In this episode of the VulnerABILITY Podcast, host Marisa Donnelly welcomes publicity expert and founder of Your Brandista, Ashley Graham, to share about being in alignment, making purposeful connections, and owning your mess Ashley has undergone two re-brands in the past two years and shares not only her experiences in embracing change (and the continual shifts of COVID19) but how to accept life’s obstacles with grace and purpose.

Highlights From The Episode:

[1:55] “We all have stories that others want to connect with and others want to hear in different phases of our lives. And I do believe that in our stories, and in our conversations, and the positive sides of the media—it gives us a great opportunity to connect with one another.”

[2:50] “Through my journey I’ve found the power of being human beings and not always humans doing.

[3:25] “We are all challenged with the opportunity to just be, and pause, and reflect.”

[4:15] “In a time where we are challenged with ways of connecting with one another… we’re also challenged in a way of how to come back together at the end of this. We’re a little divided, but there [have] been awesome opportunities to still connect in a time where we feel so divided between one another. And I just feel that this is going to increase significantly as time progresses.”

[5:45] “We can, as much as possible, look at the positive side of things and say, ‘Okay, I’m not diminishing anyone’s experience. I’m not saying that this isn’t difficult and painful and hard. But what I am saying and what I am focusing on is the fact that there’s still opportunity, even when things feel so off balance.'”

[6:05] “Thinking about that opportunity and trying to hone in on what that means — whether that’s a business opportunity, professional opportunity, or really just a way to grow differently — I think that’s what I mean when I say we’re looking at the opportunities. It’s just how can we grow to and through this in ways that maybe we haven’t thought of.”

[6:45] “When you are a creative and you’re in a position of constantly creating, especially in the digital world, we, for the most part, find opportunity through challenges.”

[7:15] “It’s just understanding that some things are really just out of your control. And if you dig yourself in the ground trying to control the things that are not in your control, that’s where I think the disconnect of the balance comes from.”

[7:45] “Knowing the importance of recognizing thing things that aren’t so perfect, but finding the silver lining in all of it.”

[8:05] “There is a way that you can still approach very sensitive topics by keeping the emotions of others in mind.”

[8:20] “Being mindful of everything at the end of the day — whether that’s the media that other people are consuming and making sure that you’re a positive influence in that media execution — and then also being relatable and not trying to overcompensate for things that are maybe are not in alignment or integrity with everyone’s well-being at the end of the day.”

[9:05] “People come first and relationships come first. And when you have those connections and you’re aware of other people’s emotions and their vulnerability — then that really brings about change. And it brings about the right kind of services or the right kind of opportunities.”

[11:00] “At the end of the day, we’re all resistant to something… If anything, I embrace [change]. Yes, it’s uncomfortable in the beginning and maybe in those early stages there has been some resistance… ‘is this really going to be the right fit for me?’

[11:15] “I go into questioning the outcome, because, you know, we all want to know the outcome. We don’t want to look at the things in the middle. But that just comes with progression.”

[11:20] “You learn through the process that he beginning and the middle are actually the most crucial parts. And they’re never-ending; they’re always evolving.”

[11:50] “I think there’s always some resistance to change because we look at an outcome and we definitely want it, but we’re not willing to get our hands messy in the middle of it.

And that’s where all the learning lessons and the learning curves come. And a lot of people resist, I think, more of the learning curves and the ‘stickiness’ that may come with it because they’ve heard fears of other people, they’ve heard criticisms from other people, they’ve heard judgments that other people have received. And we just get stuck in this position where we start to wear all of that as if it’s our own. And at the end of the day, it’s not ours to hold onto.”

[13:05] “I feel [that] a lot of changes that we go through in our personal life and in business — it’s all rebranding.”

[13:15] “Personal brands are a derivative or a reflection of a person and their emotions, and their characteristics, and their personality. And even people — we evolve.”

[14:05] “We are constantly rebranding ourselves… who we associate ourselves with, who we choose to surround ourselves by, our friends, the things that we believe in, our values — there are so many things.”

[15:40] “You were willing to go get messy, get sticky… to deal with all of that [change] because you felt that this new change would be in alignment. I think that’s so important to remember — any type of change in our lives — whether it’s personal, or professional, or about our business, or about our friendships. Whatever it is, it’s really, really hard. But it’s okay that it’s hard. But the journey is ongoing.”

[16:25] “We’re always evolving into different versions of ourselves or different facets of our business. That’s scary but exciting.”

[16:45] “Think of it like a ceiling… if you reach the top of it, you’re pigeonholing yourself in a box. There’s nowhere else to go.”

[17:15] “If you do want your brand, or your business, or your projects to be very fulfilling or come from that heart-centered place — it’s going to evolve with you.”

[18:30] “The change, the newness can be exciting rather than something that’s uncomfortable.”

[18:50] “Maybe it’s less about being uncomfortable and more about leaning into the next adventure.”

[19:00] “One of the best or smartest decisions you can do as an entrepreneur or business owner is get real comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

[19:35] “If today seems easy, then I’m not pushing myself harder to get to another place.”

[20:00] “Sometimes when we’re in alignment with the right things, then it’s less difficult.”

[21:10] “Now, looking back, I’m realizing that a lot of those relationships that dissolved were just not in alignment with who I was becoming.”

[22:25] “You’re going to go and evolve — even through people in your life… If you both don’t evolve — together — and learn from each other and constantly work together to reach that next version of yourselves together, then chances are, that relationship’s not going to be long-lasting.

The same thing goes to friendships or even business relationships, or collaborations — both people have to be coming from the same place of integrity and place of truth within themselves and what they want from that relationship to evolve together.”

[23:30] “As we change and evolve as people, we are going to have different mirrors of the people around us. And it’s just natural. It’s just part of being a human and growing.”

[23:45] “We can still have relationships with lots of people — regardless of their backgrounds, and their personalities, and where they are in their careers versus us. But it’s all about being a little more selective of who you create those ‘soul contracts’ with.”

[27:40] “The things that I want to push away from… maybe I can lean into them because they’re eventually going to bring me things that are more aligned, things that I need.”

[28:19] “We all go through the same exact experiences, just very unique to our lives… We’re all presented with multiple crossroads of whether we go left and repeat the same patterns or same routines, or maybe take a little more of a bumpy road and challenge ourselves.”

[29:00] “If you’re willing just to push yourself to get really uncomfortable, you break the routine.”

[29:10] “If you don’t take the time to do the inner work, that’s why we attract the same relationships. If we don’t recognize the toxic patterns within ourselves as to why we attract those same things within other people… and just even same experiences… a lot of it is a reflection of old thought patterns.”

[30:00] “‘Why is this happening to me?’ Well, because there’s something in your mirror that you are not facing when you’re looking at yourself, which is why you keep on attracting the same things.”

[30:15] “‘Where can I change? Where can I progress?’ And maybe that will change the picture differently of what’s going on around you and the opportunities of what you’re attracting from that moment on.”

[30:40] “Are you speaking positively to yourself? Are you giving yourself affirmations? But even beyond that — are you reflecting back the kind of energy that when you look in that mirror you’ll see other people with that same energy around you?”

[31:10] “Everything’s a learning lesson and we learn to set better boundaries for ourselves and the boundaries that we either accept or don’t accept of other people… And when you really, truly start making that shift for yourself people just come out of the woodwork.”

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