The BS behind the Mindset Transition

I have been going through something last week and it has been making me feel like I want to crawl out of my skin, like there is a mass of dark energy within me, that is about to explode, like all I want to do is weep.

It’s a weird feeling for someone who wants to embrace and share joy in her life. It’s an extra weird feeling for someone who is expressing gratitude for all she has ( no matter how tiny or inconsequential it may seem) every morning and is trying to shift her mindset from the death grip of fear into one of positive growth.

I know it takes time people, but let me be very clear about this.

This feeling sucks balls.

Saturday morning I woke up in a f#$king mood.

My parents were talking and to me were way too energized for so early in the morning to be their querulous selves and I just could not deal.

The jokes were not funny to me and I just wanted quiet. I wanted for no one to be talking to me. For no one to be sharing, arguing or interacting with me.

I wanted to watch wrestling in peace.

It was not to be.

And even as I tried to quell the sudden yet ferocious surge of pure annoyance, it just settled in me like a geyser a hairsbreadth away from exploding and burning everything in its wake.

And because of this, I was mean to my little cousin and after seeing the hurt on her pretty face, I felt like such an asshole. It hurt me too, but the miasma that I was in, was stronger than both of us.

Mind you, it wasn’t that I did anything to her, it was rather, I could not make myself smile at her and once again the parents did not help matters. And yes I got called out for being a bitch, which I can admit now, hours later I totally was.

As the day progressed, my mood did not truly improve, there was something in me that was eating away at the very idea of joy and it was not the wonky weather.

I watched a movie and just allowed the day to pass, but soon my niece and nephew came over and their antics were more than enough to banish the lethargic fog that had been consuming me.

Everything about them fascinates me, how they are communicating better, the smiles, the determination, the twin-tuition and of course the dancing and the boisterous fake laughing.

In those moments I realized with astounding clarity that I was being a whiny brat yet again. I was not living life and enjoying it, I was not laughing just because I could, nor was I allowing myself to just speak my truth.

In fact, over the last few days, I had basically chosen doubt, frustration and fear as my companions and had been serving them a buffet of my dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Instead of just enjoying what I was doing, I sucked the glittery, rainbow fun out of all my ideas, sadistically holding them under the fog of my travel companions, because I was too busy convincing myself they were awful ideas.

Yet, here were these happy babies, rolling with the punches, finding entertainment and demanding love and affection, while expecting it easily. Here they were dimples flashing, hands clapping, showing me that not only were they highly intelligent, they were also fast and when necessary very crafty.

How can you stay grumpy in those moments?

So later when my little cousin re-appeared, looked at me and decided to give me some space initially, before seizing her opportunity to be close to me- loving me unconditionally, I apologized for that morning’s behaviour and asked for forgiveness which was immediately granted.

I took some painkillers for the headache I got from eating too late and was sitting at the table, head resting on my forearm on the table, when she came over to sit on top of me. She makes space people. I’ll never understand how she somehow does that when there is only a sliver before to fit her.

We sang folk songs, played a variety of games and I even let her play in my hair. The resulting hairstyle was wild, yet very chic and I laughed right along with her.

A part of that was my way of apologizing, but like 85% was because I was also having fun and I remember playing in the hair of another lady who would let me brush hers, while I filled her in on my latest thoughts.

So I decided to play it forward. What’s the harm in having fun with a 6 year old, who actually enjoys your existence?

There isn’t one.

So yeah, Saturday was a learning curve for me, it made me very, very, very aware of the excuses I was still hiding behind, the bullshit I was trying to pretend I enjoyed and my own fears.

It also made me realize what being happy is about . Spending the time with these children, all under the age of 7 reminded me what life and living is actually about.

It’s not about the money or lack thereof, it’s not about worrying if anyone will read your tales with you make that public or if you’re shouting into the void, it’s not about being perfect, it is however about accepting yourself, laughing because you can and CHOOSING to embrace joy and sharing it.


Up next shop AT THE EDGE

UNLOCK PREMIUM CONTENT, AND EXCLUSIVE BONUSES WHEN YOU SIGN UP.


The Real Truth About Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship is a mindset”

That was my answer to the question,” What do you think entrepreneurship really is” ,which was posed to the room by Selwyn Cambridge, Founder of TEN Habitat at the monthly TEN Habitat Mixer on Friday, October 18th, held at their HQ, 1st Floor Carlisle House, Hincks Street, Bridgetown, that evening.

From there, the conversation flowed around the topic for October, The Real Truth about Entrepreneurship and for the first time in a very long time, I felt comfortable, I felt seen and heard, as the group of less than twenty spoke candidly about some of the trials, successes and the overall journey they were going through as they built their businesses.

I admit that I like most entrepreneurs when starting out , had no EARTHLY idea what I are truly signing up for, a fact that was only reinforced by some of the stories that swam and echoed around the cozy room that night.

And yet,  despite the obvious frustrations and struggles to find their ‘What Next Step,” none of the entrepreneurs who came to the discussion were prone to not pouting or being reticent, the stench of fear  and giving up were nowhere to be found.

This was not a whine fest, rather it was a safe space for those who were in the process of finding themselves, and working to achieve their visions, could speak their truths, encourage each other and build a community.

The egos were checked on the grey streets of the town, prior to entering the building, the pizzas were hot and the beverages flowed. There was no putting on the spot, no bashing and no feelings that you did not belong.

The channels for communication were open and available to all who chose to speak.

Entrepreneurship is not a linear endeavor, there is no quick strategy that will automatically work and make you rich. There are only long hours, being in the zone, trial and error and sometimes straight up failure.

And yet even with tales of “how my business crashed, burnt and was mocked to my face”, none in that room gave any sign of giving up.

Rather I was so proud ( of the strangers yes) that while they spoke of their fears, their issues with grinding and how their lifestyles had changed to accommodate building their dreams, dealing with the copycats ,and sabotages, they were all determined to continue making their visions a reality.

They were learning to deal with their fears, to express themselves, to learn more and be heard by those in the trenches right along with them.

They were willing to add their voices, and realize that entrepreneurship is less about building a strategy and more about nurturing the self.

From the lively discussion, it became clear that one of the cardinal sins every entrepreneur has made in their lifetime was to be a ‘grinder’. This is where they let the business orchestrate their lifestyles and not delegate where possible.

Entrepreneurship brings out the workaholic in you, that’s a fact, especially since in most cases, you’re a solopreneur.

One of the things I learnt and will share with you, who have stumbled upon this article, is that you have to take back control, set and adhere to your boundaries and put your health and happiness first.

The reason you started this journey was NOT to become a slave to the job, it was most likely to provide a better lifestyle to you and your family, it was to see a dream become reality, it was to see how far you can go.

Yet, we end up overworking so much that we don’t spend any time with family and friends. We no longer feel free and taking time to chill, is instead seen as time we should be working out the latest challenge to the business. We forget to eat, shower, actually say words and enjoy life.

Our self worth becomes embroiled in the business’ finances and we isolate ourselves even more than we could have dreamt possible. We place negatively above the good and forget to celebrate any of the wins because it’s not the big goal we set for ourselves.

We take on everything and distrust that others can execute our vision properly, so when our bodies inevitably break down, so too do our businesses.

I was exactly all of those things, until I really started to do mindset work and slowly I realized I did not need to punish myself, I realized that if this journey was not fun for me, did not fill me with joy, there was no way I would be able to relate to my customers.

I realized that I had to take my power back and run my business, not allow it to run me. I did a crazy thing then, and it has paid dividends.

This thing was expecting my problems to fix themselves and I no longer dedicated days and weeks to them, instead I focused on all that was going right and soon, I had more things flowing and going my way than not.

It was fucking terrifying to feel as if I had a noose hanging over me at first, because we are 1) hardwired to be hyper-aware of all threats- which now take the form of debt, no likes on a social media platform, a drop in or straight up no sales of our products and ends in us self castigating to do better.

And 2) to solve the problem as quickly as possible because if you do not, are you even an entrepreneur?

So yeah, it was crazy pants for me to make the decisions to turn my gaze away from the issues and to enjoy what I could, but here’s what honest to God started to happen.

In the middle of me dancing and singing off key one evening, the most brilliant of ideas came to me about how to resolve the issues I was having around the delivery of my products.

Another came when I was doing my early morning walks about the possibility of how to increase cash flow.

Truth is guys, the problems want to be fixed, they want to be heard and they can only be when you’re open to it.  If you’re in grinding mode, you’re feeding your stress which wants you to be stressed so no viable possibilities or real solutions there.

However, if you’re feeding your joy, then you’re open to more joy which means all the solutions come to you.

Keep feeding your joy and remember that entrepreneurship is actually NOT about building a business at all, instead it begins and ends with building and nurturing yourself.

For those who were like me and are trying to get their minds ‘right’, trying to shift their mindsets so that they can come through on building that lifestyle you can see and are going towards, allow me to recommend three of my books to you.

The Level Up Journal Prompter.

Releasing Fear, Embracing Life.

Success for the Stressed Goal Getter.

I wrote each of these books when I was going through the thick of it and needed guidance. So I did the research, I lived the life, walked the walk and talked the talk, then laid it all bare in these books.

I will be doing a series soon, where I talk more about them and what prompted their existence.

Until then, you’re amazing and more valuable than you can ever imagined.

Such love,

Ashlee Cox .



I Finally Took Vacay and The Sky Came For Me!

I’m on vacation and that should mean living at the beach, however, this vacay, I honestly only felt to sleep and wile away the hours in an attempt to feel relax.

( I have been told before that I relax wrong and I wanted to do it right this time!)

That and the fact that for the better portion of this year, I have been unsuccessful in going for a swim!

That all changed on Tuesday, when me and my vacay-pal decide to just get off the couch and go laze in the surf. It was a spur of the moment decision that saw us getting change in record time and on the road to the beach in like 10 minutes.

It was the smartest and silliest thing we had done yet. We managed to grab our towels, but forgot the sun-block, drinking water and everything else, all because of the siren call of cool sea swimming.

The sun was scorching the sands of the beautiful beach as we locked up the car and took in the beauty of the rolling turquoise waves.

I was happy! I was finally-finally at the beach and the sun was still up and the water was calling my name!

But the sun was not playing around!

It was so hot, that just recording a short video for my IG was difficult and I could feel and see the sweat dripping down my face the moment my feet touched the powdery grains of sand, courtesy of my phone.

The beach itself was quiet,  afterall it was a work day for everyone else, still I had not expected to see the place so open and underpopulated.

There was one family in the water and just miles of sandy shores and gentle waters…exactly what the doctor ordered.

So we decide to leave the family a wide berth and find our own chill spot further down the beach and by ‘chill spot’ I mean a shady, forgiving spot that would save us from the cruel sun rays.

We ended up basically on the other side of the beach, which I decided was far enough- really though, I was tired of walking and was ready to dump our stuff under the thicket of trees we had discovered.

That’s when we saw the  ‘warning’ under the tree, instructing us to NOT be under them especially in the rain, because apparently that particular tree is poisonous.

(…my question of course is why is that tree lining all of the beach then?)

We move away and decide to just rest our stuff close to the surf, but far enough away that they are not under the tree, but still on the powdery sand dunes.

The running joke  between me and my friend for this year is that I have yet to submerge myself into the waves of the sea, infact the last time, I got anywhere near the water,  it was too late to go swimming, so I just literally stuck a toe in.

This time I was determined would be different.


UNLOCK PREMIUM CONTENT, AND EXCLUSIVE BONUSES WHEN YOU SIGN UP.


I had not taken proper vacation in what felt like five years and I could not handle being so close to shimmering water and not becoming the mermaid I am at heart, by diving into the beautiful depths.

Only problem, – the area we chose was surrounded by big rocks sunken into the surf, as if the beach had built a protective wall around itself and it went on for too long for me to simply jump over them safely.

Not one to give into defeat, we decided to move to an area that I could actually get into the water without hurting myself.

And would you believe the moment we did, the sky changed dramatically with dark grey clouds posing ominously above us?

Just as I placed my stuff down and protected my phone, the rain pelted right down.

This was unacceptable.

I refused to believe that my beach day was going to end in a story about how the rain soaked me with it’s pitter patter, so I waded right into the water, telling my friend I would be damned if I got wet solely by rain and not actual waves.

Was I worried about my hair and the fact that I was about to break the golden rule of not getting my hair wet? Yes.

Did that stop me? Nope!

And so there we were in the cold water, close to the shallows enjoying the rain as well as  the fact that we were now the only two people in the water. It was freeing and for the first time in a really, really long time, I truly felt as if I was on vacation.

My brain was not filled up with marketing plans, with fears over upcoming bills, with plaguing self doubts, instead I was preoccupied by a jumping school of small fish and this medium sized almost translucent fish that seemed determined to use me as his own version of shade and hiding spot.

I was just enjoying myself and making jokes and letting the sea soothe me and it felt amazing!
Self care is so important and in the past I can admit that when it came to really taking care of me and listening to what my body was telling me, I was a bit military in my mindset.

I would check to see if I was healthy enough to work and as long as I was, then I was fine.

In my mind if I had time to rest or enjoy myself, then I should be doing something more ‘productive’ and it’s only recently, when I have had the time to truly check my behavior,  that I had no choice but to see how idiotic that kind of thinking truly is.

My body and mind needed a break, it needed rest and time off from the mental stressors I had been flaying it with and so this vacation has been the best thing ever!

It takes practice to keep relaxing and not give into the very real urges to almost guiltily jump back into work and don the familiar blanket of my life burdens, even when I meditate my intuition tells me to relax and let things come to me, rather than me jumping all over the place.

It’s weird for me to pause, and to give my attention to something other than my hunt for wealth and entrepreneurial validation, but I am glad I gave myself the time and space to grow and stretch, because it made me look critically at the lifestyle I was hell-bent on nurturing.

On the mindset I was still operating from and that it was not ok.

I wanted a life of ease, simplicity and authenticity, yet I was making my own life difficult, stressful and full of intense pressures.  So that meant taking real actions to nurture the lifestyle I claim to want and was praying for.

That meant turning my gaze away from work and firmly onto myself.

It was terrifying.

I rarely ever even take a day off, but I took time for over a week and counting and I slept so much!

And honestly, I feel refreshed, I wake up happier, less scared and guarded and while life will throw a lot of plot twists at you, I can honestly say that I am enjoying my time off and my vacation brain.

I already feel more creative and almost accustomed to having shoulders that don’t slump or  aching as they attempt to keep themselves up.

I gave myself permission to enjoy myself, to look beyond my many challenges right now and take in the much larger picture and that made me realise how ensnared I really was.

Self care for me, is this week of rest, of  pausing on the challenges and giving the happy-meter a serious dial up, because I am human and there will always be challenges, but there won’t always be a me.

These experiences won’t always be here and I prefer to take the break now that I’m healthy and can enjoy it, rather than when I’m sick and cranky.

It’s all mindset and perspective and I’m understanding that more and more daily!

So what about you? What does down time look like for you and how often do you allow your mind and body to fully relax?


The day I let go of my safety line and dove deep

I remember the first time I did something I was afraid to do and was still afraid of even as I did it. I remember the first time I jumped into the deep end into cold uncharted waters, on purpose.

It was one of the first swimming lessons I had as a teen and I remember being super excited and at the same time scared of the unknown because I was very new to swimming in general.

I, like most islanders love the sea and love to frolic in the turquoise waters however, we never venture further than where our feet could firmly be planted on the shifting sands, because  ironically most of us can’t swim, or  at least swim  well.

So there I was with my class-mates who had all signed up for swimming as our P.E elective. I was one of the shorter ones in the group and while I loved and was drawn to the cold, beautifully blue, pool water my anxiety sky rocketed when our Coach marched us straight past the kiddie pool- my comfort zone- and over to the ‘Adult pool’ as we had christened the Olympic sized, competitive pool.

And I thought I was going to throw up, when she lined us all up at the deepest end of the pool and grabbed a long pole with a hook at the end, looking at us with a slightly mischievous smile on her face. I tried to listen to her instructions, but my heart was beating way too loudly when I heard her explain that we would be jumping into the deep waters of the pool, one by one and touching the floor of the pool.

She told us that it would be safe and would help us to get more comfortable in the water. I heard her words, but really I was overcome by my own brain screaming at me to turn tail and run away.

I stayed. I stayed and watched as one after the other, my class mates jumped into the water. I watched as they became submerged blurs and then popped back up, only to be scooped to safety by our Coach, or guided to the stairs.

All too soon it was my turn. I was the last. Dammit.

So I walked to the edge of the pool, feeling my poor heart try to lurch away from the sure danger that was me about to jump into the deep end of this water, knowing I couldn’t even thread water, even as I knew I had a safety line.

And then I was jumping.

My heart frozen by my brazen actions and then I was submerged by the cold water.  And I could not touch the bottom. We all held onto the hook of the pole as we got into the water, and in that moment, when I realized that I was too short to touch the bottom, and that the water was pushing me back up, I made an executive decision.

I let go of the hook- my one safety line- and pushed myself to the bottom of the pool. Touched the tiles and then jumped to get to the hook again.

In that moment of snap decision, it was no longer about my fear; it was about proving to myself that I could do this thing. It was showing myself that I was safe, that my trust in myself and my coach was not unfounded. It was to show myself that I could follow through.

My coach was impressed by my determination, if a bit scared by my decision.

And I felt lighter than I had ever felt in a really long time in my young life. I felt buoyant and I felt fearless but mostly, I felt inspired.

There have been many times since that clear and defining moment in my life, where I felt again like I was on the precipice of jumping into the deep end. And I have not always been ready for it, because I what I knew about what would happen if I did.

I knew that jumping in meant change. It meant that no matter what happened, good or bad, I would no longer be the same person I was at the moment just before I jumped.

I hesitated a lot, because I could see the waters, be them still and deep or, rolling with waves, I knew that once I jumped in, I would have to make a decisions about my survival, and I would have to take action to live and in doing this, I would have to grow, I would have to be better and I would have to make it all the way to the other side no matter what.

So sometimes I stay on the precipice and just look at the water beneath me. I allow the fear to grip me, to hold me and encourage me to rethink my life decisions. I stay looking at the water and fearing all that it would mean, because I’m afraid to take that next step, life line or no.

And in those moments, where I feel trapped, stuck and paralyzed, I force myself to remember the times that I was brave enough to let go of the safely line and achieve my goal, even though it was my first time in the deep end and I remember that I survived it all.  I remember that in those moments of calm and trust that I would not only survive, but I’d blossom and it would be ok.

It would be ok, to allow myself that change, that metamorphosis and as sacred of the plunge and all that it would mean, I would be free.

And it’s enough to challenge my initial fear, enough for me to assess my own self- trust levels, my own belief that I have done enough due diligence to make sure it is safe to jump…enough to take a deep breath and dive right in!

What about you?

Do you have those moments where you are afraid to dive into a new idea, a new goal, a decision that will impact you way of life?

Do you remember anytime in your life where you were brave enough to dive in and fierce enough to decide that no matter what you’d survive, that you’d flourish?