Creating My Own Lane & Staying In It

Creating My Own Land & Staying In It x Ashley Neese

Welcome to the first post in my 2018 intention series! I am excited to elaborate on my intentions for the year and delve into why they are so important. I’m finding that the more willing I am to explore my intentions further the more I can integrate their teachings. This practice also helps me pay closer attention to when I am growing and when I am sliding off track. Because let’s face it, it can be all too easy to get over in someone else’s lane than stay in your own.

A few years ago when Marie Forleo coined the term multipassionate entrepreneur, I was like, yes, finally someone who gets my life! As a new entrepreneur I was having a blast doing what I loved for money and said yes to pretty much every opportunity that came my way. I saw clients, taught classes, hosted immersions, ran online programs, created sponsored journal and Instagram content, and was wellness editor for a major women’s website. It was incredible to feel like I could earn a living doing what made me happy and this was really important for my growth and development. It gave me loads of self confidence in my abilities and I learned a ton along the way.

A couple of years ago I started noticing that there wasn’t a single day that I wasn’t stressed about something work related, it was encompassing my entire life. The ‘having’ to post on Instagram for work, the continual essay deadlines that kept me too tired to write for my own journal, the need to keep up with stats, and constantly monitoring my social channels for likes and comments. I became overloaded. I was doing too many things and needed to make some serious changes. I started meditating on how I wanted to feel and what I really wanted to focus on and recognized that I had outgrown my life. How awesome is that?!

While it was essential for me as a new business owner to cast a wide net and monetize many aspects of my practice, it became clear that in order to thrive in the way that I most desired and become a leader in my field, I needed to create my own lane and stay in it. This meant downsizing the number of revenue streams I had in place and diving deeper into the areas that lit me up inside the most.

Creating my own lane in terms of my business and how I choose to live these days (slowness is golden) has been incredibly rewarding. The practice for me right now is staying in it. A big part of the choice to stay is energetic. I want to have more of my energy for myself. Another part is the desire for mastery. It’s impossible to become well versed at anything when our energy is going in a bunch of different directions or we are hopping from one project/person/place/career to the next. Excellence requires the willingness to stay with a practice for a longer stretch of time than many of us are accustomed to these days.

This choice to create my own lane and stay in it comes at a time when folks are less and less willing to put in the sweat equity it takes to become great at something. When I started teaching yoga five years ago, breathwork and conversation with students were my favorite aspects of the classes. Seeing that there were hundreds of yoga teachers in L.A. and very few (almost none at that time) breathwork teachers, I took a big risk and made the choice to create my own lane, focusing on teaching what I was most passionate about, the breath. Narrowing my focus in this way led to a huge demand for my classes and private sessions because I created a unique offering in the community and I was teaching what was the most exciting to me. My enthusiasm caught on and within a year my career blossomed in ways that proved to me I was on my right path.

The decision to stay in the breathwork lane has been equally as rewarding and honestly at times very challenging. I continue to receive frequent offers to monetize my journal and many of you know I’ve done a handful of sponsored posts in the past. While I felt strongly aligned with the brands I worked with and was compensated very well for the posts, I recognized that I’d rather spend my time writing what I want to write rather than being on writing deadlines for other brands. I will continue with my Friday Feels posts this year because I do love sharing the people/places/products that I genuinely use and love. However, I am on sabbatical from sponsored content because it’s not where I want to spend my energy over the next six months.

Because of this near constant demand on our energy it’s easy to get worn down and start heading down that old familiar rode of compare and despair. I know right away when I’m in someone else’s lane by the way my body feels. My stomach gets tight, my back contracts, I start to go into a state of hypervigilance. From there I turn on the judgement about how I’m better than the person I am comparing myself to or I start to feel like crap about my own life. Much of my life I ran in one of these two operating modes which are like two sides of the same coin. I also can easily get into my partners lane in relationship and that is definitely another post in the making!

When I catch myself in a lane that isn’t mine I drop into my body and breath and come back to the here and now. It’s really a choice point of where I want to focus my energy and the truth is I am much happier when, like my Mom says, am minding my own business. Alanon 101 over here!

Part of my work this year is to continue to strengthen my nervous system so that I can handle the demands on my life and have choices in where I place my attention and energy. Choice comes from slowing down and staying, even when it seems more glamours to do more or be more. Trust me, I’ve been all of the things and I can say with certainty that I no longer need to be a multipassionate entrepreneur. While I will always have loads of passions, I desire to make money from just a few and that feels really freeing.

Since the lane I’ve created feels so right for me these days, my intentions for this year around work are to continue to stay in it and keep narrowing the focus. This looks like getting back to the foundation of what I am here to do which I zeroed in on just three years ago, to teach and to write. This is what I am most passionate about when it comes to my career and is the first question I will answer when opportunities come my way. I’ve got deeper questions coming in future posts, but the initial one will be, does this opportunity fit into teaching or writing and if not, I will let it go, making more room for what I truly desire.

To give an example, one thing I am calling in more of this year is speaking engagements, specifically podcasts and conferences. For me those fall under the teaching umbrella. The amazing thing about setting intentions is that you can be creative with how you go about the process and design it to your own specifications!

Moving ahead into the new year and staying with my intention to focus on what I am here to do feels like such a grounded way to kick off coming back to work. I’m feeling very grateful in this moment that I have tried so many things over the years, made loads of mistakes (and will continue to do so!), and have been willing to do the deeper level of work to become an exceptional teacher and writer.

It’s taken me a long time to be okay with slowing down, to grow my practice in a sustainable way, and do embody the kind of present energy I seek in the world. In this moment, right here, right now I see so clearly that my success will come not from being all of the things and constantly doing. My success will come from staying in my lane and being willing to sit with the discomfort of being a leader.



  • Marlon

    It is really wonderful to read your writing again Ashley :) It sounds like you are very much in your power! I have been following you for a long time and have loved seeing the passion you put into all of your interests; and equally love seeing the value you’ve discovered in focusing on what matters most to you. I personally get so distracted by so many ideas and possibilities (very Vata person) and end up burnt out and not really doing anything to fullness; I agree this is a problem in the larger world as well. The work you are doing is so beautiful and I look forward to hearing more podcasts and reading what you put out there <3

    • ashley

      Hi Marlon and Happy New Year! It’s wonderful to hear from you and I am grateful that you took the time to write. I am all Vata so I totally relate on that level as well. It’s been such an incredible thing to have this blog where I can play, experiment, and test ideas AND narrowing the focus is really what I am most interested in.

      It’s such divine timing, after sharing this post I had an incredible herbalist reach out to me who is interested in writing some posts for the blog. I was so pleased because I had to set those types of posts aside because I don’t have time/energy/desire to do everything these days yet I still miss having a little more of that type of content on the blog because I know how supportive it is. I think this year for me too is about diving deeper into my strengths and pulling in some collaborators who can share their passions here as well.

      Sending love your way and I look forward to connecting more this year. x

  • Alison Wu

    Your words resonate so much. All lessons I’m trying to remind myself of and to take in to account when I’m making decisions. I’m finding daily meditation is such an important tool for my nervous system and overall well being, including helping me to slow down and react less. Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year!

    • ashley

      Hello Alison,
      Thank you for taking the time to share. I’ve been following your life/work for some time and am happy to connect with you. I am happy to learn that daily meditation is supporting your nervous system and wellness. It’s incredible how much we can gain from a daily practice and I look forward to hearing how it continues to anchor you. Wishing you a wonderful New Year and I look forward to continuing to follow your journey! x

      My fiancé got all of the ingredients to make your squash/lamb dish this evening! We will be sure to share it ;)

  • Sunitha

    Its so nice and refreshing to read your post. The content resonates with me so much.

    Will follow you and be inspired.

Leave a Comment