Simplify everything and get your dreams back on track…

written by john c ashworth

Simply everything, play the way you’re facing, pick your spot, and explode into that space.

Growing up I had the opportunity to play for one of the top club soccer clubs in the nation. The San Diego Nomads. Back then, we were known as the La Jolla Nomads. That’s where the club’s founders were from. Those individuals had the kind of vision necessary to cultivate a lasting legacy and a club today that develops some of the best talent you can find.

One of the most important decisions they made early on was in hiring Derek Armstrong, who still runs the club today, more than thirty years later.

Derek taught me many important things about the game, about life, and about what it means to be a champion. We had a tremendous amount of success while I was there. We played the kind of game people didn’t even recognize or understand at that time here in the United States, and in fact, we dominated many or our opponents and won many championships.

Our success included two runs at the national championship where we finished second and fourth in the country. A truly amazing and bitter sweet experience. Still, it would be a lot better story if I could tell you we had achieved a national championship.

Here’s my point today, though. Derek used to have a phrase he liked to use often. In many ways, this mantra has fit nicely into many other parts of my life, both day to day, and as I’ve weathered some very tough storms in my career.

“Play the way you’re facing.”

Simple. Straight-forward. Impossible to mis-interpret, and guaranteed to simplify the game you’re playing by simply picking up your head, looking around, and moving the ball in the direction you’re facing right now.

Don’t try to get cute and cut the ball back, and attempt some fancy move that sends you in the opposite direction, hopefully in possession of the ball, and now moving with an entirely different purpose. Sure, there will always be time for that. It will be needed. But for the moment, what might happen in your life, career, or relationships if you simply started focusing on playing in the direction you’re facing right now?

Starting right now, simplify your life. Focus on playing in the direction you face, and keeping your head-up, and your vision keen. For the direction you face still holds a very wide field of view with many opportunities.

When you do this, and you abandon unnecessary complexities and frivolous ideas – especially the stuff that’s holding you back, and the ideas and dreams that don’t seem to be moving ahead – you will create the space you need to open your game in a way that allows you to more clearly and confidently pick your spot and move toward your truest and most important and fulfilling dreams.

What might those be?

I look forward to hearing about them.


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Saturday at the ash flash

Master your craft. Avoid complacency. Take Action.

written by john c ashworth

Competency is NOT enough. That’s why “Good is so often the enemy of Great.” There is great danger in complacency because once you find yourself living with this mindset, and working daily to justify your choice, change is hard to consider with an open mind. Maybe even impossible.

If you’re not careful, YOUR belief systems will tie you down, hold you back and keep you on a very short leash. Preventing progress.

The results can be devastating, not only for your business but for your life in general.

Sometimes, it leads to a statement like the one I heard yesterday that I believe represents an example of your mind as slayer of your dreams and aspirations.

“I have no desire to learn anything more.”

This comment came from a prospective customer with very little understanding about how to build and cultivate a presence and message online that can help your business grow exponentially.

The opposite of this unfortunate stance, of course, is to embrace the idea of mastering your craft as well as the marketing efforts that will help you share your gifts. It’s clear you’ve already adopted this mindset. You’re here reading this article. The title drew you in for a reason.

In order to master your craft, though, daily action is still vital. YOU MUST always be taking steps to improve, learn, grow, and thrive.

Nothing can happen until you decide to move forward.

Nothing happens, and nothing changes until you take action.

Still, there is likely something you’ve been putting off. A project or pursuit of some kind that very likely has the potential to catapulte your personal or business growth or both.

If only you could find the time…

I realize the timing for your next endeavor for growth might not feel quite right. And it might not be. But what if you just started? What might happen next?

Yes! Your choice might feel like a bigger project than you want to tackle right now. But if it’s the right one, what other things might you choose to move out of the way or off your list entirely once this new and important thing is put in motion.

YOU MUST embrace the belief that starting is that which is most important, and trust that once in motion, you’ll remain committed to following thought – even if it’s just a little at a time. Because once you do this, and once the thing that’s important for you to start today is done, you will likely have an extremely valuable and potentially life-altering asset for your personal and business growth. And very often, completion will come a lot sooner than you anticipated.

Are you Ready?

You may now commence without equivocation.

I’ll wait patiently for your success story 🙂


PS I want to leave you with one more keen insight into this idea. It has to do with the difference between Mastery and Competence and what it truly means to be a master of your craft.

Being competent means you can do the work at high standards.

When you work to become a master, you are on the path to inventing the next level of your work, your life, and your business. This makes you a lot more attractive to better clients, customers, friends, and colleagues.

…my daily walks are an excellent source of inspiration and connection with the ideas and knottiness of my craft that matter to me the most. -john c ashworth

Sunday Ideas for inspiration

impatients blooming

…this idea originally posted on July 21st, 2019 – added to “when the spirit moves me.” -John

Hello there,

Thanks for stopping by.

John Ashworth here…

john c ashworth

Seemed like a good idea today to start this list. I’ll come back to add items “as the spirit moves me.” That’s how an old fitness client I coached used to describe his running routine. “I go when the spirit moves me, John.”

I always remembered that, because it resonates with me in my own on-going pursuit of fitness over 50.. One faces many challenges in this pursuit.

Where does that drive to exercise come from?

I’m not entirely sure, but I’m sure glad I have it. And I do everything I possibly can to cultivate its continued presence.

Sunday ideas for inspiration

OK, a good run or long walk are two great Sunday ideas to start with, but I want to share at least one other idea here that might inspire you today.

Get yourself a copy of this book,

The Go-Giver. A little story about a powerful business idea.

written by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Feel better?

Me too.

Peace! …and happy sunday 🙂


PS Before I go. Here’s one more I have not had much time to explore as much as I want to yet but has already enlightened me on multiple occasions.

Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children’s books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning. 

Finally, here is a great and inspiring list of ideas for actions you can take on Sunday that will catapult your Monday and more.

  1. Clean your fridge. Toss everything that’s questionable
  2. Clean out your car
  3. Clean our your purse, handbags, and briefcases. Lunch boxes too if you carry one. And you should be…
  4. Prepare health snacks and plan for them each day
  5. Prepare your Monday morning breakfast on Sunday
  6. Put some food in the crockpot or instant cooker for dinner today and leftovers tomorrow at lunch
  7. Drink plenty of water today
  8. Write your Monday morning to-do list
  9. Map your weekly goals
  10. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and do NOT feel guilty about it! This can include your yoga class, walking, exercise, or just some time on the front porch with your favorite book and a tall glass of something cold and is anything other than alcohol.
  11. Make time to catch-up with family and friends
  12. Clean your closet.
  13. Put your wardrobe in order.
  14. Iron your clothes in advance.
  15. Iron your shorts
  16. Iron a few t-shirts – it just feels good
  17. Check the weather and plan your wardrobe for the week too.
  18. Make sure your gym clothes and gym bag are in order too. Got enough shampoo? Clean towels? Lotion? You know the drill. And if you don’t, let’s make it happen.
  19. Get your trash ready for pick-up Day. Mine gets picked-up on Tuesday but it’s always nice not to have to worry about it on Monday evening.
  20. Get off the couch and get outside. Go on a hike. Sit on your porch. Mow your lawn. Do something outside.
  21. Read The Ash Flash to stay inspired for the week.
  22. Treat yourself to something nice. Report back with your ideas. I’m always looking for inspiring ways to check this one off the list.

The Rewards of Being a Salesman

expert car buyer john c ashworth

Here’s what being a salesman means to me – Part 2

Click here for part 1 of this series

written by john c ashworth

One of the things I really love about being a salesperson is all the people time. All the connection. All of the potential that each new contact holds. For sales. For learning. For inspiration. For Friendship. And for that special blend of human connection that comes when two people meet, discuss their goals, their businesses, and the potential to help each other, and then decide to make a deal that is serendipitous for both.

This potential for connection and friendship is one of the things I miss most about my personal training and coaching business. Traveling to people’s homes for an intimate hour of focus on self-improvement is a terrific way to spend your days. A terrific way to build a really good life.

Of course, I approach all of my work as a salesman in this manner. It is just that some situations lend themselves a little more seductively to those deeper and more meaningful relationships. In addition, you can do things your own way when you’re running your own business. I’ve since moved on from my own business and if there’s one thing I really miss about it’s the ability to do exactly what needs to be done right now in order to build these kind of powerful, meaningful, and hyper-connected relationships with people.

This morning, I was up reading early as I almost always am and I came across something that touched this topic and this idea in a way that both inspired me, and reinforced this idea. I wanted to make sure and share it with you.

When you don’t invest in your prospect and customer relationships in this manner, over time, you become commoditized. You become the same as every other salesman and business out there. You are boring. You are uninteresting. You are lame. You are not interesting enough for anyone to really want to know more about you, why you do what you do, and how that can help and serve both your potential and current customers.

When you choose not to invest in these relationships in this way, you will find that over time, especially when it comes to your customers, positive feelings begin to erode, and they begin to look elsewhere for other solutions to their problems. In addition, even if they are not looking yet, they absolutely will and you will begin to find them poached by other, cheaper, and more interesting (primarily as a funciton of being newer to them) options. You will lose them. And if you let this go on too long, you will suddenly find yourself in a dire predicament and wondering what in the heck is happening to your business.

Eventually you will discover that you either stopped connecting or you never really connected in the first place. Either way, It won’t matter. You’ll be running in the thick sand down the beach toward that last jetty. Hoping to get around it and back to safety before the tide comes in.

Most businesses and business owners are much more willing to invest much more in their new customers than they are in the cultivation and strength of existing ones. This is a big mistake. This is silly math. Ignorant. Foolish. Lazy. Bad business.

Direct-response marketing, a system of sales and marketing that I’ve studied for more than two decades and which I continue to work toward mastery, lends itself perfectly to building this kind of relationship with your customers and prospects. The problem is that most don’t understand it at all. Most only see it only as a graceless, unfeeling, annoying and efficient way to make a sale. Worse, they might not even know what it is.

The truth is that it is in fact a very efficient way to make a sale; and to build incredibly strong bonds with your customers and prospects. Dig down just a little deeper and you’ll discover that it’s a whole lot more than that, and that it holds far more potential for your career, your business and your life than almost any other strategy you have the opportunity to implement in your small business.

Need an example or an idea that will help you understand this idea?

Dig down a even deeper into your products and services and reveal to me what business are you really in? What emotional triggers create your sales? What important problems are you solving with your products and services and how does your passion for this feed your desire to find potential customers, make a sale, and build a powerful relationship that can last a lifetime?

When you begin to think about your business in this way, you should also begin to see how many real opportunities you have each and every day to cultivate these connections and sales through your on-going and prolific communication with prospects and customers. And once you begin to make this connection, and you have happy customers with whom to build those relationships, you will also begin to see how powerful a regular printed newsletter could be, for example. Delivered personally to your customers’ mailbox and full of stories, expertise, and life-altering information that builds a stronger and stronger affinity to you, your products and services, and your brand.

The printed newsletter is just one of so many examples. I use it here because so few are committed to producing one. Or at the very least, producing a regular blog or email newsletter that will begin to help you accomplish the same things.

So why do so few understand this? Why are so few unaware of this method? Why do so few implement such a powerful business changing philosophy?

Direct-response marketing is the gritty blue collar factory worker with dirt under his finger nails, a little grease on his collar, and a lunch pale that looks like an old mailbox that he carries with him every day religiously because he’s devoted not only to his work, no matter how brutal, physical and demanding, but also to the nourishment he needs to feed himself so that he can feed his employer, his family, his loyal co-workers, and the American Dream.

Direct-response is NOT Madison Avenue. It is Main Street downtown. Where you eat breakfast at the same place every morning, not because the food is spectacular. You can get scrambeled eggs, toast, and a mediocre cup of coffee anywhere. What you can’t get anywhere is the true and lasting connections you build with the waitress, the cook and the owner who is committed to taking care of you because he loves you and makes you feel loved and earnestly does everything he can to ensure that he never loses touch with you.

I don’t go looking for customers to make sales. I work to make sales to get a customer, because once I make that sale, I’m fully aware and extremely grateful for how powerful and important that relationship, that friendship and that connection can become for both of us over time.

I look forward to our next conversation. Who knows what amazing places it might lead us 🙂


email is NOT DEAD. College is NOT required…and everyone is lying to YOU about success.

Email is NOT Dead. College is NOT required. And EVERYONE is lying to you about success.

written by john c ashworth

My son Carl was bemoaning his boredom at work this week during dinner last night. A common complaint when summer starts, his hours increase, and the realities that come with the working life begin to show themselves a little more clearly.

I shared with him something I heard from one of my old sales managers in the car business. He had been having a similar conversation with his daughter. Unlike Carl who is just beginning his career, she was already working as a physician, and already complaining of boredom.

“All jobs get boring eventually.” That’s what Lance had said and I’ll never forget it.

Stick around long enough. Work hard enough. Jump from one line of work to another. Soon, you’ll discover that it’s true. Work can get boring. Heck, life can get boring. It reminds me of a bit Jerry Seinfeld did when I went to see him at the overture center here in Madison.

“Life’s not too short. It’s far too long.” And then in his unique and genius way went on to make a pretty strong argument about it while detailing all of the mundane things we must do in order to get to the good stuff. The moments that make it all worth it.

As one example, I try not to think about how much of my life I spend preparing for my swim workouts at the gym. Preparing or being prepared in advance with swim bag loaded in the car. Driving there. Scanning my membership card. Making my way to the locker room. Undressing. Showering. Swimming. And then ultimately returning to take part in the exact reverse of the same ritual. I swim 4-5 days per week. That’s a lot of the same boring routine over and over again to make that happen.

Yes! Work and life get boring. That’s why mindfullness and meditation are so important.

But there is something else that’s very important about this story and it has to do specifically with your ability to do boring things consistently so that you can be successful in whatever it is that you do. Because inevitably, your work and your life will get boring at times and your ability to overcome the lethargy that can so quickly fill this void will be your decision to simply keep going. Keep fighting. Keep moving. Keep exercising. Keep calling. Keep marketing. Keep selling. And keep preventing yourself from being numbed into a sense of complacency that can leave you feeling bored, lost, and groping for something new when what you really need to do is stay focused on the job right in front of you.

No. College is NOT required and won’t prepare you for this.

Here’s what I like to do to fight this sometimes daily battle.

First, every year I choose three words to guide me. No. There is no substitute for writing goals, but I have found this particular habit extremely helpful over the years for many reasons. I won’t go into all of them right now. What I want you to understand about this habit I’ve formed is that while it might not seem like a lot to just come up with three words, if you’re really choosing wisely, you might be surprised how long it takes you to decide on them. It’s hard to choose only three. Which teaches you something all on its own. And I guarantee you will be even more surprised at how much three little words can help keep you on track when you get bored, lost, scared, or distracted from what it is you really want to accomplish. Your mission.

Second, I write. I produce content. I communicate with my followers, subscribers, colleagues and customers. And I exercise every single day without fail. I also get up very early in the morning and read, write, ice my back, stretch and take some very quite personal time to reflect on what is needed that day.

Yes! More meditation and yoga are currently missing from this list, but I have not been that good about either of them lately so I left them off and then shared that with you as a means of reminding my innner conscious mind of their importance to me. Now that I’ve done that it’s very likely I will be led back to them more frequently in the coming months. Almost certain, in fact.

It is this second thing I just mentioned that I want to elaborate on before I go today. That I write and I communicate with you through my blog, facebook, instagram and weekly email broadcasts to subscribers because it helps me just as much as I hope it helps you from time to time.

Doing this does force a different kind of meditation that is grounded in my own personal connection with my mission here on The Ash Flash and how it is driven by the stories, insights and inspirations that pass through me and onto this page.

I’m NEVER bored when I write. I’m NEVER scared when I write. I’m NEVER more engaged with my own mind and everything that passes through than when I write, communicate, and share with you here. That’s why I appreciate you being here so much.

Should you be interested, I want you to know that I can help you build this same kind of communication engine in your own business and I can teach you how to use it to sell more stuff. I’ve been doing it for years now, and I continue to do it in my current line of work as a salesman. The process is powerful in many ways. Both personally and professionally. This body of work and expertise is a sales process that just keeps getting better all the time.

The larger point I want to make before this post gets too long, though, is this…

Everyone is lying to you about success, because no one is sharing with you all of the boring details about what it took to get them where they are today. Just remember that every time you see, read or hear something that seems a little too good to be true. It probably is. In fact, this guy who crushed it on Jeopardy this year is a great example of what I’m talking about. I plan to write more about that another time. He topped the $2-Million Mark during 27 consecutive appearances on the show, but he spent a lifetime developing and honing the skills and expertise that allowed him to succeed. That allowed him the courage to play the game the way he did.

He practiced answering questions in his own living room while wearing dress shoes to get in the right mindset.

I love that story.

…and likely, until I shared it with you, you probably were not aware. You probably have not had the time to read, like I have, all about how he made himself into a success on Jeopardy.

Work gets boring. Life gets boring.

The key is to keep going. Keep studying. Keep practicing. Keep living. Keep fighting.

Keep putting your dress shoes on and going to work.


PS In my current role as a salesman for a fast-growing technology company, I don’t have to wear dress shoes most days. I do, however, still wear the same McDonald’s visor every single day (pictured below). I do this for three important reasons.

First, it does help keep the bright light out of my eyes at the computer. We work in a beautiful space with a lot of natural lighting.

Second, it’s a cool visor.

Third, wearing it has become a ritual and helps me achieve the mindset I need to cultivate to be successful in my job. Could I still cultivate that mindset without the hat? Of course, but why not find the things and the ways you need that will inspire you and help make your work and your days more fun, more engaging and more productive?

Go get em’!