I Don’t Know How You Do It All

I don’t know how you do it all!

Who could imagine that one little phrase could be so emotionally loaded?

In my early twenties, I wore this phrase like a badge of honour. Each time someone said it, I felt like a winner.

Each utterance, a call to find a way to hear them again… longer hours, more personal sacrifice - and all the coffee!

It worked, for a time. I was climbing the corporate ladder at warp speed. My younger self would have thought I was lying if I told her how much money I was making!! I owned two houses and was dating the most handsome Englishman I had ever seen - my life felt like a dream.

But by the time I hit my early thirties (now married to said Englishman and with three tiny humans to keep alive) the phrase began to mock me.

Sure, on the surface, I had it all.

That risky move I made to quit my job as a top performer at a world-leading company and join forces with a gang of colleagues I trusted?

Paid off in spades!!

18 months of bootstrapping, saw one successful exit to a truly innovative global player on the verge of serious hypergrowth. With a seat at the table on the Global Sales Strategy team; alongside ex-Google and ex-LinkedIn VPs, my career (and finances) were flying!

On the inside, I was falling apart.

Each time I heard those words, I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs - I’M NOT, OK! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!

The two hours of sleep I used to get no longer existed. I would cram naps in wherever I could - mostly on flights.

Alcohol replaced coffee as late-night fuel. My only social life consisted of client meetings and team outings.

My physical health was in shambles. Hormone imbalances and nutrient deficiencies all over the place - daily vitamins weren’t going to sort this out!

The Englishman and I were gridlocked in a war of passive aggression. Both of us miserable; neither of us courageous enough to say so out loud.

I hated him for how different his experience of life was.

How much was expected of me, how little of him.

He bore the full emotional brunt of how trapped on a hamster wheel I felt. How much of myself I had lost and my feelings of powerlessness to make it all stop.

I hated myself for giving it all away so easily, for that quick high that came from praise. That need for validation fueled by low self-worth and consistent battle with my own worthiness.

In my late thirties, after relocating the family to England in an effort to pull us all back together, it all finally came undone.

My oldest child was battling serious health issues, I was still prioritising work and I finally - legitimately - surrendered. Unraveled, even.

Unraveling was hard. But it was also beautiful. I had the opportunity to decide exactly how I wanted to put this all back together. I wasn’t going to give that away this time.

I went inward and got clear on what I wanted, in all areas of my life - not just my career and finances.

I got grateful for the areas where I was on track, I took action where I wasn’t.

Finally braving the tough conversations with the Englishman, we decided together on a new way of being that was aligned to what we both wanted from our family life and from our relationship with each other.

I let go of my addiction to the hustle, the insecurities…. the fear! I took control over my relationship with alcohol.

I started asking for help when I needed it and allowing people to show up for and love me.

I loved on my ego.

I invested in myself, working with coaches, and dabbling in all sorts of spiritual and self-healing practices to learn how to manage my energy instead of my time (and in a way that worked for me).

I designed a new life for myself and the outcome has been glorious.

I am in control of my own happiness. I know how to tune in and get myself back on track when I have wobbles (because I am still only human!).

My life is balanced and I don’t feel guilty about that. My career and finances are better than ever and BIG things are on the horizon.

Ever the Strategist, I consciously mapped out how I got here.

So now, when I hear those words…. I don’t know how you do it all… I can say with gratitude…

Let me show you how!

Written by: Ashlie Collins

Ashlie Collins Bio:

Ashlie Collins is the founder of Lemon + Smash, a coaching program and community for women in business who are tired of playing small in any area of their life (including Sales). A renaissance woman and certified energy therapist, Ashlie is passionate about putting women in the driver’s seat of their life. She is an international speaker and host of the YOU ARE ENERGY podcast, where she shares best practices for crafting a comprehensive life vision and offers practical guidance for managing your personal energy so that YOU can live a life that feels as good as it looks.

Prior to founding Lemon + Smash, Ashlie served as a Founding team member in an HR Technology startup, MoBolt, where she helped to deliver a successful exit to Indeed. She was also a Global Sales Strategy Leader at Indeed for 5 years before rejoining her MoBolt Founding Team to launch the programmatic recruitment advertising platform, Joveo, in Europe.

Outside of Lemon + Smash, Ashlie is also a Director at Forage, the education technology platform addressing the social capital and opportunity access gaps for emerging talent globally.

Her client list includes tech start-up CEOs, corporate executives, high-performance sales professionals, as well as leaders who are earlier in their journey and committed to scaling their influence and impact while balancing their lives.

Connect with Ashlie via Instagram or her website.