Joie De Vivre, Living With A Ravenous Thirst For Life: “I believe that time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself” With Dr. Marina Kostina & Ashley P. Smith

“I believe that time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. Time to be more fully present,” says Oprah Winfrey. Imagine a world where 1 minute of silence was mandatory. A world where everyone was required to pause, be still and be present. Imagine if more people made time to focus […]

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“I believe that time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. Time to be more fully present,” says Oprah Winfrey. Imagine a world where 1 minute of silence was mandatory. A world where everyone was required to pause, be still and be present. Imagine if more people made time to focus on what it is that brings them happiness? Imagine the magic that could come of that one moment in time? Be still, be present and for the love….Whine Down! This is my mission.

I had the pleasure to interview Ashley P. Smith of Whine Down Time. Ashley was born and raised a southern girl with nothing more than an average upbringing and a fiery passion to bring about a movement for women to embrace the value of time. She is proud to have created a social empire that connects like-minded women who share their desire to prioritize time for themselves because, let’s face it, we are all better people when we do! This movement began when her fingertips met her iPhone notepad at 3am while nursing her second child. “I know I should be patient with my oh-so independent two-year-old,” she thought, “but there is no time for patience when I have to be at work in less than 10 minutes.” Most mornings she rushed through the house, juggling a multitude of chores, all before 8:00am. She rarely took the time to calm her mind, heart and soul to seize the current moment. When she realized this anxious feeling was a common struggle among her fellow female friends, the Whine Down story was born. Parenting is exceptionally rewarding but it doesn’t come without its fair share of challenges. Through the Whine Down movement and a series of comical books, I hope to make light the difficulties of parenting, while also encouraging all the selfless moms to embrace the art of selfishness and prioritize time for themselves. The human potential is incredible, especially for moms who are the wonder-women of the world. Every day, we go above and beyond to meet the needs of others, often at the expense of meeting your own. It’s high time you prioritize your own happiness by making and creating time for yourself. Believe me, when you do, your family will be the direct beneficiaries of your investment! Embrace the Art of Selfishness, Mama, and Whine Down!

Thank you so much for joining us! Can You tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Imagine being 7 months pregnant waking all hours of the night to be on call for surgery. Your purpose is to serve others in need and you do so with a humble heart. This is the part of the corporate job I loved. However, one early morning I drove down 2 hours to a hospital where surgery would be taking place. I should not have been at work that morning as I had a relentless cold that wouldn’t let up. I was extremely stuffy and had a bad headache, but I refused to take a day off because the medical device company I represented offered no maternity leave. I had to use my vacation days of which I had two weeks saved up to have my child. That being said, I refused take any vacation days to insure my health despite how horrible I felt. In the hospital room, the surgeon was getting ready to make his first incision when all of the sudden the faint music playing in the background began to run together in slow motion. The lights suddenly looked like twinkling stars shining so bright but in one big blur. When my eye sight came to and I began to focus, I realized I was on the floor with several nurses telling me to breathe and that everything was okay. That moment landed me in the ER of the hospital that I was supposed to be serving. I had fainted in the surgical room. I had diverted the attention from the patient on the table and was now down for the count in the operating room simply because I refused to take a day off and use up any vacation days that would separate me from my newborn. Two lousy weeks is not long enough for a body to heal after giving birth nor is it long enough to bond with your newborn baby. I busted my butt over the next few weeks, so I could not only meet my budget but exceed it. I needed the additional income to pay out of pocket for time off post-delivery. Considering my company had an “open door policy” for feedback, I decided to voice my opinion that this day in age a medical device company should offer at minimum 6 weeks paid maternity leave if they want to keep talented young women on board. This apparently was not the type of feedback my company was looking for. When I was told to quit the “Why Me” spiel and to get over it, I quickly realized that no matter how hard I worked, no matter how many times my name appeared on the leader board, I was just a number at the end of the day and the company will always want more. I decided then that I, too, wanted more. I had used my voice to fight for what I believed was right, but there were these golden handcuffs around a paycheck that I was scared to let go of. The “What If’s” of life really burdened my heart. What if I can’t afford to pay my mortgage? What if we can’t afford to have childcare for the baby? The truth is, the “What If’s” of life often prevent us from accomplishing our life’s greatest purpose. Fear stands between you and what you are capable of doing.

What does it mean for you to live with purpose? Can you explain? How does one achieve that?

Living with purpose means filling up your soul. When you fill your soul up you sparkle from the inside out. It’s a feeling of joy that spills over into all aspects of your life. Recently, I was on hike in the mountains of northern Washington. I was overdue for a little movement as my entire body was a little puffy from the ginormous Mexican dish we inhaled the night before along with those marvelous salt rimmed margaritas. The frosty air and below freezing temps must have unknowingly reduced the swelling in my fluffy fingers so much so that shortly after our mini hike I realized my engagement ring had slipped off my finger somewhere along the leaf covered path. After tracing our frost covered trails for a few hours with no luck, my husband reminded me that we have so much more than a ring, we have an unconditional love and that is what matters most. Living with purpose is very much the same concept. It’s less about worldly things and more about the true values in life (love, hope, & faith). You have to look for what makes your soul sparkle. I noticed at an early age that giving to one in need, never expecting anything in return is the highest form of payment I could receive. You can’t put a dollar sign on making someone feel worthy or important. I encourage everyone to volunteer their time or incorporate time for yourself to focus on what it is that truly satisfies your soul. Then make time to pursue those passions. I get a rush every time I speak about time and how to make the most of it. It’s a drug that I crave and have become addicted to because of the joy it brings within my soul. When others can use their time, to fulfill their purpose; they too sparkle from the inside out.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped guide you to find your life’s purpose?

I was fired from a position with the medical device field I was working in even though I was a consistent top performer and my name always appeared on the leaderboard. It is my strong belief that I was dismissed because I was one of few employees that took advantage of the so called “open door policy” and I provided what I thought to be valuable feedback. You see, you have certain leaders that seek out feedback but when they get it, it’s not what they want to hear. Everything has to be positive feedback. But here’s the thing, positive feedback isn’t what always facilitates growth within an organization. Although no one ever wants to experience being fired from a position, I truly believe that in this instance, I was gifted an opportunity of a lifetime. I had been trapped in the golden handcuffs of the corporate world. I say “Trapped” because of the worldly benefits this lucrative career offered (a nice paycheck, a car, 401 K benefits, etc.) that left me concerned about the what if’s of life if I didn’t have those worldly luxuries. However, I had lost that sparkle on the inside because the company I represented could care less about taking care of their own employees much less the patients their products were designed to help. In fact, the products the company manufactured cost pennies to make but, yet we charged hospitals astronomical fees for these devices even though it meant life or death for the patient in need. This was no longer health CARE but rather health industry greed. Everything about this career went against my moral compass and left me feeling empty inside. Although the term FIRED was a hard pill to swallow, it’s one that freed me from the handcuffs that I was too afraid to unlock on my own. I had major pancreatic surgery as a 3-month-old infant due to severe hypoglycemia. God whispered in my ear the day I was fired and said Ashley, I left this surgical miracle mark on your stomach as a reminder that you too will leave your mark on this world in the best way possible. “Now go be GREAT,” he said, “You were made for more.” And that is what I work towards doing every minute of life I’m given.

The US is currently ranked at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think it is so low?

Recently, I visited NYC both for work and pleasure. I was there 4 days before my work event began. I have 3 kids so silence is not something I’m used to. I tried striking up conversations with people in the city but no one wanted to talk. In fact, one young lady jumped (she was frightened) when I told her I like her nail polish color in the Starbucks line. In a world where we are so connected with technology, facetime, skype, zoom, text, etc., we are so disconnected from humanity. Believe it or not, humans are hardwired for deep connection. Connection is not present when you can’t look someone in the eye. Connection is not there when you can’t see someone smile or say hello. People today are so busy chasing the ways of the world that they don’t make time to be still and be present in the moment. That would require the removal of earphones and the putting away of your cellular device. That would require you to look up, look around and drink in every piece of your surroundings. That would be unheard of this day in age as apparently the glowing screen is an all-consuming device that is way more important than the feeling of being heard or being loved; or is it? One republic sings it best….Can I get a connection?

How have you used your Success to make a difference in the world?

I’m no Oprah Winfrey or Ellen Degeneres. I don’t have the funds or the fame to touch people the way these incredible ladies have. But here’s the good news, I don’t have to and neither do you. Making a difference in the world can start with just a simple smile. Look someone in the eyes, smile and tell them good morning. I had a man stop me the other day after I did just that and tell me thank you and that I made his day. That’s it you ask me? That’s it, I say. It’s the small things in life that add up to make big differences. A smile is the universal language of kindness and there isn’t enough of it in this world. One of my favorite quotes is, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” I love this quote because I believe it to be true.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance. Joie De Vivre and a ravenous thirst for life? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Living to your fullest potential doesn’t begin first thing in the morning. For me, it starts the night before. Best businesses thrive by working their plan. They plan their work and work their plan. I like to think about my time, how I spent it and if I was able to accomplish what I hoped to accomplish. If not, how can I improve upon my time spent tomorrow. Once I do that, I either read an uplifting book or do a guided meditation through headspace. As I mentioned, quietness is a rarity around my house, but a lot of magic can happen in a moment of silence so for me a guided meditation helps me to still my mind and bring about clarity. Rest is so important! I’m an early to bed; early to rise kind of girl. Some people say they don’t require much rest. Truth is, even GOD needed rest. He needed rest and so he created a day, SUNDAY, to rest. We all need rest and it is up to us to make time to rest our weary bodies. I try to get a full 8 hours of sleep as I function best when I do get that amount of rest (yes I’m a diva in this department). I rise early before anyone else in my house so I can enjoy my coffee and devotion in complete silence. I read Girlfriends in God daily devotion every morning as for me, my faith in a higher being gives me hope like none other. After coffee and devotion, I get my quick workout in. Even if it is just 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of movement is better than nothing. As busy parents, we often have to shift our perspective of what our workouts look like. It might not be that hour long Barre class or hour and a half of hot yoga, but rather a fast pace grind of 100 burpees in your living room. Or a 5 minute long wall sit and planks. Any movement you can do is better than none! From there, I work on emails until my kiddos wake up which is usually around 6:30. That hour and a half of quiet time is the time where I feed my soul by nurturing my needs, so I have a full cup of love when my kiddos wake up.

My 6 Strategies Include:

  1. “Business Review” of how I spent my time and how I can do better the next day before bed.
  2. Meditate or Read before bed
  3. 8 hours of sleep (REST is BEST)
  4. Rise early before anyone (5 am wake up)
  5. Drink coffee and do devotion
  6. Exercise for 20 minutes

Do you have any books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

I have a huge girl crush on Rachel Hollis! I LOVE her book Girl Wash Your Face which uncovers the lies we tell ourselves that make us feel unworthy. Sometimes the biggest battle we face when it comes to happiness is truly the lies we feed ourselves. We are often our own worst critic. The other woman I’ve always been in love with is Oprah Winfrey. I love her Super Soul Conversations podcasts. There is one episode that really hit home for me and that was Wes Moore’s talk on Is Your Job Your Life’s Purpose? Wes was given a lucrative job on Wall Street in finance under Condoleezza Rice after he came back from serving in the military. He didn’t grow up with a lot of money so this was an opportunity of a lifetime to earn a more than stable living in a prestigious career. Wes was given advice by a former mentor, president Brody that stuck with me. President Brody asked Wes what he was going to do with his life after he got back from Afghanistan and Wes informed him that he was going to work at Wall Street because it would be a great financial bonus for his family and he could take great care of his grandparents and build a name for himself being around such intelligent people. President Brody said, really? Not once did you mention you were doing this job out of PASSION. He said he wouldn’t place judgement on his decision to work there especially if he felt it was in his family’s best interest, but he said this ONE statement that profoundly struck me. He said, the moment that you feel that you need to leave that place, then leave. Because every moment you stay longer than you have to, you will become extraordinarily ordinary. We all spend our time trying to be extraordinary but falling into handcuffs of life because you are fearful of the what if’s cripples your ability to live with purpose.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.”
 ― Oprah Winfrey

The past cannot define who you are as a person. You can’t let a circumstance that didn’t go your way be the way. Sometimes our greatest success in life comes from our previous failures. You must have the courage to learn from that circumstance, change and grow from that experience. When you can courageously learn from your mistakes and lean in to your intuition or calling within; you can begin to take the steps necessary to work towards your very own hopes, goals and dreams.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I have a strong following of busy moms. I know my people as I have a deep desire to truly KNOW who they are as a person. This year, I surveyed my group of followers to see exactly where they would like to experience growth. Collectively, the group decided they want to improve in these 4 categories of life:

1. Fitness

2. Nutrition

3. Finance

4. Organization

I have partnered with 4 female experts in these areas and starting the first week in December, I will be doing 3 live FB feeds/week with tips and tricks on how to incorporate more fitness, nutrition, finance, and organization into our lives. The Female Guru from each of these categories will share their expertise with us 3 times in a given week in December so that we can prepare for change in the new year. Beginning 1/2/8, we will hold each other accountable for our actions. We will journal about our wins and our defeats. We will share recipes, coupons, tips, tricks, hacks and all but most importantly we will be CONNECTED through deep communion, love and support. The journals people carry with them will become excerpts in the next book I am writing. I want real life experience. Real life transformation, from real busy moms that are longing for more in areas we all want to improve upon. From this experience, I’m hoping to see a SOUL-FULL experience.

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

“I believe that time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. Time to be more fully present,” says Oprah Winfrey. Imagine a world where 1 minute of silence was mandatory. A world where everyone was required to pause, be still and be present. Imagine if more people made time to focus on what it is that brings them happiness? Imagine the magic that could come of that one moment in time? Be still, be present and for the love….Whine Down! This is my mission.

About The Author:

Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.

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