ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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Constantly Guilt Yourself Over Doing “The Responsible Thing?” Maybe You Shouldn’t.

In: Finding Your Voice

There’s a lot of bullshit around the word “responsible.”

We let this tiny word guilt us to the grave.

Do the responsible thing. Act responsibly. Be a responsible adult. Don’t be so irresponsible.

I don’t know if we should blame this asshole voice in our heads on our parents or not, but you might want to consider it. (Hi, mom!)

There are a lot of things that are, by default, “responsible”—taking the kids to soccer, suffering through another Jillian Michaels video, religiously categorizing our business expenses in Quickbooks, slogging through our inbox on a Friday.

And, you know, we do those things. We do ‘em because we’re adults, and we do ‘em because we know that the consequences of not doing those things will be far worse. (I can’t think of a worse day than having your children kidnapped after realizing you’ve gained 10 pounds after getting a call from your accountant that you SUCK, after slogging through 100 emails from people who all need something from you.)

But nothing in life is cut and dry—unless we’re talking about Aged English Cheddar, of course. (Can we please talk about Aged English Cheddar sometime? I’m @TMFproject on Twitter.) And sometimes in life, when things are jagged and entirely soaking wet, you’re going to have to make these things called DECISIONS. And when that happens, usually you’ll go running and crying into the lap of our friend Roger the Responsible and ask: What’s the responsible thing to do here, Rog?

Which, I suppose, is better than making a decision based on “What’s more sociopathic?” but nevertheless, making decisions based on which one is the more “responsible” decision to make is problematic. Why?

Because sometimes bad decisions parade themselves around as responsible ones.

Example:

  • A big, new dream client shows up in your inbox, which would normally be great except for one thing: You’ve promised yourself you were going to take this month to start writing your book. So you run to Roger the Responsible and ask, “What’s the responsible thing to do here, Rog?” And Rog proceeds to remind you of all your outstanding student loans, that new car you splurged on, the money you still owe your web designer. And so you take the client, because not taking the client would be irresponsible, right?
  • Or maybe you’ve been seeing everybody and their mother starting a podcast, and doing webinars, and giving away fancy eBooks, and so you figure that you should start doing these things, too, because not keeping up with the latest and greatest feels irresponsible and lazy—even if it means doing less painting or speaking or whatever it it that you love to do.
  • Or maybe you’ve been dying to try something new—to start writing like you really talk, or only offer ONE service instead of five. But then Roger the Responsible kicks in and reminds you that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and what if you lose everything you’ve worked so hard to create?

We make a lot of “responsible” decisions that are actually bad ones, because we’re more focused on doing what’s responsible in the short-term, instead of doing what’s responsible in the long-term. And guess what?

Sometimes the most responsible thing we could be doing is going to feel irresponsible now.

Sometimes the most responsible thing…is saying no.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is being selfish.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is rejecting the money.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is having a controversial opinion.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is going with your gut.

Because sometimes the most responsible thing?

Is not cut and dry.

But when you know what you really want, it doesn’t have to be.

h/t Meg Worden, who inspired the fuck out of this blog post after our conversation yesterday.

Aug 22

2015

If You Don’t Seem Capable…You Aren’t

Aug 22, 2015

The way you hold your wine glass. How leisurely you pour your words. The conviction found in your fork, as you slowly and quite deliberately raise each bite to your mouth, as if rushes were for commoners and you hold the greatest secrets of the universe right there in between your forefinger and your thumb. […]

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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 […]

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Nov 11

2010

You (Still) Don’t Need a Job.

Nov 11, 2010

MYTH: You think to yourself:  “You are no Chris Guillebeau; you should just go find a job.” –Fear expressed from an actual reader email If you’ve fallen into the trap of thinking you aren’t interesting enough, not smart enough, not savvy enough, not fill-in-the-blank enough, you’re, first, wrong, and second, ignorant of the way the […]

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May 27

2017

The Anti-Trump Bar: The Way You Stand Out is By Standing UP

May 27, 2017

There’s an AWESOME new creative cocktail lounge in New York City called Coup. All of the profits are being donated to organizations being threatened or defunded by the current administration. Tips are donated, too. Guest bartenders are flying in from all over the world, no charge, to donate their services. And guess what? There are lines […]

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Jun 19

2017

I Wrote This For The Ones Who Care What They Might Think

Jun 19, 2017

“Oh, but they’re going to say ________________________.” That I’m not really as smart as I think I am.That I think I’m better than them, now.That I’m putting on a show. Good news: you can stop micro-managing all the thoughts that don’t belong to you, darling.  Their thoughts belong to them, just like their children do. You […]

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Feb 10

2016

Nice Brands Finish Last

Feb 10, 2016

[x_blockquote type=”center”]I take it as an insult when somebody calls me The N Word: Nice.[/x_blockquote] Out of 100,000 adjectives in the English language, if the best you can come up with is nice, then I’m doing something wrong. It’s like spending Thanksgiving Day ripping out gizzards and mashing actual potatoes, only to be told that […]

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Sep 30

2010

Defiance or Defeat? You Pick.

Sep 30, 2010

Sometimes, the shit hits the fan. Sometimes, you find yourself living out of your car, storing all of your toiletries in an oversize red purse, lodging sweatshirts in between head rests and sunroof panels to block the windows so you can sleep, explaining to unsympathetic credit card companies that you can’t pay your $41 minimum […]

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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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