It’s like finding a diamond in the rough. Meet someone and from the experience of that encounter you gain something totally unexpected.
Some people just find a way to shine through whatever darkness tries to mask their light, and for this we should all be grateful, because by their courageous efforts we can all learn to shine.
Everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (106): Ashley Inside-Out
“Whatever it is you believe, why you were put here, that bigger power made an investment in you and that investment needs a return. The power, whether it be God or whatever, is asking where is my ROI? It’s saying I invested in you and I want a huge return. I will give you more if you serve your purpose. I will give you more.”
The quote above is from Ashley Zahabian. Understand Ashley is only 21.
Let that number sink in a bit. At the tender age of 21 this girl gets it. And the only reason she does is because she’s been to a place too few of us choose to go, inside ourselves and deep into our pain.
“It is your job on this earth to go through pain”, says Ashley. “If you don’t you’re not human… you’re not. You’re just not human.”
For four years, starting at the age of 14, Ashley faced her pain, sometimes unwillingly, sometimes by her own choosing. But the bottom line is she did it and because of it this powerhouse of a young woman can teach us all a great deal.
It all began – as it does for way too many teenage girls – with an eating disorder.
“At 14 years old I was a very insecure person,” says Ashley. “It didn’t come off this way because I was masking it, but I started to lose control of my life. It was not something people knew about, not something my parents knew about until they saw me losing weight. I would go to the gym constantly and compare myself to other people. I was working out more and more and my mental state started changing. At first it was like, ‘oh I just want to lose weight’, but every day things were changing, not just my weight, but my diet, my routine. I couldn’t fall asleep until I showered because I felt like the food was physically on me. I would hear voices in my head. I would look in the mirror and what I saw was completely different then what other people could see. It’s bad and it can mess you up for the rest of your life”.
She continues: “When I went to the hospital the doctor said, ‘the way this looks, you are dying.’ I said, ‘excuse me?’ I didn’t know I was sick, I thought I was being healthy. It’s not until someone tells you. I was admitted to the hospital by force, not by want, so when I heard all that I was confused. I didn’t want to listen to it, or believe it”.
That’s when the journey truly began. Bouncing back and forth in a four-year period from one hospital to the next, Ashley was forced to do the one thing she had been unable to do, what most young people, or even those of us reading this post are unable to do, look inside ourselves, face the pain and change from the inside-out.
Cut-off from the world Ashley had no access to her phone, computer, or TV. Her family wasn’t around to use as a crutch, she had to change on her own. She found the power of self-development and she knew she had to face the lies.
“I was lying so much”, says Ashley. “I would lie about everything. Essentially what I did was face every single rule I made up in my head, or every lie and I had to face it. Everything bad about myself I had to do something about it. Doctors said you have to put it out of your system. The only way you can get better is to pull it out from inside, get it out. I had to talk to the person I lied to, my parents, my professors, my friends.”
“I realized after I spoke to them I would feel emotionally lighter. You don’t realize you have this weight on you, cause you don’t look inside. You think everything is on the outside. But it’s not from the outside that you can grow or change. The gym, money, clothes… I now put myself in sweats every day cause I don’t care about the outside, everything is changing on the inside. When you sit in a hospital in front of a group of people and say I’m a liar, I am this and I am that and when you address every vulnerability you have – that is real.”
What Ashley has also come to believe, and as you listen to her speak you can feel how it emanates from her heart and soul, is the pure power of personal development and the undeniable truth that pain is inevitable, but lessons learned from the pain are completely optional. All of it is necessary if you want to change.
“When you isolate yourself so much and isolate yourself in personal development, you are a different human being.” Ashley immersed herself in personal growth, working on herself from the inside-out and came to the conclusion that she says too few understand about life. “Life is so fair,” says Ashley. “People just don’t see it. Cause life gives you exactly what you deserve and nothing is free. People are so quick to point outside. If you point inside you realize, ‘oh, that was kind of my fault.’. If you just blame yourself you undo problems. Emotional intelligence is the most important thing in the world. When I date the first thing I look at is the EQ, not the IQ. As you grow personally everything else follows.”
At 21, Ashley and her story are gaining a huge following and changing other people’s lives. By going through the pain she says we all must face in life – our job as a human being – she is sharing in a way that few can, open and honest.
“I’ve just become stupidly, disgustingly vulnerable and honest – the good and the bad. I’m OK being who I am to teach other people lessons through it. It has allowed me to create amazing relationships and help other people. If you want to deserve you have to serve. Serve people in a certain way to deserve more in your life. And don’t judge other people. They are going through something. Everyone is going through something, so you might as well be open and talk about it”.
And talk about it Ashley does. By sharing her story and living her purpose to help others this young lady, just breaking into the second decade of her life, has become a magnet for success. Ashley attracts opportunities to speak, does voice-overs, does videos because she is being the person she was designed to be every day – consistently truthful, vulnerable and with the goal of bringing value to other people.
“Become valuable and everything falls into place,” says Ashley. “Everything happens from the inside-out, wealth, relationships, health… everything. I’m going to become valuable to as many people as I can so I become a magnet. Do what brings value. My whole day is focused on value and things come to me. You just attract certain things. Be that valuable as a human being. When my value goes up, everything else around me goes up, cause I’m working on myself that much. Self-development is the most important thing in your life!”
To put it simply life rewards those who give back as much as they possibly can, giving, as Ashley stated at the beginning of this story – the return on the investment this higher power has made in her. She intensely believes in this every day and she is sharing her story with the world and changing, not chasing lives. You can’t pursue, you have to attract.
“When you stop chasing, start being who you are supposed to be things come to you. People come to me because they know I have the EQ for it. I get speaking opportunities, (just check out her YouTube clip on this blog, as she recently opened for Gary Vaynerchuk), videos, voice-overs, and I am bringing value in different ways because I am attracting it. Like I said when your value goes up, everything else around you goes up. If you increase your value then every single person who shakes your hand is going to be affected”.
It also comes down to consistency and constantly learning lessons. “If I go through a break up, or get bad news, I’m literally like, where’s the lesson? There are times when I’ve been so down and I will turn to my friend and say let’s look for the lesson. They’ll say why are you not freaking out? But there’s a lesson and I believe in it so much, I believe it in so much that nothing hurts anymore. It’s pure happiness and vulnerability. Pain hurts in the moment. While I’m in the heat of the flames, while I’m burning, I know there is a lesson in here and it’s saying ‘I’m coming after you.’ I know it’s a positive thing that’s happening now. Every pain has a gain and – it’s hard for people to see it in the moment, but pain always leads to pleasure. If you feel good now you’re gonna struggle later. And if you struggle now, you’re going to feel good later”.
I can’t emphasize enough the power in Ashley’s voice and in her mission. At 21 she is taking on the world and we should all be so inspired. Her vision is as big as the power inside of her and she wants it to be that way for all of us.
“I want to do a world-tour on self-development, that’s my goal”, says Ashley. “It’s a long-term goal, to build my fan base and practice speaking. By 24 or 25-years-old I want to create a university, an emotional intelligence university. I’m working on the curriculum. And I’m in school myself. I work after-hours on these things. I don’t play with my friends. I’m working. I’m working on my book, I’m studying economics. I go to the gym, eat the right food, go to work, study. If I struggle now I will feel good later. People are beginning to know my name. I have to be consistent. It can be painful to be consistent, but the pain pays off.”
Ashley has been through the pain, but it is our gain. She defines the core of this blog – demonstrating courage, finding hope and working intensely on herself and sharing her story to provide inspiration.
Ashley reaches inside herself every day to see her true self, good or bad. She is vulnerable, honest, consistent, looks to bring value to others, always thinking about others and how sharing her story and what she has learned can elevate their lives.
This young lady is making a difference, bringing gain from her pain. I for one, after only a short interview, have become a big fan.
“AZ” has got the “EQ” and she’s doing it from the inside-out.
Until next time thanks for taking the time,
Check out Ashley Zahabian on her social media channels:
Join the Tribe! Enter your name & e-mail address into the box on the blog and get posts sent directly to your inbox!
Huffington Post: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-brodinsky/)
The Profile: (http://www.talkinggood.com/profiles/MarkBrodinsky)
USHEALTH Advisors: (http://www.prweb.com/releases/markbrodinsky/072015/prweb12862708.htm)