ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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When You’re Suffering, Do It Anyway. And Let NOTHING Stop You.

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

“I'm sorry I bailed on you,” the neatly folded note began.

It was 2013. I am at a retreat, and this was the note I received from a fellow participant; a lovely woman in her early 30's with whom I had made Friday night dinner plans.

I had waited for an hour in the lobby, my black jeans tucked into my chunk heeled, cream-colored leather ankle booties. I wasn't in a hurry; I'm never in a hurry. I just assumed she was doing a little last-minute armpit shave, or, you know, wearing red lipstick. Because, red lipstick. It's never quick, nor easy, and Gwen Stefani can piss off.

Yet, after an hour or so had passed, I started thinking to myself what everybody thinks to themselves:

Did I screw up the time?
She'll be here any minute.
If I leave now, I'll miss her.

*scrolls through Facebook feed*

What if I leave and she thinks *I’m* the no show?
Maybe something horrible happened.
Maybe she's being held hostage by a masked murderer at gunpoint.
(At a women's wellness retreat. Because isn't that where YOU would go if you were a masked murderer?

*googles “masked murderer wellness retreat”*

She must have forgotten.
Ugh, I hate when I forget stuff.
Wish I had her phone number.

*glances around while trying not to seem overly eager*

Needless to say, I was waiting there for a while.

When I finally thought to check the mail room—just in case the masked murderer was polite enough to leave a ransom note in my mailbox—my heart broke into teeny tiny little porcelain pieces as I read what she wrote.

“I really wanted to go to dinner with you. I got ready and put my makeup on, and even wore my favorite sweater. But the closer it got, the more nervous I got. The truth is that I kept thinking that you would be bored in a conversation with me. You're just so confident; so cool. I didn't want to make you suffer, having to talk to a person like me all night.”

The next day, my new friend was gone. I never saw her again. Never got the chance to tell her that she was wrong.

I hated she that she suffered.
I hated I made someone feel that way.
And most of all, I hated that someone felt that way about themselves.

Oftentimes, I think of my friend any time I'm scared, or nervous, or lacking confidence. And then I think to myself:

Am I going to write the world a note? Or am I going to do the damn thing?

And time and time again, in honor of my friend and myself, I elect not to write the world a note.

Because maybe by doing so I'll escape a potentially fatal, entirely awkward, terrifying situation. But most often, I suspect I'll find myself in a new one in its place: One where you can't trust yourself anymore.

As I've grown as an entrepreneur, a business owner, a human, a friend, and sassy-lipped flying saucer, make no mistake…I've made a lot of mistakes.

But the only way I've been able to recover from those mistakes, has nothing to do with having money, or having influence, or having friends, or knowing the right people…and everything to do with trust.

Trust that you’ll be okay…no matter what.
Trust that you’ll make it happen.
Trust that you’ll figure it out.

But the trust doesn’t just come; you can’t just sit here and say, “I’m going to trust myself more!” Doesn’t work like that.

The only way you can stumble upon conviction in yourself—

Is by not stumbling upon it…but putting yourself in situations requiring it.

By making promises to yourself that you’re going to do something…and then doing it. Come hell or high water.

Promise yourself you’re going to write every morning from 6am-7am? Let NOTHING stop you.
Say you’re finally going to start that new website?  Let NOTHING stop you.
Tell yourself you’re going to find the perfect little French chalet to go on a quiet little relaxation weekend all for yourself? Do it…and let NOTHING stop you.

Follow through.

Even when you don't want to. Even when you're scared to death. Even when you aren't so sure anymore. And let nothing stop you.

This is how you learn to trust yourself. Little by little, promise by promise, vow by vow, action by action.

And soon, you won't want to write a note to the world.

Because you'll know that the real person you're bailing on…

Is yourself.

May 18

2017

When You Feel Like a Hot Mess Full of Walking Contradictions and WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?

May 18, 2017

You don’t have to choose, you know. You can be intelligent…and sensual. Extroverted…and introverted. Complex…and simple. You…and someone who’s evolving into someone else. Sometimes, in an effort to finally define who the fuck we are, we start putting ourselves into the little boxes voluntarily—the same ones that we spent our earlier years trying to escape. […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life

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Jun 14

2019

If You Ain’t Feelin’ Your Work Anymore: HONEY, BURN THAT ISH DOWN.

Jun 14, 2019

So, here’s an idea: making money is not courageous. Anybody can ring a bell for twenty years. “Look, ma—I’ve been standing over here ringing this bell for two entire decades—durh, durh, durh—and I finally got a sticker!” Making money is a relatively straightforward consequence of showing up to breathe in the right place. Cause and […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life, Hate Your Job?

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2018

Be Brave, Courageous, Interesting, Crazy, Difficult, Weird, and Downright Complicated. But Don’t You Ever Be Normal.

Oct 25, 2018

You know what’s fucked up? Normal. Normal is so fucked up. For example, it’s normal for expats to drink daily in Costa Rica. This is a terrible idea, and yet, because it’s done over and over again, it’s become normalized. NO ONE WILL GIVE YOU THE STINK EYE FOR SLUGGING A BEER AT 10AM, Y’ALL. […]

In: Feeling Dead and Uninspired, Feeling Disillusioned With Life

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Jan 30

2016

Read This if You’re an Impatient, Demanding, Self-Critical Tart Who Gets Mad at Herself When Things, You Know, Actually Take TIME

Jan 30, 2016

What gets measured, gets managed has got to be the most annoying piece of business advice ever. (Right next to “create epic content,” “follow your passion,” and “don’t fart too loud when the mic is on,” of course.) Coming from a background in PR, I’ve always hurled silent insults at the whole “what gets measured, gets […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

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Jan 23

2019

OH, NO, SORRY TO DISAPPOINT. All Fucks Are Currently on Backorder. We’ll Alert You When This Item Is Back in Stock.

Jan 23, 2019

So there’s this tall, spiky, sassy-ass house plant on my balcony—the thing looks like a punk rocker troll, or maybe a pile of swords, planted upright. (Scratch that, it’s definitely a pile of middle fingers. Oh, how apropos! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.) Anywauurrrrryyyyy, if I don’t water this motherfucker for just one day. Just ONE day. All […]

In: Feeling Disillusioned With Life

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I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

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