Ashley Reed On Redefining Success

To support yourself when your ego shows up, anchor yourself back into what you learned from the five steps above. I’d also recommend writing down your values, any truths that stood out to you, and/or your new definition of success. Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more […]

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To support yourself when your ego shows up, anchor yourself back into what you learned from the five steps above. I’d also recommend writing down your values, any truths that stood out to you, and/or your new definition of success.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ashley Reed.

For 18 years, Ashley Reed (www.ashleyreed.com) helped shape marketing initiatives for leading global brands, including Amazon, iHeartMedia, Audi, and the NBA. Although she built a successful career, she always felt like something was missing or off. She left corporate and pursued her own inner work, leading to a powerful awakening experience. Now, as Certified Professional Coach focused on inner work, Ashley helps other high-achievers resolve internal conflict, re-find meaning and purpose, and live life more consciously.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

The first one that comes to mind is losing everything in a building fire in 2014. It definitely contributed to shaping who I am. Or more so, reminding me who I am.

I was living in New York City with a roommate on the 12th floor, and the fire was on the 20th. My roommate wasn’t home and I luckily evacuated safely since the fire was above, but unfortunately, there were people that were not able to get out.

And although the fire itself didn’t impact us, the water and chemicals they use to put it out drenched and flooded our apartment. By the time we were able to get back in mold had also grown everywhere. We had to get rid of everything we owned and it was very difficult.

The loss, in general, was hard because at the time I wasn’t financially secure yet, but even with that hardship, it wasn’t really about the purchased possessions.

It was about losing the irreplaceable and sentimental items like a blanket my Mom made me, and things from my Grandma. I also got very sick from breathing the air in the apartment when I was trying to unsuccessfully salvage things.

As difficult as it all was, it gave me a powerful reminder and perspective that’s still present in my life.

Just a few floors up someone lost their life. And it made me reflect on what’s important to me and how lucky I am to still be here to do that reflection.

It created awareness around how little things mean to me, and how much my health and time with the people I love do.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the focus on stuff and things in the modern world, but having the awareness to gut check yourself around what’s really important to you, whether it’s forced by a challenging event or not, is a blessing.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

For as long as I can remember, I had this path in front of me that I learned was the path to success.

That path included excelling in high school to get into a good college, excelling in college to set me up for a successful corporate career, and excelling in my corporate career to set myself up for financial success.

And all of those things put together were this image of what I learned success looked like. Or what I thought it was supposed to look like.

I think that’s a perfect example of the biggest myth or misconception I bought into around success.

What I described above is all rooted in the assumption that what is most important to me in life is achievement and money.

But what if those aren’t what’s most important to me? What if it’s happiness, health, time with loved ones, and time for myself to live and enjoy life.

What I mean by all of this is the biggest success myth or misconception I bought into, was accepting and adopting someone else’s definition of success as my own without questioning it first.

How has your definition of success changed?

Now that I know myself so well, I’ve re-built my definition of success around my core values.

That way what I’m working towards actually looks like personal success for me, not a societal definition of what success is.

And as I’m working towards it, I’m organically building the life I want because of that values alignment.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

Continuing to turn our focus inward. We live in a cluttered and overstimulated world that’s always pulling our focus to the external.

But the biggest gift we can give the world is working on ourselves and our own awareness. That work has a wide-reaching ripple effect.

John C. Maxwell said it perfectly when he said, “Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.”

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Space, and everything it creates.

Space is such a powerful but often overlooked tool. I find it to be so important that it actually has its own phase in the work I do with clients.

Our ego works hard to keep us focused on doing, pushing, and achieving, because when we’re busy doing these things we’re much easier to control.

When we have space, we’re able to step out of the autopilot our ego tries to keep us on, allowing us to reconnect with ourselves and with what we really want.

That awareness gives us the ability to live life more intentionally and consciously.

I experienced this firsthand both leading up to and during the pandemic.

I left Amazon and my corporate career in January 2020 not knowing the pandemic was coming, and was originally going to move to France for a few months to live and build my coaching business from there.

But one week before my last day at Amazon I experienced an extreme version of burnout called rhabdomyolysis, and I almost died.

I was in the hospital for a week followed by an intense recovery, and while I was healing I finally sat still for the first time since I could remember. And in that stillness, I could feel the extreme physical, mental, and emotional burnout that was hiding under how busy I was and how fast I was running.

I paused on formally launching my high-performance coaching business, and a couple of months later I felt called to deeper inner work, even though I didn’t know much about it at the time. The only reason I could hear my intuition guiding me there was because I had created the space to hear it.

And during what was arguably one of the most difficult years in history, the infamous 2020, I had the most powerful experience of my life.

I created space and turned all of my focus inward, and I moved very quickly and deeply through what I now know was an internal rebalancing and awakening experience. All while quarantining by myself in my New York City apartment.

It was like a factory reset for life.

If I hadn’t allowed myself the space to hear my intuition and to get back in touch with what I was needing and wanting from myself, none of it would’ve happened.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

The key to redefining success is redefining it based on your values and what matters to you. Not what matters to society or to anyone else. Five ways to support doing this are:

  1. Get really clear on your core values. Ask yourself questions like:
  • What makes me happy?
  • When do I feel the most fulfilled?
  • When do I feel the most like myself?
  • What am I doing when I experience moments of freedom?
  • What am I doing when I feel the most alive and connected to present moment?
  • If I could get paid to do anything what would it be and why?

The answers to these questions help create awareness around what your core values are. For example, for me, two things that make me happy are time with the people I love and adventure. And it turns out, both of those are core values of mine. Really dive into your answers and use them to create a deeper connection with your values, and then use those values to re-create your definition of success.

2. If you need a little more help with your values (which is normal, life moves so fast we often start to feel disconnected from them), look at other people that you consider successful or fulfilled (and make sure it’s you, not society), and then dive into what specifically about their life you’re drawn to. Sometimes we can use other people as a mirroring opportunity to learn more about what we want. For example, ask yourself questions like:

  • Why do I consider this person successful?
  • What specifically about their life do I think seems fulfilling and why?
  • What are these answers telling me about my values and what’s really important to me?

3. You can also use examples from your past to help you connect with what success looks like for you. Reflect on times in your life when you felt successful and fulfilled internally. Moments that weren’t about external approval or validation, but that lit you up and got you excited regardless of anyone else. Close your eyes and take yourself back to those specific moments, one at a time, and then play with the following questions:

  • What was happening in that moment?
  • What about it made me feel successful and why?
  • What are these answers telling me about what personal success looks like for me?

4. Another great approach is using visioning to connect with what success looks like for you. For example, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, then picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now living the most successful life you could imagine. Then dive into what you’re seeing:

  • What does my successful life look like?
  • Why is this success to me?
  • What am I doing?
  • What am I feeling?
  • Who am I with?
  • Why do those things make me feel fulfilled and successful?

5. If you’re still looking for more clarity, try playing the opposites game. If leaning into and getting curious about what your values and success look like is challenging (again, very normal), what about playing with what success is not for you? Ask yourself what things you don’t want in your life and why, and let those be tools that help create awareness around what you do want and what success looks like for you.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

If we take the time to pause and reset, making sure our definition of success is built around what makes us feel fulfilled and happy, we’d feel just that.

When we’re on autopilot moving towards a definition of success that doesn’t serve us or is no longer aligned with our values, we end up living a life that doesn’t do either of those for us on a daily basis.

By updating our definition of success, we’re recreating our life roadmap and rebuilding our life around who we really are and what we really want. That shift can be extremely powerful.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Our wonderful ego. Our ego loves to show up and create internal confusion and conflict.

To take a step back, our ego is our perceived self that’s created by our mind based on our lived experiences. It wants us to stay focused on success goals that keep us doing, pushing, and achieving, because as mentioned earlier, that keeps us in our heads and makes us easier to control.

When we start creating space and reconnecting with our values the ego gets triggered. Because when we’re connected to and in alignment with who we really are and what we really want our ego can’t control us.

To support yourself when your ego shows up, anchor yourself back into what you learned from the five steps above. I’d also recommend writing down your values, any truths that stood out to you, and/or your new definition of success.

Putting something in writing is a great way to cement it in your life. You can even put them on a digital sticky note in your phone, or write them on a real sticky note and put it somewhere you often look, or take a picture of it and save it in your favorites.

Then use these as truth anchors to come back to when your ego shows up and tries to convince you to adopt a definition of success that isn’t aligned with your values and what you really want.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

My favorite approach is actually creating space and sitting with myself. We hold more wisdom in our intuition and true self than the world could ever offer us. That connection is just often disrupted by our ego and external stimuli, so it can take consciously and proactively creating space to help reconnect to it.

If I’m ever in a place where I feel like that internal communication is blocked, I use tools similar to the five steps above to help me reconnect with who I am and what I really want. If that doesn’t work, I connect with someone like my Mom that knows me inside and out. She naturally becomes a mirror that helps me see and hear myself clearly again.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

I’d have to say Peter Crone. I’m a big fan of his work. He’s a thought leader in human potential and performance. His work focuses on creating spiritual freedom, mental peace, and physical vitality. There are a lot of similarities in what we do. I think we’d have fun diving into it and trading stories.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find me on Instagram at @ashleyreedofficial and also on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyreedofficial.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

Thank you, I appreciate your time and wish you continued success and health as well.

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