Follow your inner voice. Before my mom transitioned in 2018, many months prior I received thoughts and messages that I had never quite experienced before. The messages were distinct and clear, encouraging me to spend as much time with my mom as possible. I later realized my inner voice was guiding me in that directions because those moments I spent with her, eventually were my last. I was extremely grateful that I followed my inner voice. Trust your inner voice.
As a part of my series about “Grit: The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Kinyatta E. Gray. Kinyatta wrote and published her first book in 2019, a memoir, called 30 Days: Surviving the Trauma and Unexpected Loss of a Single Parent as an Only Child. Kinyatta’s aspirations to become an author were as a result of a heart-gripping moment in her mom’s final moments of life. She committed to honoring her mother’s legacy by becoming a published author. Kinyatta eventually wrote and released two more books for a total of three books in six-months in 2020.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?
The pleasure is all mine. Yes, I became a published author in 2019 for one reason only and that reason was to honor the legacy of my mother. My mother suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in 2018. Before her transition she was a writer, who often wrote scripts for plays, narratives, blogs and songs! However, her dream was to one day become a published author. Sadly, she did not fulfill that dream, therefore I wrote a book called: “30 Days: Surviving The Trauma and Unexpected Loss Of A Single Parent As An Only Child” in honor of her.
Can you share your story about “Grit and Success”? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
After my mother’s untimely death in 2018, I battled with the onset of Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. I also experienced bouts of suicidal ideation during my darkest hours of grief. Losing my only parent knocked me off of my feet and turned my world inside out. I was suddenly a “motherless” daughter and didn’t know how I would face life without her. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to. However, I found the strength, courage and determination to forge ahead and to complete my goal of becoming a published author despite the emotional hardships. I possessed Grit.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
The drive came from within. After a few months had gone by, I wanted to channel my grief into action. I decided that I would spend the rest of my life being impactful and inspirational to others who have lost their parents. I made a commitment not to abandon my mother’s spirit and I wanted to start a movement encouraging others not to abandon their deceased loved one’s spirit, but rather find a way to stay connected with their deceased loved ones and by following their inner voice. I yearned to honor my mother’s memory and I also sought to create a legacy of my own. I did this through writing and becoming a published author.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Grit led to my success because my emotional pain fueled the courage, passion, energy and the commitment that it took for me to write and release three books in six-months. In 2020, I wrote and released two more books: “Passing As Straight: Beautiful Women’s Whose Sexuality Went Undetected by a Judgmental Society” and, “From Section 8 To CEO”. The common theme between all of my books is facing the unthinkable, survival, walking in your truth and following your inner voice.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit?
Here are 5 pieces of advice on how one can develop Grit:
- Define your “why” purpose or passion. After losing my mom suddenly in 2018, I needed a will to go on. My desire to go on was fueled by my unstoppable desire to honor my mother’s legacy by writing a book and becoming a published author.
- Pursue your purpose or passion. I identified my “why” for wanting to become a published author, thereafter it became imperative for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work. With no prior experience as an author, the task was quite overwhelming, however I was committed to my “why” and stayed the course. I didn’t only write and release one book, I wrote and released three books in six-months.
- Learn to face obstacles instead of running from them. Losing my mom was very traumatic, however, instead of succumbing to the pain and despair, I decided to face it, and I shifted my thinking to that of a survivor and have worked hard every day to inspire others who have lost their parent or loved ones to do the same thing.
- Follow your inner voice. Before my mom transitioned in 2018, many months prior I received thoughts and messages that I had never quite experienced before. The messages were distinct and clear, encouraging me to spend as much time with my mom as possible. I later realized my inner voice was guiding me in that directions because those moments I spent with her, eventually were my last. I was extremely grateful that I followed my inner voice. Trust your inner voice.
- Practice being bold every day. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I spent several years concealing parts of my identity from strangers for fear of discrimination. One day, I decided to let go of my fear, be bold and courageous and walk in my truth. I have walked in my truth ever since.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
My spouse of 3-years has held me up during my darkest hours (after losing my mom), during my most trying times (raising two children) and during the most ambitious moments of my life (launching my business FlightsInStilettos, LLC and during my authorship journey). Having her support on my road to success is a key factor in my achieving success.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have used my success by sharing my stories of survival, grit, being unstoppable, walking in my truth and following my inner voice to inspire others not to give up and to live their best life despite the odds stacked against them.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I’m very excited about my latest project — the upcoming release of my new eBook called: So, You Want To Be An Author
A Step-by-Step Guide for Aspiring Authors
I decided to develop this guide for aspiring authors because it is the kind of practical easy to read and follow guide that I craved when I embarked on my authorship journey. Without doubt, I believe that this resource will be helpful and valuable to aspiring authors and will eventually produce more authors.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Executives should get to know their employees as people and not simply as a means to their success; show compassion and awareness of their needs as employees and create a culture of support, honesty, integrity, open communication and inclusiveness.