The hurdles are daring…

written by john c ashworth

My daughter, Ana, has a shirt she likes to wear now . She picked it up at one of her track meets this year. On the back it reads,

“The hurdles used to make me anxious but then I got over it.”

In her case, this message cuts deep for reasons I won’t go into detail here right now. She wouldn’t want me to. She is getting over a lot of things and had a terrific freshman year of high school, especially athletically.

The Hurdles are Daring

Looking down the track from the starting blocks, hurdles line-up in orderly fashion patiently waiting their turn. Patiently waiting for each athlete to approach, building their rhythm, and their timing, and their speed as they breeze down the track. Nothing more on their minds then the next one, and then the next one, and then the next, until they are leaning toward the finish line in a flash of brilliance.

In some cases, you get the impression that those hurdles are coaxing them along. But it’s more than that. Beckoning might be a more accurate word. Because as they draw you in, it seems you begin to discover things about yourself that until now, you could not figure out how to unlock.

You discover that you are strong, and powerful, and not afraid to be called into the race. Not afraid to let go and trust your judgement in a way that places you so close to success and failure that your heart pounds with massive force until you are in the middle of that race, picking up speed, letting go of your fear, and allowing yourself to break free from everything that’s ever held you back in your life.

Because when you decide on this race, and its demand for your precision every time, I believe you have made a very powerful choice about who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what you’re willing to sacrifice and put on the line once you’re set in those starting blocks.

Never have I been in such awe of such a fiercely headstrong and competitive group of young women. They are relentless and humble in their pursuit and as much as I can, I learn from them.


Ana’s 2019 Sectionals Race that qualified her for the State Meet in Wisconsin. Time: 15.9
Ana’s Wisconsin State Meet Prelim 100m Hurdles run. Time 16.4

Click here for WIAA final results for 2019.

Bill Buckner, All-Star Shadowed by World Series Error, Dies at 69 – The New York Times

Bill Buckner, an outfielder and first baseman whose long, solid career was overshadowed by a crushing error that cost the Boston Red Sox Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets, who went on to win the championship in seven, died on Monday. He was 69.

Source: Bill Buckner, All-Star Shadowed by World Series Error, Dies at 69 – The New York Times

Here’s what I hope the Ash Flash will do for you…

The goal of my weekly posts to the ash flash is to inspire you in some way. That’s the main goal. In fact, I read something this morning that reinforces this idea.

“…that a sense of curiosity and purpose , rather than the mechanistic drive for reward in exchange of effort, is the richest animating force of work.”

Bertrand Russel in his 1925 treatise on the nature of happiness

The challenge is in finding a pursuit that allows both forces to face each other in a liquid dance that keeps us moving and motivated. That’s what I hope the Ash Flash does for you. At least from time to time 🙂

We all need a means of staying connected and focused on the pursuits and projects that mean the most to us, and that as a result, foster our greatest contributions to the communities we serve.

I’m still working to find my exact way through this here on The Ash Flash, and I appreciate you being along for the ride as I work this out.

I have many good ideas about what I ultimately want to create here. I want to let those evolve naturally. In the mean time, my goal is to inspire you, challenge you, and help you unlock the courage to pursue your dreams. Both personally and inside your business.

You’ve got what it takes. I know you do. Keep going.


Here’s what being a salesman means to me

john ashworth

written by john c ashworth

I have often felt stymied by that question, “what would you do, John, if you no longer needed to earn a living anymore?” What would you do with your time and your days if money was not a concern and you had no other responsibilities clamoring for your attention? What would be next?

Just this morning, as I hung up the phone following a very productive online showcase of the products I’m currently selling I realized something profound.

“There’s actually no place I would rather be on a daily basis than selling and connecting with prospects and customers. Connecting with people.”

Really, it’s true.

I know it might sound a little corny and maybe even a little naive, but it’s true. Of course, I would spend a lot more time here on The Ash Flash too and with a few of my other hobbies, but overall? This is where I love to be.


First, it’s where the money is made in any business. And that’s the game I’ve been playing for many years now. A game that feels quite familiar to the mission of my youth. Trying to put the soccer ball into the back of the net. It’s always fun to be a part of the business development team and at the heart of helping to drive growth for any company. My own or otherwise. It’s always fun to score. This is important work. After all, the primary reason anyone goes into business is to make money. Serving customers is essential, but you need to make money too. Don’t ever forget that.

What I’m discovering as I get a little older, wiser, and exponentially better at my craft as a salesperson is someting much more profound and important for the health and success of your own sales team and your business as a whole. Your salsespeople are the people inside your company that most often possess the strongest relationships with your customers. They are the ambassadors of YOU and YOUR brand. The focal points of most of your initial and extremely important touchpoints inside your business and the system that serves them.

Sales is where the lasting and important connections with customers and prospects are started and very often solidified over the years when you have the right salespeople committed to their part in cultivating these relationships.

Notice that I still included prospects in that last sentence. Because even though I always hate to admit it, the reality is that at least initially, most people will NOT buy from you. Yet, there is still tremendous value in these interractions. For one, people often come back and buy later. Second, every interraction is a catalyst for sales expertise built over time and for the on-going goodwill you need to build inside your company’s structures and systems. Much of that good will is cultivated through the interactions your salespeople have with your customers and prospects every day.

But there is something else I’m realizing about this process that gets to the core of why I would keep doing it whether I needed to or not. The part that I truly cherrish and that lives at the heart of what I do every day. The connection it creates with another human being.

A connection that, once established, can literally last a lifetime and that which is at the heart of all human interaction. Sales puts me in front of people with whom I would have never had the opportunity to interact and very often leads to new thoughts, new ideas, new relationships, and sometimes even new friendships.

In addition, when you’re selling a good product, one that you believe in and that is truly designed to solve problems, these relationships and conversations and interactions solve problems for people and improve their business and their lives as a whole. When you’re lucky enough to find yourself in such a role you have an extremely unique opportunity to serve those you come in contact day to day in rewarding ways. You have a unique opportunity to connect.

I look forward to working with you for years to come.

Now, I gotta get back on the telephone.