Saturday Stories

On having 1.6M Instagram followers & being "lucky"

Do it for the gram

I have a friend who runs a massively popular Instagram account. She and her partner have worked incredibly hard, consistently, for two years to build it to 1.6 million followers—and now, they’re able to leverage that work to provide both their full-time incomes.  

But the other day, when I asked her about an instagram tool I was considering, she worried  “It might sound annoying, but we’ve been really lucky, and haven’t needed anything like that…” 

MY BOO.  NO.

I’ve seen how hard they both worked for that success—what they gave up for it. How creative they’ve been. The bad days, the legal issues, the hangers-on, the pivots they’ve made to keep being the best.

I haven’t seen those days for you. Maybe you’re still in The Hard. Or maybe the connections are starting to fall into place. But I have some advice to file away until the day someone’s asking YOU: “How’d you do it?” 

Feel no guilt when it comes ‘easily.’

There will be hard days again. Don’t waste the smooth days feeling like you don’t deserve them.

You deserve them. 

Things are flowing because you’ve put yourself in the right place, at the right time, and built the right skillset to make it work.

Because you took risks. Because you were open to possibilities. Because you asked. Because you worked.

“Lucky” is what people call you when they see you on top, but they can’t see all the scaffolding you built to capture that rooftop view. 

When you were struggling, you could see people succeeding. Their success didn’t make you smaller. When you’re succeeding, you’ll still see others struggling.

Lift them where you can, but don’t make yourself smaller for their comfort. 

XOXO
Ashton

#SaturdayStories

Photo courtesy of Glen Anthony via Unsplash.

Trust yourself: A message from the universe

Nathan Anderson via Unsplash

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self you’d be happy to live with all your life. 
—Golda Meir 


“Trust yourself.” 

The universe has beamed this message at me over and over and over this week—even while I covered my ears, squeezed my eyes shut, and shouted, “I can’t!” into the kitchen sink (yes, the dog thinks I’m nuts now).

It’s especially hard to do just after I’ve made mistakes that, in retrospect, seem so obviously flawed. On Monday, I made a big mistake—and it cost me. It cost me money. It cost me time. And it cost me a lot of pride and heartache. That moment caused me to question not just the one decision that led there, but every decision I’ve made in weeks. In months. It made me question who I am, and if I can rely on myself. 

I’m getting on a plane next week with no return flight booked. Not for the first time, I’m striking out on my own with only a tentative plan and nothing to do but make it work. I’ve found that I have the best inspiration, the best work ethic, and the best LUCK when I’ve already raised the stakes and bet on me.

And even though I've been doubting this week, I know that next week, I have to level up. Because I bet on myself. 

What happens when you bet on yourself?

What happens when you keep climbing the rock wall, when you leap to the next hold, knowing that you have to let go of the hold you’re on—and not being able to see past the next step? 

You level up. 

You let go of the things that, while good for a time, are no longer helping you climb. 

You trust the next step, at least enough to jump for it.

You become free to make choices that you know are right for you—even if they’re not the easy ones. Even when it’s not the logical, predictable plan. When it’s not a quick win.

You become strong. 

You make room for what you want in your life. And maybe, just maybe, you realize you were strong all along—all those small leaps? They didn’t make you strong, they just raised you high enough to see your strength. 

Here’s to strength, love, and trusting yourself this week—

XOXO
Ashton

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