Coach Lauren Ashley On How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally
An Interview With Maria Angelova
People will be able to relate to you more easily and feel more comfortable coming to you for help. If you’re a business owner and/or service provider, this can mean more sales and/or better results for your clients. If you’re a leader with a team, this can mean higher performing teams.
Being vulnerable and authentic are some of today’s popular buzzwords. It may seem counterintuitive to be vulnerable, as many of us have been taught to project an air of confidence, be a boss, and act like we know everything. In Brene Brown’s words, “vulnerability takes courage.” So is vulnerability a strength or a weakness? Can someone be authentic without being vulnerable? How can being authentic and vulnerable help someone grow both personally and professionally? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, mental health professionals and business and life coaches who can share stories and examples of “How Authenticity and Vulnerability Pay Off and Help You Win Personally and Professionally.” As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Coach Lauren Ashley.
Lauren Ashley is an Aligned Business Coach, an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and has been dubbed the Money Mindset and Manifestation queen by her clients. Host of the Aligned & Magnetic Podcast, Lauren helps entrepreneurs build Aligned, Magnetic & Profitable™ brands. Her passion is to help entrepreneurs step out of the box, think bigger and create success their own way so they can spend more time doing what they LOVE and less time dreading their to-do list.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in a mid-sized town in Ontario, Canada and had a pretty average childhood. My parents divorced when I was young and as the oldest child I felt the responsibility to really step up to help my mom raise my siblings and take care of the house (a huge responsibility for an 8 year old). I carried this into my career and life — always taking the safe and responsible route… Until I decided I had enough of living my life the way I was “supposed to” and needed to live my life on my own terms. That’s when I quit my 9–5 and left my life behind to move to Mexico and build my online coaching business.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My current favourite quote is “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” — Norman Vincent Peale. It might sound corny and it gets some shade because it doesn’t make literal sense… But it reminds me that there’s no such thing as failure when you’re taking steps toward your dreams. If you want big things, go big. And even if you don’t get exactly what you want, you’ll end up somewhere amazing anyway!
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There have been so many books, podcasts, and people who have influenced my journey but the book I refer to the most is Ask And It Is Given by Abraham Hicks. It really helped me to understand how to open up to life and shift my perspective from pessimism to opportunity. Joe Dispenza’s work is actually amazing too. Our potential as human beings is SO much bigger than most of us are living up to, if we can just allow ourselves to get outside of the limited box we put ourselves in and step into possibility and belief in ourselves.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly does being authentic mean?
Being authentic is being who you truly are, without feeling the need to perform for others to make them like you. It means fully accepting yourself as you are, for your personality, values, strengths and weaknesses and showing who you are, instead of walking around with your guard up as a dulled version of you (which is common in our society).
What does being vulnerable mean? Can you explain?
Being vulnerable means being open and honest. This could mean sharing what’s truly going on for you and not simply pretending everything is okay, when it’s clearly not. It could also mean opening up to others and sharing your truth or experience, even when it’s scary.
What are the positive aspects of being authentic and vulnerable? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
Everyone goes through good and bad times in life. It’s the nature of being on this planet. Being authentic and vulnerable not only gives you the relief of not feeling like you need to be perfect or someone that you’re not, but it also helps to build rapport with your friends, family, clients, team or prospects. I remember when the pandemic first began back in 2020 and everyone was freaking out about losing their job, having enough food and toilet paper. I felt this deep internal pull to really step up and lead people during that time. I was the most vulnerable I had ever been in my business, sharing stories of my fears and my limiting beliefs, and also what I believed to be true and I ended up making the most sales in my business to date. One of the days I even showed up live on Instagram in my bathrobe after my shower to teach — people loved it.
Now I share super vulnerable stories on my Podcast. I tell people about my latest failures so that they can learn. You’d think this would backfire on me and that people would judge me or think I’m incapable — but again, people love it and are learning from me.
Are there negative aspects to authenticity and vulnerability? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
For sure! Too much of anything can be ‘negative’. You don’t want to turn being authentic and vulnerable into a gossip or therapy session. There’s a difference between being a leader and just looking like a hot mess as you air your dirty laundry for everyone to see. People want a behind-the-scenes look at the leaders who inspire them, without taking on their baggage.
As a leader, being authentic and vulnerable will have the most impact when you are able to share what’s going on or what you’ve been through, while also leading the way forward by modelling how you’re finding solutions. Even if you don’t have an answer, sharing the lessons and how you’re navigating situations will benefit you.
I see struggling entrepreneurs use social media all the time to vent, and while this creates a connection with others, it’s not typically empowering or inspiring.
From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that hold someone back from being authentic and vulnerable?
The most common barrier really comes down to fear. Fear of how people will perceive them. Many of my clients who are executives, leaders and entrepreneurs put up walls, thinking they have to be the perfect example for people to respect them and take them seriously. We learn from a young age to keep our guard up so people don’t take advantage, judge or exclude us — it’s actually an evolutionary behaviour. Humans need other humans for survival — not only physically but psychologically too. So if we’re just functioning on auto-pilot trying to be the perfect leader, we miss out on the opportunity to build trust and connect more deeply with our clients, team, loved ones and community through being authentic and vulnerable.
Here is the central question of our discussion. What are five ways that being authentic and vulnerable pay off, and help you win, both personally and professionally?
- It takes the pressure off of you to have it all figured out. We’re all just people trying to navigate life. I don’t care how ‘put together’ some people look in the world, no one has it all figured out. Trying to be perfect all of the time just creates more stress and anxiety. It’s okay to be messy sometimes.
- People will be able to relate to you more easily and feel more comfortable coming to you for help. If you’re a business owner and/or service provider, this can mean more sales and/or better results for your clients. If you’re a leader with a team, this can mean higher performing teams.
- You lead the way for others to be vulnerable and authentic. When we hold the space and allow others to open up to be vulnerable, we set the stage for them to have a breakthrough. People are tired! These days, we’re all juggling a lot and feeling the pressure to meet expectations/demands. In order to thrive or get to the other side of a problem or situation, I find it best to deal with what’s going on beneath the surface (for example, pressure).
- Builds connection and opens the door to solving problems. So many leaders and entrepreneurs feel isolated (including myself at times). There aren’t many role models that are paving the way in showing their vulnerability but by being exactly that, it provides courage and inspiration for others to open themselves up in a new way without feeling alone in their journey.
- You’ll live a fuller life and have better connections. The right people will be attracted to who you really are. If you’re pretending to be someone else, you’re going to attract the wrong people, clients or team members — or at least the same type of people (the ones who are also not being who they truly are). When you are true to you, more people who are also true to themselves will start to show up in your life. And there’s nothing better than meeting other like-minded or like-souled people.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This might sound cheesy but spreading more love. Loving and accepting ourselves, and also loving and accepting others is something I believe will change humanity. There are a lot of people struggling and I believe it’s because they’re living in fear. Fear of what people will think of them, say about them, fear of being rejected or excluded, fear of what will happen or won’t happen. But what if you could live more in love? What if you trusted in yourself and in others? How would you live your life differently?
We create what we put out in the world. If we put out fear, criticism and judgement, we create more of that. If we put out loving words, kindness and acceptance, we create more beauty, connection and fulfillment.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
What a great question! I would love to have lunch with Amanda Frances. Her content, book and courses have helped me shift a lot of my beliefs around my worthiness and creating success on my terms.
How can our readers follow you online?
I’m most active on Instagram (@coachlaurenashley) and Facebook (@yourcoachlaurenashley)
And I put out new podcast episodes on the Aligned & Magnetic Podcast every Wednesday!
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To schedule a free consultation, click here.