So I just had a birthday this past week. Before I finally allowed myself to be grateful and celebrate my birthday, at first I found myself being very discouraged and disappointed in myself this past week. I was down because of previous unmet goals I had set for myself and different expectations that I had for my life that I haven't seen manifest yet. And with all of the other added drama in my life that has been weighing heavy on me, I began feeling doubtful in myself, my abilities, my plans, and began questioning what the heck am I doing with my life! I know we've all been there and particularly for us entrepreneurs, we've had those moments of unsurety and anxiety about any and everything we're doing.
It was on the morning before my birthday that I felt the weight of all of these thoughts and emotions and just when I felt like breaking down and giving up, I got a call from one of my business mentors.
He was looking to check in on me and see how my progress was going with my business. Although it was totally out of my norm to open up, I was able to share and express to him my frustrations and feelings of fear, disappointment, and doubt. As short and simplistic as the conversation had been, it was exactly what I needed right at that time! So much so, it made me cry uncontrollably in my car. It was something about that call that made the difference for me. My mentor gave me reassurance of myself, and invited me to attend an upcoming event that would help give me more clarity and answers on how to move forward.
I truly believe there are times along our journey where God strategically places little hints, messages or reminders to catch us in the midst of our lowest moments to give us peace of mind and provision for the journey. Whether it's through people, or things. Whether it's as prominent like a 5 minute phone call or as hidden as this picture I captured of the back of this McDonalds semi, driving home from work. These reminders are purposed to point us back in to the direction where our destiny lies. I know I experienced that this week and I know that as an entrepreneur, it won't be my last time needing that encouragement and reminder to hold on and keep fighting for my dreams!
As this year is comes to a close, I've been very intentional about reflecting and evaluating things in my life and business. Specifically, I’ve been assessing what things, projects, people, and ideologies had been beneficial and/or detrimental to my progress and growth. After careful personal reflection, I’ve come to realize several things that I committed my time too over the past year have become distractions and energy killers for me, while other commitments have developed into incredible learning and growth opportunities.
However, more prevalent then anything, I've been assessing who I am, where I started and what I envision myself and my business becoming. I've checked my business and life goals to assess if my goals align with my vision. And I've really been assessing myself to really find the "why" behind my brand and my business.
For me, it all started from a conference. Growing up as a teenager, my home church would put on this annual youth conference called CRUNKFEST Youth Conference. My fellow church mates/class mates would come together every year and plan this incredible worship experience for our peers to come and encounter Christ. The best part was that every single one of us found a creative way to incorporate our gifts and talents to help develop, plan and execute this 500+ person conference. It was from this exciting experience where my passion for marketing began. From having to design logos, flyers, websites, and event products, myself and several other teens from our congregation self-taught ourselves the needed skills to develop the conference to impact our generation. And I was absolutely captivated by the idea of utilizing your creativity, skills, and passions to help build and invest in others.
Fast forward to March 2012, when a select few of my church mates and I got the crazy idea to start our own branding and design company that did exactly what would do with Crunkfest: build brands that invested in people. Of course we had no idea what we were getting into. And now looking back, over three and a half years later, I feel like the road towards building Greater Works Design Studio has been the longest rollercoaster rides ever…and I love it. What started as a crazy idea, became a passionate dream, and now has become a reality the I am living everyday. And to think that even though I used to treat it as a hobby before, I now know that I want to use my skills and expertise to create something different, unique, innovative, and out-of-the-box!
Earlier this week, I attended an panel discussion on Personal Branding that was presented by an organization I've recently joined called Young Professional of Louisville (YPAL). I received incredibly insightful tips, tools, and information on starting and developing my personal brand. And one key question that was asked has reverberated with me throughout this week: “What do I want my brand to be about? In other words, what is the “why” behind your brand? And after careful thought and recognition, I believe that I’ve found my singular goal or mission behind my brands, both personal and business.
Lewis Howes (former athlete, serial entrepreneur & NYT best selling author of School of Greatness) has one of the best definitions of greatness that I have ever heard. He defines greatness as, “…discovering and cultivating the unique gifts and talents we were born with to live our dreams to the fullest, and make the maximum impact on people around us and the world by living those dreams.” In keeping with his definition, I want to help others grow to greatness within their own lives and in their business so that the maximum impact can be given the world. This is my mission, this is the “why” behind my brands. This is what we are about. And as this journey unfolds, this mission will be expressed and executed in various innovative ways and facets in the near future!!!
For those that know me would agree that I feel extremely uncomfortable talking about myself, let along write about myself. However you will soon find that all of the posts made on this blog will in fact be entirely about…YUP, you’ve guessed it! ME and my experiences. For those that don't know me, I believe a short introduction is due, so here it goes:
My name is Raechele Gray. I was born a 90s baby and raised in a small-town called Shelbyville, KY by 2 loving parents alongside my amazing older sister. At age 18, I attended Marshall University where I played NCAA Division 1 basketball for two years. At age 20, I then transferred to Eastern Kentucky University where I completed my collegiate basketball career and finished my Bachelor degree in Public Relations and completed my Masters of Business Administration at age 24. Interesting enough, my story of school and sports is what most people know about me. However, I'm eager to share more of my life beyond the jersey.
I grew up in a ministry household with both of my parents serving as pastors to my home church, New Mt Zion Baptist Church. My parents have also been entrepreneurs for 20+ years, currently managing a 6-figure mental health practice called Creative Spirits Counseling Center. It was an interesting dynamic growing in a household where your parents were therapists AND preachers at the same time. I grew up in an environment of openness, communication, and boundless affirmation of who I was and what I could become. At a young age, I had several sporadic ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up, however two things were consistently reflected throughout my life efforts:
1) Creativity - I’ve always been a creative! Having multiple hidden talents within music and performing arts, I knew I wanted to spawn creativity and innovation with what I did.
2) Impact - Impact has been the constant narrative of my life. I have always been passionate about utilizing whatever platform I've been graced to have as a tool to impact and inspire others in some way. With my sport, I loved using basketball as a platform to influence young talents and achievers by daring them to dream beyond what they've seen and strive for their best selves through hardwork, consistent improvement, and love for self.
I believe my story of entrepreneurship began at a young age watching my parents as they experienced all facets, both good and bad of working for yourself and creating your own value. As a youngster, I would come home with wads of money from hussling guys in my class over a basketball game. (At least thats what I was told.) As I grew older, I naturally gravitated towards opportunities of leadership, ambitious risk, and independence. In high school, I leverage my music skills and taught myself how to create sound tracks for musicians as a music producer. This beat-making business carried me through my first years of college and kept money in my pocket. Now looking back, I now know the spirit of entrepreneurship has always been apart of me.
Apart from being the founder of my own Branding & Design studio, Greater Works, I would describe myself as an optimistic young professional with an attitude of gratitude.
In addition to being a dedicated hardworker and a relentless dreamer, I am a #TGIT & Empire fanatic, a serious techie and at the same time the biggest Foodie!
I love laughing, genuine company, traveling and exploring new places, people, and ideas!
Within the confines of this blog, I mainly will write about my experiences as a young entrepreneur and the lessons learned through personal development. My blog will also mix in discussions on Business, Branding/Design, Travel & Food, Self-Development and Lifestyle .
My journey towards entrepreneurial success, personal wealth and a freedom lifestyle is just beginning. My hope is to inspire and motivate others to create the life they love, and transition from Greater to Graytness!
I hope you enjoy reading! If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to contact me. For Business inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org