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140. How Ashley Hoff Made Hollywood Happy without People Pleasing

Updated: Mar 7

Sincerely, Future You - Life Coach Jessica McKinley Uyeno

We CANNOT have people pleasers. And if you’re a woman who identifies as a people pleaser, this episode goes out to you.

I’m joined again with Ashley Hoff, a dear friend of mine and Happster. Ashley talks about people pleasing and how she navigated a happy helper mindset to please Hollywood and honor the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas.

For those of you who are tuning into Ashley for the first time, she is the Executive Producer of “11 Minutes”, a 4 part documentary series about the Las Vegas shooting.

In part 1, Ashley describes the day of the shooting and how good things can come from negative emotions.

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Full Transcript:

Jessica McKinley 0:00

When you approach any business situation from a people pleaser brain, there's so many thought errors that happen like for you. First of all think that it was a bad thing if anyone had a negative feeling or thought and I always say right like this is a trap right when we think it's a problem that someone feels a negative emotion. Right off the gate. We're gonna take some miss missteps. Welcome to Sincerely Future, You a podcast that helps ambitious women like you make decisions today with the future you in mind. Hi, Happsters. This week, we have part two of a conversation that I recorded with my friend, a Happster and survivor and executive producer of 11 minutes Ashley Hoff. 11 minutes is a docu series on the shooting at route 91 harvest festival in Las Vegas that happened in 2017. And Ashley was not only a survivor, but also the executive producer of this docuseries. And we had some very powerful conversation so much so that we broke it down into two episodes. The first episode we discussed a lot about how beautiful amazing things can come out of processing negative emotion. And here today, we're going to do a deep dive into people pleasing, and how oftentimes, especially as women, our people pleasing tendencies can come up, and what we can do to avoid delaying the results that we want to create, because we are people pleasing. And I think that if you identify as a people pleaser, you're really going to have a lot to take away from this episode. I am so excited to bring you part two, featuring Happster and beautiful friend of mine, Ashley Hoff. Okay, so when it comes to people pleasing, that's something that I talked to the Happsters about at all. I don't know why I attracted people pleaser. I think it's because I just work with women. But I know that everyone listening wants to hear how you navigated that, what did you come up against? On either side, people pleasing? The or what did you feel? When did you feel compelled to people, please? And how did you overcome that when you were thinking about the survivors? And also when you were trying to maybe sometimes people please the network and your boss? And how do you kind of like straddle that line, I think that a lot of people may have whether or not they're in the Docuseries industry or not. They may have this issue where they're trying to manage up and manage down at the same time and being a woman and a people pleaser. How did that come up in your journey of making this film?

Ashley Hoff 3:13

Oh, gosh, when did I think about people pleasing? The true answer to this is I think about people pleasing on a second by second basis every single day. It is truthfully the thing that I struggle with the most I think a lot of my life, I've spent a lot of time I really I do. I love helping people my heart is for people. I'm a cable capable person. And when I feel like I can lend help, I am quick to put my heart into that place. And so I think I spend a lot of time creating an identity as a happy helper. And what I've learned both through therapy and coaching is, that's great. And being a happy helper can be a part of who I am. But when I hold it as my entire identity, it doesn't leave room for any of the other things that human beings feel anger, sadness, failure, you know it, it pushes you into this place where you feel like you always have to be this persona for both yourself and others. And I think for me, I went through something traumatic and my, my reaction was how can I create something that will help other people and so I had to I had to do a lot of work and I still have to do a lot of work every single day. Because I don't think I really truly understood what the term self care was. I think I was doing it things that I thought filled that bucket, I would get a message, whatever it might be

Jessica McKinley 5:06

The like shallow self care.

Ashley Hoff 5:09

Yeah. And just you know what, again, I, you know, getting your nails done taking a walk. But I realized that I had a deep obsession with time and how I was spending it. And so that's been a lot of my work is, you know, figuring out, how do I keep that part of myself that I love and that I, you know, that does fill me up by being a giver. Yeah, being a giver, but also, knowing that if I don't give back to myself, eventually the tank is empty, and there's nothing to really give others and then you're not giving also from an authentic place. Yeah. And so in this particular project, I think, you know, my, my ultimate fear is that I was somehow with this piece going to upset somebody that people who had been in pain, somehow might have that pain retriggered or amplified by this piece. And I think, for me, it was about identifying what result I wanted, and the thoughts that I wanted to live in to create that result. And then every single day, reminding myself of those and putting them in a box and trying to protect them at all cost. And again, I I may be describing it well, right now, but that was not an easy task for me.

Jessica McKinley 6:45

Yeah. So like, Give us an example. Like when when you're talking about people pleasing the survivors, because I know you said specifically like you, you wanted to make sure that people didn't have a negative reaction to the film. And I remember in a session just being like, let's keep saying films to the series. And being like careful with that, because when we're trying to approach creating a result, from trying to manipulate the way someone else is going to feel, or what they're going to think after they see the result, it's never going to align quite the way we want it to. I said, You need to believe in the value of what you're offering, what you're putting out there, and then take action from that place, and let the result be there. Regardless of what happened, and then so tell us about the day that it was released? And what kind of came up for you and how, how you handle that?

Ashley Hoff 7:45

Yeah, you know, for me, it it was the day that the trailer came out. So in, in our business, you have a as a producer, you have a lot of input on the product itself, right? You're you're helping to craft it and create it and then you you give it to another team who works in marketing and they develop marketing tools for it. You know, that's, that's how it works. You know, we we want eyeballs on it. So you want something that is a compelling trailer. And truthfully, the first time I saw the trailer and because it was so fast paced, it felt honestly, really dramatic to me, and it didn't quite totally encompass the piece and I was really worried, you know, is someone going to, you know, to put it simplistically is someone going to take a bite of this sample at the grocery store, and be like, whoa too much and never dive into the product at large. Especially from the survivor community whom this is not just a story, this is their real life memory. And I spun and spun and spun and truthfully I was speaking with someone who we interviewed for the piece and I shared my my worry and she started laughing at me I mean I was a mess I want I march around the table, I may or may not have thrown up like I was out of my mind that this was not just going to really turn people off from the piece but perhaps that it would reflect really negatively on me as a survivor for leading with that foot. And even though I know that that is the job of the professionals who created it who do this over and over again, they're very good at their job and and had a plan. I spun because I was worried about it. The survivors. And so in all irony was speaking to one of them whom I'm sure I should have been probably the strong, comforting one for. And she started laughing at me. And I thought, Well, that seems rude. Well, this is not the reaction I thought. And she said, you know, this is, you and I both know, this is what these people do. And it will bring eyeballs to the piece of which, you know, was created with integrity and respect and care. And we all trust you, and we're going to be there to stick up for you and help see you through. But she was, you know, she said to me, you know, this is what they do. And, and then I said, you know, I just I, I felt like it came out of the gate a little dramatic and, and she chuckled and said, oh, my gosh, that's so cute. And I said, excuse me. And she said, I think you forgot that we were in a mass shooting, and it was pretty frickin dramatic.

Jessica McKinley 11:06

Yeah, like, doesn't get more dramatic than that.

Ashley Hoff 11:09

And it was kind of at that moment that I think I read, you know, I had a realization and a pivot that it in order to tell the truth, and to do the things that I was saying, I was going to do tell it with integrity and respect and care. There was no way around the fact that it's a hard story. It's, it's a hard story. And it's hard to watch it points because guess what, was really hard to live. And, and that was always part of the goal is that through these narratives, we would let people in on what it meant to go through something like this. And the feedback that I've received in the past two weeks about, you know, from everyone from I'm a spouse, or a family member. And I've never been able to talk with my family member about this, because I don't think I really understood and now we're having our first conversation, or, wow, this, I feel remembered and seen in my experience, or I'm a therapist that works with first responders, and now I can do my job better knowing some of the things that they went through, it's it was important to tell that truth. And I, I was I was worried. I was worried about I think through attempting to people, please I was also on the side kind of secretly, not honoring the goal that I write had, and the thoughts that I wanted to have to create the result I wanted to create. And the moment that I stepped back from that a bit. And realize, kind of, for better or worse, this birds about to fly out of the cage. And there's nothing that I can do about it. And all I can do is stand convicted in my why and how we got this done, and how you know how we went about creating this and how we went about approaching it. In some ways, it was also really freeing, it was really, of course,

Jessica McKinley 13:26

I mean, people pleasers listening are like Amen, because when you approach any business situation, from a people pleaser brain, there's so many thought errors that happen like for you, you had the point where you first of all, think that it was a bad thing, if anyone had a negative feeling or thought. And I always say Right, like this is a trap, right? When we think it's a problem that someone feels a negative emotion. Right off the gate, we're going to take some miss missteps because you're going to try and dilute the reality of what of the story that you're telling, so that people don't, you know, have the reaction that you want them to have. And then secondly, when you're trying to people please, coming from the marketing team, you prevent them for being able to do their job. And obviously, right there were certain places where you did have to step in, and like keep the keep the project ethical. I think that you you know, we talked through some of these things in our sessions too, or like, you know, gaining perspective like is this because I want it to be a certain way because of as a survivor and then also what's my job as the producer and you were so thoughtful about that. I just want to commend you. And then, but like, like you said to their job is to get eyeballs on the project. And the point of the project is to make an impact. So if they can't do the job that they're doing, because your thought is, oh, no, I don't want any one person to either a feel excluded, feel like their story wasn't quite represented perfectly. There's a lot of this, like perfectionism in there, whether it's either perfect or it's, you don't want it out there, that it never gets out there. And then it never has the impact. And I watch people do this with any product or service that they have, it's like, they are so worried that someone's gonna misunderstand them, that it's going to be misrepresented out there, that they don't sell it, that they don't get it out there.

Ashley Hoff 15:44

Well, and that was the day honestly, and I'll throw it out again, because it just it really rocked my world. And it was a very, very pivotal shift moment for me, when you said, you know, some of the world's most positive things started from a negative thought or emotion. And when I really dove into that concept, not only did this project start from there, but don't most you know, if you're if you're a, whether you're a storyteller, or a person, an entrepreneur, or someone who heck just wakes up in the morning, you know, if you have an idea for something, it's most likely because there was space in the world for it, which means like someone else didn't, which technically means that there was a negative emotion that fueled it, you felt like something was missing, you did some

Jessica McKinley 16:39

There's a problem that needs a solution, right? And, and we don't want problems. But if problems go away, then we don't get the beautiful experience of solving. And our brains are designed to solve problems. So it's counterintuitive, but wishing away the problems wishing away the imperfections wishing away the dialog that inevitably came after the project was released in perfectly, of course, because you said I think before we started recording, like every art project, you're never going to be fully satisfied with it. And there's it's never fully done. And there's always someone who's going to have a negative opinion about are just not cared for it. It's not going to be their taste. And yeah, that's good. That breeds a whole new life into it breeds a whole new life into it, when after the fact that comes out. And then there's dialogue about it. And even though that that part wasn't a part of the film, because I keep saying film, sorry, the series because the series was out there, you were able to foster a new platform for more dialogue for their message that they were upset wasn't included in the film that you were able to actually ironically do that, like, the project doesn't end, when it's released. It never ends. Because that's just the beginning of a new series of dialog and a new set of problems that other people can solve for. Like how amazing I just think that you know what I mean, every time I'm worried about if my offer is going to be perfect or not. I just remember the answer is not it won't be perfect. And then I'll get it out there. And then that will show me what else needs to be added.

Ashley Hoff 18:32

Absolutely. And I think in life there's there's so much chatter, right, you know, we live in this world of social media and you know, we have access to all of these opinions that prior to the internet Oh yeah. Maybe didn't have access to and, you know, taught in his basement in North Dakota who's got things to say to you, but I think I feel like I should apologize to Todd in North Dakota that was not a specific rig. It was just the name that came to mind. But anyways, I

Jessica McKinley 19:08

there's definitely a troll on the internet whose name is Todd and lives in North Carolina.

Ashley Hoff 19:12

It's fair it's a shout out Todd. I I think it's really hard to protect, protect your peace and also your intention because it is really easy for people to get to you and to insert their thoughts into your model as well. And the fascinating thing I think about this has been you know I started this year with a with a goal I will never forget you asked me you know what if you had a goal for the year, what do you want it to be? And I I had said that I wanted to I wanted it to be enough To give my own gold star. Yeah. And, you know, that is absolutely a work in progress. But I think somewhere around that moment of, you know, things starting to come out and be public, I realized that I was. So I was so incredibly proud of not just the peace. But in the way, the people who were involved with the Peace chose to show up on our behalf. It, it was all of the proof, I needed to know that as, as a producer, that the goal was achieved, the goal was, is that we would create a powerful piece where people who felt called to share their stories could do so in a space that was safe, and where they felt cared for and that they felt that they could be vulnerable. And I knew with complete conviction, if I was really honest with myself, that we did everything in our power to do just that. And to watch, those people really show up on behalf of the project. What Yeah, and knowing that that was our intention, especially in those first moments, when people did have some, some mixed reactions to that trailer, you know, they said, give it a chance. They, they, they did this right guys, and they, they did it with good hearts. And in an effort to share our story. And I, if it never it, if it never got better than that moment in time, it it honestly would have been enough because that when I really sat back and analyzed what the goals were, when we started, it was done. Honestly, the goals were done before the piece ever entered, right.

Jessica McKinley 22:07

And that is the point, right? It's like we can't let the result of or the reaction to the results determine whether we thought that it was worth or that was the right choice, we have to like decide that we made and you you said that like before the trailer even came out, we had a session and you were just like, I my work right now is to sell myself on the belief that I've done all that I possibly could, and that I had the right intention going into it. And that that's going to translate. And you just have to sell yourself because I think as a producer, and really a producer of anything like an EP in this case, but like a producer of of work and artists, an entrepreneur or someone that's putting things out in the world, we don't have the privilege of, of guaranteeing that people aren't going to misunderstand it, and aren't going to Yeah, misunderstand us in our work. There are people that think that because I talk a lot about money, that that's all I care about that I think that money is the point, they obviously don't fully listen to my work, right? They skim it, but even still, I'm willing for that to be misread to in order to get it out there to have the impact that I want to have. And it's like you had to be willing for people to misunderstand you. And when you make room for that when you make room for the Todd's poor job. We're just gonna keep going at it. For for, you know, the haters, or the trolls, or just the general public that really does misunderstand your work or they don't agree with it. When you make room for that. You also make room for all the other people who are going to really feel touched and or be impacted by the work.

Ashley Hoff 24:10

Yeah, and I would say actually, some of the most, you know, powerful conversations have actually started with that misunderstanding, you know, and I, I think we all just want to feel heard as people you know, I whatever we've been, we've been teasing on poor Todd, whomever he is, and but the truth is, is you know, whether it be an everyday human being and then you come into contact with at your local coffee shop or it's an online troll, whomever it is, I think, I think as human beings, we all just want to be heard, and we want someone to respond to us. Right? And if you really dissect trolling, that's what it is. They're no one's just putting it out there because they hope you don't respond. No, they're hoping you'll have a reaction to it. course. And I think coming to the table, after some of those initial reactionary statements were made, and reaching out to people and sharing with them the heart of the project and why it was created and who I am, you know, 98% of the time, that ended in a beautiful dialogue and that person, really changing their mind about how they were going to communicate about the piece moving forward, or about me or the team moving forward. And I think, I think that's really beautiful. And I think we, we all get so busy, right? And we we forget to talk and we forget that in life. You know, not everybody's supposed to agree iron sharpens iron. I do really believe that. Yeah. And I think we are, we sometimes get so locked into finding people that were, you know, in agreement with, we forget about the power of of disagreement about asking, Why do you feel that way? Tell me. Tell me more about why you did that. You know, and I think if you just take a break for two seconds and ask some of those questions, you realize that we're all just not that far apart. And like I said, we all just, we all want to be heard. And we all want to feel like someone responded to us. So I don't know, I think it's been a really valuable lesson in this part of the after process, as well, now that it's released on how to have dialogue with people and how to have dialogue with people that you may not initially agree with, and maybe you'll come to agreement with or you just don't agree with, and guess what guys don't all have to agree on everything. That's just not, it's just never gonna work like that. So I do think the more again, we'll go back to the good old fashioned, it's all 5050. And I think the more that we can settle into that, I just believe the more will continue to positively evolve as human beings and communicators.

Jessica McKinley 27:14

Yeah, I mean, you've summed up really what you do as a as a storyteller. And I think I think it's just so relatable to all of the hamsters listening, so I don't I don't know if you're listening. I really I don't ask for this often. But I would love for you to share this episode if you listened and it impacted you. What, what specifically about your own business that you felt was so relatable? I think that it's I missed the back and forth, sometimes with podcasts or I don't always get to hear from you. Unless you DM me, so please, DM me, DM Ashley, on Instagram, I will I will. If it's with her permission, I will put her information in the show notes. And definitely search and listen to her her stories on the other podcasts that she's on. But most importantly, go and watch 11 minutes. I know how much you guys put into this work and the dialogue that it started. It's really it's really so incredible. And is there anything that you want to leave the hipsters with or that you wanted to say that you didn't get to say on on the show in our in our calamity of times that we did this podcast?

Ashley Hoff 28:42

I love it. Hey guys, it you know what we're we're doing it? We're doing it? No, I, you had asked me something earlier and I don't I honestly think we sort of diverted somewhere else in our conversation. But you know, I to people out there who you know you whether it is you have an idea or you have a story you want to pursue a business model you want to try and it seems hard. What I'll say is, you know, a big, big part of this project. Yes, we took on the point of view of the survivors but not to be a spoiler alert. At the end of the fourth episode, we we take a minute to honor the 58 lives that were lost in the Las Vegas route 91 harvest festival shooting and we also take a minute to honor every life that has been lost sense and I will tell you it is a it's a hard six and a half minutes of three columns of names. And you know I think here's the scoop to everyone is when something seems hard, I just want you to remember that somebody else didn't get the chance to do hard things today. A. So if you had a meal yesterday and you're alive today, it's enough to be happy. And additionally, you know, how Blessed are we to get to do hard things? It is, it is. It's a thing to get to live this life and it's not infinite. And I can tell you, I've sat in a moment where I didn't know if I'd have a moment to follow, and we say a lot of cute things like YOLO or live every moment like it's your last and you don't really get those things until you do. And although I would erase this event and pull all of the pain away from those who have experienced it if I could, personally I have gratitude that I have a moment in time to go back to and channel when life gets in the way you know, you someone cuts you off on the freeway, or you had a rough day at work or a co worker made you mad. You know, and you say things like I had a bad day or I'm just stays the worst. It's not it's a day full of annoyances and opportunities to learn from those annoyances. But life you know it's not infinite. So go do the thing. Live a big life live a big bold life because you you got something somebody else did. And that's sort of the greatest way that you can honor the miracle that is the breath in your lungs today.

Jessica McKinley 31:33

I'm gonna leave you guys with that hamsters. There's nothing I have to add live a big bold life. So good. All right, thank you so much, Ashley for coming on the show. And I'll see you and our session like tomorrow. Two days from now.

Ashley Hoff 31:50

See ya at 9am.

Jessica McKinley 32:03

Have a great day guys.

Jessica McKinley 32:06

Hey Happsters, if you want to learn more about today's topic, head over to what's forward [slash] podcast. That's what's happening. W h a t s h a p p y n i n g [dot] com forward [slash] podcasts. If you're a business owner and you're resonating with what we talked about here, what are you even doing? Come hang out with me over where the party's at on Instagram [@} what's happyning w jess. Again that's happy. H a p p y i n g and book a discovery call to see if coaching is your next best step.

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