Despite having a successful six-figure job, Ashley Butler was tired of being always 'on'. She knew there had to be more to her life than constant email-checking and no way to disconnect. So she followed her passion and now helps women declutter their lives to make space for what matters.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
The tables turned when my employer "asked" me to travel out of state the week I returned from maternity leave. It got to the point where I couldn't go more than a few minutes without checking emails, even on weekends and vacations. A decade of climbing the corporate ladder led to regular promotions and finding my passion - Continuous Improvement - but I realised it wasn't worth my personal sacrifices. I was "living the dream", so to speak, but I couldn't disconnect from my work. I knew I would burn out if something didn't change - so I left.
What kind of work does your role involve?
Through online coaching and courses, I help women of all ages make the most efficient use of their time, energy, and money so that they can spend all of it on what really matters to them. Everything I teach leans heavily on my Continuous Improvement expertise; I teach them how to declutter the things that aren't serving them (waste), which creates space for more things connected to their purpose or passion (value).
What gets you excited about your industry?
It's exciting to know that by solving the root of the problem, we can get out of vicious cycles and create space to live in alignment with our purpose. Many people hear "decluttering" and immediately think of organized homes and colour-coordinated refrigerators; (there's nothing wrong with that)! But the decluttering I do goes far beneath the surface level. I care more about helping women declutter the self-limiting beliefs and patterns of behaviour that keep them weighed down, to begin with.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Don't sacrifice good for great. In other words, stop waiting for everything to be perfectly aligned before making any sort of improvement. It's easy to get caught up in excuses - I'll do it when the kids are older or when Mercury moves out of retrograde - instead of just taking action and improving incrementally. Consistent imperfect action is better than perfect inaction every time.
What, or who inspires you?
One of the best decisions I made was to join a business Mastermind group. It is filled with incredible entrepreneurs that inspire me daily. I always make it a habit to surround myself with people who inspire me to get to the next level personally and in my business. I believe that so much of who we are is a reflection of who we surround ourselves with (in person and online!) - so I leverage that to my advantage.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
There's a delicate balance between wanting to learn "all the things" from experts and learning to trust yourself to use the knowledge you currently have to take the next best step. Learning without implementation is pointless. But, as a self-proclaimed lifelong learner, I am continually investing in my own personal development. Sometimes that looks like paid courses or training, but often it's just digesting free information from industry leaders on social media. I immediately apply what makes sense for me and leave the rest.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
It was terrifying to leave my cushy six-figure corporate job, but I wouldn't say that it was difficult. At some point, you realize that time is your most valuable resource. You can't get it back. But we can use the time we do have efficiently and purposefully to create waves in the world. I wanted to be known for more than just being an excellent employee - I wanted to help women worldwide follow their hearts, too. The rewarding work I'm doing now makes every challenge I've faced worth it.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
On my way home, I'd pick up the finest bottle of celebratory red wine I could find (or two, because why not?). Then I'd take my family on vacation somewhere warm with a beach and lots of sunshine and just enjoy that experience as long as possible. Business-wise, not much would change structurally, but I'd use a healthy amount to expand my reach so that I could help even more women declutter their lives. I'd help the family pay off debts and invest in other entrepreneurs/business start-ups that need help getting their ideas off the ground.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
My perfect wind-down night includes a bottle of Italian wine, a little Elton John playlist on Pandora, and a meal prepared by the head chef in our house (my husband). During warmer months, we spend most of the evenings doing this outside while the kids play and we relax.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
I see so many women stuck on the hamster wheel, just going through the motions. It's easy to get so busy living for everyone else that you never stop to find and align with your own life purpose. So, I wish there was more support for women out there who are overwhelmed, overworked, and under-appreciated. I wish we would all start challenging the status quo and demanding a better way. Until we begin decluttering things that aren't serving us, we can't create space for anything better.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
There are so many worth noting. But Denise Duffield-Thomas's books are the ones that started the ball rolling for me. I haven't been the same since reading them.
How should people connect with you?
I welcome any women that are interested in learning more about how to create more abundance of time, energy, and money in their lives to join my free Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/abundantasamotha.
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