ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Eventually You’re Going to Have to Choose Between Wonderful and Phenomenal

In: Redefining Success

“Can I be of service to you and your team as an informal advisor?”

It was an email I didn't want to have to send.

I had been working off and on with Dan for years now. Dan was the ideal client. The CEO and founder of several big-time, multi-trazillion dollar companies you've heard of, he was whip smart, had his shit together, employed a brilliant team, and was somebody I respected and admired very much.

Phone conversations with Dan were sacred.

I would listen in awe of his strategies and try to soak up any and every drop of wisdom. (Which, for the record, looks a lot like the face of constipation…with a touch more wonder.)

Most recently, we had been working on my favorite thing in the world—product naming—for a new series of apps his company was developing. I loved my role consulting on brand messaging, and my opinions mattered. Dan would always make sure to ask for my perspective, or loop me into other discussions where I might be able to offer something of value. And bonus? I was getting paid very well to do this. My monthly retainer was handsome, to say the least, and it was work—and money—that felt good.

So why in the bootmaker's shoe would I send Dan—the best client on earth—an email stepping down from my role? Why would I propose that he stop paying me, and allow me to become an informal advisor, instead?

Easy: Integrity.

Eventually you're going to get to a point where you have to make a decision between wonderful and phenomenal. These are the hardest decisions to make.

Working with Dan was wonderful in every way. However, there's always an opportunity cost involved with dedicating your time to anything. If the opportunity cost is equally wonderful, then you choose based on preference. But if that opportunity cost is something phenomenal? There is no choice: You must choose your dreams.

Right now, I've got a lot of phenomenal up to bat:

Book writing.
Book deal.
Book everything.

And regrettably, you've got to choose:
Wonderful or phenomenal?

Years ago, I would have tried to do both. Everything. All. Go, go, go from dawn to dawn, pushing myself to make everything happen all at once and never let any balls drop. That is, until I realized that you can't drop balls if you voluntarily put them down, first.

Wonderful or phenomenal? 

It's the hardest choice to make because no matter what you do, you're giving up something you didn't want to…but that's precisely where the word integrity comes in.

If you honor your obligations to the world, you'll have a resume.

If you honor your obligations to your work? You'll have a career.

And if you honor your obligations to yourself? You'll have a chance.

A chance at not only doing phenomenal, but being it.

Jul 25

2014

Plan on Being Successful

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I’m the first to promote the bootstrapper spirit, but I’m also first to promote intelligent decisions. And sometimes “crossing that bridge when we come to it,” isn’t as free-spirited as it is stupid. What happens when there’s no bridge? Sure, you can build one. But it may end up costing you significantly more money, energy, time, […]

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Feb 7

2018

You Are Stronger Than You Were Yesterday

Feb 7, 2018

Hear ye, hear ye, let it be known that I, Ash Ambirge, am officially in love with the SWEAT app. (If you also spend too much time at the computer like a hunchback homie, listen up!) For the longest time I was like: how in the HOPPING JALAPEÑO does someone exercise with an app? I […]

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2013

The Moments In Between – PAY ATTENTION.

Jul 1, 2013

Success is shit. (Hang on – the punchline is not what you think it is.) We’re always working toward it. (Are you rolling your eyes?) Listing out goals. (Inevitably on some overpriced moleskine.) Sweating. (A lot.) Hustling. (As much as we can before insanity sets in.) And pushing people out of our way to achieve it. […]

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Oct 30

2015

When New Opportunities Show Up, Waving Their Ta Ta’s

Oct 30, 2015

There’s a lot of…pressure these days. Post to Twitter! And Facebook! And Instagram! And Vine! And Pinterest! And AREN’T YOU PERISCOPING YET, YOU CURMUDGEON? Speaking of self-important broadcasts, have you started your podcast yet? Are you #1 on iTunes? DON’T YOU HAVE PLANS TO START A PODCAST?! I’m continually fascinated by the flock’s constant need […]

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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.

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