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Exploring Life & Business with Alex Ray

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Ray.

Hi Alex, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
When I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to help others live more authentically. I didn’t have the words for it yet, but I knew I wanted to love myself more and help others do the same. I was diagnosed with depression in 2nd grade. Throughout my teen years, I fought hard against allowing others to know the authentic me for fear I’d lose all my friends and family. I’m gay and growing up in a conservative, legalistic church, all I knew was that people like me are broken, and for that they are eternally punished.

By the time I was 23, my depression had hit an all-time low, and I decided to carry through with my suicide plan that I’d been developing for at least ten years. Thankfully I was unsuccessful, and I went into intense therapy where I was much more vulnerable than I’d ever been before. Therapy helped me get back on my feet, but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to understand what it was that made other people so confident when I was stuck in so much insecurity. For the three years after my suicide attempt, I opened up in therapy, I read books, I watched TED talks, I listened to podcasts, and I got a life coach. By the end of 2020, I became the confident person I’d always wanted to be. And I’d seen why many others in the LGBTQIA+ community lacked confidence too. Through my own journey and by helping others, I’ve developed a process I know I can walk any queer person through to become confident.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Oh my goodness, no! I’ve had little side businesses here and there since I was eight years old. But my first real focused attempt at building a business was a photography business I had with a friend. It ended up straining our relationship, and ultimately we both decided to quit the business. After several years working in the tech industry, I decided to do nutrition and fitness coaching. It aligned better with my values because I love helping people directly, but in the first year of coaching, I made less than $9,000. I had to sell my car and move in with my parents to get by. I still face challenges as the Queer Confidence Coach. I have doubts. I have weeks or months where it feels like nothing is moving as fast as it “should.” But this is how it goes. As entrepreneurs, we either keep working at something and find a way to make it work, or we give up. I honestly believe that any business can work. It is up to us to find the how. And that can be scary, but it can also be fun. I like to look at it as a mystery to solve. I have fun learning from every high and low of entrepreneurship.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I help LGBTQIA+ people become confident. In other words, I help them enjoy being their authentic selves. As a life coach, I provide a safe space to bring 100% of you. All the joy and all the shame. We look at what you’ve been hiding for fear of shame, and we bring it into the light. Once it’s there, it can no longer harm you. And we celebrate. We celebrate all the things! We slow down and appreciate every accomplishment. Because especially nowadays, we are constantly caught up in what is next. Our brains need a reward. And when we work together, we practice giving that to them. I’m like your sassy best friend who also lifts you up all the time. I tell you the things you need to hear, even if they might sting at first. Everything I do is to lift you up and to help you get to the freedom of being exactly who you are. And I throw a party with you every time you show up for yourself!

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
The best thing you can start with as an entrepreneur are my three steps to confidence. 1. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Accept discomfort. It’s not a problem. 2. Take action. Keep stepping towards the discomfort. Don’t just let it stay an idea. 3. Have your own back. It’s not about being defensive. It’s about loving on your scared inner child, no matter how things work out. Give them a big hug. And let them know you won’t abandon them. You’ll keep going together.

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Image Credits
Alex Ray Katie Simbala

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