the Virgo Girl is excited to sit down with Ashley M. Coleman, author of Love on Purpose. The talented, uplifting, inspiring author has written a nonfiction motivational guide based on her own experiences with love and life, and everything that falls in between. The book focuses on the most frequent problems in relationships, with advice on how to tackle and resolve these issues instead of throwing in the towel and simply giving up.
The book is well written, with a focal point on analyzing what it means to love and be loved, and how to manage a successful relationship in addition to being an author, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. Femininely empowering, this text does not disappoint. Her book also sheds light on the commitment that truly comes with the word love, and defines love as a choice—particularly healthy love—and shows us that one CAN be in a powerful, passionate, yet easygoing relationship, if one chooses to be.
Ashley shares many insights and ideas, experiences and philosophies, in her work, and teaches many life lessons through her personal journey. Speaking with her, we were able to get even more advice, with Ashley guiding us on what it means to be a partner, a businesswoman, and a loving wife while balancing work, major decisions, goals, accomplishments, and of course, being a writer.
The book and its author are incredibly positive and motivational, and she also shared with us her quest to pen such a text, as well as what the book’s key message is. A candid yet gracefully articulate woman, we are excited to bring Ashley’s perspective to our readers, so she could explain how she’s achieved so much success. She teaches us that everybody is capable of doing amazing things, particularly when facing life’s biggest challenge. A very active and productive lifestyle mixed with deep, passionate love and concern for the person one chooses to be with infinitely.
the Virgo Girl blog welcomes Ashley, and we hope our readers will be as equally inspired as we are!
What propelled you to write Love on Purpose, and was it always set to be a nonfiction self-help book?
Love on Purpose was really the follow-up to my first book, Dear Love. Dear Love was just scratching the surface of a discovery of what it meant to actually adapt to a new way of thinking about love. That it is not something that just happens to us, but that God is our greatest example and that’s who we should model how we love after.
What does self-awareness mean to you, and how do you teach others to achieve it?
Self-awareness is just an understanding and acceptance of all the things that make you who you are. So many people are kind of oblivious to their strengths, and to their weaknesses or shortcomings. But those things are really important to know to help you navigate the world and your relationships better. I think you become self-aware by giving yourself enough quiet time to just understand your thoughts and feelings. And I am a big advocate of journaling because I think it adds a very important element to self-discovery.
How do you remain a strong, entrepreneurial woman and still tend to personal relationships?
I think for everyone this is a challenge, right? We put so much into our work that it’s hard to find the time to cultivate relationships. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, it won’t be our work by our bedside when we’re on our way to glory. It will be the people that we love. So I do my best to make phone calls when I can’t be there in person. Or sometimes just shooting those you love a simple text to let them know you’re thinking about them. And sometimes you just have to put the work aside and spend time with those you love.
Do you believe there is healthy love and unhealthy love, or that no love is unhealthy, so if it is unhealthy it isn’t love?
I wouldn’t say I believe in healthy or unhealthy love. I would say I believe in unhealthy relationships, certainly. When I think of love it is with an understanding of its purity. For me, God is love, and God is perfect, and in turn love is perfect. However, people and relationships are surely not perfect. Some relationships will drain you and some are detrimental to your mental health. When love is real and modeled after the Creator, that love is always healthy. But we add the imperfections to our relationships because we are so human.
Have you ever been in a relationship that was conflicting and/or unhealthy?
Fortunately, I’ve never been in what I would consider an unhealthy relationship romantically. I have only known the most amazing men in my life. Although all the past relationships before my marriage didn’t work out, I believe that I grew and became a better person at the end of the day because of them. But I would say I have outgrown friendships. I wouldn’t necessarily say they were unhealthy, I just have an understanding that some relationships are really for seasons and sometimes they change.
If so, how did you cut the cord to that relationship?
For me, most of those relationships tend to really just fizzle out. I’ve never had to say to someone, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore.” But life has this way of helping you move on and some people simply get left behind.
What is the dynamic like between you and your partner, when speaking about professional ventures? Are you teammates?
Definitely. With the fact that we are both creators, I often say we are there to talk each other off the ledge. Creativity and the pursuit of a career in creativity can be very challenging. It is truly for the mentally tough. So we’re in each other’s corners constantly building each other up.
Do you think that being a teammate to your husband has helped you grow as a businesswoman?
Absolutely. I think it is key and that’s why I dedicated a chapter in Love on Purpose to the simple idea of support. So often I hear people complain that their partners say they support them but they don’t necessarily “show up.” It’s important to love each other in action and that includes physically, mentally, and emotionally supporting your partner in what they are pursuing. I’ve always had that. I have a great teammate and I am most certainly a better businesswoman for it.
What was your inspiration for becoming a creative entrepreneur in the first place?
It wasn’t something I really thought about. I just wanted to write. But as that grew I realized that there were other things I wanted to do. Not only did I want to write, but I wanted to help other writers find their voice. I wanted to be the person I needed who would have helped me really understand that writing is a talent. So it grew in a very organic way. And nowadays, since there is really no such thing as job security, I really wanted to grow something from my own talents and skills that had the ability to sustain me.
What are the hardest things to have to tackle with the many endeavors you’ve initiated?
Definitely prioritizing. Sometimes I get really excited about a new idea and it derails me from some of the projects I’m already working on. I’ve started keeping an idea box so that I can write ideas down instead of having them swirl around in my head, which just creates an inability to focus. And I am learning to tackle them one or three at a time. I’m still working on being able to really see something through before moving on to the next thing.
Do you believe in empowering women? If so, how?
Of course. When you look at my work, from writing workshops to the Dear Love Brunches, it’s all about creating safe spaces for women. I am just such a big advocate of that. I truly have a heart for women and community because of so much of the competition that is perpetuated between women. Some of it is false and some of it is true. I have found myself mentally competing with other women and thinking to myself, There is enough room for all of us. So I am adamant about that in my work. We are more powerful together and if no one else in the world values us, we will value one another.
In your book, you describe becoming a woman of faith. When did you officially become a Christian?
I mean I was baptized probably about 2010 or 2011, but I had grown up in a Christian household. So it was always there. I just think like many of us at some point I was just doing my own thing. Being young and thinking that I was somehow in control and life has this way of humbling you and allowing you to see God more clearly. And so that’s what happened to me around that time when I decided to really acknowledge God and give my life to Him.
What is your advice for those in need of a spiritual awakening? How did you deal with getting there, and how do you nurture your faith now?
My advice is definitely to SEEK GOD. So often when we are looking, the first thing we do is go to church. And then someone does something we don’t like and all of a sudden we have a problem with God. I go to church every Sunday, but I have an understanding that we are the church. I have a personal relationship with God that happens seven days a week, 365 days a year. Talk to God. It seems daunting and scary, but it is a conversation. Ask Him to reveal himself to you and begin that journey. Then ask Him to lead you to a place of worship because that is how I nurture my faith now. I have an amazing church family and pastor. I also check out other sermons via podcasts. I read, pray, and just surround myself with the things of God.
Do you believe one must be in a healthy, loving partnership to achieve career goals?
I don’t believe this. I think more often people think you can’t achieve your goals and have a healthy relationship. But the reality here is, whatever God put in you to do, you can do it. You don’t need another person to achieve it. But is it helpful to have someone on that ride? Absolutely. As I mentioned, success and pursuing goals is for the mentally tough. Sometimes you will be exhausted, sometimes you will want to give up, but having a support system helps, whether that’s family, friends, or a significant other.
What are the best strategies for love and marriage? For example, is it “opposites attract,” “find a companion,” “be friends first,” etc.? Do you think people must approach love as they do other parts of life, or does love stand alone, separate and in need of its own nurturing and tending to?
The best strategy for love and marriage for me is seeking God first. It sounds so corny, but the foundation of my relationship and marriage is in God. My husband and I have been going to church together practically since we started dating. With God as the foundation, it makes so many things easier. There will still be CHALLENGES. Believe me. But we always had this place to come back to. Not were our actions pleasing to each other, but were they pleasing to God? That as your standard is way better than each other’s expectations. And sure we were friends first, which I believe helps because I think you can always come back to the friendship when things get dicey as a couple.
Are you an author of any other types of work? If so, what?
Dear Love and Love on Purpose currently, though as many writers do, I have a ton of books swirling around in my head.
What’s next for you professionally?
Right now I am working on a quarterly publication called Permission to Write, which is a digital journal that will feature the work of writers of color. The first issue will drop in June. I am also leading writing workshops on the East Coast, DC, Philly, and New York. And working on a blog for independent authors. So lots in the works that I am really excited about.
You propose in this book that love IS a choice. Can you elaborate on that? What does “choice” mean in regards to love? How does one choose love?
We have this idea that love is just something that happens to us. But really love is an action word. There are tangible ways to show someone you love them. That means we either choose to do those things or we don’t. When we talk about the idea that love is a choice, it is giving us a responsibility, as bell hooks also wrote about. We are now in control of it and therefore will hopefully make better decisions instead of maintaining a victim mentality. So every day in my relationship I choose to be kind, I choose to affirm my husband, I choose not to nag him about silly things. There are all these decisions we get to make in love and this book is really just showing what those choices and decisions are so that we can choose more wisely.
How do you separate your work life from your home life? Is it tough to balance things out?
I really don’t separate it honestly. I literally work from home, which is this concept that is new. In reality, how can I separate the two? Even if I am not physically working, my mind is ALWAYS turning. There are always new ideas and things I want to see come to fruition.
What advice would you give to young women looking to be become entrepreneurs?
I would just say that if you want to do it, do it for real. Give it everything you have. Sometimes people kind of want to be entrepreneurs but they are not willing to put in the work. And don’t think that you can’t be an entrepreneur and also have a full-time job. You can do both. But it takes discipline and a lot of hard work. If you’re in it, be in it, show up for it no matter what stage of the game you may be in.
Where can readers purchase your book?
They can head to loveonpurposebook.com.
How can readers follow you, and track your progress with this journey?
All my social is @WriteLaughDream, that’s Twitter, FB, Instagram, Snap!
*Blogged by Nicole D’SETTēMi