Henry Ford noted that “…you cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do…” Craig Stokes has the action of what he has done as a testament to his growing reputation. With an endearing humility, he assesses himself as “…an ordinary guy going to do extraordinary things…” these words remind the reader that although ordinary as people, we are capable of achieving extraordinary goals.
“…I want to be known as somebody who was successful… but also significant in helping others achieve…”
One can be easily awed by Stokes’ business and educational portfolio. Having completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Engineering from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, he proceeded to gain a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has channelled this drive for success into his business as a ‘Teen and Young Adult Motivational Speaker’ as well as shows such as his online web series, ‘Style Minute’, as well as, ‘Craig Stokes Presents: The Show’. In addition and as recognition, he was selected as one of the 7 ‘HBCU Alumni to Watch’ by Huffington Post where he was compared to Oprah Winfrey.
There is something different about Craig Stokes. He has a clear direction as to WHY he works hard. In his words “…I want to be known as somebody who was successful… but also significant in helping others achieve…” His work testifies to this, for example, in one episode of ‘Style Minute’ where he explains the right attire for an interview. This might seem minute to the corporate individual, but for the young 20 year old boy from the inner city who never had a father figure to teach him how to knot a tie, this might be the extra push to get that job; so does the inexperienced graduate who is not accustomed to the workplace etiquette- saved from a catastrophic first day at the office.
You see, dear reader, making an impact starts from somewhere.
Craig Stokes impresses me as a man. That he is concerned with the interests of those around him is exemplified by his service as a US Air Force reservist. That he can be called upon to lay down his life for his country, reveals a man who is willing to live for others. This must be noble; as from such are legacies established.
As to his success, the stand out concept is clear purpose. Purpose births your passion in that field- when the purpose is inspired by the right foundation; in Stokes’ case “…helping others achieve their goals…” This is well reflected when asked about what he enjoys most about his job, he notes “…I get excited when my client likes an idea I have pitched…”
The words of Arthur Ashe ring true, “…Success is a journey, not a destination…” In Stokes’ case, the journey being- “… to be innovative with new branding ideas gives me a real thrill…”Dear reader, you cannot aspire to the glitz and the glamour of a profession or business if you are unwilling to be thrilled by the process of it.
Indeed Stokes notes that his initial challenges lay when he got in his own way trying to do too much at once- however, with clear focus on purpose, one is able to distil opportunities, in order to choose the right ones for the end goal.
In conclusion, I leave you with some lessons from Craig Stokes.
1. Define success for yourself- What does success mean to you?
2. Find a mentor who can help you, answer your questions, prepare you for challenges and steer you clear of mistakes.
3. Realise that your success is no one else’s responsibility but yours”
Interview by Oyin Ogunkanmi
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