Ruth Poundwhite 0:00
Why is it that we should be prioritising safety before strategy in our businesses? And what is the real secret to feeling worthy of what it is that we're calling in? I talk about all of that and more with Ashley Bowden. In today's episode,
Ashley Beaudin 2:50
it really became clear to me how important safety was. And what I started to see with clients. And even in my own story was that
Ruth Poundwhite 0:15
you're listening to quietly ambitious with conversations about how it really feels to build a business that honours your whole self unapologetically. And that includes who you are, how you feel, what you really desire, the impact that you want to create, and importantly, the money you want to make. I'm your host, Ruth Poundwhite, and my superpower is supporting sensitive and ambitious humans to make more money by fully expressing and owning all of who they are. Let's dive in. Hi, and welcome to another interview on the quietly ambitious Podcast. Today I am chatting with Coach Ashley Bowden about what it really means to self sabotage, how to cultivate safety in our businesses, and why it is so important that we do and how to truly feel worthy as business owners and as humans. I really couldn't do justice with the introduction to this episode. Honestly, it was magical, so you're just gonna have to listen to it and I can't wait to re listen. Now let me introduce Ashley, Ashley helps creatives to heal their self sabotage and cultivate gentle businesses that they can feel safe inside of. She is known for her compassionate presence and soul staring voice. When she is not holding space for humans, you can find her discovering new doughnuts or having some heart to heart conversations. She is also host of the gentle business gathering, which is open for registration at the time of release. And I am one of the speakers yay, you can get your free ticket via my affiliate link at Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash gathering. And you'll hear me speak about soulful selling there. Some of the other topics include the power of rest, aligning your business, to your human design, how to feel safe with the money and more, it really is going to be magical. Now I'll leave you to enjoy this beautiful, deep, nourishing conversation. Okay, so let's dive in with the deep questions. I know you talk about helping people to better support themselves, and to feel safe in themselves. And I would love to hear from you what that means to you and why that is so important for business owners. Yeah.
Ashley Beaudin 2:25
Well, I really got into the concept of safety, specifically in business and with entrepreneurs. Because of the work that I was creating around self sabotage. Self Sabotage is ultimately like a practice of making sure that we feel safe. And so
safety was never been thought about in business. People. You know, people weren't necessarily asking themselves like, what do I need to feel safe? And they would actually get stuck in cycles of self sabotage because they were not prioritising safety. And a lot of the, you know, the content may be that they were consuming were the business models that they were seeing set up. Were actually models of business and ways of doing business that literally didn't make them feel safe. And so you can see how it kind of creates this cycle that people get stuck in. Where they're, they're like, oh, I need to do it this way. Oh, I don't feel safe. Oh, I'm self sabotaging. Oh, I feel like shame for self sabotaging. Oh, let me go how to do it. And then just like repeat to repeat to repeat. So it became this idea of like, what would happen if you really prioritised your safety and business from the start? And could that actually help you heal self sabotage and make really beautiful moves in your business from a very embodied and supportive space?
Ruth Poundwhite 4:10
Yeah, I love that. And I totally like this idea of self sabotage as a way to make us feel safe. Is like it's quite like mind blowing to some people. Yeah, yeah. And I love that we're talking about that. So can you give an example I don't know if you have all I'm like putting me on the spot. But like, when someone like what are the signs that someone is stuck? I mean, you gave some of it, but like, what does it really look like to be experiencing this and why do we not realise that we're doing it?
Ashley Beaudin 4:39
Mm hmm. Well, one I think for sure is if you're noticing, like the presence of self sabotage, which that could look in a million different ways, but that could look you know, like pillow pleasing or perfectionism or chronic procrastination or, and undercharging Lord or you have a really successful month and then you sabotage the next month. Those types of things, if there's the presence and self sabotage, for sure, we know that you are not feeling safe. Another way that we can tell someone is maybe feeling stuck in and safety is you can usually honestly tell by if you're if you're sort of like assessing it for yourself, how you feel, how do you feel when you're approaching your business? are you approaching your business out of this spirit and feeling of connection and presence care? Or are you approaching your business out of fear force? harshness, those are all other sort of clues that there might be some sense of unsafety happening there? And then that's the irony, right? Because then, for example, you're harsh with yourself because you don't feel safe, but then your harshness makes you feel unsafe. So you kind of get stuck inside of that feeling of unsafety.
Ruth Poundwhite 6:08
Yeah, yeah, totally. And, like you mentioned about these feelings, if you can check in with yourself. And I feel like, do you? Do you notice this with people that there is? Resistance? Or perhaps like, not even knowing how to do that, like not even knowing how to check in?
Ashley Beaudin 6:27
I think it depends, I think there's a certain group is almost like a group of entrepreneurs that really operate in their heads, like really operate strategically, intellectually, they're usually high achievers. Moreover, workers, those people I think, are more prone to not necessarily being used to asking those self aware, self connected questions. But then I think you have people who are actually the other extreme, like, they almost live too much in their heart. And they're not grounded by their body or grounded by their mind. And so they, they could actually, like get stuck in, like a get stuck in reflecting struggling self awareness, and not actually start making the moves to restore a sense of safety.
Ruth Poundwhite 7:22
Yeah, I definitely relate to being on the overworking side of that. Yeah, like that is definitely my default. And it's just such a journey to like, learn to tune into my body, go to such a journey, which, which side of that what's been your experience and your journey?
Ashley Beaudin 7:40
I'm definitely the second one. And so like, I've always really lived in my heart of motions. i One of the jokes I say sometimes is that I have been a chronic under thinker, not overthinker. Like, well just really follow an impulse or a dream that I see without, like really thinking it through or having a plan that's been a major form of self sabotage for me. But I would say the body piece too, because both of those people who operate in either of those can both feel disconnected from their body. Yeah, yeah. And so that was definitely the case for me as well. Yeah,
Ruth Poundwhite 8:21
I definitely experienced that as well. Yeah, both ways you can be disconnected. I would love to know like, how do you start? How do you start to connect with your body?
Ashley Beaudin 8:33
Well, whatever the things that, I think, like, actually, like any of this stuff, so sabotage, body safety, we really just want to start with compassionate awareness. Just a kind, gentle awareness and noticing that has been the biggest support for me at the more of the beginning of these crosses for me, because like, I did not create a business embodying what I embody today. And it started to just be a powerful question for me to just constantly return to of what do I notice here? Yeah, and naive in added at that, that beginning compassionate awareness piece, it's like not even being like, I'm searching for a problem or I want to make a diagnosis or whatever but more of a mindful noticing of okay, like I see that and I acknowledge it and in that makes sense, born out of that place of compassion versus fixing. So I would say that's definitely like, definitely the first week so if we look at it, even terms of the body, like how does your body feel in the daily in your work? How's your body feel when you go to you feel more real. And really just like making an awareness and checking in, we're so used to bypassing different, you know, aspects of who we are. And there's something really powerful to be said about paying attention to those pieces. And I think it's so easy with entrepreneurship to, you know, just sort of like, force yourself through things and not really pay attention to you. What's going on for you. And so the that's example of a way to kind of pay attention to it.
Ruth Poundwhite 10:41
Yeah. And I'm curious to hear how does it work? How does this? How do you discern between? I mean, I'm so interested in this, how do you discern between? Like, this is a feeling of unsafety. And this is a feeling of stretching and growing? Yeah, in a good way.
Ashley Beaudin 11:05
One of my favourite questions. Basically, how you can discern, the difference is, when it's kind of that piece, it's kind of there's a context you have like, when you are stretching yourself, getting outside your comfort zone, challenging yourself to grow, you want it to feel stretchy, but you don't want it to feel so unsafe, that now your nervous system is activated into fight or flight. Like you don't want to get it to the point where you're now overwhelmed. And now, you're just you're shifting states in your body. And that like paying attention to that is an art is a real practice. And really being able to understand and discern where that line is for you. Can be you it can be really tough. But I think one of the keys would that is really looking and prioritising slow, incremental stretching, versus massive leaps. And I think two you can take into consideration like your history. What is your nervous system regulation? Like? Have you had significant trauma I have there? Is there chronic illness? Like, is there neuro divergence, because all those things are going to create a lower capacity to stretch the nervous system? Yeah. And just be really realistic about it. And if it is, if maybe there's more capacity, like that's what it's like for me, then I just know that I really have to prioritise slow stretching over, like taking big leaps, which is a really big thing that I did in the past.
Ruth Poundwhite 12:55
Yeah, I think that's so helpful. And I like the way you call it an art and a practice. Because I think that this has been like, I think that we need to, we do our best, right. And sometimes we push ourselves too far. Sometimes we let like, I don't know about you, but like, I've come so far with this stuff. And still I find myself, you know, going back to the same old pattern sometimes or like pushing it overdoing it and then crashing. And you know, it is the way it is like we make mistakes, and we get we're experimenting all the time and learning all the time. Totally. Yeah. So like with this, I guess, practice of tuning in listening, and learning to discern between the slightly the different feelings of discomfort? Yeah, how do we translate that into what we do in our business? Or what maybe? I don't know if you have any, but like, what are some common ways that people? I guess everyone is different? But are there any common themes that you notice in ways that people take, make practical changes in their business, I suppose as a result of this.
Ashley Beaudin 14:06
So I would say Okay, so what are the very first things that I would say? And is that is a big part of how I teach dental business is that the first one we want to look at is what does make you feel safe? If we're going to really prioritise, how do you prioritise safety in your business, we need to know what gives you that embodied grounded sense of safety. And, you know, that's a question that not a lot of people sit with in general. Like, even if you were like, What makes you feel safe in relationships, not identity, people would just know their list off the top of their head. But I think it's one of the most beautiful and important questions to sit with in every area of life. And so that, you know, we want to just like create space and sit with that question what would make me feel beautifully safe in creating this business? And realising like, there's, you know, if when you're creating a business, there's so much about it, that doesn't feel safe, like just acknowledging that, you know, you're really putting yourself out there in new ways you're consistently getting outside of your comfort zone. And there's so there's already a presence of unsafety. Like, I wouldn't say like, if you're risk averse, that, you know, entrepreneurship is really for you. And so I think it's important to acknowledge that, just because you see so many people doing it doesn't mean it's not uncomfortable. And then what's going to help you feel safe. And so this could, obviously be a million different things. But I would say that some I'll give some examples of, you know, some common ones. And a big one I've seen come up for people is having spaciousness, space to make decisions and are feeling rushed, having significant amount of time to create something not feeling like they have to, you adhere to this really strict, small timeline or short timeline. Another thing that can help you all feel safe is having a plan can help make people feel safe, having like projected profit, or really having awareness of their numbers, not only in the past and present, but for the future. Knowing that they have a certain amount of money in the bank, another thing that could help people feel safe is how they motivate themselves, and how they relate to themselves and lead themselves in their own work. And, you know, like, are they meeting themselves with this kind of what I said before? But are they meeting themselves with, like criticism, or harshness? Or just do it no excuse sets? Or are they meeting themselves like kindness and, or like, love for what they do, or a vision or compassion, that's gonna make a really big difference on how safe someone feels. And so those are some examples from like, trying to hit like a few different approaches of safety that I've seen be helpful for people, but it could really, it could honestly be anything.
Ruth Poundwhite 17:30
I love those examples. So helpful, thank you. And I, I kind of want to like, get in the plug here about the gentle business gathering, because I feel like with this event, we're gonna cover so many different potential avenues that people can take, that really relate to this, as well as you know, running a dental business in general, which is happening from the 23rd to the 25th of January. And I will put, I will put the link in the show notes. And yeah, I'm a speaker, and I'm honoured to be a speaker there. So I felt like that was a good time to mention it. With all of this, and with making these changes, and by the way, like I as the on the kind of overworking side of things defaulting to that there's real resistance to doing this stuff like, sometimes real resistance, because, for example, creating space in my business, it's like, well, no, I'm gonna get stuff done. I'm gonna make fast decisions. I'm going to push things forward, I'm going to make things happen. And I guess it's because you know, your default state you're going to, it feels uncomfortable to do something differently, right? But what have you witnessed that this makes possible when people go with the discomfort of actually doing the thing that makes them feel safe? And what do you see that this makes possible for business owners?
Ashley Beaudin 18:55
Hmm. Well, I think a few things like one I think they get you can really see self sabotage, diminish, heal. And so you get sort of out of those cycles that I mentioned. You learn to lead yourself versus being led by everything or everyone else. Also, it's so much one of the phrases I always say is like, everything is easier when you feel safe, so much easier to take action. And I would say most over workers is probably like the only self sabotage type that can still take action when they don't feel safe. Most most cannot they feel like really paralysed so that can be a really, really big piece. And then, you know, if you're taking more action, you're gonna see more results in your business. Even they even show So I think around, there's so much to be said around the energy that you bring to your work. And that can change a lot of things it can change how your content presents, it can change how, what kind of people and how people are drawn to you. So, you know, like, for example, if you this is Tattaglia by making off the top of my head, but if you are someone who is let's say your one other self sabotage type, because guardian, so that type really, it doesn't feel safe. If people get close, well, then you might create social media content, that's really polarising so that people either love you or they hate you. And then you're gonna draw people that are really drawn to polarising messaging, without any consideration, or is that the kind of person that you're really wanting to work with. And all of this is now born out of your sense of not feeling safe, have like, I need to be key people at a distance. And so it can, if you are going to really look at safety, then that's going to shift all of those almost like a domino effect, all of those pieces, and that can really bring movement to a business where there wasn't any before. And love
Ruth Poundwhite 21:33
what you said about like, yeah, how they can literally show up in your content and who you're trying to get. Because I've been doing a lot of like personal healing work on my kind of attachment and trying to build up a secure attachment and have had like an avoidant dismissive attachment style. And it literally can manifest in me creating, you know, problems that keep me at a distance from my partner, right? And it's just so it's mind bending, to realise that what I think is like a fact, like, this is a situation that's happening, and it's annoying me and I want to be on my own or whatever, is actually my brains way of staying safe. And not wanting to you know, it feels unsafe to be close, intimate. So I love I love just hearing how you shared that in the context of business as well. It's so like, it makes so much sense to me, that this shows up. And it's so subtle. And it's so, so subtle, but it's also massive and ingrained in everything.
Ashley Beaudin 22:42
Right. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think it's fascinating, like, looking at attachment styles or business is also so fascinating to me, because this is really is relationships. Yeah. Like attachment styles are really gonna, you know, really inform that. And a great example of like, more of like anxious attachment, which we seek out I see come up with so much what people pleasers is like a lot of hyper vigilance about like, oh, like a client, email me that, like, let's say, client, email me and they didn't use punctuation. They like hate me, they ate it, yeah, hey, my work really creates that hyper vigilance. And so. But like you don't know, we don't necessarily hear a lot about like, how do you? How can I make sure or create secure attachment in my relationships with my clients? But again, you're massively impact as like, you can't take the human out of the business.
Ruth Poundwhite 23:41
Exactly, exactly. It's so true. One of the things that you said that I really just wanted to pick up on it a little bit more was like this idea of it. You know, cultivating yourselves a sense of safety helps us to better lead ourselves. Like, I'm so interested in this idea of leadership and actually leading ourselves, I feel is the biggest, I mean, it's a foundation for leading others well, in a meaningful way. Yeah. Can you talk a bit more about that? Like, do you have anything else to share about that? It's kind of an open question, but I'm just like, so curious to hear what you have to say. Yeah, well, I think it definitely
Ashley Beaudin 24:18
comes up a lot because we you know, as just as human beings like the it can be easy to not really lead ourselves but just be in constant reaction. And, or be led by other things like be led by what we think we should do or be led by the opinions of others be led by our calendar and all the commitments that we have, be led by self sabotage and self protection. And so then it like sort of begs this question of, what would it look like to truly lead myself and does what is that A change, like, what does that change about what I focus on? Or what I do? And then that brings up that question of not only how do you lead yourself, like, what does that look like for you? But then also like, how do you do it in those little moments? And you and because, you know, for example, like, in business, let's say, I feel like this comes up all the time for me. So like, I'm, like, let's say I'm working on, I'm working on this summit. It's like, I know that I have work to do for it. But you know, then you have, you're like, oh, I want to do it, or like, I want to pause Oh, that's a moment of like, self leadership. Can I actually step in and leave myself here, so that I can make sure that these things get done? For someone more like you, I would say, self leadership really comes in on the other side of like, how do you lead yourself into spaces and rest? How do you or how do we lead ourselves when we're having an emotional spiral? Do we just allow ourselves to be and to sort of just like react to that spiral? And then move on? Or do we soothe ourselves after that? Or what does that really look like? And so it's kind of just getting a little bit of a, in a way, like a little bit of a bird's eye view. And I think that I think inner child and re parenting really plays into it as well. I would say 99% of the time, if you're not leading yourself, well, it's because you don't know how to lead your inner child, your inner child is probably leading you. And so how can you become the loving parent to yourself to move forward with a with much more intentionality?
Ruth Poundwhite 27:03
Yeah, exactly. Exactly that, and it's a practice, and it's deep stuff. And I guess on the topic of self leadership, there's also that I can't remember exactly how you described earlier, but that compassionate curiosity about how you're doing it, because you know, we all have our moments, don't we? Well, or they refuse to lead ourselves. We follow we want to whatever it is that we want to do. Yeah, yeah. So there was something else that I really wanted to talk about. And that was this idea of an idea. But like, how does this all relate to feeling worthy, feeling worthy of, and I feel like when we're making decisions for ourselves, and some people are more kind of prone to thinking in this way than others, I guess. But when we're making decisions that really prioritise ourselves as individual humans that really matter. There can be pushback and potentially guilt around like, who am I to do this? Who am I to make decisions? Who am I to carve out this gentle business that is really tailored to me? Who am I to live this life when so many people are struggling when I've got so many responsibilities, whatever x y Zed reasons? Yeah, how does this idea of worthiness or deserving tie into all of this for you? And how do we navigate that? Yeah.
Ashley Beaudin 28:44
Well, the one of the things I would say is that when we're noticing that kind of stuff come up. I am always an encourager of stay with the thought longer than you normally want to. So if the thoughts coming out of who am I to do this? If you sit with the thought, a little bit longer, like what else is there to say? And, you know, potentially maybe asking deeper questions about it. Like what is this really about? You know, because I think with things like, impostor syndrome, and, and all of those things, you know, all of those things are just often really driven by fear and almost always because they we feel vulnerable. This feels scary. This feels uncomfortable. This feels unknown. I don't know how this is going to end and I find like one of my real pet peeves is, like any kind of Instagram post that's like, tell your inner critic to shut up or whatever, like Get away from me. Because they're such, it's like when I, when I hear the imposter syndrome and someone, when I hear those questions I, what I really hear is a vulnerability sort of whispering, I am scared, or I don't know, or I don't know if I can trust this, or I don't know if I feel safe with this. And so how can we turn towards our own tenderness? How can we turn towards our own vulnerability? And say, tell me more about that?
Ruth Poundwhite 30:50
Ashley Beaudin 30:51
what do you really need here? Or how can I make this feel safer? How can I make this feel true, and discovering what comes out of that really beautiful precious space, which I know can be somewhat hard to do, depending on your, what you're like, and all of that, which is also what makes coaching or therapy or any kind of modality, like that so powerful, to create that space to have those conversations. And then it's in that I think it's in that turning inwards, that you discover the worthiness. Because it's when you turn inwards, you discover inherent worthiness. When you turn outward, outwards, you'll always feel scarcity for worthiness. But it's gonna take courage, right to turn inward to the tenderness and and see what can can help in, in bringing soothing, but I think it's just an encouragement to anyone listening as well that like why not, you may have never framed it as tenderness. But that's what I'm framing it as. And just because you feel the presence of tenderness or vulnerability in work doesn't mean that, like you don't have what it takes doesn't mean that those questions are true doesn't mean that you're not worthy. And it's like so much more common, then. It is not common.
Ruth Poundwhite 32:46
I mean, that was just so beautifully put, like, seriously, I'm sat here like, I could cry. Like, I feel your word so much, because this has been my own journey. Like I used to. I used to hate that inner critic. I used to hate that inner critic, that inner critic is a part of me. Yes, the hate. I used to hate that part of me. And yeah, like, since I started actually listening to it, talking to it, hearing it, seeing it. It's just an Yeah, you're right. It does take courage. Like, it brings up messy difficult stuff, but it's just so much more powerful and healing than dismissing it and trying to pretend it's not there. Because it is always there even when you try and pretend right? Yeah. So thank you for sharing that you put just put it into the most amazing way. And I sure that that will be so helpful to everyone listening.
Ashley Beaudin 33:42
So glad. Okay,
Ruth Poundwhite 33:45
so when I have guests on the podcast, I always ask them, what's the question that you want to ask the audience? Or was the question that you asked me and the question that you asked is how can your business hold you with more softness, having a business hold you with more softness? I would love to know what your answer to that question is.
Ashley Beaudin 34:06
Yeah, well, I love this idea of my business holding me and me holding my business. And like my business supports me I don't support my business. My business centres me I don't centre my business. And that my business is being another expression of fear, a place where I can feel held so for example, like my business brings in money so that I can feel relaxed that makes me feel my business helps me use my gifts and support others that really makes me feel held. It's definitely a different a different language and way to look at it but I love I personally just like love the feeling of being held in so I'm like, Yes, how can my business old me So that's, I think, always a question for me, I would say that right now I've really been playing with it in terms of systems. I think that, you know, for a long time I was because I'm not a big in general, because I lean more towards like, emotions and feelings and whatever. Like I'm, I'm not someone who's very like system organisation oriented in general. But I started realising over the last few months, I guess, that set how much systems helped me manage overwhelm. And specifically, just like they get things out of my head, so that I can, you know, put them somewhere else that I don't have to live with them all the time. That's a way my business can really hold me with more softness, those systems can hold me with more softness.
Ruth Poundwhite 35:54
Thank you for sharing that. Because I have, like this question, kind of, it almost stops me in my tracks, because I've never, I've never asked that question before of myself. So thank you for posing it. And I hope that we can all go away and reflect on it during Yeah, exactly. Okay, so I'm just going to shift gears and ask you my random, randomly picked question to finish to round this off. And the question is, when was the last time that you changed your opinion about something?
Ashley Beaudin 36:31
So I was saying his knee? No, you told me this earlier. And I was like, I could take the surge of light places. Take those such heavy places. So I'll give you one light one heavy. Okay. Not heavy, serious. Yeah. My answer is growing up. I absolutely hated mushrooms. I was like they're slimy and gross. So people listening are probably like, Yeah, true. Right now, I love them. Like I go eat them, like every day and anything. Yeah, hamburgers, eggs, pasture, rice, I mean, mushrooms forever. So that's my light wine. My more serious one is. I grew up Mueller. I was really involved in church as a teenager, and, but was very intense about my beliefs. And, you know, in church, religious settings, there's a lot of black and white thinking about really hot topic issues. You know, and I think abortion being one of them. And so, my mind has absolutely changed with a lot of those very black and white pieces. And I think that there's, I think I was telling someone the other day that doing coaching, when you when it's literally your job to like sit with people in their stories, and experience experiences. With an in really committing to being a very compassionate witness. That not only changes you, but it increases your capacity to sit with Nuance. And like that the same thing could happen to like 10 different people. And it can mean 10 different things. And that's the real issue that I have with these very black and white statements about what is good or bad. What is right or what is wrong, because of how unique and nuanced every human life is. And so that is definitely it's like I feel for me like it has just been a constant softening. Of like, when I think sometimes when I think of like black and white opinions, I think of really sharp edges. Yeah. And my sharp edges are just consistently becoming softer and softer and softer. So that's what I would say for that one.
Ruth Poundwhite 39:28
Wow. Well, I like I'm glad I asked that question. And I love the way of describing as a softening perfect. This was like such a wonderful conversation, like honestly loved it. Thank you so much for coming on and sharing all of that. And for anyone listening. Definitely go ahead and sign up to the gentle business gathering happening. Well, you can sign up now at the time this episode is live. And it's starting on the 23rd of January, so it's going to be amazing. The link to get your free ticket is Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash gathering. And if you want to find out more about Ashley and her work, you can find her at Ashley bowden.com. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of quietly ambitious. If you have a moment to rate and review know that it really does make a difference. And if you'd like to carry on the conversation, then you can connect with me on Instagram at Ruth Poundwhite Join me in the Facebook group or my personal favourite. Sign up to my newsletter letters to quietly ambitious humans. Just go to Ruth poundwhite.com forward slash newsletter to subscribe and keep doing what you're doing because your work really does matter.