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Real Talk: Saying No Thanks To The Norm

I like to say I did everything “right.” I went to college, got good grades and landed what I thought was my dream job at a record label before I even graduated. Cool right? No, not cool. Let’s factor in the stress of working full time and overloading on classes to graduate on time after transferring. Also, add in all the pressure I put on myself since I was 16 to lead the pack and get my dream job before anyone else. Let’s also factor in that I was working at the largest record label in Nashville where the fact that I was “replaceable” was always in the back of my mind. 
 
I’m not replaceable. I focused on my future career more than I ever focused on having fun in college (yawn.) If you were talking corporate ladder - I’d say watch how fast I’ll climb it. I told the COO of the record label that I wanted to run that place one day without a stutter. Honestly though, this notion of climbing the ladder and being replaceable really messed with me. How can you put your hopes and dreams of running a company one day and making a difference in someone else’s hands? 
 
This question sat with me, even after I got a promotion. Each day I wondered if every idea I had and every hour I stayed late really meant anything. I paid superstars’ invoices that were more than my entire year’s salary. I also got super depressed. I felt like I had no ownership over my work and wondered how could I sit in a cube and help someone achieve their dreams while I had to wait in line for mine.
 
So, I cut the line. I said no thanks to the norm. I found out that I wasn’t as passionate about the music industry as I was about marketing, branding, and helping make women feel good about themselves. So I came up with Everest & Co. and quit my job. Putting it all in three sentences makes it seem a lot easier than it was. I cried a lot. I questioned everything. I didn’t know if this whole thing would work, and I still don’t. But overall, I knew that if I worked my ass off every single day, I could do something that was way more fulfilling that what I currently was experiencing. So go ahead, replace me.
 
The norm is stupid. Simple as that. Why are we supposed to show up at the same time to the same building filled with fluorescent lights? Why are we supposed to think that’s the only option? We become complacent and comfortable before we even really need to be. I’m 23 years old. I don’t have anyone relying on me or depending on me. It is a gift to have these years in your twenties to figure things out, make mistakes, and experience life. I wasn’t doing any of that. Instead, I was doing what I thought was normal and what I was “supposed” to do. What did that get me? Emotional eating, lack of motivation and a hint of depression. Cute. 
 
I don’t think most people in their right mind would quit a job with benefits and a steady paycheck to do what I did. I’m not saying it’s the smartest thing in the world, but I’m saying you SHOULD. It is the most liberating feeling in the entire world. Everything I do directly impacts my life. If I fail, I’m going to fail hard and fast and then move on. If I succeed, I’ll have a glass of champagne and figure out how to be even better. 


Think about it. Think about your dreams versus your reality and if those are the same. They should be the same. Life really is just too damn short. Fuck the norm - go out there and do everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing. 

 xo

Ashley

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  • Angela Dittmer on

    Well said!

    Love to all! ?

  • Taylor on

    You are my favorite human! So inspiring! Can’t wait to see more ?

  • PPP on

    Love this. Love you. Proud of you.


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