Hello, I'm Ashley
I coach red-tape cutters, status quo disruptors, and changemakers.
Nice to meet you!
Still struggling in silence...
You get ticked off watching “paycheck collectors” that only seem to care about themselves. You’re championing for change within your organization, trying to be present for your family, supporting your local church, all while contributing to your community.
[Cue Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five]
“Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge. I'm trying not to lose my head...Ah-huh-huh-huh-huh.”
Do you ever just feel burnt out on life? Like your soul is tired of fighting...
Well, you’re in the right place!
That’s where I come in.
Full Name: Dr. Ashley Nicole Smith
Alias: The Strugglish Superhero
When I'm not in stealth mode relentlessly pushing our systems to be more equitable, I coach people like you.
Changemakers pride themselves on giving everyone and everything 100% but they risk burnout by being a one-person army. If you want to make a lasting impact in your field but you just don’t know how long you can last at this pace, destiny has allowed our paths to cross.
With our recipe, you’ll be able to be more present for your loved ones while effectively empowering those depending on you.
Yep, the struggle is real...like all the time. But, it's easier with a team. We're always sharing strategies with our squad so stay connected.
It ain't easy, but oh so worth it!
My values guide me and in the midst of uncertainty, they allow me to show up and strive for something better.
I believe in being:
Raw - Unapogetically Honest
Politics has its place but not in this coaching system. We name what we're seeing so we can put our energy toward solutions instead of cover-ups.
Real - Authenticity over Appearances
We are focused on pursuing excellence versus pretending we're perfect. No fake smiles allowed. It is okay not to be okay. Emotions are welcome.
Relevant - Advance Privately, Personally, & Professionally
Transcending traditional "PD", you will be able to integrate the knowledge we give you to transform your entire world.
Relentless - Pursue Change Passionately
We often forget that people change systems. So, the system won't change until we do. If we change our mentality, we can alter our reality.
Recent events have shown us that we still have a ways to go.
With our powers combined, we can do this!
Welcome to the Strugglish Storyboard!
We all have distinct plot points in our life's storyline. Our internal scripts are determined by how we choose to view those scenes. I'll show you how I became the Strugglish Superhero. Then, I challenge you to create your own storyboard.
Starting to Struggle
I was a happy baby and I'm not quite sure my parents knew I'd become a superhero. I absolutely loved school until we started this thing called reading. All of a sudden school wasn't fun anymore.
“Ashley,” the teacher whispered as she knelt down beside me, “It’s your turn to go out in the hall and read.” In my heart, I heard, “Since you can’t figure out how the letters d-o-g come together to form the word “dog,” I’m sending you out of the room to be someone else’s problem.”
I used to think reading was like those colorful Magic Eye puzzles where you had to look at it really hard, sometimes with one eye open and your head cocked to the side. I would stare at the words on the page and see nothing but letters. Everyone else seemed to get it but me. The lesson I learned was, it is not okay to struggle.
Once I cracked the reading code, I went from being a struggling student to the gifted program. Suddenly, I was seen as smart because my skillset was valued. Question: Aren't you still smart even if your skills are underdeveloped?
Surviving the system...
School was pretty easy for me except for 6th-grade math. I had to pray my way through, which is probably why I'm rocking the cross. This was also the year I decided I would be a teacher.
In my senior year in high school, I enrolled in English 12 AP, and at the time, I didn't even know that AP stood for Advanced Placement. On the first day of class, there were not enough desks for all the students. They anticipate kids dropping the class the first few days, so I stood against the wall as the teacher described the class.
Suddenly out of nowhere, my stomach felt queasy, and my heart started racing. I felt like a surfer wiping out as a wave of emotion threatened to drag me under. I struggled to gasp for air. I was once again that little second grader and my heart heard, “You’re not good enough. You can’t compete with these other students. Quit before you embarrass yourself or before all these smart kids find out you’re not one of them." Question: What do you do the system is designed for you to fail?
I found out we had to earn a seat in the class by passing the summer reading assignment test. I never received the book because of a mistake on my enrollment. I had 5 days to read Great Expectations.
When the teacher passed back the test, she gave it to me in that rolled up kind of way, which is teacher code for, “Look at that when you’re all alone because you’ll probably cry.” I was exhausted and headed down to the counselor’s office for a schedule change. As I neared the office, something rose in me. I went back to the class to plead my case.
She started giving me her "this class isn't for everybody" speech when I interrupted her, "Ms. W, I don't know half the stuff you were saying, but I can learn. If you let me stay in the class, I'll promise I'll work hard. Every time you offer anything, I'll be here." She turned red as I begged and must've felt sorry for me because she granted my request on a trial basis.
This class changed my entire life trajectory, and I fell in love with the art of English. I found the power of words and learned that there is beauty in the midst of struggle. I came in early and stayed after school; all-nighters became common practice for me on paper due dates or novel tests. I no longer focused on what people thought I could do, how smart they felt I was, or what skillsets they valued. I was proud of myself for taking the risk. This was the year I found my voice.
My voice got stronger and stronger, and by the time I started student-teaching, I naturally advocated for those silenced by society. Question: When did you find your voice? How can you help others find their voices?
Sitting in her office with a tear-stained face, my professor looked at me and said, "You know, not everyone has what it takes to earn a doctorate. Sometimes you just got to know when it's time to quit and there's no shame in that." My dissertation chair, Dr. Caruthers, sat with me during this meeting. I left in tears and before my inner critic had a chance to speak Dr. Caruthers said, "You better not think about quitting, you have too much to offer the world." I fought my way through significant obstacles to get Ed.D. after my name.
We all have our stories of how we developed our superpowers. The next generation shouldn't have to climb the same mountains we did. With an unwavering belief in the power we possess to create change, we can make the world a better place.