ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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“Never Lose Your Sunny Disposition. It’ll Be the Most Important Asset You’ll Ever Have.”

In: Finding Your Voice

Her name began with an H.

I brought the card down to the hotel lobby with a little swing in my pulse—not because I was nervous to give it to her, although in retrospect, maybe I was. I didn’t want it to seem like I was bribing her. (Or, you know, ASKING FOR SEX.)

“My first Kate Spade!” she exclaimed, swinging the lid off the round pink and orange box with the same overflowing enthusiasm that had been the very reason for the gift in the first place. I had recognized that enthusiasm, like bumping into a dear old friend, or accidentally stumbling across an old photograph you forgot existed. It was the naked, natural kind. The kind they had told me, once, never to lose.

“Never lose your sunny disposition,” I had written in the card, telling her the same. “It’ll be the most important asset you’ll ever have.”

Later that afternoon, I, too, received a card.

It was sealed in an envelope, slipped under my door, as if we were secret lovers. “Meet for a quick drink at 5?”

Over the course of three spritzy Chicago-brewed ales, we hopped from sofa to sofa all around the Arts Club Cafe in the new Restoration Hardware, which, if you haven’t heard, is no longer just a home furnishings store—it’s Gold Coast Chicago’s place to see and be seen, with a swanky restaurant inside. It was just a block away from the hotel. She wore the golden earrings I had picked out.

“I believe things happen for a reason,” she said.

She then continued to tell me that she had been feeling stagnant, and uninspired in her job, and entirely unsure what to do next. For her—a Wisconsin broad—Chicago was the big city. She had gone there. She had done it. But what do you do when you get there and…it’s not enough?

She then told me that the day I checked into the hotel and she discovered what I did for a living, inspiring women to lead original lives and make money bravely with The Middle Finger Project, and Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends, and the upcoming reveal of Unf*ckwithable BOSS (yup, it's coming, and I'm bringing the heat hard, so stay tuned!)—she had hope.

“I gave my notice to the hotel,” she started. “And then you come along with your card to always stay true to myself, and it was exactly what I needed, in that very moment of time. I teared up. I was terrified I was making a mistake.”

But H had it all wrong.

I hadn’t come along to give her hope—she would have figured it out eventually—she had come along to give it to me.

To remind me that the richest experiences in life only happen when you're in them—not merely observing from a distance. And the only way you can really be in them is by being out of your own head. To stop worrying about how you'll come across—for example, I used to worry people would think I was naive if I was as warm and friendly as I am by nature—and just BE THERE, as right and true as a carrot is orange. Anything less is committing fraud against yourself. And anything less is not doing you the favors you think it is.

We all know that the most important asset you'll ever own isn't money, and it isn't stuff, and it isn't power.

But sometimes, we forget what is.

And sometimes, being able to look into the mirror and see your dear old friend smiling back—the same one that makes you smile, the way you do with an old photograph—is the most important thing you could ever own, because it's the one thing that no one else ever can.

And that, alone, is remarkable.

Even when you forget just how remarkable you are.

Oct 26

2017

Sometimes, Being Difficult Is an Act of Devotion

Oct 26, 2017

Nobody wants to “be difficult.” Those words have stigma tattooed right across their rear. Just hearing them makes you think of that psycho in line at the grocery store, berating the cashier for not accepting her expired coupon. (She’s also wearing Uggs, for the record, and DEFINITELY has a soggy cigarette hanging out of her […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Nov 22

2017

There’s No Such Thing As An Idea That *Isn’t* Offensive

Nov 22, 2017

You know what I’m grateful for? Fucking. NOT LIKE THAT, SICKO. Although, I mean, I guess…wait. Let me start again. I like the word fucking because it’s representative of something so much bigger than that, which is the real thing I’m grateful for: freedom of expression. Remember that cute little First Amendment? It says that the […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Dec 28

2012

Forget Your Manners.

Dec 28, 2012

It’s polite to: …fulfill your obligations. …answer them back right away. …nod in agreement. …go with the flow. …do as you’re asked. …drink because they are. …take their call. …give your undivided attention. …fill the silence. …and always be there when they need you. Then again, no one’s ever done anything remarkable by always being […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jan 25

2018

Right Now, Someone Out There is Admiring You, Greatly.

Jan 25, 2018

They might not have said it. In fact, they probably kept it to themselves—“don’t want to seem like a creepy ass stalker.” But no matter who you are, you have changed things for someone. You have made them rethink their career. Rethink their stance. Rethink their makeup. (Because, hey, Urban Decay is a religion.) You […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jun 2

2015

When You’re Scrappy, You Don’t Give a Sh*t

Jun 2, 2015

I like the term scrappy. I’ve always pictured some femme fatale bobbing and weaving and diving and contorting herself into any number of ways to get the one and only job done that she’s there to do: Win. It reminds me of my favorite Will Smith quote (oh, you don’t have a favorite Will Smith quote?) “The […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Aug 25

2017

The Competition Doesn’t Have Sh*t On You

Aug 25, 2017

There’s never been a person who went to school for accounting and said: BUT WAIT, I CAN’T BECOME AN ACCOUNTANT BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALREADY DOINGGGGG THATTTTTTTTTTT. There are plenty of people out there doing exactly what you want to do—times eleventy thousand. “But there are already so many writers / designers / candlestick makers” […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Apr 5

2012

Fuck Plan B. You’re on the A Team.

Apr 5, 2012

His name is Oskar. He’s Rastafarian. I met him when I first came to Costa Rica in 2004 and watched him trying to sell his paintings day after day on the beach, sweating, struggling to speak English to the tourists who passed by, working from dusk until the wee hours of the night to make […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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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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