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Ashley Reed On Redefining Success

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To support yourself when your ego shows up, anchor yourself back into what you learned from the five steps above. I’d also recommend writing down your values, any truths that stood out to you, and/or your new definition of success.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ashley Reed.

For 18 years, Ashley Reed (www.ashleyreed.com) helped shape marketing initiatives for leading global brands, including Amazon, iHeartMedia, Audi, and the NBA. Although she built a successful career, she always felt like something was missing or off. She left corporate and pursued her own inner work, leading to a powerful awakening experience. Now, as Certified Professional Coach focused on inner work, Ashley helps other high-achievers resolve internal conflict, re-find meaning and purpose, and live life more consciously.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

The first one that comes to mind is losing everything in a building fire in 2014. It definitely contributed to shaping who I am. Or more so, reminding me who I am.

I was living in New York City with a roommate on the 12th floor, and the fire was on the 20th. My roommate wasn’t home and I luckily evacuated safely since the fire was above, but unfortunately, there were people that were not able to get out.

And although the fire itself didn’t impact us, the water and chemicals they use to put it out drenched and flooded our apartment. By the time we were able to get back in mold had also grown everywhere. We had to get rid of everything we owned and it was very difficult.

The loss, in general, was hard because at the time I wasn’t financially secure yet, but even with that hardship, it wasn’t really about the purchased possessions.

It was about losing the irreplaceable and sentimental items like a blanket my Mom made me, and things from my Grandma. I also got very sick from breathing the air in the apartment when I was trying to unsuccessfully salvage things.

As difficult as it all was, it gave me a powerful reminder and perspective that’s still present in my life.

Just a few floors up someone lost their life. And it made me reflect on what’s important to me and how lucky I am to still be here to do that reflection.

It created awareness around how little things mean to me, and how much my health and time with the people I love do.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the focus on stuff and things in the modern world, but having the awareness to gut check yourself around what’s really important to you, whether it’s forced by a challenging event or not, is a blessing.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

For as long as I can remember, I had this path in front of me that I learned was the path to success.

That path included excelling in high school to get into a good college, excelling in college to set me up for a successful corporate career, and excelling in my corporate career to set myself up for financial success.

And all of those things put together were this image of what I learned success looked like. Or what I thought it was supposed to look like.

I think that’s a perfect example of the biggest myth or misconception I bought into around success.

What I described above is all rooted in the assumption that what is most important to me in life is achievement and money.

But what if those aren’t what’s most important to me? What if it’s happiness, health, time with loved ones, and time for myself to live and enjoy life.

What I mean by all of this is the biggest success myth or misconception I bought into, was accepting and adopting someone else’s definition of success as my own without questioning it first.

How has your definition of success changed?

Now that I know myself so well, I’ve re-built my definition of success around my core values.

That way what I’m working towards actually looks like personal success for me, not a societal definition of what success is.

And as I’m working towards it, I’m organically building the life I want because of that values alignment.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

Continuing to turn our focus inward. We live in a cluttered and overstimulated world that’s always pulling our focus to the external.

But the biggest gift we can give the world is working on ourselves and our own awareness. That work has a wide-reaching ripple effect.

John C. Maxwell said it perfectly when he said, “Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.”

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Space, and everything it creates.

Space is such a powerful but often overlooked tool. I find it to be so important that it actually has its own phase in the work I do with clients.

Our ego works hard to keep us focused on doing, pushing, and achieving, because when we’re busy doing these things we’re much easier to control.

When we have space, we’re able to step out of the autopilot our ego tries to keep us on, allowing us to reconnect with ourselves and with what we really want.

That awareness gives us the ability to live life more intentionally and consciously.

I experienced this firsthand both leading up to and during the pandemic.

I left Amazon and my corporate career in January 2020 not knowing the pandemic was coming, and was originally going to move to France for a few months to live and build my coaching business from there.

But one week before my last day at Amazon I experienced an extreme version of burnout called rhabdomyolysis, and I almost died.

I was in the hospital for a week followed by an intense recovery, and while I was healing I finally sat still for the first time since I could remember. And in that stillness, I could feel the extreme physical, mental, and emotional burnout that was hiding under how busy I was and how fast I was running.

I paused on formally launching my high-performance coaching business, and a couple of months later I felt called to deeper inner work, even though I didn’t know much about it at the time. The only reason I could hear my intuition guiding me there was because I had created the space to hear it.

And during what was arguably one of the most difficult years in history, the infamous 2020, I had the most powerful experience of my life.

I created space and turned all of my focus inward, and I moved very quickly and deeply through what I now know was an internal rebalancing and awakening experience. All while quarantining by myself in my New York City apartment.

It was like a factory reset for life.

If I hadn’t allowed myself the space to hear my intuition and to get back in touch with what I was needing and wanting from myself, none of it would’ve happened.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

The key to redefining success is redefining it based on your values and what matters to you. Not what matters to society or to anyone else. Five ways to support doing this are:

  1. Get really clear on your core values. Ask yourself questions like:
  • What makes me happy?
  • When do I feel the most fulfilled?
  • When do I feel the most like myself?
  • What am I doing when I experience moments of freedom?
  • What am I doing when I feel the most alive and connected to present moment?
  • If I could get paid to do anything what would it be and why?

The answers to these questions help create awareness around what your core values are. For example, for me, two things that make me happy are time with the people I love and adventure. And it turns out, both of those are core values of mine. Really dive into your answers and use them to create a deeper connection with your values, and then use those values to re-create your definition of success.

2. If you need a little more help with your values (which is normal, life moves so fast we often start to feel disconnected from them), look at other people that you consider successful or fulfilled (and make sure it’s you, not society), and then dive into what specifically about their life you’re drawn to. Sometimes we can use other people as a mirroring opportunity to learn more about what we want. For example, ask yourself questions like:

  • Why do I consider this person successful?
  • What specifically about their life do I think seems fulfilling and why?
  • What are these answers telling me about my values and what’s really important to me?

3. You can also use examples from your past to help you connect with what success looks like for you. Reflect on times in your life when you felt successful and fulfilled internally. Moments that weren’t about external approval or validation, but that lit you up and got you excited regardless of anyone else. Close your eyes and take yourself back to those specific moments, one at a time, and then play with the following questions:

  • What was happening in that moment?
  • What about it made me feel successful and why?
  • What are these answers telling me about what personal success looks like for me?

4. Another great approach is using visioning to connect with what success looks like for you. For example, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, then picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now living the most successful life you could imagine. Then dive into what you’re seeing:

  • What does my successful life look like?
  • Why is this success to me?
  • What am I doing?
  • What am I feeling?
  • Who am I with?
  • Why do those things make me feel fulfilled and successful?

5. If you’re still looking for more clarity, try playing the opposites game. If leaning into and getting curious about what your values and success look like is challenging (again, very normal), what about playing with what success is not for you? Ask yourself what things you don’t want in your life and why, and let those be tools that help create awareness around what you do want and what success looks like for you.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

If we take the time to pause and reset, making sure our definition of success is built around what makes us feel fulfilled and happy, we’d feel just that.

When we’re on autopilot moving towards a definition of success that doesn’t serve us or is no longer aligned with our values, we end up living a life that doesn’t do either of those for us on a daily basis.

By updating our definition of success, we’re recreating our life roadmap and rebuilding our life around who we really are and what we really want. That shift can be extremely powerful.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Our wonderful ego. Our ego loves to show up and create internal confusion and conflict.

To take a step back, our ego is our perceived self that’s created by our mind based on our lived experiences. It wants us to stay focused on success goals that keep us doing, pushing, and achieving, because as mentioned earlier, that keeps us in our heads and makes us easier to control.

When we start creating space and reconnecting with our values the ego gets triggered. Because when we’re connected to and in alignment with who we really are and what we really want our ego can’t control us.

To support yourself when your ego shows up, anchor yourself back into what you learned from the five steps above. I’d also recommend writing down your values, any truths that stood out to you, and/or your new definition of success.

Putting something in writing is a great way to cement it in your life. You can even put them on a digital sticky note in your phone, or write them on a real sticky note and put it somewhere you often look, or take a picture of it and save it in your favorites.

Then use these as truth anchors to come back to when your ego shows up and tries to convince you to adopt a definition of success that isn’t aligned with your values and what you really want.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

My favorite approach is actually creating space and sitting with myself. We hold more wisdom in our intuition and true self than the world could ever offer us. That connection is just often disrupted by our ego and external stimuli, so it can take consciously and proactively creating space to help reconnect to it.

If I’m ever in a place where I feel like that internal communication is blocked, I use tools similar to the five steps above to help me reconnect with who I am and what I really want. If that doesn’t work, I connect with someone like my Mom that knows me inside and out. She naturally becomes a mirror that helps me see and hear myself clearly again.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

I’d have to say Peter Crone. I’m a big fan of his work. He’s a thought leader in human potential and performance. His work focuses on creating spiritual freedom, mental peace, and physical vitality. There are a lot of similarities in what we do. I think we’d have fun diving into it and trading stories.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find me on Instagram at @ashleyreedofficial and also on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyreedofficial.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

Thank you, I appreciate your time and wish you continued success and health as well.

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Is Crypto Safe? What You Need to Know

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Is Crypto Safe? What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know About Crypto Security

The cryptocurrency market is booming with more new coins and startups than ever, but they’re not all created equal. Cryptocurrency is a trailblazing technology that could overhaul the financial systems of the future. However, it’s wise to do your homework before actively trading or investing in cryptocurrencies with price volatility and privacy concerns.

What Is A Cryptocurrency?

Digital money that makes use of cryptography to safeguard transactions and regulate the generation of new units is called Cryptocurrency. It’s called a cryptocurrency because it relies on cryptography’s encrypted form of data. Cryptography also provides anonymity for users by obscuring their identity and, indeed, all aspects of their transactions.

Cryptocurrencies can be mined, traded or used to purchase goods and services. A person would have to rely on already established relationships with merchants or banks to make purchases in the past. 

How Safe Is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is more than an idea to create a digital form of currency at its core. Cybercriminals have learned that they can target these digital currencies because they are not regulated and not backed by any government. In theory, it’s tough to track down the source or the location of cryptocurrency transactions.

Cryptocurrencies are a prime target opening for cybercriminals since it’s difficult to trace transactions and identify the individuals involved.

How to Safeguard Your Cryptocurrencies

Cybersecurity in Cryptocurrency is a common issue and one that you should be aware of if considering an investment. Though the concerns are real, these problems can be mitigated mainly through a few simple security steps before trading or investing in Cryptocurrency.

Here are some basics steps to help secure your account from Cryptocurrency transactions:

Password Protection

Enable two-step authentication and password protect your computer when searching for cryptocurrency exchanges. This will prevent anyone from accessing your machines if they are stolen or hacked.

Use a Virtual Private Network

A virtual private network (VPN) is a computer network where you can hide your proper IP address. If a hacker were to try and break into your account, they would see an IP address from the VPN, so it would be impossible to gain access.

Backup Your Wallet

Backup information that includes public address and private keys. This will help you retrieve any lost currency or prevent others from transferring Cryptocurrency from your wallet.

Use Multiple Wallets

Using more than one Cryptocurrency wallet helps protect your investment from theft even if your account is compromised. If you have a cryptocurrency wallet on multiple devices and platforms, it’s easy to keep a backup of your information in case of an account breach.

What Are the Risks Associated with Cryptocurrency?

With all the blockchain talk about decentralization and anonymity, getting swept up in the hype is easy. Cryptocurrency has become a rapidly growing portion of the investing market, and many retail investors are looking to trade or invest in cryptocurrencies.

While the technology behind cryptocurrencies is impressive, risks are rushing, making trading and investing in Cryptocurrency risky for inexperienced traders. 

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams come in many forms, including emails and text messages. These scams can occur on an individual or a more general level, as most commonly happens. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes information on detecting phishing scams. Still, it’s hard to tell the difference between a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange and an imposter because most large cryptocurrency exchanges do not have contact information listed for regulatory reasons.

Volatility

Cryptocurrency is a very volatile market that can swing wildly in either direction in almost no time at all. All cryptocurrencies are responsive to news, which can cause price changes within minutes or hours. There are also several different types of currencies, so you may have a hard time getting used to the volatility of each type. If you see only one digital currency (e.g., Bitcoin), it’s easy to assume stability when it’s still highly volatile.

Online Payments

While using crypto for online payments is a convenient method to pay for products and services, there are significant hazards involved with such transactions. When you pay for anything using bitcoin, you have no way of knowing the seller’s identity or having your payment details validated by a third party. You’re on your own if there’s an issue with the transaction.

With online purchases, you don’t have access to a complaint process, and there is no recourse if something goes wrong. This all results in anonymous transactions that pose risks online. As long as Cryptocurrency continues its rapid growth, this will be an iCryptocurrencyilers and sellers will need to solve.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrency is a highly sought-after currency for investors due to its untraceable nature and ability to exchange value without interference from a third party, such as a bank. However, this feature also makes it an appealing target for cybercriminals.

If you’re considering investing or trading in Cryptocurrency, educate yourself on the processes used to make transactions and invest your money safely and securely with reliable services that vet every transaction before letting it go through. Before diving in headfirst, make sure you research the different types of Cryptocurrency available and what risks are associated with each one. For more information on Cryptocurrency and its different types, visit our blog now!

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Where did the Zero Go?

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For as long as I can remember, I always looked around me, mainly at other boys, to get a sense of where I stood, of who I was.

It’s as if I had drawn a horizontal line with pluses on one side and minuses on the other and my position was the zero. There was that really cool kid, he was a plus, there was the dorky boy, he was a minus… At times being in the presence of pluses was inspiring but it was mostly threatening, because at that moment, it didn’t matter how many minuses existed or whether my “zero’ was pretty high up there, all I could see was a plus, and that made me the minus.

This applied to everything; from being good at sports to drawing or reading or the way I looked or how smart I was or how popular or cool I felt at any given moment. It wasn’t really about how I was feeling though, I could feel like a million bucks but if a plus walked in along any of the possible categories that I valued, my insecurities would immediately trigger.

I became really good at growing and repositioning my zero, or my reference point, and became a master at gauging others, categorizing and comparing. I didn’t just compare myself with the world, I was also comparing myself to different versions of myself…where was I at any given moment, compared to where I had been before, or where I could be, or even worse… where I should be.

As some of the things I valued started to loose importance, new ones came online. Having the coolest Star-wars set got traded for being liked by the most girls, having academic success got traded for being regarded as witty and successful, being the coolest got replaced by getting to be the kindest…and so it went.

Spiritual Ego

Then entered spirituality, the fix for all my struggles, or so I thought. It didn’t actually stop the comparison, because I turned it into the new playing field; The new standard where I got to measure and prove how special I was. There was a new flag to catch, and that was enlightenment.

I got really good at sustaining a very high level of consciousness, at being present, not judging people, being happy and all the things that came with paying close attention to my thoughts and emotions. I became particularly good at showing people how spiritual I was.

What a perfect solution… no more pluses to encounter because spirituality now trumped all. Someone could be successful and good looking and everything else that would make me feel less, but odds were they weren’t more spiritual than me; my spiritual zero was really up there. It felt like I had figured things out.

My sense of self was so invested in this new spiritual identity that I defended it with all I had. Seeing my attachment to it, was truly humbling.

Game Over

I realized taking the next step required the willingness to let go of my spiritual crutch. I had to come to terms with my addiction. My fix was the next high, amazing insight or awakening experience. In essence, not much different from looking for the next toy or business deal and believing it was going to make me happy. Accepting this, meant recognizing the fate of the game I was playing: no matter how meaningful it seemed at the time, no success had ever been enough, no amount of recognition or validation had ever ended my need for it, no spiritual high had ever quenched that thirst; I was an addict and it was never going to be enough.

As if just having been defeated for the millionth time at a video game and throwing the game controller on the floor, I felt the air sucked out of me and the engines behind that drive snuffing out. It wasn’t the bells and whistles of winning; it was the blinking “game-over“ sign on the screen.

A New Energy

Life started to take on a different flavor from that point on. The old energy of attaining comes and visits but it’s seen as an old friend that used to be so familiar and I’ve grown apart from. The zero seems to bubble up but it’s now seen as just a thought looking for friction and contrast to find its bearings.

Old dynamics still sometimes play themselves out, emotions still surface and I sometimes find myself reacting in the ways I used to. Now however, they seem to happen within a larger context and they are recognized as just temporary experiences not as things that define an “me” or a zero.

When these thoughts or emotions are happening in the absence of a reference point, there’s no separation between the experience and the experiencer. All that’s left, is a deep intimacy with life that moves through the world with an open heart and mind.

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Food Is Medicine And What We Eat Is Important

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Your mental state is a critical component of your physical health. And when you’re under a lot of stress, you might not be eating the healthy food that provides nutrients for fighting anxiety and depression. So when we examine what we’ve been eating, most of us discover that the decisions we’ve been making in the name of simplicity, convenience, or saving time have been damaging to our total health – body, mind, and spirit.

A person’s diet is a direct reflection of their health. When a person does not eat the right foods, their body breaks down. This can lead to an overall decrease in quality of life and many other diseases linked to improper nutrition. In North America, our current diet mainly consists of an excess of grain, sugar, fried and fatty foods. As a result, disorders including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and certain malignancies are becoming increasingly widespread.

The science of food has always been discussed; however, with recent technological innovations in food processing and agriculture, people have enjoyed more convenient foods that are less expensive than ever before. Unfortunately, with every convenience comes a trade-off. Smart foods are often packed with sugar, salt, and calories, leading to poor health in some individuals. 

To understand what a person is putting into their body, it’s essential to realize that the small molecules in food are responsible for allowing our bodies to function. These small molecules are called nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes. A nutrient is not a value unless absorbed by the body through a specific pathway. For example, if you absorb calcium without vitamin D, your body will not use that calcium. 

Eating a balanced diet keeps you healthy, but it helps reduce your stress. For example, eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants because they help augment your immune response and prevent toxins from damaging your cells. Vitamins A, C, and E serve as antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxic products of metabolism that cause damage to your cells. Experts claim that they are responsible for the aging process. Good sources of these vitamins are deeply-colored vegetables- green leafy, yellow, and orange vegetables, such as squash, broccoli, kale, spinach, and carrots.

Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, and it mainly functions to deliver oxygen to your cells. Hence, an iron deficiency, medically termed Iron-deficiency anemia, is associated with weakness, easy fatigability, and pale skin. Tea, coffee, red wine, grapes, and berries are rich in antioxidants that function the same as your vitamins A, C, and E. 
You need a diet that’s healthy and balanced – and one that can fit comfortably into your busy lifestyle.

Here are some of the recommended dietary guidelines.

Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. 

Exercise every other day to release endorphins, feel good, get the blood flowing, and reduce stress levels. 

Eat salt only when you need it, but not too much as your body does not need it. Many people with anxiety are hypothyroid or have low magnesium. When your body needs more sodium, it can indicate that you are not producing enough cortisol or are dehydrated. If you experience chronic anxiety, I recommend working with a physician to run tests on cortisol levels and then take salt supplements as needed. Use spices like turmeric, ginger, curry, and aromatic herbs like parsley, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Eat low-fat meals because they will cause a minor spike in blood sugar levels: think lean meats, eggs, vegetables, and nuts; avoid dairy if it makes you feel anxious. 

Drink lots of water — keep hydrated all day — ideally at least half a gallon if possible — your brain needs water to function optimally! 

Avoid foods that you know will make you feel bad, such as dairy, even with low-fat content. You can cut out dairy and not worry about it! 

Avoid sugar, caffeine, processed foods, alcohol, and any other substance that makes you feel bad or increases anxiety levels. Also, avoid coffee — drinking more than one cup a day can cause anxiety in some people. Coffee is also dehydrating and inhibits the absorption of minerals from food/water/supplements — try caffeinated water as a substitute for coffee if you like the caffeine kick. 

Find a natural health professional that you can talk to or work with to quickly get the results you want. 

Healthy foods and nutrition can help you stay fit, but they can also assist you in treating disease. When you nurture your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities improve, as does your spiritual welfare. Moreover, because your spiritual health is at its best, it will radiate to the exterior world, causing others to notice you’re happier and more relaxed, and your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

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