Becoming your most Authentic and Confident self
In a world of perfect Instagram photos, authenticity can be a hard thing to come by, but Ashton Smith, founder of The Authentic Woman series is breaking the norm. She’s built a community of women on the idea of knowing your worth on a deeper level than you ever have before. From the photos that haven’t been retouched to the less than perfect stories and failures, she’s putting it all out there and calling it beautiful, and she’s talking with me about how to find your own authenticity and have more confidence in yourself.
HOW DID SHE GET HERE?
Ashton didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life, and didn’t really fit in during college. She says she’s a perfect blend of her entrepreneur father and her creative mother, so a lot of her journey went to trying to find a ways for those things to work together. She graduated with a business degree from NC State, got an office job, and continued to go through the motions, instead of searching her heart for what she really wanted. She finally decided she wanted something more than what she was doing and started a blog, which was later renamed The Authentic Woman series. Her goal was and still is to empower women to change the standard of beauty.
HOW CAN WOMEN BE AUTHENTIC IN THE MIDST OF PLAYING THE COMPARISON GAME IN THEIR BUSINESS?
It’s always hard, but truly authenticity and sharing openly will cause whatever you’re doing to expand into a bigger space. it starts with taking the small steps. Obviously we’re going to have boundaries when sharing our story, but you have to weave your story into what you’re doing. You have to be willing to share about your stories and your insecurities. Maybe it’s starting with deciding not to retouch your photos anymore.
We’re always the first to put ourselves down, and decide that our stories don’t matter, but so many people need to hear them, and we’re the only ones who can speak up and share them. You have to give yourself permission to show up and be imperfect. You don’t want to share part of your story that you’re seeking approval and validation for. You’ve got to share the parts that you’re at peace with. What feels good to you and attainable right now to share? Just step a little bit out of your comfort zone.
"When we are bold and brave enough to show up… we give space for other women to show up and be authentic."
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR CONFIDENCE WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING WRONG?
With The Authentic Woman, we focus a lot on self-worth, because it goes hand in hand with confidence. When you believe in your own self-worth, you’re inevitably going to have more confidence in your day-to-day life and in your business. Confidence is not an overnight experience, and it doesn’t always feel good. It’s a process and a series of choices that we make. If it happened overnight you wouldn’t be able to handle it.
"Confidence is cultivated."
Showing up little by little, and continuing to put in the work, even when it’s hard, is the only way to build up your confidence and belief in yourself.
You have to avoid the comparison game. Try to keep from consuming other people’s content when you’re less confident in yourself or just had a failure. You’ve got to listen to what your heart needs and decide when things are going to lift you up versus when they’re going to discourage you. Setting up those boundaries is a big part of staying confident in an online world.
Confidence is all about setting boundaries that serve you, continuing to show up, and taking action and moving through the things that make you afraid. The biggest way to drown out all the lies is to immerse yourself in the truth.
Have a thankful heart for everything you’ve already accomplished, because you’ve already reached at least one dream, and you can do it again!
Ready to share your story and show your authenticity, head over to The Authentic Woman’s Instagram to see how you can support them and stay involved, or follow Ashton for tons of inspiration and realness.
Stay tuned for the next episode of Females of Fire, where we'll bring you another expert in her field with great advice and resources! You can always listen here on the blog, or on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Tune In Radio (iHeartRadio coming soon!)
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