Welcome to the Total Freedom Podcast with Ashley Zahabian – who I just learned how to say her last name properly, and what a great last name it is.
Chris: I’m so excited to have you here, Ashley.
Chris: It’s so much fun to have someone at your age doing great things. I mean, you’re 21. You spoke on stage with Gary Vaynerchuk. You’re one of the youngest female public speakers there is, that I know of, for sure. You’re doing motivation, helping people get their teams fired up and all sorts of things, so. Welcome to the Total Freedom Show! It’s an honor and a privilege to be spending some time together.
Ashley: Thank you so much for having me, I’m so excited.
Chris: Let’s drop right in! I’m excited about this.
Chris: I’d love to hear your back story. How did you get started becoming a speaker? What led you to this place?
Ashley: Yeah! So, when I was 14 years old, I was going through a lot of my life. I felt like I was losing control – I feel like everybody kind of goes through that at some point in their life. Kind of like, what do I do next? Especially young entrepreneurs that are very innovative creative people, they’re kind of like; what do I do next? What’s the next step? There’s no platform for me.
Ashley: At fourteen years old, I was diagnosed with anorexia and was rushed to a hospital. Literally, the first week I went in, the doctor was like; you’re dying. I had no idea! I thought I was the healthiest person. It’s a mental disorder – completely, completely mental. I had no idea that I was so unhealthy. The doctor literally told [me]; “it’s time for you to say goodbye to your family. You’re done.”
Ashley: And I was like; “No, I’m not. This is not the end of my story.”
Ashley: When I finally came out – you go through so much self-development, you realize how much you’ve changed, over time! You don’t realize it in the moment –
Ashley: — but when I came out of the hospital? I was like, whoa.
Ashley: It was so inspiring to be able to put myself out there again and see [that] what was normal to me was abnormal to others.
Ashley: So, there was this one guy in Toronto. His name is Mike, he owns a ping-pong studio. And he was like; “Okay, were going to do a video, if you want, on my YouTube channel.” So I put it out there and that’s kind of where my name started pick up.
Ashley: I decided to open up my own YouTube. I started on YouTube, right? Like one of those YouTube stories. I guess I had the competitive advantage of being a female. My story took off from there, I started getting all these emails, and it was this one hit on Motivation Grid – shout out to Motivation Grid – and that video hit 1.6 million, so.
Chris: Good for you! That’s awesome.
Chris: And what a story. I didn’t know that about you.
Chris: Are you able to see that is a gift yet? Everything that you went through?
Ashley: That’s where the seed was planted.
Chris: Right on. I think sometimes some of the hardest times turn into the best of times.
Chris: So, you’re speaking around on stage. You use, obviously, a very powerful story. You’ve got great energy. What are you most excited about? What are you speaking on, what’s in the pipeline, what’s happening?
Ashley: Well, there’s 2 projects. Number one, I’m working on my book, so I’m excited to drop that soon. It’s called “I’ve Conditioned Myself This Way”
Ashley: The reason I titled it that is to help people realize that all these great leaders that they see out there – it’s only because they conditioned – like, we’re human. We’re all human at the end of the day. We literally conditioned our brains to be this way. And anybody can do it.
Ashley: And what really I’ve been going out on stages and doing [is], instead of talking about all my achievements –
Ashley: Actually, my last visit with Gary Vaynerchuk, I didn’t talk about any of my achievements. I spoke everything about [what] I failed about. I think that’s what makes my story a little more different. I think that’s what makes a speaker – when you share your story.
Ashley: I take a bunch of bullets so that the audience can sharpen their own knife.
Ashley: Being able to show that vulnerability. The mistakes that you’re making, it’s not like I never made them!
Chris: The biggest thing about vulnerability is it’s the most powerful thing. I really want to dive deep on this, because I feel as though we are moving to a vulnerable and authentic state in the planet. I’m in a movie coming up with Tony Robbins about rising up to consciousness.
Chris: So tell me about that; how were you be able to do that? Aren’t you worried about what other people going to think? Aren’t you concerned? How is that different? How does that work?
Ashley: So, again, being vulnerable? The answer is, yes. I do think about what other people are going to say. And it does cross my mind, you know, like; oh, are they going to think that I’m fake? Are they going to think that I’m really not doing what I say I am?
Ashley: At the end of the day – if you think about it, I can go into an interview at a company and my vulnerability can win me a position, just because it’s so highly respected.
Ashley: The biggest advice I can give anybody in the world is stop dating yourself.
Ashley: When we date people, we become blind to their flaws. We do things that are so completely irrational. But when you watch yourself from a birds’ eye view? You know what’s right and wrong – we all know what’s right and wrong – [but] you do it anyway.
Ashley: Vulnerability – the reason I did that on stage was not just for the crowd – even though it benefitted the crowd – was for myself. By calling myself out, I will never go back to that place.
Chris: First off, good for you.
Chris: You’re an inspiration. How amazing is it to hear somebody talking about vulnerability at your age, when what I see so often is the amount of fakeness out there. And I love that you just said; yeah, I called myself an entrepreneur before I actually stepped in to having my own company and those sort of things. I love that going first mentality.
Chris: Let me put this out there, see what you think; it’s like the universe is a mirror, and everyone’s waiting for the mirror to smile back at us before we do the smiling! We need to understand that if we want the mirror –
Ashley: That was beautifully said!
Chris: I don’t think it’s mine; I think I got it from somewhere else, but – we’re waiting! Right? We’re waiting for the mirror; “Show me an entrepreneur!” The mirror’s saying; well, show me an entrepreneur, and we’ll show it back to you.
Chris: Here’s the second thing I want to ask you about; it’s almost like there’s an echo. We put out “Yes, I’m an entrepreneur,” and then the first echo back goes; no you’re not.
Chris: Right? Because it’s still echoing. It’s your own vibration –
Ashely: You have to make it louder, your; “Yes, I am! Yes, I am!”
Chris: Right on!
Ashley: When you start to believe it – and this is scientifically proven – when you give yourself a title you don’t deserve, it fulfills your ego enough for you not to actually do the work. And that’s where people are failing. That’s why people are just not having the work ethic!
Ashely: And I realized that in myself! And I was like; I need to call myself out.
Ashley: I think it’s more impressive for people to put out videos saying “Here’s where I went wrong,” rather than “Here’s where I went right,” because behind the right, there’s twenty wrongs. And if you’re not sure about the twenty wrongs, you’re really not bringing value to the audience. You’re really not, because then you’re making it look like it’s all easy.
Ashley: It’s not like that! I’m on my way, I’m doing my thing. It’s hard, but I make the same mistakes as you!
Ashley: I have an ego, I’m hotheaded sometimes, I’m insecure.
Ashley: I’m human. And I think that delivery is ten times more powerful.
Chris: That message is ringing so strong right now in the universe.
Chris: I would love to hear; what are some of the big failures that you’ve had? What are the vulnerabilities that you shared or you think the entrepreneurs listening right now need to hear so you can bring some mad value to the crew?
Ashley: Here’s a really good example; when I was doing all this speaking, and I started getting my name amped up and my ego was hot, I was like; I’m going to start monetizing this. First of all, I only put out a year; that is not enough to start monetizing in a sense of coaching.
Ashley: I was making a hundred, two hundred, three hundred, a thousand, four thousand, six thousand, eight thousand, ten thousand – and at that moment, I was like; this is not my money. It’s not my money!
Ashley: I think the word deserve is so important. And I said this in my speech;
Ashley: In order to deserve your wealth, in order to deserve that good relationship, in order to deserve that consistent business, to deserve the good lifestyle, the freedom, the happiness – you need to be able to serve.
Ashley: If you want to deserve, you gotta serve.
Chris: I guess what you’re really trying to say is you’ve got to find your own person. Now, I’m going to bring in some controversial stuff here, because I think it’s important.
Chris: Let me ask you this; say I want be a good basketball player. Who do I get coaching [from]; Michael Jordan or the person down the street?
Ashley: Michael Jordan.
Chris: But here’s the challenge – and I want bring this up; what if he is so good at doing it and not good at coaching. What if he’s forgotten what it is you need to learn all the way back there, just what if?
Ashley: I don’t think that’s possible!
Chris: What if –
Ashley: I’ll tell you why; because somebody who goes through their own journey will never forget the journey. I will never forget how to take somebody out of depression because I did it myself.
Chris: Question; do you believe there’s people that are good at coaching [but] some of them are not good at doing?
Ashley: Yeah. But –
Chris: Hundred percent, and here’s what I want to add to this; sometimes we place so much value on the talent. Truth is, Tiger Woods had his dad coaching him. Truth is, he had mentorship. But the truth is, there’s parts, I think.
Chris: I think everyone out there who’s looking for a coach – I want us to just look and dive into and think; what if. What if Tiger Woods isn’t the golf coach for you right now?
Chris: What if there’s a place that I want to explore of the coach who hasn’t got the result, but has got result from others.
Ashley Oh, yeah! So you go to the expert who got the result that you’re specifically looking for.
Chris: And what if you can’t access them?
Ashley: You dilute. You start at the top.
Ashley: I think what a lot of people are doing is, they’re starting low, and they’re saying yes to the first one they get because they don’t have that confidence to think they’re good enough.
Ashley: You have to do your research. Look for a person who is really, really, really good at exactly – you know, directing what you want.
Ashley: Like I said; I know I brought value, but – again – there was another expert who was two times better than me, or three times better than me. I believe it was their path.
Chris: I just want to let you know how much I love you for having that vulnerability, and that acknowledgement.
Chris: And I also want to acknowledge that there are people that you are coaching that – maybe there was someone else more experienced – but maybe you’re just the right person for them.
Chris: Maybe you’re being a little bit hard on yourself when you say that, because honestly – here’s a little thing I want to introduce; say you want to be good at tennis. You look up; “I’m going to go to Roger Federer. Of course they’re going to be my coach.”
Chris: But who do you go down to the pro office, down the road, who – for fifty bucks – will stand there and show you how to get your swing, right? You’ve got to have those people.
Chris: The truth is, sometimes, in some areas – in many areas – there’s somebody else that can actually give you the time and can work with you at a certain place that’s going to help you to get there.
Ashley: Everybody, here’s a vulnerable response to that;
Ashely: Maybe … I’m wrong! I don’t know!
Chris: Maybe I’m wrong!
Ashley: That’s how you grow!
Chris: I want the audience to hear this from me; find the people to surround you that are going to get you there. Choose wisely – if they’re not helping you, right, Ashley? – if they’re not helping you, choose someone better.
Chris: You know, I freakin’ love your vulnerability, and good for you. Good for you!
Chris: So, I want to hear a bit more about your journey. So if someone’s out there [and] they want to be a speaker, they will look at you.
Chris: What should they do?
Ashley: How to become a speaker!
Ashley: The biggest thing in becoming a speaker is to focus on your story.
Ashley: One of the biggest mistakes that I found – you know, starting out, was; I wanted to be everybody else’s story, because I didn’t believe mine was powerful enough.
Ashley: Believe that your story is impactful, because somebody else didn’t go through it.
Chris: And were given that story for such a reason, and yours is so powerful. Hearing that and where you at and coming through is just perfect. I’m so proud to know you. It’s really cool.
Chris: So, what’s next on the cards for you? What have you got coming up?
Ashley: Like I said; I have my book coming up which I’m really excited about. Another big project that I’m working on – we’ve been working on for about four months now – is creating a world tour with some of the top influencers.
Chris: What’s the tour about?
Ashley: I want to bring in together probably ten to fifteen influencers and connect with every single person’s audience. I think it’s really important to, number one; cross-pollinate on who we’re speaking to, and also bring in new advice from different areas.
Chris: When’s that coming in to action? Is that this year, or is it [on the] drawing board?
Ashley: I think it’s going be within the next few years, because I really want to get the venues and everything planned out before I reach out.
Ashley: Once everything’s done and I have that to bring to the table, nobody says no!
Chris: Right on!
Ashley: It’s my dream. I’m excited.
Chris: Good for you!
Chris: It’s so nice to have you on this. Just hear, you know, the voice – there’s not many young female speakers, or female speakers in general. We need more women on stage. We’re moving in to a feminine consciousness.
Chris: For the women listening – they’re inspired, they’ve listened this long to us – what do they need to hear from you? A message for the women to get out and to share their story and their message?
Ashley: To every single female that’s listening to this, nothing matters more than you being yourself.
Ashley: I think for women, there’s a huge pressure, and – I mean, huge – vulnerability that we have to be a certain way because we’re so naturally insecure. We’re so naturally judgmental on ourselves.
Ashley: To the females, embrace the fact that your mind is just racing all day. For me, when I meet people, I show that vulnerability. I don’t try and hide the fact that I’m an emotional person. I don’t try and hide the fact that I’m a deep person, or that I think a lot.
Ashley: If you’re having a bad day, you’re having a bad day! If you’re having a good day, you’re having a good day. But that’s what makes you the strong woman. That’s what puts you up to the front.
Ashley: Don’t hide who you are.
Ashley: I think that’s what makes me a little bit more aggressive, because I have a very direct approach to life, but I got that from hiding who I was. Literally hiding on my death bed. When you know what that feels like, you’ll never do it again.
Ashley: I will never, ever hide who I am again.
Ashley: Whatever it is, you can’t hide who are you.
Ashley: Be free. Be you.
Chris: That’s it, and I think we should definitely finish on that: Be free, and be you.
Chris: What an absolute pleasure it’s been to chat with you.
Ashley: Thank you so much, Chris.
Chris: I’m sorry we have to say goodbye, but I do want to keep it on-point, on the timeframe.
Connect with Ashley: