Nov. 24, 2021

E143 Become CHIC after Childhood Trauma with Ashley Ryckman | CPTSD and Trauma Healing Coach

In this episode, I sit with my friend, Ashley Ryckman. Ashley and I have connected quite a bit over the last few months, and our collaboration of having some powerful conversations around creating massive change in the world. I particularly enjoyed...
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In this episode, I sit with my friend, Ashley Ryckman. Ashley and I have connected quite a bit over the last few months, and our collaboration of having some powerful conversations around creating massive change in the world. I particularly enjoyed this conversation with Ashley because it's just such a great reminder, even to myself, that no matter where we come from, we can create the life we want to have. We create, whether it's the business or the family, or whatever that vision is we have for our life no matter what we come from.

Ashley is a wife and Mompreneur of six beautiful humans! She is passionate about what she does and committed to helping women worldwide believe they deserve a life of love and abundance. Ashley's story is harrowing, and it's daunting at times, but it's beautiful and powerful.

We need some time to understand that anything is possible. We are all on this planet together, whether going through this journey together. And in this conversation, we're going to dive into many different topics, not only becoming the hero of her own story but choosing to put herself first and identifying ways in her methods that she's been able to empower other people to do the same. I'm looking forward to you listening or watching it today!

-Be Unbroken.

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Michael Unbroken here – author, speaker, coach, entrepreneur, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma, and you are listening to the Michael Unbroken Podcast. I'm super excited today, be joined by my guest Ashley Ryckman, the creator of Chic Boutique, is that right? Did I get that right?

Ashley: Yes, you did. Is that it right.

Michael: All right, I get caught up on those words, sometimes, as they're coming out of my mouth and I'm like, wait words. And I'm so excited to have you here because you are empowering women and creating a movement that, I get behind in a really intensive way and I feel the alignment of your mission and my mission to kind of try and do whatever we can to create change in the world. So, actually, thank you so much for being here today before we get started, tell everybody about how you got to this moment.

Ashley: Thank you so much, Michael. I'm super excited to be here. What an honor and especially because our hearts and missions are so aligned with what we're trying to create. So this is just a collaboration that makes sense, so thank you so much for having me and for speaking and to my community as well. So my name's Ashley, I'm super stoked to be here. I was a stay-at-home mom for about a decade of 16 children that we actually had the opportunity to foster through foster care. So I deaf as well as surviving my own childhood trauma. I've also helped a lot of little humans to process there's as well. And it really led me into this ability to serve people really well where they were and to meet them where they were after becoming a foster parent and adopting a few children from Foster Care, actually.

I started a business, it was actually started as a way to put one of my special needs kiddos through private schooling. He wasn't driving in the public schooling and didn't really learn and in a way that met their criteria and we were having a lot of problems. And so I just knew I had to create a different learning environment if I wanted him to be successful and really advocate and be his voice in that. So I had actually worked really hard, I started a boutique. I actually started by selling my personal clothing out of my own closet and transitioned into really just creating this community of women for last three years. I've really had the honor to facilitate conversation and healing and really confidence both from the inside out and the outside in.

So it's been a really fun journey.

Michael: That's beautiful. I love that. And I love your mission and the fact that you have like – honestly the truth is, I don't think people always say things like this, but you have sacrificed so much of yourself for other people and that's beautiful, incredible and special and I'm super proud of you for doing that because I think it's in those moments that we create real change in the world. And you know, I was never in foster care myself, but I was around it a lot and in foster homes and some of those places, the stories I have never shared what I've experienced in those places and I never will, right? Because I don't think I say, I don't want to and I don't think that kind of terror needs to exist in the world, but I do know how bad it can truly be. And so every time I hear of someone who has fostered children, I'm so thankful, when I know that person has a good heart spirit, and soul because that creates huge change and you probably have saved a child's life and multiple obviously, with the effort and energy that you put it in the world.

And I just wish that more people would understand, like – foster care is not always this beautiful thing, even though we really want it to be. What I want to ask you about here as we step into this conversation. How does one even get to that place, you know, we're offered the opportunity every single day through our life to show up in to live in this way that is beyond us, that is bigger than us that is for other people. And Western Society in America, especially often we're super selfish like – I will be the first to admit it and one of my big missions in life is to make money so that I can foster children.

It has been something on my heart for fucking ever like, honestly because I want to create that kind of change. What was that process like for you? Because I know for a fact that there are our parents, who are foster parents listening right now, who have a journey to. What was it like for you to go through and be like, I'm gonna do this? I'm going to create this?

Ashley: Yeah, so there's a couple of things that I want to unpack in that. One is to answer your question and that is, I knew at a very young age even growing up, people want to be different things when they grew up, always wanted to be a mom, it was actually one of my goals is I wanted to be 30 and a mom and I've always wanted to have a really large family. And in my early 20s, I got married very young, I met my husband at 17, we were both, I was in high school, he was in college and I got married at 19 by 21, I was ready to have a family but my body was rejecting that idea. So I'd gone through a couple of miscarriages and was like – you know, it's interesting to look back on because it's sort of this retrospect view of me just never taking no for an answer. If I wasn't going to be able all to have children, I was going to be able, you know, I would help someone else's. And so that's what really started. It something that you said that a lot of times and I love that I get to talk in this community because most communities, I would have just let the oh, it's so great that you did this and you've sacrificed so much would also like to point out that one of the ways sometimes that trauma survivors, me, being one of them cope is with codependency, which sometimes looks to the outside world like having, you know, you are like a saint, you're like a martyr, you sacrifice all this time, but really, if I'm looking in retrospect at the last 10 years and being able to pour into children. Some of that was my own codependency coming back and, having the ability to help them heal instead of focusing on me, because I believe that as a survivor, sometimes it's easier for us. He goes one of two ways, you either end up in this codependent mindset where just going to take care of everybody else because I can control that and it's easier than taking care of me, especially if one of your limiting beliefs is that I'm not good enough, so you are always trying to love other people or it can be this mindset of I don't need anyone and I'm just going to do me and I'm just going to do it for me.

So I was on the opposite spectrum of that and while everything came out, okay, and I was a really great mom to these kids and I've helped so any of them reunite with their families. A lot of it too was just I wanted to love someone, I wanted them to reciprocate that and that was kind of the journey into it.

And so for me, the ability to show up for these kids and that way was super important because I always looked at it as what did I need in my trauma space at that age? What did I need? Well, I needed someone who was going to look past the behavior to the need, because something that I've learned with working with trauma kids and in, really adults as well, whenever there's a behavior, whether it's into irrational intense anger, whether it's being super sad, whether it's you know, self-sabotage, there's usually an emotion or a limiting belief behind that. So what I was unintentionally doing over the last decade is really learning how to look for the need behind behavior both with children and with adults. And I think that has really set me up in a way to be able to connect with a lot of empathy to people.

Michael: Yeah, that's really beautiful. And I recognize that in your journey, especially like in the connection we've had and how you lead with your heart and like – people say that and it's like this nonchalant passing in the night kind of topic anymore, just like authenticity, like people just like to throw words around with nothing behind them and like meeting and connecting you I was like, that's not what's happening here, this is a person that is actually literally led with their heart and beautiful. You know, and that's one of the parts of this Chic thing, right? Which is an acronym and heart, being a part of that. Talk about what is CHIC like, what does that mean?

Ashley: Yeah, so it was sort of me again, looking in retrospect at the tools that help me get through every stage because if we look at our life in stage, we've got the adolescent years, we bought these, you know, young adult 20s, we've got the 30s, then if we look back at the challenges, there starts to become patterns, at least, I found that there was my life that getting through these challenges was really me doing the same for things.

So this idea of becoming CHIC when I went to put pen to paper and I thought, how did I survive? How did I get through this? And what did I have to really get in order for me to start living life? Not just surviving, not just putting myself in one, you know, because as a child, I went through a lot of trauma and a lot of chaos, I grew up in chaos and then, as a young adult created, a lot of my own chaos, which, as I healed, I learned again, was my body physically didn't know how to perform when it wasn't in chaos.

And so when I started really exploring that and sitting down, I recognized four pillars that I had to master to kind of be on this journey of healing and becoming sheep and that was (A) I had to master my CONFIDENCE, so that was the first “C”. I had to learn how to manage myself and cheer for myself and champion myself because I had spent so much time trying to be what everyone thought that I should in order to get their approval and their love because again, my limiting trauma belief was, I'm not good enough so I tried to be what everybody else, you know, wanted me to be. And when I learned that, I really just have to just crush the goals and clap for my own damn self and while the accolades of the outside word or suit, you know, it's affirming when people tell you that you're on the right track, right? But it's never always going to be there, you're the voice that you hear and you have to learn how to be your own champion. And really when you learn to do that, you start to build your confidence. I loved the episode where you were, I don't even remember the name, I was listening to it yesterday. You were talking about like confidence shows up in how you show up for yourself and how you take care of yourself. You know, so people can say that they're confident but like not being confident shows, it shows in your your lack of energy, it shows in your inability to complete tasks and so that was the first one for me. And then I had to learn how to master my health and that kind of is still something that I'm working on because this is a journey, you know, I really have started healing and the last five years and health was something that I kept putting off but I recognized the part of being confident in part of healing, like – when you're dissatisfied with parts of your body, it shows up as five extra pounds, ten extra pounds, people don't like to hear that, it seems condemnation all but it really does. And so me really having the ability to recognize like, okay, what if my spiritual health look, like? What does my mental health look like? Am I seeking counseling? Am I seeking mentorship where I need to be and what am I feeling my body with? Both what I'm digesting, you know through my mouth and through my mind, right?

So it's a really that pillar of help. The “I” for me is INTUITION because I believe that you do so well in your ability to show this and to mirror this for people, but it's really learning again, how to champion yourself, how to trust yourself, how to not need to ask 15 people for permission before you speak or what do you think or is this a good idea? Or is it like until you can learn to rely on your own intuition, sometimes that spiritual people. So if you have a spiritual relationship, you know, you might call that the holy ghost or you might call that in different religions, you might call it different things, but it's really this ability to get quiet with your own thoughts and with your own gut instincts and learn to trust yourself because a lot of times, I feel like people who have been through trauma, their power is continuously taken away, so their ability to trust what their mind is, telling them and channel that has been reduced.

And then, the last “C” is COMMUNITY, which you and I are both. So wholeheartedly passionate about because you're not special in your pain, we have all work here, they're listening to you because your message of the ability to heal this childhood trauma resonates with them.

So, I think for a lot of people and for me, personally, I spent a lot of time feeling special like, I'm the only person who went through this, and I was a really great at having pity parties for myself. But what I learned was that when I recognized like Ashley, you're not special one and three, and if probably more than that, women will be abuse in their lifetime and I'm sure you know, this is the statistics of men as well. So, when I learned that, I'm not the only one, it empowered me to be able to speak up for those who wouldn't and to empower others to stand up for themselves and to share their story without shame as well. So that really is what the acronym means to me in regards to healing.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, take them to church Ash, like for real because I think about the way that all of those things like cross, all of the borders of this healing journey. One of the biggest parts of this for me is community and confidence are so important. And if you're not taking care of your health, you are not healing, and the biggest thing is like the intuition part. I mean, you hit it right on the head like not asking 15 people for permission, which is also simultaneously terrifying because we are ingrained and embedded with the idea to not follow our intuition because when we do there are ramifications, and that's got to be one of the most difficult parts of this whole journey is getting the point where you trust yourself, right? Now, as you're in this and as you're building, as you grow and stepping into realizing and self-actualizing like – ultimately becoming the person that you are today, there were struggles, this was always these. I think a lot of times people here, they listen to podcast, they go read the book and they go man that person's miles and miles and miles ahead of me but you said something really important, you said I recognize like, I'm still on this journey but they're people who are terrified that even take the first step. If I'm listening right now and I'm like deep in it, I'm resonating, I understand what you're saying, I'm this person who I'm seeking help, guidance, love, community, care, fostering, all whatever it is that we want to use. I actually, where do I even start? Like, what do I?

Ashley: Yeah, so I like to say that. You know, courage starts with one step and if you can get to the point where you're taking one courageous step after another, that's when you really start to step into your queen. And so, for your kings that are listening, it's the same concept, but I think what I recognized from my audience, as I was sharing, I do Facebook live shopping. So this didn't really start as me coaching, it started as me showing up selling wigs and lashes and lip gloss, okay, what I did, that's what I've done for three years and that's how I built my community. And what I recognized was people would say like, how do I get the joy that you've got?

Like, where do I start? I think it starts with recognizing you're not alone. And if you're listening to this, you're probably there, you're probably like, okay, Michael has been pouring into me and I recognized that he was here and now he's here and so where do I go? And so to answer your question, I think it starts with one person, just step and I just started piecing away at it.

So I have these pillars, I'm like, okay, I gotta learn how to be more confident. I've got to start taking care of my health man. I've got to start taking care of me because I think codependent healers like myself, they'll take care of everyone but they always put themselves last they will always eat last, they will sleep less if it means they get to support someone else. And so getting real serious about my health and then recognizing, okay, here's where I need to be, so how can I take smaller bites of this? Maybe health means, I'm going to sleep for 8 hours and really, it's a form of self-love. You talked about this on your podcast, how taking care of yourself is self-love. You know, we get total, you have love yourself, you gotta love yourself but what does that look like? Right? What does that really mean? So, being intentional about taking care of your body, you get one, you get one, right?

And wherever you are today, you can make a define change just by saying I'm going to sleep more, I'm a drink a little bit more water, the next time I have a really big decision to make, I'm going to rely on me. Because here's what happens when you don't trust your instinct and especially if you're on a healing journey, and you're not really to be emotional level of like, it took me a really long time in my journey. I don't know about you, Michael, I'd love to hear your opinion to get to the point where I took 100% blame for both the positive and the good things in my life.

So for me, let me walk you through what I mean by that. So for me, it was like, I would ask six people what I should do and then my gut would be saying you should do it a different way, but I would listen to everybody else and then I would be resentful with myself in them because I listen to them. So I wasn't taking accountability, is the word I was trying to use. I wasn't taking accountability for the fact that they're not me, my gut told me something else

So intuition, it's really just like when you are in a point where you need to like decompress taken as couple seconds and journaling about it, instead of calling your best friend because sometimes that community, we keep we all have a community. I don't know if it's a positive or a negative, you have to decide for yourself, right? So as a woman, I had a community that whenever I was struggling, they would be like, Oh, yeah, girl, you got to stand up for yourself, you got to start doing it this, you got to let these people know when really, I needed someone to tell me to sit down, and I knew that I probably just needed to sit down and take a minute, but I didn't trust myself. So learning how to really step into that, it's little steps guys, it's little. You can't eat an elephant all at one time and this is something that has taken me. I've been walking this out for six years intentionally, you know, and it's always striving to just level up a little more and push yourself a little further.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I'm right there with them. I'm in full agreement. I mean, I get canceled, probably like, I don't know, six, seven times a week, right? And that often comes from this place, I'm dead serious like, I'll show you the email sometimes it's crazy what I get, because I will literally put people into this position of trying to create a reframing around, what they understand about fault responsibility blame, shame, guilt in their life. And ultimately at the end of the day and I apply this to my life, this is like leading, by example, everything in my life is my fault, everything good and everything bad because fault means responsibility, right? But we've shifted the word in the definition into this thing, where like fault means that somehow you're always culpable for the only the bad, but if your life is successful, if you get up in an on a stage and you win, if you connect with people that you love, if you lead through all the things, all of the great things in your life, there your fault, too, but you have to be willing to accept it. Now, here's an interesting thought, and I've been on my journey for four years, right? I've always been trying to level up and become the next version of me. I don't think this journey ever ends, I share this all the time.

Unfortunately, we are in the community dedicated to always being on this journey because that's what we come from. Talk to me about what it's like because really, I think, like – people hear the word confidence and they don't get it, it doesn't resonate, it's terrifying because I, at 27 years old, for the first time, realize I had zero self-esteem, 350-pound, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, drinking myself to sleep, zero self-esteem and so, I sought it from other people. My codependency lived in trying to get other people to acknowledge me through sex, through all these things, and not understanding and realizing like, it started with the reflection in the mirror. Talk to me about the shift of reframing in that, you had within the relationship of yourself, despite the hardships of the lessons that you learned.

Ashley: So I think the easiest way to tell you is to tell you a quick story. When I was 25 years old and I spoke about this on stage. I come to this precipice in my life where I had, adopted for children, but it had been incredibly tumultuous that year. We would go to court and I would think they were going to walk home with my last name and this is a five-year journey. Five years trying to adopt them and so we would get a court date and I had all the best dresses for pictures and all the signs that would say, I became a Ryckman today and three times we went to Port expecting that, their last name would be Ryckman and three times, it was postponed and I was heartbroken. I had lost a baby that year, I had pulled away from my husband, I mean everything was falling down around me, everything.

And as my version of rock bottom, I looked myself in the mirror and I knew like if I can't figure out what's missing, if I can't figure out in me, what can spark me again? I'm gonna lose everything and I started on this healing journey by going back to church and I had these mentors that would talk to me and I really started recognizing I think that my relationships, I couldn't change how my husband treated me or how my mom responded to me or how people in life respond to me or chose not to when they you know, kind of turned away, but I could control my response to it. So I could control not firing back if someone was negative to me and I could control a loving environment when my child, and we're having hard moments and really things started getting better because I stopped living reactively and I really gave the opportunity for kind of a breathing moment before I would respond, and I would start winning in my relationship.

So, my marriage got better, because when my husband would say something hurtful and there's so much to impact their, my husband is amazing, man, we have a great relationship. I grew up, I was very verbally abusive to him especially in our younger years and we would be loyal and vinegar and I stopped being that version of me. I really started controlling what came out of my mouth and what went into my brain and I started controlling the narrative in my head about my day. And I started setting intentions about what my day would look like and what I was going to accept and not accept from other people and from myself in the way that they treated me. And I started to when I answer to winner relationships, I believe that confidence is really a small series of wins. So I started winning in my relationships because I started changing the narrative by changing the way I responded even to negative feedback. And then professionally, I started with thanks small micro wins, it might be that I made and I got an email from someone that said, hey, you changed my life. Now, I don't want to miss communicate that affirmations from the world or what you need in order to build your own confidence. However, it all works simultaneously because when you're a part of a good community, they will help build you up when you're weak because we all have these moments where it's hard for us to pull ourselves out. So, being involved in a right community, I think will help build your confidence, but for me, confidence isn't like you can wear a certain kind of clothes or it's not you look a certain way.

Confidence is the ability to step in a room, 100% comfortable with who you are regardless of what's going on around you, that would be the definition of confidence, in my opinion. Confidence is the ability to be able to step in any room and be comfortable in who you are regardless of what's going on around you because for a lot of time in my life my confidence depended on what the temperature of the people around me, or how I thought they felt for thought about me. And when I became really confident with who I was, and what I had to offer, it was almost the spirit of just rest instead of this anxious, anxiety of am I going to be accepted? Hopefully I communicated that well.

Michael: Totally and I think people get caught up in trying to have it all at one time. And the truth is like this is a marathon, right? Because when I go back and look at the moments of this journey in my life and thinking about all of the most pivotal turns in which I made a choice is when I most grew and you said something like really wonderful that I don't think people acknowledge enough. And that was like, you used to be mean to your husband and an earlier, I want people to understand this.

You've got to understand just because you were that way yesterday doesn't mean you have to be that way tomorrow and an instant, you can create change in your life because I was the same way I have a no yelling role in my life, all I ever did was yell, if you yell at me, I will never talk to you again, like for real, for real. Because the thing that I understood was the only thing I ever knew growing up was being yelled at screamed at right? And it just triggers me so intensely like I don't even want to deal with it.

So if you're my friend, if you're my best friend, if you're my coworker, if you're my lover, like it doesn't matter who you are in my life, you yell at me, like, we're gonna have a problem, but a queen is like, if you're going to respond, if you want that, you have to reciprocate it and that comes action. Talk to me about action? Because I think that's the little hidden word in all of this that I want to pull out of you right now. Talk about the actual steps that you've had to take in the journey to get to where you are.

Ashley: Okay. So action one, and you've commented on a couple of times and that was getting really real with the part that I was playing in the things that were negative in my life. So, in my marriage, because I grew up in a family that there was a lot of yelling sometimes and that's how things were were dealt with. I was just screaming all the time because emotionally reactive and I had to like – get really real with the part that I played. So it's easy for people to see a relationship failing and be like, what's because they did X, Y, Z, but we have a part in that, right? And sometimes we play a really amazing part and it just doesn't work out, and the other person doesn't change either but what I've learned is that, if I could change how to respond, and this is in everything. So I really want you guys to get this, when I change the way I responded to my children. When I started taking them to therapy, it's because I thought therapist would fix them. You know, what the therapist did? They taught me how to respond to the behavior better, every time and I will tell you, I've had so many children we've gone through every kind of therapy there is, play therapy, to MEDR, you name it, I've sat through it and the underlining was Ashley, you've got a respond to them differently and my marriage when I would want to fire, I would say, you know what, that was really hurtful. I love you, but I'm not going to accept that, that is truth about myself and I would say this out loud because I was codependent. So, I had to really learn how to break this cycle with parents, sometimes, especially if we've been through trauma that involved our parents and we've kept them around and it's still not a really great situation. I had to change the way I responded that like, yes, I love you. I'm leave space here, but I'm not going to allow this.

So one of it is, the first action step worked for me was, getting real with the part I play, no longer allowing things that didn't serve me just like you said, the yelling, it's no, this is a hard line, this is a, no, I don't accept that because I don't deserve it. And I think sometimes especially for me because that limiting belief of, I'm not good enough. I would just accept whatever people gave me as, that's what I deserve and my entire brand became believe you deserve it because it's the mantra I needed to hear the most.

So it was, you know, I'm not going to accept this and also not accepting crap from yourself either, not accepting. I'm telling you guys, everyone's like I want the magic pill. How do I get better? Ummm, stop lying to yourself. Get really, really real with what you're creating in – because we're all creators, we can create positive in this world or you're creating all the time. If you are not dead, you are created. So are you creating joy and hope and connection, and positivity, or you creating the opposite of all those things?

So, how do you get really serious with myself about what I was creating in the world around me. And that is really the transition of change was getting really honest with myself. No longer accepting what I didn't deserve from, from anyone including me and learning how to keep my promises to myself.

Michael: Yeah. It's so incredibly important that's such a big part of what people go through in coaching with me and because that's what I had to do. I had this moment, looking in the mirror and just saying like what are you willing to do to have the life, you want to have? In the words no excuses, just results came into my head and became the precursor and catalyst for everything that I do. Because ultimately, like, I'm an amazing liar, I'm the best lawyer you've ever met in your life because I had to learn it as a survival tactic, I watched my mother lie, my community lie, my teacher is lie, my neighbors, like my grandmother lie and so, I was thinking about how, you know, it's so funny thing about this, the other day. We would go out to dinner and my mom would lie to the restaurant and they would we get our food for free, right? So that's the first thing I know, and understand and then I started doing that and I was watching the impact and there was a moment, I was like, am I a sociopath? And I realize that I'm not, but it's learned behavior, I have to reframe and then he started with an acknowledgement, which is one of the most difficult things that we ever do because that means you have to accept that maybe you're not living up fully into your potential.

Now, I think they're space for grace and compassion and that as you move through it because it's a must, you have to learn so much but it starts with believing, right? I love what you said, you know, believe what you deserve and then throughout that, then you get to this place where I was think about this. What you think becomes what you speak, what you speak, becomes what you do, what you do, becomes your reality. Talk to me because I'm gonna guess I already know the answer, but I'm going to save us anyway, talk to me about how you talk yourself now versus how you talk to yourself, 10 years ago?

Ashley: Yeah, so it's such a journey, right? And even now I have days when I get up and I have to click capture the thought like I have to capture that negative because it's such a pattern and from a scientific spot because I've done so much study on the brain and really what it takes to change it and a trauma brain is so overdeveloped in your amygdala response that often times, even when we try to get real with ourselves our brain will kind of shut it down because it's uncomfortable and it requires a lot of work.

It requires a lot more work to operate from your prefrontal where you're thinking and you're making emotional decisions, it takes a lot more brain power, really so your brain will protect you from it if it knows another way to get their easier. It doesn't really care the method, doesn't really care what it does to you, it just wants to save that energy. So it was for me, recognizing that in order to have a successful day, I had to set myself up for success. And so with that look like the night before is, putting a glass of water beside my bed and a book so that I didn't have to get up and fight with my brain to read something it was already there. Having my gym stuff laid out because every time you have to fight with yourself, it is an ongoing conversation, we all have a conversation with ourselves all day long.

And every time you have to make a choice, it uses your brain power, think of it as a battery, right? So I had to learn how to hack my brain, so, that choosing things that were good for me, were easier than falling back into bad, patterns, and bad positions because it takes hundreds of times of doing something, a specifically for a trauma brain like – legitimately if you've gone through trauma, your brain is different than other people, it legitimately scientifically is different. And so, for us, having our brains, it becomes a little trickier because if it takes us actually longer to form a new habit, then it does someone who has a brain that was developed and loved. There's a lot of science chase me too long to explain all of it, but I'm super passionate about it. And so for me, it was recognizing, I would do things like write affirmations on the mirror because then I wouldn't have to think about it every time I looked in the mirror, my brain would read it, so that's a hack.

Again, the setting the shoes out was a hack. I had to learn how to hack my trauma brain so that I could teach it to love myself again and it sounds really silly when you say it out loud, but I had to hack my brain to teach myself self-love. And again, so it looks like post-it note on the refrigerator on things that I didn't want to do it looked like setting myself up for success because it is still to this day sometimes. Me having a conversation like Ashley, every decision has an outcome, so what's the outcome? And is it moving you further or closer?

Michael: I love it and you're spotted. I mean, I have a list of affirmations and I think it's funny, because, as you get more recognized, and as you write books, and as you become a face in this scope, people think like – somehow magically you aren't doing the same things that you did a decade ago, every single day I have the same morning routine water, stretch, yoga, meditation, journal, education, every day without fail, doesn't matter where I am in the world. I guarantee you. You go, look at my journal, it's filled out every day because you must. And then there's that part of it about commitment about discipline through it, about pushing yourself through like the fire of it because there's Disney moment, I say this all the time, ain't no magic fairy going to come sprinkle some dust on you and magically your life's going to be better. You're going to have to grind. You're going to have to like tap into grit and resiliency. You're going to have to give yourself permission to be successful and so often we limit ourselves just because that first 10 minutes out of the day, we've destroyed our potential but you can always get back to it and it starts with the habits and routines and putting yourself in a position to choose to be successful. And I think this is a great segue to the question I want to ask which is like what I think is really important, how much of this is choice because I think you come to this moment in life where what happens next is a choice. How much of yours is a choice, Ashley?

Ashley:100%, because even if you say this happens to me, you get to choose whether you stay there. I have not always had the opportunity to choose everything that has happened to me. Neither have you, in fact probably a lot the first 15 years of your life I would venture to guess knowing what I know a lot of it you didn't get to choose the circumstances that you were in, but I will say over and over and over again that you get to choose the response. Life there's no Disney moment. I love that you say that because even now going through the healing I've gone through really shitty fucked-up stuff happens to me all of the time, it's just does this is life, but what's really powerful and that I really want people to grasp a hold of is you get to choose, you get to choose every day whether or not you're going to get up and make something of yourself or stay in, you're stuck and I can tell you that for the majority of trauma survivors in there is a seed of I could do this really powerfully especially for trauma survivors because it really does, it's so much harder for us to reframe our brain and that's not an excuse, it is what it is, but you get to choose and some days, I don't make the right choice, some days you probably don't still make the right choice but it's not a day, a week, a year, it's moment to moment, you get to choose the thoughts you allow in your head, the people you allow in your circle, your response to how you deal with things when they don't happen and you get to choose whether or not you operate from a place of love or a place of resentment. So I would say it is 100% choice and that's the beauty of life is that we get to choose.

Michael: Yeah, I mean I fuck up every day every day, but I look at it, I measure these failures as data points and I go, okay, cool. Now I have an understanding of what not to do tomorrow and like elongate the scope of time in which I'm making the same mistake I consider that to be a win, right? And if I go a decade without doing this, really dumb thing, I feel really good about that and just because you make a mistake, doesn't reset you to 0, right? You have tools, you have things that you can use to continue on the path and when you make the mistake, like it doesn't mean like everything is out the window, right? Your car gets a flat, you don't go buy a new car, right? I mean, unless you're like Grant Cardone like fine, whatever, right? But like didn't generally speaking, you don't go buy a new car, what do you do? You change the tire, you fix the tire, you adjust the tire, you put it back to where it needs to be. Ashley, I know we're running out of time but before I ask you my last question, tell everybody what you have going on and where they can find you.

Ashley: Yeah, absolutely. So I am so stoked. I had this vision over five years ago before I even started my community of an event where women could come and it would be different than any personal development or even business of development event that they'd ever been a part of and so Chic on 2021 is happening, October 8th through the 10th in Plano, it is a Women’s event where it is going to be so powerfully life-changing and we're going to do it all through the ability to play. So there's going to be makeup contour classes, there's going to be selfie station's studios, it's going to be a really kind of journey into healing by as adult women, having the okay to try something different externally, and is going to change a lot internally and I'm pumped about it.

Michael: We're can they find out about that?

Ashley: So, it's

Michael: Love it. That sounds amazing. I love that you're empowering people to be able to step into that. Ashley, my friend, thank you so much for being here. I truly appreciate it.

Everyone go, check out and my last question for you, my friend is, what does it mean to you to Think Unbroken?

Ashley: I think thinking unbroken to me is recognizing that you have the power to be the architect of whatever future you want to have that a broken way of thinking is thinking that the world around you and your circumstances and the hands that you've been dealt, dictates what your future is. And so to think unbroken means stepping into your power into your purpose and recognizing that we all have circumstances and while they shape and mold us, we can absolutely use those circumstances to change the world, the way the world thinks and the way that we think about ourselves as well.

Michael: I absolutely love that and could not agree more.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for being here.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

-I'll see you.



Ashley RyckmanProfile Photo

Ashley Ryckman


Hi, I’m Ashley, Wife, and Mompreneur of six beautiful humans! I’m passionate about what I do and committed to helping women worldwide believe they deserve a life of love and abundance! Whether I’m teaching women about contour, wigs, and bougie lashes on my Ashley’s Chic Boutique Facebook live shopping shows, coaching social media business strategy with the Online Boutique Club, or guiding women just like you through my process of Becoming CHIC, my mission is simple, to inspire women to believe they deserve all that they dream of.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.