S10 | 03 – Owning Your Conscious Voice with Ashley Graham

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Podcast Leave a Comment

Your voice matters. Both your internal and external voice. Are you in tune with that part of yourself?

Today I’m joined by Ashley Graham, a publicist and PR coach who specializes in conscious communications, to discuss owning your conscious voice. Owning your conscious voice is all about self-reflection and finding opportunities for growth and joy, even if the world around you doesn’t seem to be moving in that same direction. We touch on topics like self-talk (and self-criticism), relationships, and how you can begin to build this connection with yourself.

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and recognize your unique, conscious voice. You have a story to share with others, and a drive you need to share with yourself. Our conversation can help you find more abundance in the way you think and experience the world. 

Tune in!

About Ashley Graham:

Ashley Graham, The Conscious Publicist, is a publicist & people-relations coach that works with conscious thought leaders in elevating their voices through storytelling, PR & conscious communications.

To learn more, visit her website and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Mentioned In This Episode:



conscious, people, voice, life, experiences, hope, inner critic, feel, roommate, thoughts, move, talk, heaviness, big, abundant, connected, transformation, pandemic, opportunity, burnout


Ashley Graham, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:03

Hello, and welcome to season 10 of the hope motivates action podcast. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell, a workplace mental health professional speaker podcaster and an expert in hope. Bringing you these episodes with these incredible guests is my absolute favorite. I am so grateful for the privilege to share stories of transformation, and to help you move through your own transformation with our one on one work together. And with the help of the professionals who come on the show, the signs of hope and positive psychology has had such a huge impact on me and my work. So I love that I also get to share knowledge, research and stories from the evidence based science as well. It is my sincere wish that you hear something that resonates with you in these episodes, that you feel that contagious power of hope, and you are motivated to take action over what you can control all towards creating a future better than today. I have such a passion for this work. And I love connecting with my clients, with you, my listeners and with the guests on this show to help create transformation. Ashley Graham is known as the conscious publicist, a publicist and people relations coach that works with conscious thought leaders in elevating their voices through storytelling, PR and conscious communications. Ashley knows there are hundreds of people, especially women who struggled with understanding how impactful their voices are, and believes that if they were given the right tools and guidance, that could inspire them to show up for themselves and use their voices to inspire others. Ashley has a beautiful story of hope and her own lived experience. So let’s get to it so she can share it with us. Hello, welcome to the show. It is such a pleasure to have you, Ashley, I cannot even wait for the audience to hear your story.

Ashley Graham  01:35

I’m so excited to be here and to talk all the things that we’re going to talk about today. Yes, I think it will be really great.

Lindsay Recknell  01:42

And let’s just get started. Could you share a little bit with us about how you have used hope to motivate action in your life?

Ashley Graham  01:50

Yes. So hope to me is directly connected to my conscious voice that I have within. I am a firm believer that we all have this internal dialogue that is connected to our intuition, our energy and our relationships and experiences around us. And our bodies hold so much wisdom. And I feel that if we just allow ourselves to take a pause and listen, our conscious voice is connected to that body. And we’re able to find our connection to how we move in the world. And again, I believe that just hope is connected to that conscious voice. And if we just listen to ourselves and listen to that voice, we can pull ourselves out of some pretty interesting places that we might come into, I feel that the world sometimes these days can be a little heavy. And we can wear a lot of that heaviness as our own. But we do not have to always live in that heaviness. We can get ourselves out at any moment, if we just kind of listen to what our body and what our voices are telling us. This feels like it must come from a very personal place. It does, yes, I you know, as just a conscious person, I kind of live and breathe consciousness. And every facet really is myself as a woman as myself as a leader in my business, and just the ways that I connect to my experiences and relationships around me. But talking about that heaviness, especially over the last two or three years. You know, it’s just a challenging time. But as we know, our challenges bring up some very great and deep opportunities for growth. And would it felt like the world had just stopped around myself personally, as I’m sure it did for a number of people, I was able just to kind of pull myself out of that heaviness to kind of move and still live a pretty, you know, connected in joyful life by listening to my own voice when everything else was kind of not moving around me.

Lindsay Recknell  04:04

I cannot imagine that that didn’t resonate with everybody listening. How so tell me more about this conscious voice. How does a person recognize that in themselves?

Ashley Graham  04:18

Yeah, so I guess I’ll use a couple of examples that I recognize my own conscious voice. And I’m sure that, you know, the audience might resonate with these as well. But I am big on self reflection. And I feel out self reflection through meditation or spending time outside in nature or doing something to just kind of sit and enjoy peace and tranquility. And those are big catalysts for me to kind of tap into my own conscious voice. Meditation is a big part of that and journaling and writing is also a big catalyst that’s connected to meditation for me and To as a writer and a creator, I find a lot of that connection through my own thoughts and my own words and my own experiences. And that’s how I’m able to tap into my own conscious voice. And I do believe that others if you know, you’re not so big on meditation or journaling, you can tap into that conscious voice. If you are outside running, or if you’re walking, I feel that we all can have our own modalities of listening to that voice. When we don’t necessarily think that we’re tuning into that voice. I think that there’s also a conscious voice and conversations that we’re having. So our transformation are what we take at the end of this conversation where there might be huge breakthroughs or transformation that comes from just things that we’re talking about. And that again, is connected to the voice that we’re sharing that bridges connection for other people. So I do believe that there’s just different modalities of tapping into that conscious voice. And just really kind of feeling it out on what resonates most with you. Sort of imagining like, this voice embody, you know, this disembodied voice in my house. I don’t know that my car, but I mean, it’s not an actual voice. It’s more like our intuition kind of is that is it like our gut brain? Yes. And there’s a book that I read that really kind of dives into the conscious voice. And it’s the book called The Untethered Soul, which is very popular in the conscious space. And Michael, the author refers to the inner roommate, which is our own thoughts. That sounds like us, if you were to put a picture to the voice, it looks like us, it knows our life, it knows our experiences and knows our history. And it’s the voice that we know all too well. But sometimes it’s not always the voice. That’s the voice that we need to listen to. It’s the voice of reason. It’s the voice of protection, which is still our internal thoughts. But the conscious voice is taking in consideration that voice that we know, but then also looking at it from the different perspective of being like, if you’re trying to keep me in protective place, I want to step outside of that and maybe step into this new venture. So it’s our own voice. It’s our own thoughts. But the conscious voice is almost challenging our own internal thoughts that might keep us in the protective place. So is the conscious voice trying to encourage us to do the next right thing? Absolutely. Or get to the next level or push us to step into something that might be a little too scary? Yeah, a new or a child? Yeah. Like you say, challenges us.

Lindsay Recknell  07:51

As you were talking about the internal roommate. So an author that I know and I have appreciated in the past is Rachel Hollis, and she talks about her Inner Mean Girl and names her Inner Mean Girl, and I’m thinking about this roommate, this internal roommate as maybe not being the nicest person all the time, especially when it comes to self talk. How does that meet Inner Mean Girl fit into the concept you’re speaking of.

Ashley Graham  08:28

So I identify the Inner Mean Girl as almost kind of the inner critic. And again, it’s kind of directly connected to that inner roommate where it’s the voice that wants to keep us in the protective place, it wants us to stay in the familiar arity and wants us to stay and wants us to stay in one place that may not always be that might not always be the best place for us. And you know, as myself I’m in kind of the the transformative place of kind of overcoming mindset, hurdles or blocks, especially from the PR side. But again, the the mean girl wants to keep you in one place from not progressing forward. Whereas the conscious voice speaks loving words speaks nurturing words, and literally gives you that validation and the confidence to be like, I can be a person to step into this role. Or I can be a person who travels in my life and I can have I can be this person to be abundant and all of my experience type of things. That’s the conscious voice, the conscious voice supports you or as the inner critic, or the main girl wants to hold you back.

Lindsay Recknell  09:38

Got it? Okay, that makes a ton of sense to me. So if the inner critic has been the loudest voice in a person’s life, how the heck do we body check that inner critic the heck out of here and start to listen to only the conscious voice or to listen to the conscious voice most often because if it was easy. I feel like we all would have done it already. So how do we how do we, how do we start the booting the curb to the curb of this inner critic?

Ashley Graham  10:09

Yeah, there’s so many different modalities that I feel can kind of help almost reprogram the way that you have that inner communication with yourself versus or having the communication with the conscious voice versus the inner critic or the inner roommate. And I am still not an expert by this by any means. But I think some of the biggest shifts for myself personally has been understanding first the narrative and when the inner critic is coming in versus when the conscious voice is coming in. So kind of touching upon meditation and journaling, I try to write out in a very tangible way to be able to like reflect and see the differences between when the inner critic does coming through versus the conscious voice. And there’s so much reprogramming that we have to do in order to kind of move through the ebbs and flows of those different voices that are coming through are those internal dialogues that are coming through. And there’s other modalities such as mirror work, if maybe journaling is not necessarily something that you’re accustomed to, or maybe it’s hard for you to sit down and actually write out your thoughts, there’s mirror work that you can do as well, which is almost again, creating that conversation, it’s just more in a physical sense. So there are a number of teachers a number of and a number of leaders or even books that really, you know, touch on this. But I think one of the biggest, like shifts that you can do in the beginning stages is really feeling out what works for you, but then also starting to train yourself to recognize when the inner critic is coming in versus when the conscious voice is coming in and starting to really put attention of being like, Okay, this is this is the difference, the recognition of the difference, and then, right, yeah. So I liked that you said that there are people to help with this, because this feels hard.  So the the book that you recommend that you recommended, I have heard of that book, also, it definitely know it to be to be a really great one. Is this work that you do? Or is this you know, do you have any recommendations on people who do do this work to support others? Yeah, so it’s not something that I do currently in this stage. However, I do feel that there is some kind of like correlation between again, the mindset and the confidence of what it takes for somebody to step into thought leadership and wanting to get their their stories or their messages heard through media that is public. But it’s something that I want to start integrating into kind of the flow of working through the mindset hurdles, getting to the place of being confident and then showing up to be able to share the conscious voice with the clients. But again, that is something to come. But if anybody is interested in leaders, I am more than happy to kind of pass over some recommendations if anybody just wants to reach out and I can make some personal introductions of people that I think would be able to help. Oh, amazing, hard to think of all the names on the top of my head right now.

Lindsay Recknell  13:33

Well, and I might have put you on the spot about that one. So thank you very much for the for the kind offer, if people can reach out to you, for sure. Towards the end of this conversation. I’ll ask you about how people can get a hold of you. And then we’ll put all those links into the show notes. So folks who are listening, please stay tuned for that. So I can see how this work would be really, really valuable for us personally. Can you talk a little bit about what kind of transformation has occurred in your life since you’ve been focused on this work?

Ashley Graham  14:08

Yeah, a couple of experiences that come top of mind and again, they’re they’re pretty recent. I’m going to speak about the pandemic because I think again, that is the big elephant in the room. Still, there’s still so much weight of the just the experience of moving through a pandemic that I as with many people, I’m sure you never could fathom that you are going to move through a global pandemic and the way that we’ve had to experience it. But prior to the pandemic, and even during, you know, locked down, I didn’t know exactly what to do, like the world around me kind of came to a stop but I myself didn’t even know what actions or courses to take to kind of get myself out of a stagnant place.  And because I was able or given the opportunity to sit with a lot of solitude and kind of literally just rely on you know, modalities such as journaling, meditating and all the other things that I kind of sat with, I was able to really make a significant shift in my life within, you know, six months of just kind of creating my own better routines and my own mindfulness practices, to where I went from living in one city that just didn’t really feel aligned for myself, and then made a jump made a conscious effort to move during the pandemic. And now I feel that, regardless of what external things are happening in the world, my life is moving in a way more conscious direction than it was at the time previously. And I’m more than happy to dive into some other specifics.

Lindsay Recknell  15:48

But I think that that’s just like a good, a good starting point. Well, and it feels it doesn’t feel so hopefully, if you know, I, I liked what you said about your perspective is amazing. In the like, forward thinking about it, you know, you the language you used was, you had the opportunity to sit in solitude, and many people would go, damn it, I was alone for a whole bunch of months, like this was terrible, but your perspective was to look for it feels like to look for the opportunity in that and really take advantage of that time to reflect and to start working on your on your conscious voice. Absolutely. And then, to see, like, let’s just talk about the move, for example, to see how that work. And that listening, you kicked the Inner Mean Girl out of the out of here, and made that jump took the what I had to imagine was a courageous move, to get you to this place where it feels like you’re aligned, and you’re moving in a direction that you want to be moving in. That’s

Ashley Graham  16:56

It is. And ometimes I have these really weird reality checks where I’ll have a thought, I wouldn’t say necessarily that it’s the inner critic or the inner roommate, but sometimes I’ll have this just kind of like visual in my mind of being like, oh, my gosh, I used to once at one point live in a very small place, didn’t know what I was doing full on scarcity mode and my thoughts and holding on to money and holding on to resources as if they were never going to come to me again, to within two years being fully on the other end of the spectrum to where I live abundantly and the way that I think I live abundantly in the way that I move through the world. And I sometimes ask myself, I’m like, where did this woman where did this thought process? Where did this voice come from? Because that was not the voice that I had two years ago. So I have these just again, weird reality checks where I’m like, Oh, my gosh, this is really where the transformation happened. And I have these, these moments where I’m like, This is what everybody’s been talking about. This is the transformation. This is the evolution that Yes, I heard as buzzwords and I heard as, you know, the, the identification, but now that I’m living in it, I’m like, Okay, now it all makes sense. Now I understand why people get into that work. And they preach it and they promote it as much as they do. So it’s interesting to be on the other side. I imagine well, and to have the, I don’t know, the tangible proof that it works. Should you believe in yourself? And should you follow that conscious voice who’s trying to get you to do the right thing? I like so here I’m thinking about, okay, cool. I’m going to do this thing. I’m going to do something big and scary that I’ve been putting off. What if what is that conscious voice that you’re listening to you think you’re listening to? Turns out to be the wrong thing?

Lindsay Recknell  19:04

How does this work prep you for scenarios like that? Because I imagine it does.

Ashley Graham  19:12

It does. And the biggest thing that’s coming up for me right now around that is just knowing and trusting that whatever happens, plus or minus good or bad. It’s what needs to happen in that moment to again, get you in the next step. So I guess with myself on my own experiences, I constantly have these anchor points within my timeline that are like you can either move through this because it’s coming through for a reason. Or you can go back to the protective self and be like, the outcome of this feels scary. I’m not going to push through it. And there’s going to be moments where if you do take leaps of faith or leaps of hope, we’ll call it leaps of hope. that you’re going to be presented with an opportunity to make another leap of hope. And then you really have to, it’s almost like training your mind to be like this next leap of hope is coming up, because again, it’s going to continue to push forward, the leaps are never ending, and they’re always going to come through, and it’s a good opportunity to challenge you on if you’re going to again, take that next leap, regardless of what the outcome is. Or if you’re going to go back to the protective self, the inner roommate that knows and wants to stay in the bubble of protection, the bubble of comfort, yes, the comfort zone.

Lindsay Recknell  20:35

I like what you said about the leap, because the imagery of that says to me, action, moving it moving a direction, it doesn’t have to be forward, it could be sideways, it could be backwards, who’s to know, but it does indicate action to me. And people who listen to the show all the time, recognize that my definition of hope, is taking action over the things we can control, leading to a future better than today. And so it’s cool, like, you set me up very nicely on the segue to talk about hope in this context, how do you think like, how does this work, give you hope?

Ashley Graham  21:20

I believe this type of work gives you hope, because it shows you what other experiences and opportunities that you could have in your life. I believe that this? I don’t know. I think it just opens up opportunities for you. And I am all about living a life that is not routine by any means. I am a curious by nature type of individual. And yes, I can have, you know, goals and aspirations of what I want in the future. But I’ve learned to not live through a cookie cutter model of what I need to be doing. Because that’s the norm or what others perceive to be what you need to be living. And I guess a good example of that is, you know, I’m in my early 30s. And by now by old social norms, I should have been married and have children and yada, yada, yada, that is a kind of a cookie cutter model of life from the woman’s perspective. And it’s not that, you know, those things aren’t to come. But I’ve put the trust in the faith that they’ll come when they’re ready to come type of thing. And to bring it back again. The question is, I think it’s just just leaving through curiosity. And just knowing that every single anchor point that’s to come is just going to get you to another opportunity or another experience that maybe you had never thought about which might and always does serve you in the end.

Lindsay Recknell  22:58

Yeah, that feels very hopeful. Just the opportunity of that, and the curiosity is a huge is a huge piece of that and kind of living into that exploration of what’s possible. Feels very hopeful. Yeah. So I have to imagine as you do this work, there must be some gotchas, some things or experiences that has that would come up as you go through this journey that might be useful for people to know, in case they can watch for them and maybe take a different path or make a different decision or something like that. Could you share any gotchas that people could watch for?

Ashley Graham  23:37

Yeah, ya. So speaking through experience, and making this conscious shift of being able to identify kind of past ways of thinking versus more of your conscious ways of thinking, is becoming aware of relationships or experiences that might have reflected the way that you would think previously versus the way that you think now, and some examples could either be scarcity, ways of thinking, when given an opportunity to either make a huge investment that’s going to get you into the next path or the next course in your life. I feel that you’re always constantly going to be presented with experiences or again, people who mimic old versions of you versus more kind of future more conscious versions of you.

Lindsay Recknell  24:38

I think that is brilliant. I think that’s brilliant insight, especially about the people, because hindsight is 2020

Ashley Graham  24:50

And if I look back on some of the people that were important characters in my life, there’s definitely some who I would not choose again, not that I regret those experiences, but definitely folks who represented the Inner Mean Girl partnership instead of the conscious voice partnership that I would desire to have, knowing differently, you know, and I think that that’s really cool to think about, just consciously, but to like, be aware of those people in our lives currently, who may be reinforcing that inner critic who may be not helping us and supporting us to follow the conscious voice that we know is good for us. I think that’s a really great insight, just to be aware, so for anybody who’s listening, you know, take a look at those around you who are prominent figures in your life and see what kind of influence they’re having on, you’re living your best life.

Lindsay Recknell  26:02

You know, there, you’ve probably heard this before. But there’s something to be said for You are the embodiment of the five people you hang out with the most. And I think that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the last five years is making sure to surround myself with people that are supporting the person that I want to be that that in your, you know, in to use your language, the person that’s encouraging that conscious voice.

Ashley Graham  26:27

Absolutely, I had posted a quote, that kind of rings true. And I think that that’s a big reason why I mentioned, you know, the experiences and the relationships, and also the people that this quote that I shared, and I can never remember exactly who had stated the quote. So I’m going to say that this is not my quote, it was something that I had heard years ago during my entrepreneur and leadership journey. But it states that if you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. And part of my journey of moving out of the inner comfort zone into this abundant conscious woman is really challenging myself to put myself in very uncomfortable rooms where there are way significantly more smart and abundant people than I am. And it’s just a great way to just like grow and expand. And you know, as long as you are around the right, you know, the circle and the community, those who maybe do not live through their judgment, or greed or envy or whatever, but they’re abundant, financially, mentally, emotionally, physically, in a way that is holistic with you, like you can learn so much about those people. But making that leap, and that shift from the experiences and relationships and then your own your own way of thinking and you are still going to meet people and experiences that are going to, again, bring you to this middle ground to ask you do you want to go left in the fork of the road? Or do you want to go the right, and it’s just all around training yourself of not taking those experiences or those potential bumps? Personally, it’s never personal. It’s just to kind of check in with you and to see hey, are you going to go back left to your comfort? Are you gonna go right to get through your your Leap of hope? Comfort, every time comfort? No. I am real uncomfortable these days.

Lindsay Recknell  28:31

Which feels good coming out the other side of it, I imagined that it feels terrible in the middle. But why do you come out the other side and speaking out quotes. One of the quotes that I love comes from Robin Sharma in his book 5am Club. And he says, change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle, and glorious at the end. And I just I just think that that epitomizes all the transitions we ever go through in life because it’s hard to make the change. It’s a big disaster in the middle, often disaster pies and friendzone I call it and then glorious when you come out the other side because it’s you know, especially when you know that it’s bringing you closer into alignment or some finding some sort of life integration. It just feels really really great at the end.

Ashley Graham  29:25

Yeah, so there. Yeah, right. Glorious that word. Well, glorious and life integration. I’m like, Oh, that is a big one. Yes, it feels so good. You know, people talk about work life integration or work life balance. And somebody said to me, no, no, life has to come first. It needs to be a life integration. We need to integrate all the other things into our lives because we are humans first and other identities second, I would say so I’ve been trying to keep focused on that.

Lindsay Recknell  30:00

Life integration concept. Yeah. Love it. Well, it has been such a delight hanging out with you this afternoon it is I have learned so, so much. And thank you for, for allowing me to challenge a little bit some of the concepts because, you know, I, I’m naturally a skeptical person. I like to think that through this work, I have become much more open minded, as the years have progresses as I’ve gone on this journey. But it’s only because I get to ask curious questions of, you know, smart people full of wisdom like you. So thank you for allowing me to ask those questions. So that we can all learn from your from from your journey, and from what you’ve learned as well. I wrap up the show every time by asking the same question. And I feel like I asked a version of it earlier, but I’d love to hear from you. Actually, what gives you hope.

Ashley Graham  30:58

What gives me hope is incredible people such as yourself, who give an opportunity for others to share stories that in turn impacts and influences other people. I believe, again, talking about the five core people that we surround ourselves with, and our mentors, like we can learn so much from each other. And what gives me hope is just having the conversations that really impact other people’s lives.

Lindsay Recknell  31:30

Me too, that also gives me hope i it is, you know, I say it a lot. Getting the opportunity to have people like you on my show and to learn from is the best part of my life. Truly, I don’t feel like this is a job at all or my work. It is just my pleasure. So thank you for being here on the show. I have learned a ton. Tell us how we can get a hold of you when everyone is going to bombard you with questions about the conscious.

Ashley Graham  31:59

Yeah, so the best way to connect with me right now is over on LinkedIn. And you can find me Ashley Graham, or at the conscious publicist.

Lindsay Recknell  32:08

Amazing. We will link to all of those places in the show notes as well to make it real simple for people. Thank you again for joining us, I look forward to keeping the conversation going. Yet another incredible story. I mean, I literally say that after every episode, but I wouldn’t publish episodes I didn’t think were incredible. Now what I I mentioned in the introduction, that it’s my sincere privilege to share space with these guests to bring their stories and their expertise to the podcast airwaves. And honestly, I learned so much from their wisdom at the same time. That’s the thing about this work. It’s in the storytelling, the language we use to express our innermost narratives. That’s what has the most power of transformation. Sometimes when we don’t know the words to use, we just won’t say anything at all. And that can lead to negative rumination when the stressors in our lives can lead to burnout. The topic of burnout stress and why the differences between the two matter is something we talk a lot about in my most popular training workshop titled from burnout to hope. In this 60 minute workshop, you’ll learn to apply evidence based strategies and tactics to reverse your feelings of overwhelm and languishing and activate the hope circuit in your brain for a future better than today. It’s transformational, personal, and dare I say, guaranteed to increase your hope levels. You’ve heard me say it 100 times. But I believe that fear is louder in the dark. And talking about loud about the fears, aspirations, and the anxiety inducing situations we find ourselves in is an amazing way to move towards the transformation of a future better than today. If you’d like to learn more about language, and how you can leverage the science of hope in your life, I’d love to share from burnout to hope training workshop with you. You can find more information about it on my website at expertinhope.com/burnouttohope. I truly believe that the future will be better than today by taking action over the things we can control and conversations like this really reinforced that hope. Looking forward to keeping the conversation going. So reach out anytime. As always. I’m here when you need me.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Lindsay Recknell | Expert in Hope | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

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