Happy Friday #MethodMasters!
On today’s #MethodMasters Blog I am pleased to highlight, Social Justice Advocate, Athlete, Wellness Enthusiast, and Creator of The Courage Campaign- Ashley Mitchell.
Ashley shares her unique perspective on staying motivated during tough times, how she brought a passion project to life and in dealing with the lowest lows, the way to keep going is through love. Because of Ashley’s authentic voice she shares out in the universe, many are drawn to her “tell it like it is” approach.
When asked about her teaching philosophy, she says it can be summed up in two quotes; the first is her own:
“You can rest, but you can’t quit.”
The other, a favorite from graduate school by Aristotle:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
As the daughter of a professional boxer, All- American track athlete, theatre major, fitness professional, educator and social justice advocate, Ashley has had the unique opportunity to experience a myriad of physical and mental training philosophies along with real-world challenges that served as critical catalysts for introspection and growth. Throughout her life, she has consistently shown the ability to dissect self-limiting beliefs and trauma to summon grit, fortitude and creativity.
Read on about Ashley’s insights on wellness, pivots, and staying the course for 2021.
Tell us a little bit about how you have navigated through the challenges this year being in such a front facing people industry with all you were leading on the fitness and education side of your professional offering.
“I just did it. I didn’t grow up in a family that believed in shielding or coddling us when things got tough. It’s my natural instinct to meet challenges head-on, and although I haven’t experienced anything like this year, I was still able to build on previous successes of overcoming hardship. I also have an incredibly small and lovely group of friends, an amazing partner, a roof over my head, food in my belly… so when the low low points came, I didn’t stay there because the abundance outweighs the pain. I guess the navigation lesson is: love yourself and let yourself be loved.”
As I know your career journey has been a series of pivots, for someone looking to get outside their comfort zone and explore a different industry, what advice would you give them to take the first step?
“I would tell them to identify the first step!
Making changes to your life is overwhelming and scary because not only does it affect your mental, physical and spiritual being, it affects your personal relationships, finances… everything. Each decision is a ripple. So decide where it is you want to go, and then work backwards, identifying the steps to the top. Start at one!”
With so many people burning the candles at both ends these days, what are your best habits that keep you motivated and inspired even when facing stress and overwhelm?
“I have several!
I say no, clear my schedule, move my body, get extra sleep, journal, read, vision board, cook, cuddle my fur babies & Mark, and Marie Kondo my life and relationships. Different situations call for different strategies, so I like to keep a lot in my back pocket and trust my instincts.”
What brought you to create The Courage Campaign and how can our readers support your mission?
“The Courage Campaign is a nonprofit that provides public schools and communities with high-caliber physical fitness instruction combined with personal development and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).
I created The Courage Campaign as a response to what I felt were a lack of coping mechanisms after my father died. Therapy, medication, alcohol, shopping…none of it worked. It only numbed what I was feeling rather than teaching me how to move forward. I also moved to New England and experienced quite a bit of culture shock due to the segregation of Boston and the juxtaposition of having a liberal reputation that isn’t quite put into practice across the board. I thought, if I had such a hard time dealing with trauma, anxiety, and depression- what do the kids who look like me have? What if their parents don’t have the resources? And how can we hold schools accountable? And then I got to work creating what I wish I had.
Through The Courage Campaign, students of all ages get the physical movement they so desperately need – and that their school’s strive to provide – while also learning about the extraordinary benefits of putting pen to paper through guided introspective journaling to organize their thoughts, and identify their fears, dreams, priorities and greatest inner superpowers. We believe that these tools build lifelong self-care practices that are invaluable and more important than ever in navigating the unprecedented events surrounding them today. The Courage Campaign creates strong minds and bodies today that that will help build a positive tomorrow. “
You can learn more about The Courage Campaign at: https://www.thecouragecampaign.com/the-courage-campaign
Many of our #MethodMasters community members are Retail Professionals, Hiring Managers, and Sr. Executives leading multi-million-dollar businesses.
As I know you worked in Retail WAY back in the day, looking at the current service/team environments where Diversity, Equality and Inclusion are a big topic of conversation, in your opinion how can leaders be better at hiring for more diverse and inclusive teams across all industries?
“I think the first step is to always look within.
One of the worst things a leader can do is bring a member of a historically marginalized group into an environment that is exclusionary, toxic, or unsafe. That said, I would love to see more leaders and companies hire diversity officers who are invested in the process, and can help lead the charge with appropriate action steps and best practices for internal training, recruiting, hiring, and maintaining an inclusive workplace.”
Overall “Wellness” is on everyone’s priority list this year, what does true Wellness look like to you?
“An America that is anti-racist and decolonized. Period. 100%. That is the only way we will ever truly be well.”
What is your biggest takeaway from 2020 and what are you looking forward to in 2021?
“2020 was/ is all about outlook. If you said it was awful, it was. If you said there were many blessings along the way, that is also true.
2021 for me is just a continuation of what I’ve built in 2020. I could’ve spent 9 months watching Netflix, but I decided I wanted to change a small corner of the world, so that’s what I’ll keep doing! “
How can readers stay in touch with you via Podcast, Social Media etc?
You can find me just about everywhere!
On our website: www.thecouragecampaign.com
On ig: @ashleymitchfit/ @the.courage.campaign
You can find our podcast, “Conversations in Courage”, on Apple, Spotify, Buzzsprout, and Amazon.
And of course, come take a class at Down Under Yoga! www.downunderyoga.com/