Freedom Lies in Being Bold

I remember the first time I saw the movie Almost Famous (forever one of my favorite movies). I was captivated, and while there were many parts of the movie that go down in my history of best movie quotes, one that comes to mind as I share this message is when the mother tells Russell,

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

Three weeks ago, I left Indiana for Africa. I remember the day I pressed Submit on Travelocity and my dream suddenly became a commitment. When there is no going back, all we can do is go forward. Africa was nothing I anticipated. The journey has been life changing and it seems at every turn, while there was some discomfort along the way, it all felt unexpectedly comfortable, like I was in the right place at the right time. This post is not about my trip or the lessons I’ve learned along the way (I will be sharing that in the near future) but rather, it is to share a message of something I discovered while being on this trip.

On this trip, I reconnected to my self. I felt what it felt like to do something for me. To take this trip and spend time living a dream I have wanted to live for a very long time. Seeing other cultures, meeting new people and feeling me be me…it opened me up. And this opening opened me up further, to consider what was in my life that I was holding on to, what was in my life that I needed to let go of, that would open me up to more of the things that make me happy. I kept imagining a backpack on my shoulders that I could carry and how it was too large a load for my stride forward. I knew there was something I had to let go of, something that I’ve known for a while now but hadn’t found the boldness to do so yet.

We all have things that we know aren’t in line with where we are going. We know because we feel it. Sometimes, we can feel it like we are stuck in a huge sandstorm and there’s no getting away and other times we can feel it like a soft breeze against our face. It can be too much to bear or it can be so subtle, we may not even take notice of it. And in between, is the space where the breeze gets greater and the sandstorm gets thicker. It slowly speaks to you in the only way it knows how, it’s language being signals through your body, mind and heart. It has a voice and we can listen or silence it.

For the longest time, I had been hearing a voice about something that I knew was no longer feeling right for me. Something I lost a connection with. It was something that I had spent years putting my energy and love into, watering and feeding and giving my light to. I wanted to create a place where people could go and feel positive energy from like-minded people and to feel they have a place to share triumphs, their lessons and the way they move fiercely forward. This was a private facebook group. Over the years of holding space in this forum, I experienced many things that both made me feel this was right and also that made me question if it was right. I was torn. The challenging part of having this space was that people began using it for purposes other than the original intent. It began being utilized as a place where people would voice their hardships, request prayers and on another hand, chose to replicate my brand products and services. I knew it wasn’t right for me. It might have been right and great for them, but it had nothing to do with Fierce Forward and the message and for a long time, I let it really hurt me that people would get close only to take something when the premise of what I was offering was a gift of service.

Since this was connected to my business, my vision and where I put my heart, I went back and forth for a year. And even bigger than this that weighed on me, were the women who I knew were there for the right reasons (I call you the FF heros). I knew if I let it go, that I would be taking something away from them that has helped them in their fierce forward movement. You see, many connected for the right reasons, believed in Fierce Forward and lived it!

And furthermore, I wondered, would I have to start all over and would it be the end of something I’ve worked so hard to grow? Would people even continue Fiercing Forward if I let go of this group? Does Fierce Forward even matter to the group as a whole? I truly did not know as I could not see the forest through the trees. And even more, did I fail? So many things weighed on me, so many possible outcomes that could put me on the ground and I stood in lack of possibility for a long time. But still, this voice persisted as the same experience replicated itself time and time again. And time and time again, I would sit on the couch with Mark and tear up, not knowing what to do. Because this really mattered to me. My purpose, my passion and doing the right thing…matters to me.

Here is the thing though, I really knew exactly what I needed to do, I just didn’t know how to find the courage to do it. I was thinking about the risk, about how it would effect everything for the worse. And that’s one of the strongest lessons I’ve learned through this experience, is that when you weigh the risk to reward scale of following your heart, to always know that the outcome of your happiness will always outweigh the possible risk.

And this week, I said goodbye to a venue I have put the past three years of my energy into. The group will dissolve and I will move forward, putting my energy and love and truth into new directions. And what’s funny is that after I spoke my truth, I wished I would have done it sooner. From the worse case scenario of people not understanding and striking against me and FF, I knew that the ones that truly know my heart, will honor and respect me and those are the Fierce Forward heros, and I’ll see them rise and show themselves through this. So in the end, I sit here in a cafe inspired, happy and honestly, feeling passionate again. You know, like I can be me again for me, the people I love and the world. I’m excited about the future, about the present and feeling freedom all because I had the courage to be bold. When you have something that you know you must do because it’s not making you happy or doesn’t bring value to your life or doesn’t serve you any longer…you feel it and you know it. And when you can fierce forward with all your courage you have bundled up waiting for you in that heart of yours, it is in these moments, in these actions, these choices that we get the honor to say hello face to face with our fierce.

I am me again. I even have a new backpack and have new lessons and experience and an even greater sense of purpose that I will never let be compromised again. So being bold in this one big (to me) and small (to a reader perhaps) way, I found freedom in this move forward. And I wanted to share because it’s something that has taken me a long time to get here and I know many people face.

Life is now. This is your life and your happiness must be not only first and foremost but the centerfold of your life. If you’re not happy, how can you be happy for the world or for people in your life? So whether it’s letting something go, or freeing yourself from a relationship that no longer serves you, or doing the thing you fear, or speaking your truth, or starting that blog you’ve always wanted to do, or letting go of a self imposed belief that doesn’t serve your greatness or putting yourself out there wholeheartedly…Freedom lies in being bold. And trust that the forces that be have your back and are there to support you when you take a bold, fierce step forward for you.

“Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

Free yourself from your constraints, from thinking of the worse case scenario and kick down the walls of self imposed fear and do what is true for you in your heart. And this my friends, is Fiercing Forward.

Thank you so much for spending your time reading this. If this resonated with you, please comment below I would love to hear from you and definitely subscribe here to my newsletter because more is coming. And if you are one of the babes from the group, grow through this time with me and trust that this is not the end of something but the beginning of something new.

p.s. have you done something bold recently and how has it freed you? Comment below or email me at fierceforward@live.com, I am looking for fierce stories to share on the blog and you never know what one conversation could lead to.

Passionately,

 

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Mel,
    That is so great that you followed your heart! Keep doing that, look how much it has given you, I can feel it in your words. Love, Ash

  2. Diane,
    I’m so happy to hear you connected on such a big level of making friends with women in the group. How wonderful to create lasting relationships. Much love and fiercing forward for YOU!

  3. Dawn,
    Thank you for your comment. How great that you will spend time thinking about what you truly want. Go girl, you got it.

    xo

  4. Kelly DUNAJA

    Freedom is everything. To feel truly free is the gift. #FierceForwardforLIFE

  5. Dawn Cantler

    It takes courage to be who you were meant to be.

    Kuddos to you for having the courage to move forward in your passion. You have inspired me to take a leap of faith in my life. After 26 years of teaching, five years before retirement, I know in my heart that I need time to re-discover myself. I may go back, I may not, but for at least the next year, I will be having the courage to be myself. <3

  6. Mia Alvarado-Alvarez

    Ashley, almost a year ago I came across this group. I began to read and discover your journey and was facinated. So many things came to mind from my own life. I became a part of the group and made some friends. It was amazing to have a safe haven to speak freely, listen, share, cry, vent, give advice and learn. I remember the first time I place a piece of armor on my wrist I felt such a sense of empowerment. As I read your Facebook post and the post on the website I completely understand the reason for the closure. Thank you for teaching us, supporting us and empowering us through our individual journey’s. Wishing you all the best because you deserve it! #FierceFiward

  7. You are incredibly brave, Ash. To me, it was hard to miss the Facebook group, as I’ve connected in real life with so many of these incredible ladies, that the tribe lives far beyond a group. We’ll continue empowering each other and fiercing forward for ourselves. I think the lesson that we all can take from this, is that fiercing forward for you is only something that YOU can do. Your tribe can’t fierce forward on your behalf. You have to move on your own, and kick your own ass into gear. I’ve done a lot of heart work in where my life goes from here, and while there’s much still to do, I know I’d be several steps back if I found FF. You’re an inspiration and I can’t wait to see where the movement goes next!

  8. MJ Stanuga

    OO.MM.GG!!!! I have never admired you more than i do right now! I have been following for years, was part of the 1st journal group, still have so many bracelets, including my wonderwoman one! BUT, i have to admit that i turned my notifications off about a year ago. I started seeing some unfriendly behavior. I am so happy, proud and truly inspired by you! I will always follow you and check in to see whats happening in your life! I ❤ u! 😁

  9. Megan Wright

    It is sad to see this group go but I have learned so much and gained the courage to fierce forward in my own life. I look forward to seeing what is next!!

  10. Renae

    I enjoy your writing and can always feel your heart through your words. It was brave to end this chapter, but also a beautiful gift knowing that we are all capable of fiercing forward without the Facebook page. I am in the process of leaving the dance world for now. I’ve been in a studio for almost 40 years and never have gone more than 2 weeks without my dance shoes on my feet. That will change the end of June. Scary, and sad and also a big relief. I can come home from work and have dinner with my husband.! Its better for our relationship. And when the voice starts saying…well maybe one more year, the money is good I have to remember what my heart is saying.

  11. Mel Iverson

    You are amazing!!! I finally made the decision to leave my current daycare provider. It wasnt an easy decision because of the convenience and comfort of it. But it was no longer fulfilling the morals, wishes and expectations I have of someone who is responsible for my children. I’ve made many excuses for her before, and this week I finally listened to ME. I trusted that my mothers intuition far out ranks her bull shit. So I made the decision and I am making the change and it feels GOOD!!
    Thank you for being you, and for the constant inspiration you provide to me. You’ve been instrumental in a change in my mindset that I’ve been working on for a while. Thank You!!!

  12. Jenn

    I have only been involved with the group for a short time (6 months or so) and I will miss it….but I feel like I have already learned so much from you. Sometimes when I read what you have written it feels like it could have come from my own brain. Following lessons I learned from you, I recently relinquished a leadership role in a group I belong to. I had shouldered the responsibility of that role for longer than it gave me joy. And I didn’t step away sooner for all the fears and worries. But I learned from you that I should be putting a focus on what makes me happy and gives me joy. And I felt IMMEDIATE relief as soon as I clicked the button to be done with this part of my life. And in the wake of the worry being washed away….I am starting to find my happy again :) Thank you for all that you have given me, the Fierce Forward community, and the world at large! Keep fiercing forward, and helping others of us do so as well by getting to see your example! XO, Jenn

  13. @rachael brown,
    You are a gem. Thank you for sharing yourself and for being a part of the first ever Fierce Forward tribe. The tribe lives on and I feel that! I’m so glad you got something so powerful out of meeting Your Tribe. <3 I have loved watching your journey and you blossom by taking risks, going big and being bold. You are fierce rach.
    xoxo Ash

  14. Rachael Brown

    While I’m sad to see the tribe group go, I know I’ll always have the ladies in my corner. The friendships built through the group will last a lifetime. And I’m so grateful for that. Fierce forward will always be a mantra for me. Tuesday I teach my first solo yoga class. I’ve been wanting this for 15 years. I’ve allowed my fear to manifest every excuse, it’s too pricey, I don’t have time, I have babies, etc. Seeing you on your yoga cert journey inspired me to just jump! And I did and I’m living my dream, fiercely. Thanks Ash for giving us the tools to follow our hearts. I’m sad that people would abuse your brand for their own gain. Thanks for being you and sharing your heart with us. Now which armor will get me through Tuesday?! Eeeek! ♡

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