A new year, new possibilities. What we can do and accomplish this year? How we can prioritize, clarify, and set goals?
Ashlee Livingstone is a combination of energy, creativity, and passion. She’s known for her original ideas executed with a thoughtful logistical approach helping her bring out the best in every undertaking.
Let’s build your best year yet.
Time Management Tool: 5 Gears Masterclass
- 1:19 – Finding the life you want now
- 3:41 – Time is one of those things that everyone thinks they don’t have
- 6:56 – How do you help people find a new normal in a new year?
- 10:32 – How do we make up for time that we lost?
- 12:50 – We spend so much time wanting the instant gratification.
- 17:18 – The importance of having someone check in with you and your business.
- 19:00 – The story of fear of failure and competition.
- 23:03 – How to get more connected with the people that matter to you.
- 24:59 – How to know when to say no to things that don’t match your priorities.
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Episode 27 – Full Transcript
Aaron Lee 0:02
I am really excited to welcome Ashlee Livingstone. On this episode, we are going to take a look at the new year, the new possibilities what we can do and accomplish and how we can prioritize clarify. And set goals. Ashlee is an incredible coach and leader. And I think you’re really going to enjoy this conversation. She’s a combination of energy, creativity, and passion. She’s known for her original ideas executed with a thoughtful logistical approach helping her bring out the best in every undertaking. She’s worked with leaders in nonprofit and corporate life. And those were all struggling with similar challenges. And I think you will hear that from our conversation today. She’s working to build connections between people, their goals, and the broader community. And I think you are going to enjoy our conversation today with Ashlee. Welcome to the new generation leader podcast, we’re giving you the tools you need to lead in the digital world ready to reach your true potential. This is the new generation leader podcast. So tell me like big picture, what’s your overarching mission? What are you getting after in this world?
Ashlee Livingstone 1:19
What am I getting after it? That’s a big question. So my overall, if I could really make the biggest impact it would be to show and help people find the life they want now and get that life that they want. Now understanding too that things change, right? You maybe get married or you have kids or your kids move out so many things that try to plan this perfect life doesn’t happen. So designing the life you want now. And really what it comes down to are a lot of my clients, we talk about time freedom, boundaries, and releasing blocks that keep us stuck. So when I think about what goals there are for people, I think a lot of it comes down to how do we get rid of the stories we’ve been telling ourselves? And how do we create that time freedom that we so crave, and getting more comfortable setting boundaries to help us get both of those things?
Aaron Lee 2:25
Yeah, how’d you get into this?
Ashlee Livingstone 2:28
My own personal journey, I think I was the definition of everything. I didn’t want to be that person who just grew up that there was this specific life plan you’re supposed to follow. And I did for a while. And then I got off the path and started creating my own. And a lot of it came down to me finding how to find harmony between being a business owner, a wife, a mom, someone who loves my alone time, my social time volunteering in the community, how to find that freedom, and finding so much power and confidence and saying no to opportunities that actually aren’t opportunities for me. And I’ve done a lot of personal development work when it comes to like breathwork and hypnotherapy. And I’ve seen how it’s changed me into such a better leader in my business with my team at home, in the volunteer roles I hold that it’s kind of been like the the key that unlocked so much greatness.
Aaron Lee 3:41
I just had a conversation with a coaching client yesterday about time. And you know, there are themes that come up over and over again. And it is exciting to be able to relay the things that I’ve used that have impacted me that I can pass on as a gift, a conversation, a growth opportunity to somebody else.
Ashlee Livingstone 4:04
Yeah, time tends to be one of those things that everyone thinks they don’t have. And everyone often thinks it’s external, that somebody else controls my time. And that, to me is a boundary. And it’s also a story. And it’s often people don’t totally want to step in to taking control over their time, because it might mean they have to do something different. And that’s the reality, right? When we make subtle little shifts of how we manage our time, where we’re spending our time understanding how to prioritize what’s important to us. So many different shifts happen and it’s pretty awesome to see.
Aaron Lee 4:47
I was talking to a friend this morning and we were talking about that idea. And you said it right there thinking about time that we think time is external, an external influence, but really at the center We’ve got to take care of ourselves so that we even have something I say a lot, we can’t give what we don’t possess. So we’ve got to take care of ourselves, and just watching the themes of conversations, just having a conversation, the meeting went long, just before we started here, the last conversation point we were discussing was more out of alignment for us personally, than we can bring our best to those around us every day. And so we’ve got to figure out what’s, as you said, the best part of our life, find that health, find that balance, find that rhythm, so that we can bring the best to all of those great things that we want to be a part of,
Ashlee Livingstone 5:38
yeah, and not punish ourselves. Right. I think that’s the other piece with time. So many people, you know, and I’ve worked with coaching clients, were talking about wanting to prioritize their volunteer their contributions in the community. And the first thing they say is, I don’t have time, yeah, that’s great, but I don’t have time. So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, that doesn’t feel good, because I don’t have time to try something new. And when we start doing a bit of an audit on their time, we realize they actually do, right, the amount of time that you spend standing in front of the closet going, what am I going to wear today, or prepping kids lunches or scrolling on social media, there’s a lot of time in there that is just not being used effectively. And it’s not fueling you, it’s actually distracting you from your priorities, and what really matters. So when we can get people using their time in alignment, their life fulfillment, and their energy, and how much then they’re able to pass on to others is just so much higher.
Aaron Lee 6:46
Time is one powerful force in our world. And if we can get it straight, manage it effectively, there are so many great tools out there. So as we think about a new year, starting 2023, hopefully has a new horizon. For us. That’s different from 2022, or 2021. And there was so much hope in 2020, starting this bright, bold new decade, New Year, and then things went sideways and snowballed over these last couple of years. So as you look ahead to the hope of the new year, how are you guiding and encouraging people to find a new, normal and rebuild that sense of purpose in a new year?
Ashlee Livingstone 7:33
Yeah. So I think just to back up a little bit there. We as like collective human beings tend to go into every new venture every new year with all of these expectations, but no plan. Right? We have high hopes, but no action plan. And as the pandemic and all of the distractions that have been overwhelming our system for the past couple of years, I feel that people went totally retreated. And then any opportunity they had to come out, they went full fledge, it was like this, all or nothing. I really think this attitude of all or nothing was big the last couple of years. And when we had nothing, we really sunk low, like we didn’t keep that momentum, that healthy momentum going. And the all is not sustainable. So as we start to head into a new year, I’m really coaching people that instead of setting up this giant vision for your next year, to pick one goal at a time, let’s break it down into bite sized manageable steps, so that we don’t overwhelm ourselves. And even pre pandemic, whenever we put too much on our plates. It was not sustainable, right? We just can’t remember that. Because it seems so long ago. But whenever anyone says, I’m going to do these 62 things, you don’t end up doing it because too much is too hard, too fast, and you can’t be consistent with it. So my strategy is really about pick one goal that is going to make the biggest difference in your life right now. Like what is the one thing that really feels out of alignment? And let’s focus on that one goal. So I’ll use physical health just because that tends to be a big thing that everyone thinks about this time of year. Physical health, it’s great to say you’re going to get into shape, but define that what does that look like for you? You need to break that down and then figure out what are the habits or action steps you’re going to do each day each week to get there because without the app Action, you’re just dreaming, you’re not implementing. And I think one of the biggest challenges we all face when setting goals or having visions and dreams is without the action, nothing changes, right? You can listen to all the podcasts, you can read all the books, you can have all the great ideas. But if you don’t take action towards getting there, you’re going to stay in the same spot, and then feel disillusioned that it didn’t happen.
Aaron Lee 10:32
There’s so much packed into that, that I think is so insightful. And as I listened to you, I’m reflecting personally on what the last two years have looked like. And people coined new terms about revenge travel. And it’s funny to think about travel being revenge, and but it’s almost that makeup mentality of how do we make up for time that we lost. And as you’ve mentioned, where you are geographically in Canada is different from where I am is different from people in China or Europe or South America, everybody had a different level of experience with COVID and lock downs and what that means even still, now’s different restrictions in different places. But I saw that for us, personally, that, as you said, we have this expectation that we’ve forgotten about, and our expectation with our kids was, hey, we’re going to do one thing, they’re going to have one activity at a time. And occasionally a season will overlap. Yeah, we have had a few weeks where life would feel absolutely chaotic. And then coming out of COVID, I watched this kids on my softball teams, I was coaching, we’re doing softball, and dance and gymnastics and karate. And inevitably, there’d be conflicts, then there were volunteer shortages, because there weren’t enough coaches, because parents were running in so many different directions. And I felt that stress for us. And just now here’s my hope for 2023 Is that collectively, we finally maybe overcome this revenge. Finally, I feel like for us, our pace has slowed down to being more manageable. We’re focused on what the kids are passionate about. We’ve gotten back to a constant level. Yes, we’re still busy. Yes, there’s a lot going on. Yes, there’s a lot of opportunity. But we’ve focused I think, a little bit more. And that focus, as you described, are not going after these big visions and big dreams and trying to capture all of it right now. I think that vision is important. But managing, okay, here’s a vision, but what’s my next step? And how do I live towards that? Intentionally?
Ashlee Livingstone 12:50
Yeah, and we spend so much time wanting the instant gratification, right? We want the instant, like hit of, Oh, I did something great. And, and oftentimes we think about the finish line, right. But as we know, the finish line is constantly moving. And our goals are evolving. They shouldn’t be right. They’re constantly moving. So we constantly feel so disappointed that we’re not further ahead or closer to our goal. A again, not setting action steps, but we don’t celebrate the progress along the way. And then that discourages us from continuing on. Right. So celebrating, okay, things are opening up great. That’s one step kids got to play one sport, that’s a win instead of having to try and throw so much at it. And even in business, people wanted to go back into the office, some people not wanting to go back into the office, it’s all of this constant, like overdrive, and we need to spend more time celebrating the small wins so that when we do those daily habits, we can celebrate that and constantly looking at what the end goal is this and we’re so far away from the end goal. So what do we have to celebrate? Right? It’s just such a different mindset. And I’ve noticed in myself a huge shift when I can celebrate the small progress I’ve made. It prevents a lot of disappointment, frustration, doubt, lack mindset, like all of these things that don’t belong. It prevents so much when I can break it down a lot smaller.
Aaron Lee 14:37
One of the challenges we face every day is how to prioritize our time. My number one tool to build and structure your time in the best way possible is the five gears and I want to invite you to in our show notes, go to New Generation leader.com/ 27 and access the five gears masterclass This is gonna give you the tool and walk you through a process to maximize how to use your time effectively, as you head into the new year as you set goals and look to the opportunities ahead of you access the five years masterclass at New Generation leader.com/ 27. So for you, personally, what do you see going into 2023? What are you focused on for yourself?
Ashlee Livingstone 15:26
Yeah, so for me, I’m really focused on growing my business, specifically the coaching arm of my business. That, to me is where I know I can make the biggest impact. And it is the work that lights me up the most. I’ve spent so much time the last couple of years doing work, because other people asked me to do it for them. And it wasn’t necessarily what was lighting me up. And I know that when I am feeling alive and excited about work, I do so much better work. And working with people, one on one in small groups is really my focus. So the way that I am doing that launching three month accelerated coaching program with the option to extend to six months, hitting up my networks, like I have my plan laid out for daily outreach, daily action towards those goals. And the piece for me is I have two different people holding me accountable for it that aren’t in my business, right? There are people who are checking in and each week kind of saying, Did you do it? If not why? And for me, that’s such a huge motivator. Because otherwise, as an entrepreneur, when you’re doing things solo, there is no accountability other than to yourself. So I built in accountability along the way to really remind me that yeah, this is important to me, even when it’s hard. When it’s uncomfortable, even when I hit knows along the way, there’s a greater purpose, and then holding myself and being held accountable for it. That accountability
Aaron Lee 17:17
is something I ran across a study that I’ve still been looking for the true source of this study. But it’s been quoted enough that it appears to be valid, but the study is about having somebody check in with you. And that the greatest likelihood of success is scheduling that time, you can name a goal, and that’s great. You can put out an expectation and you’ll be somewhat likely to succeed. But you want to get to near 100% likelihood of following through, you got to have that follow up process and have somebody to engage with and and you’re right, there’s so many challenges that independent business owners have. But all of us have, anytime we don’t open ourselves up to that level of authenticity and raw transparency, and being secure enough in who we are that we we aren’t trying to prove just how good we are. We aren’t trying to hide what we don’t know, hey, this is what we’re doing. This is what I need, and finding the right place where we can get that here. There’s a dynamic of these last few years that our separation has changed our relationship dynamics. I don’t know that it took away a lot. It just exacerbated what was already a reality of the more distant being more separated. And that doesn’t lead to the best version of any of us
Ashlee Livingstone 18:51
know, so I’ve had a bit of a different experience in that. And I’ll share my experience in what you’re saying. So old me definitely would set silent goals, I would set a goal, or maybe I wouldn’t even call it a goal. I lived so much in the story of fear of failure. And this idea that I wasn’t ever going to be good enough to get a goal or reach my goal. And I was constantly competing with people who didn’t know I was competing with them. So I never said any goals out loud. And nobody ever knew I was working towards anything because I was so afraid of then having to admit it didn’t succeed. Then when things happened in March 2020, I had actually two weeks before so the very beginning of March, I had signed up for this eight month long, intensive professional or personal development, and I quickly became part of this community who I had never met in person. We only ever connected online. And we weren’t forced into this vulnerability bubble. And I’ve shared more with some of them than I had ever shared with anyone before. And it almost helped to rebuild or build my trust that I can share with safe people. And then I was able to identify who else I can share with. So my partner at home, I went on this personal development journey, and I didn’t even tell her that I was doing it. I was embarrassed. And like, I kept it quiet. And I was almost doing work secretly. And then I realized, I’m changing so much. Why am I not? Why am I not sharing? So now I’m able to get so much more connected with people. Because the story I used to tell myself doesn’t exist anymore. And I’m part of that disconnection from people is, I think, either A, they weren’t good for us anyway. Right? So it’s that being able to bless and release and just say, hey, here for the season, and now you’re, you’re gone. And that’s okay. But finding those people that you can lean on, and you can build connection, but just like any relationship we have, it does take effort, right, it takes that you reaching out, one time them reaching out the next time you sharing something you listening, it’s a give and take. So if people are feeling disconnected, I think that’s part of what we need to realign. And it is a bit of effort. And it’s about intentional effort towards getting back there, if that’s what you desire. Does that make sense?
Aaron Lee 21:48
Absolutely. And I think that that community component, the trust the relationship, there can be some niceness that we feel when we’re around people, that we’re just putting up a face facade. And it’s important to really get to have those key people. But to be able to trust the What will you share, they’re going to hold in confidence, they’re not going to share outside of that conversation, share with others, but to be a safe space and a safe community. And you’re right, that is the power of connection digitally, is that we can find people of like mind and build a network, where hey, maybe the people in this community may not meet in person for a long time. But we aren’t going to overlap at the grocery store, or the kids school are in our neighborhood. So maybe it gives us a little smoother opportunity to open up and share. But
Ashlee Livingstone 22:52
muscle, it builds the muscle so that you can then figure out how to do it with someone that you are going to overlap with at the grocery store.
Aaron Lee 23:02
Yes, or your partner at home? Yes, exactly. It
Ashlee Livingstone 23:06
helps you figure out just like what was holding you back. And I think too for business owners and leaders of teams and colleagues what you said about this, like facade of fake or just super surface. So many people are craving more connection to their job to their teams, they want to feel a part of something. And just having those small touchpoints of ways to connect, like how was your weekend, right? Or remembering that somebody celebrated a birthday or somebody’s sister was having a baby like, actually truly listening to one another? Is such a trust building and connection building action that you can do. I just think that that’s one of those pieces that were missing. And it does seem important because I keep hearing people talk about not feeling connected. And I hear leaders say that their teams are disconnected or they’re not inspired, or they don’t feel motivated. But I think it’s like a general like we’re all feeling that way. And maybe that’s the 2023 focus is how do we get more connected with the people that matter to us,
Aaron Lee 24:26
right? The people that matter? That’s a good focus. I think I am excited about 2023 Not for a big vision, not for huge accomplishments. But to be able to turn the calendar and say this is a new year. This is a new start. It seems fresh, it seems new to focus on what is most important. And I think I’m starting to get to that point where I’m recognizing just how much I was trying to do in so many different ways. And it’s really going To be the intentional focus on the next step, the people that matter most then prioritizing. And all of that comes down to knowing when to say no. And maybe that’s my focus for the New Years. No.
Ashlee Livingstone 25:17
We’ll see. So I agree with that, I would reframe it in a aligned action towards your priorities. And that way it gives you permission if this if you highlight two or three priorities, and if it’s connection with XYZ people, right, and you identify who those people are, if it’s having a slower pace and intentionally slower pace, and then when you’re doing something, or you get offered a Saturday night event that you have to go to, and it doesn’t either a connects you with the people that you want to be connected to, or help you slow down, then it’s an easy, no. But if you are going to an event, and it’s maybe a family wedding, and you want to connect with your family, it’s like that’s a full Yes. I feel good about saying yes to that, you know, yeah, it’s going to take my time. And yeah, I got to go out and do the things, but it’s aligned with my goals, as opposed to distracting me. Right? I say yes to so many coffee meetings that don’t get that don’t actually, I just like being social, but it doesn’t help with my goals. So that’s my focus is strategic meetings, happily go for those meetings, or those virtual coffees or the event. If it matches one of my goals? If it’s going to help me move forward on my priorities, then I’m a yes. Otherwise. It’s amazing, though, for me.
Aaron Lee 26:52
Well, actually, this has been a great conversation. And I think whether somebody’s listening to this, right here, when we’re about to flip the page of the new calendar year, or anytime, these are timeless principles, and timeless insights, that I think are are very important for people to engage and reflect on as they move throughout life. So for anybody listening, how can they connect with you to continue following your journey and learn from you?
Ashlee Livingstone 27:27
Yeah, well, thank you. So I’m hanging out on Instagram often. So you can connect with me on Instagram at our forte. Hopefully, we can put that in the show notes. And I’m also active on LinkedIn as well. That’s Ashlee dot Livingstone. I often do too, as well, I offer free training webinars, usually solving a big problem each month, the month of December. So depending on when you’re listening to this, I am doing one all about setting your vision and how to get it to stick for 2023. And in January, we’re going to revisit that and see how you’re doing so I’m always offering free content as well. I just love to help people get to that point in life where they feel aligned and fulfilled. Oh, that’s
Aaron Lee 28:21
fantastic. We will drop all those links in the show notes so you can connect with Ashlee. Soon it will be at New Generation leader.com/ 27 Thanks, Ashlee for the conversation today. I’m looking forward to 2023 and following your journey to see where the New Year leads you as well.
Ashlee Livingstone 28:40
Thanks so much, Aaron for having me. And I hope that you have success in 2023 regardless of what you say no to exactly.