is Ash McDonald, LLC today. Best known for her therapy-backed approach – Ash merges sales psychology, therapy and strategy to help female founders create soul-aligned businesses and scale their legacy. 

She believes that being bold enough to build a business takes so much more than strategy and perfectly timed schedules. It takes tapping into your humanness, being willing to hold space for your dreams and the space for the people you serve, while addressing your own emotional intelligence, sense of safety and expanded nourishment. She believes that every woman is layered & individually unique and therefore requires a personalized & multidimensional approach of coaching. With this strategy, she’s successfully helped hundreds of women establish their brand identity and find their voice, build offer suites that are in complete alignment and scale their businesses to new heights. 

Ash McDonald is your coach's coach…or at least you hope she is. 

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