How to make your mark as a writer

the ash flash tips for success

written by john c ashworth

I’ve been reading, “On writing well” by William Zinsser. A really terrific book. And it’s hard to write a good book on writing.

Here is one of the gems I discovered this morning…

You’ll never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive. The English language is rich in strong and supple words. Take the time to root around and find the ones you want.

Describing words as strong and supple is divine. A great example of rooting around to find the ones you really want. The ones that sing.


Three Keys to Selling like a Superstar

Three Keys to Selling like a Superstar

written by john c ashworth

First, I’ll give you the three keys, and then I’ll cover number 1-3 in more detail in three different posts…

  1. Embrace selling
  2. Create Killer Scripts
  3. The final close – so easy to mess this one up; and so easy to correct. And when done right a skill that holds great potential for increasing your income exponentially.

Embrace Selling

This one is important because as I’m sure you’ve heard before, we are all salespeople and we all do some selling each and every day.

“I couldn’t be a salesperson, John. I prefer a steady paycheck.”

That’s OK if you like small paychecks. I prefer BIG ones, and I have the confidence to rely on my own skills, talents and results to get me there. No. It’s not always pretty or perfect, but in my experience, it’s always better in the long run. To get there, however; you have to be willing to take the risk and believe in yourself; and as always, you have to have the right mindset and attitude.

Also, I know we’ve all run into to plenty of bad salespeople so it’s natural that you might cringe a little when you think about the idea of embracing selling. Trust me though, to be successful, you MUST embrace selling. There’s no way around it. And you don’t have to be that greasy salesman guy we’ve all run into on more than one occasion.

Lastly, to fully embrace selling you must embrace your mindset, your fundamentals, and your implementation. Which is to say, you must be willing to risk everything, take a lot of action, fail a lot, learn from that failure, and then get back up again and start over. Over and over again, you MUST do this. That’s why so many people avoid it. This is a lot of failure to accept head-on. It’s just easier to hide behind your fear and mistrust of your own abilities. Do me a favor and stop selling yourself so darn short.

Your mindset can be a tough one too. We all experience the dips in our confidence. Especially when results are lagging as they sometimes do. But instead of letting that failure eat away at your mind like a dirty disease with no cure, these are the times when you need to clear everything away, and get back to the fundamentals, which is the essence of #2 above. The ‘how to’ of selling. The ‘what to say and when to say it stuff.’

You will quickly discover as a salesperson that it is very easy to blame everything external for your failures and lack of results, when in fact, it is almost certain that the opposite is true. And you have to be a big enough person to garner your self-awareness, admit your short-comings and get back to the basics. This, of course, brings you right back to #1 and #3 above.

I’ll finish with one more point about #1 – your mindset – and then I’ll cover the other two in more detail in separate posts. I had more to say than I thought I did when I got started on this post this morning.

I work on my mindset constantly and in many different ways. Here’s a short list of a few of the actions I take regularly to keep my skills and my work as a salesman as sharp as possible and as much of the time as possible.

  • I read a lot about sales and marketing. I’ve been a ravenous student of this game for twenty plus years.
  • I have a routine I follow each and every day. In fact, I have understood much more fully how important this routine actually is since we all started working from home to prevent the spread of covid-19.* It has taken great discipline to maintain the same habits and environment that I had created in my office at work, and there are certain things like my swim at the gym in the middle of the day that have caused a fair amount of disruption in my flow. I walk, and I do strength training twice per week, but without the pool mixed in for recovery and rejuvenation, it’s just not the same for me. Regardless, I work to follow pretty much the same routine every day to keep my mind on track so that I can still get the best results possible during these trying times.
  • I run a diffuser with essential oils pouring into the air just to the right of my keyboard.
  • I get up and stretch my back multiple times per day.
  • I stretch my hamstrings even more.
  • I have a 10 by 10 rule. Ten solid phone calls by 10 AM every single day. Seems simple and trite in this context but amazing in it’s ability to start every one of my workdays extremely productively
  • I don’t overeat during the day. It makes me sleepy. In fact, I try and eat as little as possible for lunch. Just enough to get me to the end of the day. This helps prevent that dip in energy we all feel at 2-3 PM when your circadian rhythm goes primal on you.
  • I have a really good breakfast.
  • I go for a walk when I need to clear my head.
  • I write to clear my thinking.
  • I have a sales presentation and scripts that I use for every sales presentation and I continue to refine them over time. I’ll get into more about scripts when we talk about #2 in my next post on this subject.
  • I follow-up. This goes back to implementation and I still can’t believe the statistics I hear over and over again about how infrequently and ineffectively salespeople follow-up with their prospects.
  • There’s so much more, but I’ve gotta run.



Show me a robot that can do that…YOUR ability to Produce is the only security YOU have

YOUR ability to Produce is the only security YOU have

written by john c ashworth

I’ve been a salesman a long-time now. Really my whole life. There’s something about the chase. The game. The wins and losses that represent experiences that are as I can get to the fun I had as an All-American soccer player back in the early 90s. In fact, when I was selling cars, I loved working on Saturdays because the entire ritual felt so similar to the one I practiced when I was playing competitive soccer all those years. The preparation. The build-up. The wins or losses that came. The devastation following an agonizing loss, and the courage and fortitude it takes to pick yourself up and do it again; and with the same level of confidence as before in spite of your gut-wrenching defeats. The deals that came down to the wire at the end of the day. It was all great fun!

This experience is not for everyone, though. I hear many people bemoan the life of a salesman because they outwardly admit they could not take the pressure each month. I don’t understand that thinking and I also don’t like it.

Here’s why…

Regardless of whether or not you’re producing your individual income on commission each month, you are in fact accountable for results, or at least you should be. Some of you more than others depending on how well your current employer is keeping track of what you’re doing.

There’s one thing I can guarantee you and it is this…

Successful people get paid on the results they deliver, whether you get paid on commission or not. You can define success and results in any way you want to here, but the bottom line is that you can’t do business sitting on your ass. As such, results still matter every single day. Even if at the moment, you’re work is not being tracked as closely as it should. In fact, this is why I think everyone should have at least some portion of their salary tied to actual results. When you do this, more accountabilty is baked right in and if you’ve done it right, it will more clearly focus your team on the right results.

Otherwise, this idea that you prefer a steady paycheck seems to breed the kind of thinking that leads to lackluster results. This might be OK for now, but eventually someone is going to come knocking and looking for the trail of talent left by people who truly understand this reality.

Never has this idea been more important and poignant than right now. I’ve written this post in advance so I won’t know exactly what the post covid-19 world looks like in late 2020, but I can guarantee you it has changed and that’s not hard for anyone to see right now. As example, I just read an article about how China has been working hard to implement more and more robots into the workforce following their outbreak of covid-19.

What might that mean for your job? Your career? Your business?

For me? I know I can ALWAYS produce as a marketing maniac and salesman; and also as a personal trainer, fitness coach, business consultant, and in many other unique ways that I don’t have enough time to go into here. And I’m confident I can do this in almost ANY setting and situation.

Show me a robot that can do that!


Attention: Salespeople! Stay focused on your primary objective. You remember it, right?

Salespeople…Stay focused on your primary objective. You remember it, right?

written by john c ashworth

Right. Selling and sales.

Because on any given day there are a million and one things that have the potential to distract you from this one very important objective.


EVERYTHING you’re doing is in one of two categories.

EVERYTHING your’e doing is either contributing to or taking away from MORE sales.

How much time are you actually spending every day selling? And do you have any bad habits you can eliminate or refinements you can make to be better at what you do? Of course you do. We all do. Remember, the Japanese call it ‘Kaizen’ or, constant improvement. Don’t swish it away as cliche. Though in some ways it has become as such, it remains a core tenant of my own life philosophy and demonstrates in large part how I’ve been able to stay on top of my career over the last twenty five years with as much technological advancement as we’ve had in that time.

How much time you spend selling every day can become a very BIG challenge when you become more successful as a salesperson, because if you’re committed to serving your customers, you need to be there for them once they purchase of your stuff. Because that is really just the beginning of your relationship with them.

So, stay focused on your PRIMARY objective as a SALESPERSON.

SELLING! …and then doing whatever you need to to take very good care of your customers. But don’t let that distract you from MORE SELLING.

Lastly, manage your head trash daily. Constantly.

Is your glass half full or are you full of vinegar?

This is a choice every day.

Stay positive and enjoy your victories in the spirit that each one creates another and is a building block for your success. NEVER become satisfied with your progress. Stay hungry. Always!

Got it?

OK, get back to it, will you?


john c ashworth with another happy car customer at Smart Motors of Madison – circa 2014

How to get ahead of an opportunity and Get Rich

charlotte nc airport 021720

written by john c ashworth

I’m on the plan today.

For the first time in a long time I took a flight to North Carolina to visit my family. I needed to visit my Dad. His health has been ailing for quite some time now and you just never know. I mean you never really know. My father-in-law’s health was in pretty good shape back in December but when you fall off the top of a combine and your almost eighty-four-years old, the odds of survival are not that good. He didn’t make it; and as those kinds of experiences in life are want to do, it lit a real fire under my ass about getting to Charlotte to see my Mom and Dad; and my sister and her family.

On the way back we ended up in a long line of planes waiting for departure on the tarmac and I had a chance to do some good reading inside the in-flight magazine. I’m always amazed at how interesting these publications can be; and their ability to inform and inspire me in unique and interesting ways.

As a side note, you should almost always consider this publication as an opportunity for your direct-marketing efforts. You benefit from a captive audience and often with lots of idle time on their hands. I saw some great ads in there and I’ve included a couple of them below.

I also discovered a short and informative article that is the point of my story. I’m meandering a bit because after a good visit with my Dad, who likely won’t be here that much longer, I’m embracing more and more the idea that this is the true stuff of life. The meandering…

The article featured, Robert Harjavec, one of the Sharks from Shark Tank. I wasn’t aware that he made his fortune with a focus on cyber-security. Long before the rest of the world was talking about it very much, if at all.

I shared it with my son Carl who made the trip with me. I’ve been encouraging him to consider this as a career, because even though we’re not nearly as far ahead of it as Shark tank guy, Robert Harjavek, we’re still on the front edge of the mountain. The long walk to the face of Everest that most climbers avoid in leu of a more convenient and expedient means of reaching the base of the mountain where the real climb begins.

The first thing you need to do to to get ahead of opportunity is read a lot. I mean a lot. And work regularly to expand your horizons and read things you wouldn’t normally read. When you do this regularly, you will find your world expanding like the universe; and soon discover that while there is a whole lot you don’t know and will never know, your potential for success is really just waiting for your willingness to create an environment that is destined to put you on a collision course with a great idea that has the potential to explode at any moment.

I started encouraging Carl’s look into cyber-security more than a year ago when I read something that revealed a still uncommon nugget of knowledge. That sometime around now, the cost of cyber-security would begin to outpace the revenue being generated online.

Think about that for a moment…

That’s huge.

Keep reading the ash flash. Your next big insight or idea might just show up here. I’m always working for you in this way.

Until next time, I also encourage you to spend some time reading about cyber-security and then spend some time thinking about the things you might do inside your own business to protect yourself from trouble and unwanted expenses.

You can start right now by reading about this amazing new app called, JUMBO.

I won’t elaborate here but I discovered this great little startup while reading the Washington Post one morning and not only was it a great first cyber-security step for me, but I learned an awful lot about the potential perils we all face as we work to protect our privacy in the face of so much radical transformation in such a short time.


in flight magazine ad 1 0220
in flight magazine ad example 2 0220

[video] You can think of the ash flash as your own personal mastermind group right here online

from john c ashworth

I didn’t get anything up on Saturday or Sunday. I was feeling a little under the weather. Here’s a little something to keep you going until this weekend…

You can think of the ash flash as your own personal mastermind group right here online. That’s really what all my work here is all about – helping you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible and providing you the ingredients for cultivation of the slight edge 🙂


Four Simple Questions that will change YOUR Life Right Now

Four Simple Questions that will change YOUR Life right now

written by john c ashworth

This is a simple exercise today and yet one that could change the trajectory of your life significantly forever. I mention this all the time, but this is what the ash flash is truly about…one simple piece of information or inspiration on any given day that has the potential to inspire and inform you in some unique way that changes your life and career for the better forever.

Here are the four questions I have for you today. Don’t underestimate their power.

  1. Why?
  2. Why Not?
  3. Why not YOU?
  4. Why not Now?

The thing I love about these four simple questions is that you can very likely apply them right now to almost anything you are currently contemplating, holding onto, unwilling to let go of, or otherwise making no meaningful progress on.

STOP everything right now.

Ask yourself these four simple questions, and then spend some time free-writing about them and you will likely discover that the only thing holding you back right now is YOU.