The Truth of My Story…
Through much of what I accomplished in becoming the man I am today, I did it feeling like I was either too much or not enough. So, I took on a mission to make sure others didn’t have to feel this way when in environments with me.
There was a time in my life when music was everything. It was all I knew. I ate, slept, and breathed music from my grade school days through high school. After graduating high school, I received a full-ride music scholarship and had every intention on pursuing a career in music. However, during my second year in college I realized there was more to me that I had never given myself the opportunity to explore because I was so set on my musical aspirations. I would soon discover, too, that music was people’s dream for me and not necessarily my own.
Even though I didn’t know what this “more” was at the time, what I did know is that it was a moment for change. So, with my parents’ blessing and understanding, I made the decision to drop out of school. Yes, I’m a college dropout. My dad gave me three months to “figure it out.” So, I spent that time like any respectable teenager would — on social media. At the time, MySpace was the predominant social platform. Beyond making me believe that I was a master web developer because I added moving graphics and music to my profile, MySpace became the land of discovery for me. It was there that I had my first contact with the world of fashion.
Through my MySpace community, I learned about New York Fashion Week, which peaked my curiosity. So, despite having no knowledge of the industry and, really, no clue what fashion week was all about, I booked a flight to New York. I arrived to the tents where the shows were being held prepared to buy my ticket only to discover that it didn’t quite work like that. I won’t go into all the details, but, I found myself in a conversation with a lady in black outside the tents that set me on a trajectory to gain influence in the fashion industry. I went on to start a thriving PR business and eventually returned to school to get a fashion degree.
This, however, was no “happily ever after.” Though I had started to find success, my life drastically changed when I was met with an unprecedented upset. After returning home from a weekend trip, I found myself ill. I went to the hospital presuming I had a stomach virus. This trip to the ER turned into a 6-month health battle that left me with a death prognosis. I remember, clearly, my doctor coming in the room and telling me that if I wanted to live, I was going to have to fight — and that’s just what I did! By God’s grace, I survived.
Here’s what’s crazy… I made these shifts, found success, and even survived death’s door but still felt like I was too much or not enough. That all changed for me, though, when I moved to New York. I was attending the most coveted fashion shows, luxurious parties, and being looked to as “the voice” by those around me. However, for two years, I was leaving these spaces and going back to someone else’s home, sleeping on an air mattress. These were such imbalanced experiences that made me often wonder, “Am I really this voice people think I am?” It was at the point where my voice was all I had that I discovered that it was all I needed to create the reality I desired.
To make a long story short, I used my voice to go from sleeping on an air mattress at a friend’s house to living in a LITERAL dream home. As I charted my course, I realized I had been using my voice since I was that grade school boy performing at school talent shows. I realized it was my voice that helped me leave music and venture into an industry I knew nothing about. More than that, it was my voice that saved my life. It is this truth that informs the work I do to help others to discover and amplify their voices. I want everyone I come in contact with to walk away knowing they they are enough because they have a voice.
Elliot Carlyle is a New York City-based branding & creative consultant, empowerment speaker, executive & life coach, author, marketplace ministry leader and philanthropist; widely known as the “the brand. the voice.” His work spans the fashion, creative, business, and lifestyle sectors, serving as an industry expert to A-list brands and multi-millionaire personalities, as well as a voice of empowerment, motivation, and inspiration. He is also recognized for his extensive knowledge and insight in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, personal growth & development, and influence.
Elliot has seamlessly navigated multiple facets and roles throughout his professional career including working in event production, public relations, creative direction, and media services. He has an earned BFA in Fashion & Retail Management and formerly worked in an executive capacity with award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week & international consultant, Fern Mallis. He is currently the Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion for New York City Jewelry Week.
Fueled by his personal mission and brand statement, “empowering people to turn up the volume in life and business,” Elliot has created platforms to build and equip 21st century visionaries; dubbing his audience of creatives, entrepreneurs, ministry leaders, artists, philanthropists and the like as “fellow architects”; people who are actively building dreams, visions, goals, purpose and destiny. He is the author of The Influence Workbook, written to equip personal and corporate audiences with clarifying keys, liberating exercises, and empowering takeaways that will position you on a trajectory to get to your “next” by moving you beyond the questions and unblocking your personal power. As he continues to evolve, Elliot is committed to being “the voice,” coaching people to discover their voice, increase their success frequency, and amplify their influence.