Ash Beckham | Equality Advocate

The keynotes by Ash Beckham discuss coming terms with oneself and one’s secrets. Ash Beckham has been an activist for equality since she came out as a gay individual. She credits coming out of the closet with teaching her to appreciate the humanity in people and the hardships everyone faces. As an equality advocate, Ash Beckham mixes personal experiences, anecdotes and learned wisdom into her speeches. The keynotes by Ash Beckham provide inspiration and motivation to face life’s problems and hard truths. Beckham’s philosophies extend past being gay and include struggles with cancer, money and other stressful secrets people fear telling their family and friends. She is a strong advocate of always being straightforward and not hiding things from others, however difficult those secrets may be to tell.
 
Ash Beckham 3My Definition Of Success | Success to me now means happiness. It is no longer related to money or wealth or materialism. Do I wake up happy everyday? Genuinely happy. Smile on my face happy. The answer is yes. I have amazing people in my life. I feel so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such love and compassion. To me, any time we try to put a quantity or a number to the bars of success we are moving away from it. Not that those material possessions don’t make life easier in some ways, they certainly do. But to define success by external standards, eliminates our individuality and freedom to define success for ourselves.


I Am Driven By | Being someone who the kids in my life would be proud of. I don’t have my own kids, but there are a lot of them in my life that I love very much. It really helps me control my anger in combative situations. “How would I handle this if my niece was standing next to me?”


The Difference Between Good And Great | Passion – if your heart is not in it, what’s the point? Coming from a place of passion is contagious to co-workers and other people you are in contact with daily. It helps you push through when things get hard. People that are great at what they do love what they are doing. My dad told me when I was really young to “find something you love doing and figure out how to get paid for it, rather than finding something that paid well and learning to love it. The second road is harder on your soul.”


A Key Talent | Having a sense of humour. There is something incredibly disarming about making people laugh, especially when you are talking about the subjects I usually speak about. There are thousands of stories about the LGBTQ struggle that are sad or depressing or infuriating or all 3. And those are stories that need to be heard. But to be able to share a story of a challenging time and find humor in it, changes the entire conversation. So my advice would be to poke fun at yourself. Not in a self-deprecating way, but in a way where you are not always the hero of the story. People don’t want to hear about the time that you were awesome – they want to hear about the time it was tough.  That is what people relate to. That is how we connect to others. Life is funny. Embrace that!


Ash Beckham 2How I Use My Mind | I go in with the mindset that nothing is impossible. It may be prohibitively expensive or not fit the timeline or we may not currently have the resources, but it is not impossible. I like to explore all possible options and then cross them off the board until we arrive at the best answer. But there is virtually nothing I will not put on the board. Don’t tell me I can’t do it. Let’s figure out how to do it and then decide if we want to do it.


Lessons I Have Learnt | You’ve got to look at yourself in the mirror every night. Good, bad, proud, disappointed – those emotions show up exponentially when it is just us and the mirror. It changes the way we operate during the day if we know we need to face ourselves in the evening.


Dealing With Doubt | I think we all have negativity every day. Every time I step on a stage to speak, I doubt myself. Anyone is a position of leadership has to at least once think – Who the hell do I think I am speaking for others? And that is where you can snap that self doubt. You need to reframe it. You are not speaking for others. You are speaking for yourself. TO others. Not FOR them. No one is a better expert on being you than you. You are actually the only one who can speak for you. And also, not everyone will agree with you. And some will not like you. It is just part of the deal. If we try to make everyone like us, it comes at the expense of being authentically ourselves. I don’t want to be a watered down version of myself just to have more friends on Facebook. I am just being me. If I’m not your thing, no problem. You are probably not mine either.


Performing At My Peak | I can’t. It is impossible. If I wanted to always perform at my peak I would speak twice a year. I try to lower my expectations of myself. It is too much pressure to think you must be at 100% all the time. I shoot for a solid 90%. Most times I think I am above that. I try not to drop below that. I try to recharge as much as I can.  Emotionally, for me, that comes from time with friends, family and my fiancé. Nothing makes me feel rooted and inspired more than hanging out with the people I love in my life.  I try to have some sort of physical activity every day. That gets me out of my head and into my body. For me, it is a great way to work out stress, frustration, anxiety and any other negative emotion I am feeling.


Advice On Building Wealth | Rethink your priorities. There are so many better things to grow and build.


Ash Beckham 1I Am Inspired By | Right now I am most inspired by all the moms in my life. They are just so real. So many of them are new to motherhood. And they will admit they have noidea what they are doing. And that they are overwhelmed most days. But they come from this place of love for their children that guides their decisions. They are learning on the fly with the most precious gift they have. And at the same time they are under tremendous pressure to be good at their jobs, and good spouses and good friends. And the women I know do it with such tremendous grace it seems effortless. What is more inspiring than that?