Ashley Stahl 0:02
The most interesting transformation I would say is somebody who worked as a doctor. And she had that sunken cost feeling of like, I went to medical school I worked so hard to get here. And she ended up working in fashion. That was her real dream. And took her she started as a coordinator making probably 60 70k a year out of being a doctor, which was a huge leap of vulnerability and faith and trust. And she was like, 35 when she did it now she's like, 42, so seven years ago, and she's like running Fashion Week and doing all these things for her brand. And she loves it. She's so alive. So backing up is not always backing down. And we have to remember that
T-minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest, and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom 4321.
Jamila Souffrant 1:11
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Hey derniers I'm so excited for you to be tuning in to this conversation with today's special guests. Ashley stall, who's a counterterrorism professional turn career coach, she's a spokesperson, author of the best selling book U turn get unstuck discover your direction design your dream career through her two viral TEDx speeches, her online courses her email list and her show the U turn podcast. She's been able to support clients in 31 countries in discovering their best career path, upgrading their confidence and landing more job offers. I'm really excited to have you on the show. Welcome, Ashley.
Ashley Stahl 3:30
Thank you so much for having me.
Jamila Souffrant 3:33
So actually, we got a chance to talk at a party in a project that we did together. I think it was yeah, this past summer. And I'm really excited to bring you on my podcast because I feel like you had such wisdom about the topic that a lot of people who listen to this show are searching for finding purpose, finding a job or a career like the way we make money, like having that in alignment with our gifts and our strengths. Which is so important because we spend a majority of our life working. And even though a lot of people who listen to this show want to retire early or reach financial independence. The ultimate goal is just love what you do. So it doesn't even feel like you have to leave work, right? Like work intertwines because it's your passion. Um, so I'd love love, love to definitely go there with you so we can help listeners find that for themselves. But let's start with the background. Your background is pretty incredible. I was reading on your website that you were a triple major. Yeah, I
Ashley Stahl 4:30
know. Not because I was an overachiever, just because I was like I couldn't commit and I didn't know who I was. So I just picked everything.
Jamila Souffrant 4:38
Wow. So yeah, so I see triple major in government history and French. And I love that you just said you couldn't commit. So you just picked it all and still like that is pretty impressive. But eventually you landed in the realm of counterterrorism. I'd love for you to talk about like that transition from graduating to how you found yourself in that career path.
Ashley Stahl 4:58
Yeah, I remember when I was in college. Watch this weird moment where I was like, you know, what do I want to study and I went to career services and hoped that the counselor could help me. And she said, all the things that we always hear, follow your passion, follow your bliss, do what you love. And I just remember thinking like, well, I love cupcakes and massages, but I'd be a horrible Baker and really a bad MASU. So how does loving something translate into being gifted at it? And this question was at the core of my being for so many years. But what guided me into counterterrorism was that 911 happened when I was in that very formative time. And the same way that I think the pandemic has impacted Gen Z, in their job search in their college years, I think the recession impacted the millennial generation, and 911 impacted the millennial generation like 2001 2008, think those years really formed us. And so, you know, everyone kind of remembers where they were standing on the day of 911. And so I remember thinking about my family on the East Coast, worrying about them, and always being, you know, fascinated by different cultures, different languages. And there was something in my brain that just made a decision and said, I'm going to do something about this, I'm going to help with this. I wanted to feel like I mattered, I wanted to feel like I was going to make an impact. And looking back, you know, you were talking about loving what you do, I think that if you like or love what you do, like 75 80% of the time, you're doing awesome. And I think the pressure to love, every ounce of what you do is what gets people really stuck. I even think it happens in relationships, people are choosing to marry a life partner. And they're like, you know, maybe something is missing, and they want to listen to their intuition. But also, you're dealing with a real human, there's so many different facets, it's just like your career. And so it's not about loving everything, it's about loving enough, being happy enough. And so I ended up pursuing counterterrorism all the way I went to grad school for it, learn the languages for it. And when I finally got there, I, you know, moved to Washington, DC, I had like $3,000, in my bank account, and I networked my face off, like I went to every networking event in the city. The cool thing about the district is that you can have three square meals a day for free off of networking, because it's just such a busy city full of events. And I fell on my face, I said the wrong things. And eventually I learned how to talk to people and get opportunities. And my when I made my way over to the Pentagon running a program relating to Afghanistan. And it was interesting I working in counterterrorism, you learn a lot about intuition. You learn about intuition to save your own life. And so I was taught how to hone my intuition how to listen to myself, how to gauge other people. And eventually, that made me really intuitive with my friends, that made me really intuitive with people in my life. And it started translating into me giving advice for people in how to really listen to themselves. And I think when you're not fulfilled in your career, a lot of that just has to do with you're not listening to yourself. And so I think that the vehicle for fulfillment is your intuition. And if you're not knowing what you know, and listening to what, you know, a lot of the times you're walking on a path that isn't yours. And that's what causes burnout.
Jamila Souffrant 8:21
Yeah, actually, I love all of that. Now, when let's talk about intuition a bit, because I find that we've been conditioned thinos As adults, and especially as women, to kind of like push our intuitions to the side, right? It's for the betterment of everyone else, the community, like, the greater good versus like what we need. And so we usually start doing things or saying things to present ourselves in a way that it's like, not our true selves. So how do you know when it's your intuition versus your ego? Or something else talking to you, to you to tell you like, oh, like, Do you not like this job? Because it's difficult, and it's challenging? Or like, really, this is not something you should be doing?
Ashley Stahl 9:01
Yeah, I love this question. So, to me, intuition is absolute. It's knowing what you know, without knowing why you know it. And so what that looks like, is basic feedback. It looks like this feels good for me. This is not good for me. Something feels off. This feels right. Ego is more communicative. It's more dramatic. It's more fear based. So your ego is there's a difference between feeling something and emoting something. Let's say you feel hot outside. You can just say I feel hot. emoting looks like, oh my gosh, it's hot outside, I'm gonna get a sunburn. And then I'm gonna have to go to the dermatologist because I might have skin cancer and it spirals out. That's how your ego works. Your intuition is more about feeling this feels good. This doesn't feel good. Your ego is more about spiraling out having stories, catastrophizing, tripping, panicking, your intuition is friendly. It's just a feedback tool in Any given moment, you can turn to it. And the problem is that a lot of us, you know, say that we want clarity in our careers or our lives. And the work is not just about clarity, it's about connecting to yourself. So if you don't feel like you have access to your intuition, the first order of business is just to start doing things that make you feel like you again, because chances are, you've gotten a little too far off. So that can look like having conversations with people that resonate for you, that can look like you know, for me, I come from Los Angeles. So anytime I felt off, I would go to the beach, I put my feet in the ocean, I felt like me again. The ocean was such a regulator for me. So really asking yourself, what regulates you, what brings you home to yourself? Who is it, I have a lot of girlfriends that I love. There's a few in particular, I'm me again when I'm with them. And so it's just paying attention to those things, and making a point to make space for those things. Because when you're you, you start to feel good. And when you feel good, you start to get more into calibration with yourself. And you start to notice what feels like a no, and what feels like a yes, in your body. Your intuition is such a feedback mechanism for that, especially because your gut, which you know, scientists now call your second brain has more than 200 million neurons in it. So you know, that's the size of a cat or dog's brain. So what we can assume here is that there's an intelligence to when your stomach sinks, when you have butterflies. And the work is just to listen to that.
Jamila Souffrant 11:26
So when you were in your career, working in counterterrorism, while you were honing your intuition, learning how to follow your gut, because this was like literally like a life or death situation and your job and your career. And I do want to say this, because I feel like this is one of the first questions I had for you. So this is gonna actually bear up before we get to like the more serious question. But what's your job? Anything like the homeland show? Because for people for me, when the first time I heard that you did that, I was like, the only the only thing that I know other than you know, the news is like the sensationalized show homeland. And you had such a great answer to that when I asked you for so I'd love for you to tell journeyers about it.
Ashley Stahl 12:05
Oh, my gosh, I don't even remember my own answer. So I wonder what I didn't tell you. But what I can say is that, I think it was the book I read in history class in high school called The Things They Carried by I believe O'Brien, I want to say his name. And I'm so impressed if I remember that. But he it was a war book. And he said in the book as a soldier, he said, It's the crazy things that are the true ones. And it's the small things that aren't even that real. And so I do think that we live in a crazy world, and people who are putting themselves on the frontlines of terrorism, counterterrorism efforts are our heroes. And so there's a lot of crazy, that is real. But what I will say is that I left my job when it was time for me to transition into that direction. So yeah, that sensationalized show is definitely, there's definitely some reality to it. In national security, they would call me a honey trap, which is a woman who can use her beauty or skill to be liked and get information. I left the field when it was time for me to travel to scary places. Because I just realized that who I am was way too sensitive for that line of work. But what did I tell you in our first interview?
Jamila Souffrant 13:12
Yeah, well, it was similar to that it was just similar to it, things were getting for you really serious and real. And I think this is now back to the question I was first asking, before we took that little detour was about your own intuition. So you are now in this career, and you realize something was off? Like you didn't want to continue down that path. So what did you do? How did you step off of that train and find this alternate path that you're on?
Ashley Stahl 13:35
Yeah, well, so getting into national security was a whole thing. I graduated during the recession from my graduate school, I went to the Department of War studies at King's College in London, it's really known to be a place where governments will cherry pick you to work in intelligence. So that's why I chose it. I went back to LA before I made my way to the Pentagon, and I couldn't get a job offer to save my life. I slept slept on my parents couch. You know, nobody could get a job at the time. I remember believing the myth that I should just take what I could get. So I eventually accepted an admin job before I made my way to the Pentagon. And what got me into DC in the first place, was I called my university and I said, Hey, do you have a list of people who have graduated and worked in Washington DC, and the government department sent me 2000 names and emails of alumni who moved to Washington DC. And I worked my way through that list of 2000 people when I moved to Washington, DC, so not only was I going to networking events, I was working my way through List of 2000 people who went to my school, and I learned how to be an incredible job seeker. And looking back, it wasn't even job hunting. It was just someone who can create opportunities through talking to people so that works in business to how to have conversations that are effective, how to be yourself in a conversation. That's the most important thing to me. Too many people have too many agendas, and they don't enjoy networking because who enjoys having an agenda? No one so I learned how to talk to people, I started helping all my friends on the side when I was at the Pentagon. And they were like, how did you get a job making nearly six figures at 24 years old, from being an assistant, you know, I was making minimum wage before that. And it was such a huge jump in a six week job hunt, that I started helping my friends and I loved it. I loved helping them. They all got job offers and raises in the recession in 2009 2010. And so they would all say to me, you should be a career coach, and coaches were not a trendy thing back then there were none. Just a few. And I was like, I'm 2425 years old, like, what does that even mean to be a coach, and then I eventually got the courage to quit my job, move home to Los Angeles, I took one more job doing private intelligence. And on the side, I started going to therapy, healing from what it felt like to spend years learning languages and devoting myself to a career path with student loans and all the things that weren't working for me. And I started my business. And about eight months into that next job, after the Pentagon, I was able to start the process of leaving, and I got a TED talk, I became a speaker, and I filled my practice. And that turned into online programs and books and my podcast and all the things.
Jamila Souffrant 16:21
So I'd love for you to talk about like working up to quitting, because you found that there was something you were good at, that you enjoyed doing that you can make money from. But how did you prepare yourself financially, to leave that situation? Because I feel like a lot of people will have an idea. But that ramp up like that what it takes to get to that and they end up quitting their job. Like, they need more guidance on what that looks like.
Ashley Stahl 16:44
Yeah, you know, you would be a better person for me to ask about this sort of thing, because you're so responsible and financial responsibility has been something that I've had to work on my whole life. Because I grew up in a very financially unstable home, I had an amazing set of parents and siblings, but my dad was horrible at managing money. And I inherited that. And so my strategy, I think, because I grew up with a very activated nervous system, a comfort zone for me was burning the bridges behind me, not meaning souring relationships, but fully going on to a new path without looking back. So I remember when I got my first few clients, I had the courage, I was like, I'm going to leave my job. And I'm going to go all the way in. And I'm the type of person it used to be out of fear, you know, working out of fear, like and it reminds me of the quote by Rumi move out of love, not out of fear. Let love be the way you move. So I was out of fear. But and it works. That's the thing. We're both we're like cars driving around the world, we can fill our gas tank with fear of failure, and we can get pretty far, it's just a lot more fun when you fill your gas tank with inspiration. So most of my 20s I was in fear. But I hustled so hard because of it. So I didn't really prepare. Now, I'm a big advocate. For the part time job, I would say anyone who wants to transition ask yourself, is there a way for you to work part time, so you can free up your schedule and cover your finances and eventually transition full time into whatever you're doing?
Jamila Souffrant 18:11
That's solid, that's solid advice. And again, it goes back to you had viable clients like II saw that path, it was pretty clear for you, for you to like kind of like step over and do something different. Now, I'd love for you to talk through a bit more about like this idea of the U turn, what if you discover that like what you're supposed to be doing is totally different from where you are now in your career, right and you have no connections or you feel like you have no connections in this next career that you want. Because when you talk about U turns, it doesn't mean that you have to become an entrepreneur, right? Like you can literally still work in a corporate setting or job. But just it could be a different. It could be a different company. It could be you know, a different track. So what does that look like, though, when you do want to switch or change? And you don't feel like you have the knowledge or the connections to do that?
Ashley Stahl 19:02
Yeah, well, first of all, I mean, nobody comes out of the womb with connections, even if their family or parents have connections. It's, I used to hear the quote, it's not about who you know, it's about who knows you. And because sometimes people are like, I know this person, but that other person would never do anything for them. They wouldn't help them out. I would take it further and say it's not about who you know, or who knows you. It's about who invest in you. And you need to create real relationships to have that. So I've really come to see conversations and being open hearted and talking to people as a way of life. And whenever I want more clarity in my life, I know that that means I just need to have more conversations. And part of me I feel like I'm going on a tangent. Tell me your question one more time because I just started thinking and talking.
Jamila Souffrant 19:47
Well, it's more about like, how do you create those connections? How do you get in create those meaningful conversations?
Ashley Stahl 19:53
Yeah, so I think like because I believe networking is a way of life. It's about taking your head out of your phone. And it's not about being on all the time and kind of like fight or flight trying to find people to talk to. It's just about being available all the time. Like, it's about standing in line at the in the, for the bathroom at Starbucks or wherever you are, and having your eyes up. And being present. And having body language, I mean, majority of what we say is not the words, it's the body language. So it's like having a body language posture that says, I'm here to talk to you. I remember I was in the grocery store just last week, and I was talking to somebody in the peanut butter aisle. I was like, which one do you like, because I'm sitting here in the throes of capitalism, I can't choose what peanut butter I want. And so it's like, you can just talk to anyone, hi, just saying hi. And striking up, or how's it going, you know, whatever. And just make yourself available for conversations. There's a lot of magic that can happen in your life when you do that.
Jamila Souffrant 20:49
And you suggest doing that, like within not only like maybe it within a company that you're in, I think
Ashley Stahl 20:54
in your day to day life within your company, like, especially in the world of hybrid work, I was just telling a client yesterday that she has to go to her office every other week for three days. And I'm like, never go to lunch alone on those three days, like, network, get to know people ask people outside of your team to have lunch or a cup of coffee. It's so important that we see networking as a way of life and not something that we just do when we need something, because that's what makes it feel awful. And I only network with people that I think are amazing. So I don't care if John Doe is the CEO of the biggest thing ever, and he's the ticket for me to get this big opportunity. I'm not going to network with him because our body feels it when we sell ourselves out. And so it's like being in an abundant mindset, know that there's people everywhere you can talk to, and don't abandon yourself. So I network with people that I would almost like want to be friends with that I want to help that I like, and so I have a genuine desire to support them. And I'm excited about it. And so the people that I resonate with, I offer everything I'm like, What can I do to help you? How can I support you, and the people I don't, I'm kind of present, I support them how I can and I move on, and I don't keep the relationship warm.
Jamila Souffrant 22:07
That's such a good point. Because it does come out. And it comes through when you actually admire or respect someone that you're trying to get to know. And I will say this, I know when I was in my corporate career, you know, I didn't have much of an interest in networking. I like I kinda would hide like at my desk over lunchtime, I was like, don't ask me the lines. So actually, the lines I was just trying to get through my day, because I had such an interest in growing journey to launch. And so but what I did do was I did that with journey to launch and that industry like the personal finance industry. So I remember going into my first conference, Fin con. And like that was a game changer, I would say that for me in terms of I was able to meet other personal finance creators like in the flesh, people that I used to listen to, in my car on the commute and bloggers. So I would say if you are in a corporate career, and you do have an interest outside of that, still, if that's your bread and butter, you still you still want to have friends and allies there. So don't just completely check out if you're planning to stay there for a while. But it's so important that you can do that on the side. And the other thing that you're interested in, find those industry events or those conferences, even if they're virtual nowadays, to connect, reach out to people do you admire doing the same thing. And I think this is important, actually, I feel like you probably are really good at this is that the way you introduce yourself or the way you do reach out, especially if it's a cold, like reach out and you don't know that person is important? Because we're talking about like networking and the value of that and who you know, but it's just like, sometimes I'll get emails from people and it's just like an ask what I can do for them. And it's really not like there's no exchange, there's nothing and then there are some emails, I get there cold emails, I don't know the person, but the way they presented themselves, I know that they listen to the podcast and or are really supporters. And then if they're not asking me, you know, for anything off the bat, they're really just like providing just something, something of value. So I just feel like, that's important, because I feel like that's a lost art. And I get a lot more emails or contact from people who just are asking for something and it's like, I'm never gonna connect with you genuinely that way.
Ashley Stahl 24:05
Yeah. It's hard. Like, we just haven't learned this in school. And everybody's, it's like that quote, like if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far go together. It's hard. People don't know how to go together. And so they just make these asks without, I'm always thinking to myself, like how can I give to this person? And I don't have anything on my mind that I want back. There are so many people that I've helped that I never wanted anything from, but I feel good. And for some reason people offer me things all the time. And it's just a way of life like I've just making it's like that book, The Go Giver, you know, you just keep giving and you get back into said about depleting yourself. It's about being mindful about who you're giving to and I love what you're saying about events, you know, Eventbrite meetup.com, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, there's just so many virtual ways to connect with people. You can join a LinkedIn group and just contribute every single week to what people are talking about. And that's such a diamond in the rough way to just take connections from online, on to offline have meet up with people in your actual city for a cup of coffee that you're resonating with. And you don't need, you know, there's a lot of introverts out there. And so I always want to tell them, like it's not about going wide and having quantity. It's about going deep and having quality, like, can you find a kindred spirit in that networking group that you really vibe with? And can you really support them and just go deeper with them? You also asked me about this concept of U turn in general. And networking is kind of a response, I think, to knowing what you want, the world really does make way when you know what you want. And the problem is a lot of people don't know what they want. And one of the things I've realized after writing my whole book about making a U turn, and the book kind of has three different parts. The first part is realizing you need to make one most people don't even realize that they're off kilter. They're just burnt out. And I like I was saying, I think burnout is feedback that you're just walking on a path that's not for you. I don't think it's doing too much of something you love. I think it's doing something that's not for you working outside of your zone of genius. Most people aren't doing a self audit. They're not asking themselves Am I happy? The other day, I sat down with a very dear friend, and she said, how are you? And I could hear in her voice. She was like, how are you actually? And it was so interesting. I sat with her coffee, and I said, Man, how am I? How are you? Ashley? How are you feeling? And I was like, Well, my body's really tired. I just had COVID and got over it. And I was like, but I'm, I'm optimistic. How am I feeling about my life. And it was so good to ask myself that. And so I make a practice now to ask myself at least a couple times a week in my journal, I write at the top of the page, how are you? And I start to write how I'm really feeling. And so my invitation for anyone is to really ask yourself, how are you? How are you feeling? And do a self audit? You know, I asked in my TED talks, I asked him my books. What do you know that you wish you didn't know? Where can you be more honest with yourself about where you are, because you can't make a U turn until you notice that something needs to come. And what do I define as a U turn to me, it means that critical moment of transformation where you're super honest with yourself, about something that's not working for you, and instead of muffling it down, you listen to that wisdom for once. So that's just part one of the work of making a U turn is doing that self audit. Part Two I talked about in my book is it called turn signals. And it's about looking at those little moments in your life where you were being nudged somewhere else. And you chose not to listen, listen, your turn signals are about your intuition. And then the third part is about course correcting. It's about making those choices that really honor the truth of where your intuition is and where you are. It could look like taking that part time job starting that network, doing all of these outside things to anchor in. And there's a lot of science behind the idea of faking it till you make it telling people you're doing something owning something you want. Like I remember when I started my business as a career coach, which now I identify a lot more as a content creator or keynote speaker, podcast host and all these things. But I remember saying I'm I'm a career coach now. And I really had like probably two clients, but I owned it. And the world met me there. And so it's all about levels of ownership, it's all about levels of self awareness, making a U turn.
Jamila Souffrant 28:31
So with this U turn, you know, there's this concept of the sunk cost fallacy, right. And, you know, this idea that we put so much energy, time, even right, like money into developing or going forward on the path of a career. Not only do you have your own sunk cost fallacy, but if you had parents who helped you, or even with the emotional investment of your parents, or just friends and the identity of that career that you're currently in, it's so hard to write, like, I mean, I didn't feel as much for me when I like, quit my job, because I've always been like, you know, I'm gonna, like, do things my way. But I know a lot of people struggle with this, like, they identify as that, you know, maybe they're a lawyer. Maybe they're just working in this field. And they took it took a while to get there. But they got there. And they're like, You know what, this is not, this is not it? How does then someone like, turn away and you turn from like all the money they put into that career, the education and like, how do you overcome, not feeling like you're giving up on something?
Ashley Stahl 29:29
Great question. Well, I want to remind everyone that there's the U turn that you make in traffic where you go back the way you came, and then there's the U turn that I write about in my book and talk about which is y o u turn. And the reason that it's so important to look at that is because you need to remember that your degree, your career, it's here to serve you. You are not here to serve it. And when we live a life where we're serving the things we've done versus the person that we are, we forget that we can always quote unquote start over and when never actually starting over, we can take the threat of the past and make sense of it for the future. There's skills we've built in the past that can launch us into the future. And most of that comes down to how do you talk about yourself? How do you talk about your past and make sense of it for people who can help you in the direction of your future that's on you? And so, I would say, Yeah, does go into medical school or law school and having a half million dollars of student debt really suck when you don't want to have that anymore? Absolutely. Is it real, that you need to pay off that debt? Absolutely. And is it real that if you're, if you're anything less than 75 years old, because to me, like people are retiring later, people are living longer, you've got years ahead of you decades, I've had clients come into my practice, I've worked with corporations that I've consulted with where I'm talking to the CEO who's seven years old, and he's had five careers, and each one was 12 years, you know, it's like, really looking at how life is short. But it's also really long. And you can start anytime. And it's up to you when you want to be who you are. And it's really a way of life like, you know, Brene, brown talks about living vulnerably is a choice. And when you live vulnerably, you have deeper relationships with yourself with others, but it hurts, it hurts to live honorably. Because you have to choose yourself and other people and inconveniences. It's inconvenient to be happy. It's not for the faint of heart, you know, it's inconvenient to say yes to things that you want. Because it hurts sometimes to put yourself out there for them. But if you want to live that way, that's where the fulfillment is. And so you know, I'll meet you in your 70s 80s. And I'll meet you there. And if you want to be happy and fulfilled, then start getting honest with yourself, start taking action, and stop being so afraid of change. Yes, I
Jamila Souffrant 31:53
love the idea, you're not going to be serving that degree, or that debt that you took on to fulfill whatever the desires you had in the past, because I always find it fascinating when I do meet people, right. And I forget their background, even if they have changed careers like x teachers. But then they're like, they're business owners, and they have such a knack and skill for teaching. And it comes out or speaking. Tiffany the budget, Nisa, she comes to my mind when I think about this, because she has such a powerful brand and platform about teaching about money, and she was a preschool teacher. And you can literally see that passion, and her skills coming out. And it's a big part of why she is as successful as she is. Right. And then I think about, you know, some of the ex lawyers or doctors that are like I see have their own business and, and whatever skill sets that make you a good doctor and like that, like kind of following protocol, then it's coming out in the other thing that they're doing. So you're right, I think anyone listening, who's felt like well, this next thing I want to do feels like it has nothing to do with this thing I've been invested in, it's like, no, this is the fabric that has created or will create or continue to create the success that you're going forward to do. But you just have to, you just got to pursue it. You just got to go for it.
Ashley Stahl 33:03
Yeah, you know, it's so interesting, because one of the biggest things I've learned, I don't know if it was through writing my book, or interviewing so many people on my podcast, which I'm really excited to have you on. I think there's three lily pads in in somebody's career. And some people never make it past lilypad one. The first one is calibration. It's experiment. It's who am I, where am I gifted, and you just try things on. And you have to give yourself permission to be on that lily pad. And if you don't, you're gonna grab on to things that aren't really for you and latch on to them. And you're never going to find your dharma. The second lily pad you kind of swim over to through experimenting, is your gift. And that's what I'm really here to help people do. And that's why the message of my work is don't do what you love, do what you are. Because like I said, I love cupcakes, but I'm not meant to be a baker, who I am is a person that's very good at words. So you know, and I talk about these core skill sets a lot in my work. So once you make it to the second lily pad, that's for someone who knows what their gift is. They know like for me, I know communication is my talent. And it can look many ways. It can look like me having a coaching practice giving speeches, being on this podcast being on my own pocket, whatever it is. And so I think it's really important to be able to ask yourself, what is my gift and what is all the ways that I can express it and sometimes that has to do with whether you're introverted or extroverted. If you want to express your gift externally, it's going to look one way if you want to be more internal for me like a words person, that might look like me being behind my laptop writing all the time versus onstage speaking as an extrovert. So it's important to kind of ask yourself about that piece. Once you're working in the realm of your gift opportunities start coming to you because people who are working in sync with their gift is actually quite rare. A lot of people don't take the time or the willingness or go through the pain that comes with putting themselves out there. Restarting trying on things and really getting into their zone of gift you And it's crazy, because when you think about it, what we're doing as a society is kind of the equivalent of telling someone in preschool like the first person you have a crush on, marry them. That's what we're doing in our career, we're like the first thing you pick, build it, versus like the first thing you pick as an experiment on the way into who you are. So, you know, once you get into that second lilypad, and you're in your gift, you start getting opportunities and your life becomes a sifting game, it becomes yes, no, yes, no, do I want this opportunity? Do I want that opportunity. And your job is to hone your intuition, and to be able to say which one is best for you. Because opportunities can be a high form of distraction, when you're not really being aware of them, you can distract yourself versus really tapping into the abundance of them, you really have to know what opportunities are yes for you. When you take the right opportunities, if you choose to do that, I think you swim over third lilypad, which is your dharma, that's your sole work, and most people don't really get there, which is okay. But you know, when you see someone like Kobe Bryant, for example, when he passed away, and those watching all of his interviews, I could see he was in his Dharma, he was in something higher than basketball with himself. And I experienced Dharma on the third lilypad just once in my life. You know, I experience it sometimes when I'm podcasting, but mostly when I was writing my book, and so, you know, it's also some thing that you can kind of flit in and out of, but I want for everyone to at least have the opportunity to experience that third lily pad, because it's so fulfilling.
Jamila Souffrant 36:28
Oh, my goodness. Okay. So I love the lily, lily pad concepts. And you're so right about a lot of people get stuck on that first one. And they're so afraid to kind of like jump on it. Like you said, they don't even know what what it will take to get them to the second. Let's talk a little bit about the Dharma aspect of this, like, what does it mean to feel like how do you know you're in it? Because now as you were describing it, I definitely feel like I'm in lilypad, to try quitting my my career, and doing this right now. And the way that things have unfolded for me, I know I'm on the right path, and I'm doing a lot of the work, you know, that I want to do. But I do feel like there's a lot more for me to uncover and do. And I don't know that this is the last stop for me in terms of career and what I ultimately want to do. Right, so that third lilypad. How do you know when you've reached it? What does it feel for you? You said, you felt it when you were reaching your book? Is it more like in flow? Like when you're doing something like Yeah,
Ashley Stahl 37:21
yeah, it was a performance game. It's like, when I was writing my book, I felt this like, like a loss of time, a sense of like, chills coming over me a lot of the time. And it was like a message from me, from the sky to the world beyond me. I felt like a vehicle. And it's so amazing to feel that way to feel like there's nowhere you want to be, but creating what you're creating. And you're here for it. This is like what you want to do in your life. And I felt like when I wrote my book, like, I'm complete, like, if I leave the planet, now, I use this portal to give the planet what I had. And it's really exciting that you're in the second lily pad, because it's your gateway and your work on the second lily pad, I think is just hone your intuition to really say like, how do I get more connected to my body's knowing so that I don't get distracted by opportunities. And I take them, I think the second piece is to work on your mindset when you're on lily pad too, because I have a friend who won Miss USA. And when she was giving up her crown, she was kind of devastated because she, like worked so hard for this opportunity. And her year passed so quickly. And she was kind of down about it. And I remember talking to her and saying, Well, I feel like you're you're missing how big your life can be. And we all have a responsibility to make our future bigger than our past. And so I think the question to ask yourself from a mindset mindset standpoint, on the second lilypad is, what is the biggest life and the highest expression that this gift could have? That I have? So if your gift is communication, or words, or if your gift is being an innovator, or your gift is being of service, like if you're a helper, if your gift is really good at coordination and project managing, if your gift is really good at analysis, like figure out what is that core skill set? And that's something I talked about in chapter two of my book, but but that I just talked about all the time, because it's like, how do I increase the volume to a 10 out of 10 on this? And instead of forcing the answer to that question, be with the question in your life. So life is the ultimate coach, right? Like, instead of hiring a life coach to tell you things which could be useful. Maybe you want to be in an experiment with life and say, I'm gonna pay attention to what I'm noticing in life, where these nudges are where these breadcrumbs are, of who am I having conversations with that feel fascinating, who has my skill set that is living a higher expression of it, that I Think consider that for me and and what do I need to go out there? And do or what conversations do I need to have to start playing with that?
Jamila Souffrant 40:06
I love that you just mentioned taking your actual life, your your day to day because sometimes I think people put too much pressure on themselves to find that, right? Like, I don't want now, or even myself, like because I'm writing my book now. And I definitely do not feel those darker moments when I'm writing. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, it's like hard, right? But it doesn't mean like, it's not gonna be great, right? It's just a part of the process. And so I find that people put a lot of pressure on themselves, that it does flow. And like they're missing on the little things and missing on the magic that's happening all around them, because they're waiting for this big aha. You know, like people who like are saying, like, they falling in love is just like, the movies, when sometimes it's really subtle, you know, and just like, it's different in real life. So I love that, you know, part of this is not just like, okay, like, this is grant, you know, at one point, I felt like when I'm typing on my computer, there should be fireworks going off as I'm typing the word like, you know, or like, you think like some people are creating this magical work and like this round of applause is happening. It's like a whole production. And really, it's like the subtle moments and little feelings that you have to, like you said, tune yourself to realize that are happening.
Ashley Stahl 41:12
100%. And you know, I love what you're saying about fireworks, because I think a lot of life. And intuition is about managing your nervous system. You can't really hear what you think or feel you feel when you're dysregulated. And a lot of us are dysregulated from our childhoods, like most of the population is not securely attached. Meaning that as a baby, they didn't get their needs met in some way, not because their parents are wrong for it. But because they're human, and they do what they do. And then we needed something they couldn't give us. And we learned to be dysregulated in our body, we learned to be anxious, we learned to be afraid of intimacy. And I think a lot of intuition is clearing that pain and trauma out so that you can really hear the truth and you're not in fear. Like Rumi says you're not moving from fear, you're moving from love. When you move from fear. That's why self fulfilling prophecies happen. Because I remember when I made a lot of money in my business, and I lost it all. And a lot of it was because I was afraid of losing my money when I started making it because my dad lost his money when I was a kid and I didn't want to go through that ever again. So I remember hiring a bunch of consultants to tell me what I should do when I started making real money like oh my gosh, how do I keep this going? And instead of listening to that smart self that made it happen, I started listening to all these consultants, my business got messy, and I lost all my money. And so I think it's really important to remember that you're you create your fears, because you behave differently. When you're moving from fear. You move out of fear, it makes you act weird. You're dysregulated. So a lot of the work is just to regulate yourself as well.
Jamila Souffrant 42:48
Yeah, and a lot of people like that that imbalance become so normal because you're so used to operating at that deficiency that you forget, like that's not normal. That's not okay. I know you've you've coached and you help, you know, a lot of people make these U turns or have these realizations Do you have like any examples of someone where you felt like it was like a, it could either be someone later in life, or just a big change that they made that they were happy whether it was like a complete change of career or something slightly that they did differently.
Ashley Stahl 43:17
Yeah, I mean, I've helped so many people over the years, and I haven't private coaching as much in a while. I mean, I take on people sometimes, which is super fun. Right now, I'm actually coaching someone who studied extraterrestrial events at Harvard. And she's studied quantum physics. And she's trying to figure out how to turn herself into a brand. And she currently works in an artificial intelligence company. But the most interesting transformation, I would say, is somebody who worked as a doctor. And she had that something cost feeling of like, I went to medical school I worked so hard to get here. And she ended up working in fashion. That was her real dream. And took her she started as a coordinator making probably 60 70k a year out of being a doctor, which was a huge leap of vulnerability and faith and trust. And she was like, 35 when she did it now she's like, 42, so seven years ago, and she's like, running Fashion Week and doing all these things for her brand. And she loves it. She's so alive. So backing up is not always backing down. And we have to remember that.
Jamila Souffrant 44:22
Yes, yes. I love that. Um, when it comes to my friend who listens to the show, she's a doctor and she always texts me when things resonate with her and she's like, how do you know what's in my mind? So I feel like she's gonna do that. What you just said. Okay, so Ashley, I would love for you to tell people where they can find out more about you your work, your podcast, your book, all the things.
Ashley Stahl 44:43
Yeah, I'm so happy like you're so much fun to talk to. I feel like you pulled so many thoughts out of me today. So thank you for listening everyone. The best place to find me is the U turn podcast. Why do you turn to different words to separate words? And then also my book is sold Everywhere books are sold. I'm on Instagram at Ashley Stahl sta HL and yeah, I would love to hear what you thought of this episode.
Jamila Souffrant 45:06
Yes, yes, tag us on Instagram at journey to launch and at Ashley stall, I'll make sure all put our handles especially Ashley's contact in the episode show notes so you can find out more about her. And let us know what you think I always love when you screenshot and if there was like a quote or something that you're going to do differently, like I love actionable podcasts and tips. And hopefully, there was something in this that you can actually do after you listen, if you got to rewind it and take some notes to really do to start following those breadcrumbs in your life. So thank you again, Ashley for coming on. Thank you.
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