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How I Thrive: “No matter how busy I get, I ALWAYS start my day off with a run” With Ming Zhao & Ashley Mason

Running each morning. No matter how busy I get, I ALWAYS start my day off with a run because I’ve found that any day that I don’t run, I don’t feel like myself. I feel tired and uninspired, and I find it super hard to get in the working groove! At times it feels like […]

Running each morning. No matter how busy I get, I ALWAYS start my day off with a run because I’ve found that any day that I don’t run, I don’t feel like myself. I feel tired and uninspired, and I find it super hard to get in the working groove!


At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep, preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving women who have gleaned and are practicing their own philosophies on maintaining their wellbeing.

As a part of this series about what successful women leaders do to thrive, both personally and professionally, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley Mason.

Ashley is a marketing consultant, speaker, and founder of the marketing firm Dash of Social. Starting her business at the age of 19, Ashley successfully grew it to reach six figures by the time she was 21 and now works for it full-time.

Passionate about pursuing entrepreneurship at a young age, Ashley hopes to inspires others to take that leap, just like she did.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path and to where you are today?

When I was 15 (yes, 15!), I started a fashion and lifestyle blog that I grew organically through social media, which led me to becoming an influencer. I realized that most of the companies I worked with on paid partnerships were neglecting social media, but I knew how important it was for growing a brand.

I became interested in marketing and wanted to learn more about it while also helping the companies I had relationships with, so I offered pro bono services to build marketing strategies, manage their social media accounts, and more. This led me into the world of freelance marketing gigs until September 2016, when I decided to launch my business at the age of 19.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I started it while I was in college, hustled to grow it, hit my first 6-figure year when I was a senior in college, and immediately took it full-time upon graduating. I also gave a TED talk at the age of 22!

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Taking on clients just because I wanted the money. I’ve learned to trust my gut because any time I speak to someone who doesn’t feel like they’re a good fit, I’m always right. Any time I’ve ignored my gut, I’ve ended up with headaches and lost money!

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture and work life?

Make kindness a priority and cut the things that don’t excite you. This will open up more space for the things that DO excite you!

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive in three areas, body, mind, and heart. I’d like to flesh this out with you. You are a very busy leader with a demanding schedule. Can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

I made a promise to myself that I would start each morning at the gym 5–6 days per week, and I do! I love to run on the treadmill first thing in the morning, as it gets me excited and motivated to start the day.

I also make sure to fill up my water bottle throughout the day so that I drink plenty of water to avoid headaches and exhaustion.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

I love to read each night before bed to 1) continue learning and 2) take a break from using screens.

I also look for webinars and trainings to watch to further my knowledge.

Finally, can you share with us two routines that use to help your heart, your emotional or spiritual life to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

I try my best to avoid working nights or weekends, unless I have to. I reserve this time for having fun with family and friends to recharge!

I also chat with business friends for advice and support when needed.

When life is very busy, and you cannot stick with your ideal routine, are there any wellness practices, rituals, products or services for your mind, body, or soul that you absolutely cannot live without?

Running each morning. No matter how busy I get, I ALWAYS start my day off with a run because I’ve found that any day that I don’t run, I don’t feel like myself. I feel tired and uninspired, and I find it super hard to get in the working groove!

All of us have great days and days that are not as great. On days when you feel like a rockstar what do you do? What does that day look like, and what did you do to get there?

I wake up at 4:30 am to get to my local gym by 5 am. Upon getting home, I shower and get ready so that I’m able to leave for my office at 7:15 am. Arriving at my office between 7:45 am and 8 am, I check my emails before diving right into work. My day finishes between 4 pm and 4:30 pm, when I’ll head home to throw on comfy clothes, eat a delicious dinner, and curl up on the couch with a good book.

I spent a lot of time finding an ideal routine for me, and this one makes me feel the best!

In contrast, on days when you feel down, what do you do?

I vent to my boyfriend or friends because they always know what to say to make me feel better. I also put my computer away and take some time AWAY from work to remove the stress. Treating myself to an ice cream helps, too!

You’re a high achieving business leader, and you also have family and loved ones that may require a different side of you at home. How do you leave the executive at the door, and be the most loving caretaker at home?

I’m grateful that my boyfriend is super supportive, so if I had a stressful day, he’s always there for me to vent about what happened. However, after I vent, I adapt an “out of sight, out of mind” perspective and push those thoughts away until the next work day.

There will always be more work, but there will never be more time to spend with loved ones — so I make sure to take a break from working and spend as much time as possible with those I love most!

Is there a particular practitioner, expert, book, podcast or resource that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

I love “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero. This book helped me to kick my Imposter Syndrome to the curb and made me realize that I CAN do this AND make money.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to inspire more college students to follow the entrepreneurship path! The corporate life isn’t the only path to take, and I wish more people knew that.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” I always had a dream of starting my own business, but I waited because I thought that’s what I HAD to do — work for someone else and then branch off on my own, years later. This quote made me realize that I was the only person stopping myself from reaching my dream — and I decided I was going to do what it takes!

What are the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Website: www.dashofsocial.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/dashofsocial

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dashofsocial

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dashofsocial

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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