Meet Ashley Smith, an authenticity & passion coach who supports millennial women in designing their authentic identity through their exact wants, needs, and passions! Ashley, An undoubted true leader of openness, discovers the strengths and truths of others to help guide them to their form of leadership. We chat about her life coaching business Forming You, an online space she intentionally created to help serve others and teach them life with no barriers.
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your career background as a life coach?
I am a multi-passionate woman who lives by a no-filter type of speech. I strive to live my life honestly and show the world my authentic soul in the best way. I believe that we all deserve to live in an environment that allows our true self to be seen with no judgment. Through my coaching, I hope to teach this way of life to others and show them the path to their enlightenment.
My coaching helps women shed all the outside judgments coming from society, family, friends, and their inner critic. I want them to start living unapologetically authentic and show their passions to the world. The world needs all the emotion it can receive. I became a life coach after feeling an incredible energetic pull to serve and help others. I knew that I had a gift to be an open source for others to be themselves around. People gravitate towards my positive energy, and I want to share this space with all the women of the world.
I started my process to become a life coach through the fantastic company, The Beautiful You Coaching Academy, based in Australia. I received my coaching certificate after a 6-month course and then became a Beautiful You Coach 4 months later. My path to becoming a coach was moved by passion and messages from the universe. Life coaching for women is my purpose, and I will fight to keep it alive.
How do you feel we can benefit from a life coach?
Absolutely, yes! We do not have to do life alone. Think about your life thus far. As a child we have our parents as a guide, then we go through school and have teachers to support us; finally, we are released into the world and assume that we are supposed to do it on our own. This is the mistake we make. Life does not have to be a struggle to be successful. As adults, we also need guides and can find them in so many forms. Life coaching is the guide for your plans.
We give you a safe, open space to release all your thoughts and inspirations then have them spoken back to you in a conscious, understanding way. We ask you the questions that are too hard for yourself to ask. These questions bring the answers straight from your beautiful mind and encourage you to design your successful path. It turns struggle into energy. Working with a life coach provides you with that extra empowerment to create an epic life all on your terms.
You graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising but why did you drop everything to become a life coach?
Even though coaching is my passion and life path now and forever, it wasn’t always the case. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising. As a young woman, I didn’t honestly know where my top passions existed. I took fashion because I could style anybody, but what I didn’t know was that underneath the clothes I loved to help each person with their image. Through college, all my jobs consisted of managing people, and it wasn’t until I went to a life coach myself that I figured out my only passion through all my situations and life experiences were helping others. That was my calling, and it was just filed under all these other (feels like hundreds) of job titles. So, I changed my life path around a full 180 and started my journey to become a life coach!
How do you believe that by teaching self-love to your clients, they can reciprocate that into service to others?
If your love and energy are not filled up then how can you have enough to spread around without running out? I teach others to discover their self-love because that in return creates a positive energy in your life. When that energy is live, others will gravitate towards you. If you are feeding yourself that beautiful energy every day then you will have plenty to use towards creating transcendent relationships, making unforgettable memories, and serving others by being an inspiring role model.
Why do you think so many women, like yourself, don’t know where their top passions exist and struggle to identify which career path to follow?
Societal rules get in our way. We grow up being told who we should be, what stages of life we should be in, and who we are supposed to take care of. This seeps into our head, and when it comes time to decide our career path, we choose based on the rules. The world’s view is changing though, and women are starting to see a way around the rules at an earlier stage. This is giving them room to make their standards based on the life they want. We were never given the space before. We are now finding out that being selfish is the only way to keep positivity around. We have to put ourselves first to have enough energy to be there for others.
How are you showing your clients how to be inspired by their inner self?
It is your divine right to be who you indeed are. I teach my clients that we are all different and that is what the world needs. We need to meet each authentic soul and hear the individual song from each human.
My clients learn that their true essence must be shown to the world for us all to grow. My coaching process, The Forming You Method, teaches clients to take actions based on the tools they already possess. I believe what makes them different then the person next to them is their superpowers. I help them tap into their authentic traits, quirks, talents, and true essence to find creative solutions to all their barriers. They do not have to search for the answers from others because they have all the tools in their fantastic body + mind! Finding their power within shows them true inspiration.
What would be one thing you would like to see changed in the entrepreneurial world for young women?
I would like for us to have the same platform as men. When I am in a group of businessmen, they instantly try to shut me out or talk over me. They don’t even give me the chance to have a podium at their conversation. I have heard this idiotic statement one too many time, “Let the men talk.” Well, to me that sounds like the stupidest idea ever. Men have, but they are put to the test when you combine a women’s point of view and creative side. We are forced daily to make decisions, think outside of the box, and have been raised to cater to others. This nature has given us the lessons to be efficient and make something happen from a low advantage point. Give the women a platform to co-create with the men. If we could all come together as brilliant humans and not separate gender roles, then we will make mountains move! Teach the future businessmen to listen to their women co-workers and be inspired by their ideas.
Can you us what is your most seminal point?
My biggest life changer was deciding that there was more world for me to see at the early age of 16. I was a sophomore in high school and was having a very rough time. My home life did not feel safe, and the girls at my school were bringing way too much negativity into my mindset. I decided that it was time for me to grow away from the small town I had been surviving within.
I found a flyer to become a foreign exchange student. I didn’t tell a soul because I wanted this to be My Story. With my head held as high as it could go, I went to multiple interviews with the local Rotary club and got my entire exchange program taken care of and paid. Three months before leaving my mother got a letter in the mail, saying her baby girl was heading to France. That fight turned into pure appreciation from my mother.
She was so proud that I was making my life a priority. I spent a semester in Normandy, France my Junior year. I traveled, went to my first dance clubs, and learned an entirely new culture at 16. I felt on top of the freaking world! This was the moment that I knew I could accomplish anything! Being poor, being a woman, and having no safety net was not going to be my downfall. I was ready to take on everything that the universe had in store for me. France was the moment my deep confidence came to light and has continued to guide me every day.
The most rewarding moment in your personal life?
Quitting my retail job and taking a leap of faith with my soul mate. I was working retail as a store manager during the last year of college. College ended, and I was trying to decide where my fashion career could go. My fantastic boyfriend asked me to quit my job (he knew I was supposed to do something more significant) and let him support me for a year to discover my real purpose.
I thought this man is crazy! I had always worked hard in my jobs, paid all my bills plus my family’s bills, and never needed to rest on anybody for support. He was asking me to drop everything and fly into his safe arms without looking back. Well, I did it! I told myself once more that I want it all, I deserve it all, and I will do everything to get it all! I took that trust fall and finally let someone else support me for a change. It was incredibly scary to lose my independence, my form of identity. By taking this leap of faith and trusting that I was here for something bigger than myself, I learned that small steps get you nowhere. Taking huge steps have to lead me to my dream career, a new form of independence, a new money mindset and freedom to live my purpose. Gigantic thinking will always bring rewards your way!
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled with the most while growing a business?
By far the most debilitating struggle has been experiencing “imposter syndrome.” This barrier is when you feel like you are a complete joke in your line of work and who are you fooling to know how to do anything. I used to believe that you had to struggle to be successful. When everything started to fall beautifully in place for my dream of owning my own business and becoming a life coach, I was not convinced at first. I would let my inner mean girl come out, a lot! I would tell myself that this is all a dream and it’s going to fall apart at any moment. Why did I think that I could run a business? Who do I think I was to be able to help others live a better life? This imposter syndrome can still creep up at times, but I have discovered the tools to overcome it. I understand that serving others is my purpose and life doesn’t have to be so damn hard, to make a real story out of it. It can come easily to me because this is what I was put in this lifetime to do. I was made to be a coach and being an imposter is not possible when you are living through your authentic purpose.
Have you ever had a life coach? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Going to a life coach wholly brought magic to my life. I was going crazy inside my head trying to figure out my true passions and career path. I was 23, had so much freedom, and had no idea what to do with it. My best friend sent a life coach my way because she knew I was crying out for help in my unique style. I went to the coach with no idea about life coaching or its purpose.
She immediately put my crazy thoughts into a script and helped guide me towards my true greatness. She asked me the hard questions I was too scared to ask myself. Finally, I had an open platform to speak my truth and damn did it feel good. Going to a coach helped me realize that I did not want to go back to school to become a sex therapist and instead wanted to use my talents I already own to become a life coach myself. She was my angel sent from the universe! Now I am proud to say that I have worked with two coaches, one personal and one business, and I am a part of two female mastermind groups. Creating with others is the best policy!
What outlets do use to market your business?
I use social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I am an old soul, so I love marketing my business face to face in my local community. I do this by going to every networking event possible and making new lunch dates each week to meet other entrepreneurs in town. I want to meet people on a personal level before selling them on my business. Marketing is one thing that I am trying to expand on and not feel weird about it. I would like to grow my email list but need to get past the annoyance I have with too many electronics in my life.
Which methods are you using to build your audience and expand your network?
Social media posts, ads on Facebook, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, email marketing, and opt-in gifts in the form of clarity worksheets and webinars.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
“If there is a will, there is a way!” My mother told me this quote my entire life, and I will never forget it. You can get past any barrier to create the life you want. I grew up very poor, but my mother somehow made our life feel normal and luxurious in her way. She made me believe that if I had an idea, we could always make it happen. This belief has continuously followed me on my path. When I was 19, I started my first retail job in college. After a month of working I knew that I was meant to manage people and even though everyone said I was too young, I hit that interview out of the ballpark. I became a store manager at 20.
When I decided that working for “the man” did not feel like my calling, I quit my job and created an online marketing company to make money. That freedom then gave me space to manifest my dream job as a coach. There is ALWAYS going to be a way to make your dreams become a reality. Just get creative and never think it’s impossible. Sounds like some Disney advice but it sure has made my life epic. I can’t believe I get to say that at 27 years old.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned along your path to success?
It is okay to fail. I used to believe that failure was a weakness. As a child, I had to grow up very fast, and failure was not the right way to survive. When survival is part of your mindset, you have to do everything to get on top of it or it is your burden to bear. Now as an adult and living a cushy life I realize that a failure is a teaching tool. Failing does not mean that I lose everything, it says that I dared to experience life. We have to give and take with the universe to indeed discover our standards. Reevaluate your stories and shed the ones that are not serving you any longer. Failure is welcomed now for me and is not a decision maker for my survival.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I am a self-care freak! I make sure that throughout the day I take little moments for myself, even if it’s just five minutes. I created an ideal day scenario that I keep posted in my notebook along with a self-care menu. At any point in the day, I feel overworked or imbalanced; I look at my ideal day, get back on track, and perform one of my self-care items! I am a big dork and love lists and worksheets. Completing them helps me stay balanced and always have a reference to go to if I feel lost. Create the balance and then keep it within your eyesight at all times.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and leading female pioneers do you also admire and why?
I admire Marie Forleo and Beyoncé, but I could name a whole lot of women because we are such epic humans! Marie has such a powerful stance and never let any barrier get in her way of success. She shows the world her true colors and never misses a moment to be goofy. I love it when I can see a powerful woman be demanding and playful at the same moment! Beyoncé is a speaker of the truths. She does not let the men stand in her way of being Queen of her castle! The idea that she uses music as a platform to empower women and tell the world of our powers is awe inspiring. Her words make me want to put my booty shorts on, shake my body around the house, and love every inch of myself.
What Youtube or online space channels are you watching currently?
I am not on Youtube because I don’t like staring at a screen for too long. I do love watching Insta Stories and getting a peek into other peoples’ life and inspirations. They are my favorite because they are short and sweet.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘Lunar Abundance’ by Ezzie Spencer; The book is a beautiful and practical guide for today’s women on cultivating peace, purpose, and abundance in both their personal and professional lives, guided by the phases of the moon. I have been using this book to cultivate my dream life, discover the gaps from my dream to my reality, and make intentions to get closer to the life I want to live. The moon has given me energy and guidance!
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
All health, wellness, and business! Melissa Ambrosini, The Being Boss Podcast, The Daily, 10% Happier, Hidden Brain, Radio Lab, Personal Best, TED Radio Hour
What does success look like in your eyes?
Success looks like waking up with no alarm clock and having a daily routine that I get to choose. I feel successful when I get to live through my authentic self all damn day, and no one sets any rules in front of me. My freedom is gold! I always want to have a way of life where I can create and serve others. If I am not doing that on my terms, then I am the furthest from success. Right now, I can say that I am successful. I am rich with positive people, have an abundance of time, and get to travel the world. The definition of my success is based on the beautiful experiences I get to have each day. That’s our only job in this world. To get up and LIVE. Living my fullest life is the real success!
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Owning up to every part of your mind, body, and soul unapologetically to the world. I do this my stating my wants, needs, and passions out loud to every person that enters my life. I make it known what I deserve and in return send that positive energy towards serving others. Being your own is stepping out of societal rules and creating a unique description for yourself.
Lastly, what is next for you?
The summer of 2018 is going to be my space to create! Now that I have my business niche down and I am in love with my ideal client, I get to take it to the next level with a telecourse. I will be writing a telecourse that will contain eight inspiring chapters. This manual will be there to help you strip away every judgment, opinion, and rule ever put on your authentic soul. Then you will have the tools to rebuild your genuine goddess through your relationships, career/passions, sexuality, societal look, and daily routines! There will be videos, worksheets, mindful games, and a monthly group call all incorporated into the course. I am so excited to do this project and create a service that can serve others on a continual basis while I continue to work with clients 1:1.