DCF: Who Are You?
Dr. Ashley Elliott. I’m the owner of Vivid Innovations Consulting, LLC. I am a mental health clinician, author, and motivational speaker. (DCF: Drop that wisdom on us!)
DCF: Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?
AE: I love being able to make an impact in someone’s life. People trust me with their personal histories. They come to me and reveal their ups, their downs, their struggles, their vulnerabilities, their fears, and their dreams. I’m always honored to be allowed into such a personal space with clients. To be so raw and uncut with your emotions and thoughts, and then allow me to help you acquire the tools you need to live the life you desire, that’s huge. (DCF: Vulnerability is such a beautiful and fragile thing, I love how you describe it.)
DCF: Who was your first mentor and how did you find them?
AE: My first mentor was my first clinical supervisor when I began my clinical externship in grad school. Dr. Trina Powell was so genuine and very empathetic. She taught me how to trust myself in a room full of others who are older than me, of a different ethnicity, or just don’t see the world the way I did. She help me be comfortable with being a young clinician.
DCF: What’s your happy place?
AE: My happy place is any place that includes the people I love. I love spending time with my loved ones. It keeps me grounded. Life is so short and when you’re working on building your professional brand, days can pass by in a blur. Spending quality time with my family and friends slows the world down. (DCF: That’s so true, spending time with people that I love can make the whole world stops and nothing else matters but us laughing together.)
DCF: Where do you get your energy?
AE: My daughter keeps me going. Anytime I’m ready to explode or I feel discouraged, I think of her. She’s a pure source of joy. (DCF: Oh yeah, you can see it in that smile and those dimples!! She’s a light!)
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find it?
AE: Balance is the ability to effectively manage different aspects of your life without constant burn out. Honestly, I’m still working on finding true balance. It takes practice! It is so easy to feel like you’re too work focused, or you’re procrastinating. I’ve learned to listen to my body more. Stress takes a toll on my body and spirit. When I start feeling spiritually, emotionally, or physically drained, I try to fix it as fast as I can.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
AE: I was pregnant with my daughter during my last academic year of grad school and gave birth to her a few weeks before going on internship. I had to go back to class a week after having her. Toward the end of internship I was doing 52 hour weeks and still bringing work home. I missed her first crawl. Her first birthday was a Monday. I went into internship sullen because I just wanted to spend time with her. I left work 15 minutes early and got into an accident (not my fault!) just as I was preparing to turn onto my street. I remember crying in the ambulance because I missed spending the entire day with her. I was on bed rest for weeks. After that experience, I’ve tried to minimize sacrifice when it comes to my loved ones, especially my baby girl. (DCF: Wow that sounds like a lot to push through and lessons learned but you never let it stop you and that’s important!)
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
AE: I’ve been told by advisors that I had to choose between being a good mom and a clinician. I’ve been told I wouldn’t be chosen for internship because I was pregnant. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t mention my child at work. I was actually told by a potential supervisor that if I planned on being a mom with appointments and weddings and “all that”, I need not apply. Oh, the stories I have are endless! (DCF: I’m regularly amazed at how far we still have to go but I’m so happy that none of that stopped you from pushing forward!)
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
AE: My mother always pushed me to be great, and I always pushed for perfection. How many times has my mother told me that it is “ok to no be perfect” ? That push for perfection created some killer anxiety. I’m still working on it. (DCF: That drive to want everything to be perfect is so real but I’m learning that sometimes failing is just as great as getting it right!)
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
AE: My greatest failure was the moment I was told my dissertation would not be signed. It meant I had to wait a whole year for the next cohort’s graduation. I was devastated! My dissertation chair told me I needed to take my time, graduation would come. He kept telling me to be a mom. So I did! I took those extra months to be the best mom I could be. I grew so much! Six months later, I became Dr. Ashley and a more confident mom. (DCF: Sometimes failure is a gift in disguise.)
DCF: What was your proudest moment to date?
AE: I will never forget the hug my daughter gave me after my graduation. She told me I did a good job. All I want in life is for her to say, “My mom did a good job. I’m proud of her. That’s my mommy!” (DCF: You did a great job and you keep doing more!!)
DCF: What are you currently conquering?
AE: I’ve just released a book, “In My Safe Space” (DCF: Buy it!!). It is a collection of poems, reflections, and process writings from the past 12 years of my life. It shows how I processed the world around me, how I got through my ups and downs, how I coped. Writing is one of my favorite coping tools. Writing literally, saved my life. I wanted to share this with the world in hopes that it could inspire someone to find a “safe space”, a positive coping mechanism. Also, I wanted to show people that clinicians are people too! We deal with heartbreak, grief, anxiety, and on and on. I’m all about humanizing roles.
I’m also working on some new partnerships for mental health related groups and professional groups for people of color. I’m working on an innovative subscription service that I can’t wait to launch as well. Book number 2 is being written, new speaking engagements, and new heights to explore.
What’s Your Social Media!?!
Visit www.vividinnovators.com to check out my website.
You can find me on Facebook via the Vivid Innovations Consulting, LLC page or my personal page Ashley Elliott. My Instagram is @drvivid and my Twitter account is @vividinnovators.