A Time I Didn’t Belong – Shamelessly Ambitious Episode 141

Filed in All Episodes, Business Strategy, Connection, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Development — July 2, 2024

I’m giving you a little sneak peek into something I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into — Something that hasn’t been announced loudly, but 100% deserves to be. This project is all about belonging, connection, and living above the standard. 🫶🏻😉👯‍♀️

Drum roll, please… 🥁🥁 I’m thrilled to introduce you to the newly renovated, incredibly amazing membership: The Above the Standard Collective. Ahhhh, just saying the name out loud makes my heart sing! This membership is more than just a community; it’s a transformative place where you can finally feel deep, visceral belonging by being your true self. But here’s the tea, doors only twice a year. 😳 The good news is, the next opening is happening later this month. 🤭

One of the features I’m most excited about is our monthly healing intensives. These are monthly connection calls where I get to pour my heart and soul out while sharing experiences && creating space for others to do the same.

This month’s intensive, called Her Story, focuses on the power of storytelling. When we share, witness, and listen to each other’s stories, we heal. Instantaneously. I learned this firsthand during my ayahuasca experience with my husband in Costa Rica back in 2022. If you want to hear more about my ayahuasca experience and reflections, tune in to this episode. I had a profound realization that healing doesn’t always have to be hard or take forever — rather, it can happen in a moment with a shared story. 🥹

I knew I wanted to provide this kind of instant healing to the ladies inside the membership so during our intensives, I encourage members to share their personal stories. However, I never expect others to be vulnerable without me going first.

One of the prompts we explore is a time you didn’t belong. This is a deeply personal and vulnerable question, and while I could (truthfully & unfortunately) think of many times I didn’t belong, my subconscious took me back to my earliest memory of unbelonging… a moment in my childhood.

I was actually born to my mom and my biological father who is a drug addict and an alcoholic. Very early on, my mother left him. && even also early when I was 2 or 3 years old, my mom met my “stepdad” who is ultimately my dad through and through. He is my dad. He’s been there forever. I love him to death.

Eventually my parents had two sons of their own, but I never really felt like it was anything other our family. My mom and dad did a really great job of making me feel that way. Now, in those early years, my biological father was still in and out of my life so I was dealing with this other dynamic. In a lot of ways, he was not somebody that you looked up to and I definitely felt some heaviness around that. Do I belong to this guy? Do I not belong to this guy? I don’t want to be like him, but also, I’m honestly, innately, drawn to understand more of who he is and why he is the way he is.

You know, honestly, I could probably say my earliest memory of not belonging was when I figured out that he made deliberate decisions in his life that ultimately meant he didn’t get to have me in his… 💔

Gosh.. I was about 12 or 13 ⏤ middle school esque age. My family had just moved into a new home that my parents were over the moon to reveal to us. We were driving home from school one day and there it was… Above the garage was a plaque with our family’s last name on it — except it wasn’t my last name. Since I was born to a different man, I still had his last name. I remember feeling like an outsider and really questioning where I fit in. Logically, I knew I fit in with my parents, but this was very momentous of my feelings of I’m not totally with them && I’m not definitely not with that guy over here.

So that was the story that I emotionally and vulnerably shared ⏤ The earliest memory I have of a time I didn’t belong. It’s something I’ve continued to process and work through, but in sharing it, I felt a renewed sense of hope. ❤️‍🩹✨

Ironically, I got to share a story from the night before. I had dinner with a friend I had previously only known virtually. We’ve had many a coffee chats so she knew about my vitiligo through various conversations, but seeing it in person for the first time was different. She looked at my wrists where it’s very present and she said, “and I’m not surprised.” I was completely caught off guard but she continued to look at my spots of vitiligo and she said, “of course you have unique skin because you are unique in every way.”

You see, belonging is powerful. It’s about being who you are without changing or sacrificing yourself to fit in. There are a couple quotes by Brené Brown that I love…

“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are. It requires you to be who you are.

The opposite of belonging is fitting in.

I think we all go around believing that we will feel belonging once people accept us. But in truth, to belong is to be witnessed in who you are. It’s about true connection and self-ownership. Belonging is powerful. It’s different than “fitting in.” It’s about being present in who you are without sacrificing who you are.

  • When have I not felt like I belonged?
  • When have I felt like I’ve belonged?
  • When have I taken big risks/who has imparted wisdom on me that changed the trajectory of my life?
  • What is my butterfly effect?

When we share our stories and listen to other people’s we heal. We evolve.

Belonging to yourself requires utter, relentless self ownership. To have that requires being in spaces where you can share. Where you can ask questions that you never would have asked yourself to really go inward.

One of my favorite parts of the membership is the idea of:

I belong to me. No take backs.

I believe in me. No take backs.

I am who I am and I will share it loud and proud. No take backs.

When we can understand and uncover our story to sit with it, heal through it, love it, share it, express it, && receive it then we can share with others to impact them, shift their belief system, and activate them to want more.

When you’ve taught them through your story, how you led yourself, now they know how to lead themselves, too. Story is powerful. It’s impactful. It’s beautiful.

In the Above the Standard Collective, we embrace our stories, share them, and heal together. We live intentionally, above the standard, and with no take backs.

That’s what I hope to bring about in everyone’s lives ⏤ every single day, intentionally, and cognitively living above the standard with no take backs. I hope my story resonates with you and inspires you to reflect on your own. Your story matters, and so do you, my sweet friend. ❤️❤️❤️

xoxo, Ash

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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. 

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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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