Rachel’s Secrets To Conquer Defeat & Make Your Dreams Reality

We all hear that nagging voice in our head. You know, the one that tells you you’re not good enough, you can’t do what they do, your dreams are TOO big to reach.

Well, friends, today I’ve got the secret sauce to silencing the lies & breaking through the barriers; whether that’s business, dream jobs, relationships, health. 

Are you STUCK and wanting to make some big changes in 2018?

Then you’d be crazy to not take a few minutes to read this interview with this full-time dream-maker.

Rachel is the kindest soul, hardest hustler, and all-around ultimate Girl Boss.

graphic designer blogger entrepreneur girl boss
photo credit @malloryjphotography

She created her own dream job in her early 20’s, smiles through the storms, and she was kind enough to share her deep dark secrets to success & happiness with YOU!

Want in on this goodness?!  I know I’m sure taking a page out of her book.


  • Tell me about yourself?  

I am days away from being a 23 year old, loving all things simple, white, black and copper.

I’m the girl that wears t-shirts with bandanas just to feel casual with a spunk people will remember.

I love design, appreciate a well-thought note, prefer jazz music and hard core rap, and never deny a donut or a chai tea latte.

Thanks to my professor and her promise for extra credit in a college class, I wandered into this blogging world on accident but have done lots of digging to create my own little corner of the internet and I’ve never been more motivated.


  • What goals are you currently pursuing?

A few of them are secrets that will be shared in the very near future.

Practically, I’m adding to my team so I can get more done with more brains, hands and computers.

It’s hard when you work for yourself and therefore manage your own time while also setting boundaries between work and home life.

So, I have a goal in 2018 to be more diligent about the time that I have to work and “clock out” by 5:30 and “clock in” by 9 to make sure I have quality and undistracted time at home.

A silly (but super serious) goal I have is to complete a book before seeing a movie! I’ve never done that and it really bugs me.

  • How did you finally end the cycle of defeat in reaching your goals?

To be completely transparent, defeat is something that I, as a “creative”, have to battle everyday.

Either a dream brand of mine “isn’t available for a collaboration at the moment,” a client doesn’t love his/her logo, I didn’t meet a deadline I set for myself or I was distracted at dinner with my husband because of ideas I have overwhelming me for the next work-day.

But, when I face these issues, overcome them and get the job done, it makes the accomplishment that much more to celebrate.

So, I guess when I reach my goals with a lot of adversity or tweaks in the process, I’m defeating the idea of defeat.

  • Why are goals important?

Ahhh goals.

They’re so tricky but so so very important.

There’s a healthy tension with setting goals: they have to be attainable yet challenging so that you have movement but not impossibilities.

Regardless, everyone should always have a goal. Goals are needed in any environment.

Without goals, we have no direction and without direction, there’s no vision and without vision, there’s no progress. (preach, girl, preach!)

I always say goals are like climbing a mountain.

You may not know what the view is going to look like, what the path will hold or how steep the incline will be, but you know your destination and where you want to be.

If you chose not to move in a direction, you’ll always be in the valley lacking any view or perspective of where you’ve been after the climb.

Cheesy, I know, but so important to remember.

I love sitting down with my Powersheets from Lara Casey to set goals for the week, month and year and then put practical “to dos” in Asana (the software I use to get stuff done).

Writing them down sets them in place for me but also keeps me accountable at the end of the week, month and year. I can look back and see the goals I missed, made and exceeded.

Goals tell me if what I’m doing is actually working.

If you meet a goal or miss it, they’re both a success because you’re walking away with a self-evaluation that you would have if you hadn’t set a goal at all.

  • Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My design inspiration is Mary Grace Baker. She also doubles as a great friend.

She’s a photographer in the Birmingham, Alabama area and we met a couple summers ago. She’s simple yet elegant, laid back yet feminine that I love.

My inspiration for content that I love comes from Julia Engel from Gal Meets Glam. If you know, you know. She’s lovely and the most excellent with how she executes her work.

My inspiration in how I should serve and love my husband best and the mother I’d love to be comes from my elementary school guidance counselor turned Instagram crush, Katie Walters.

She’s a fantastic mom of 6, a pastor’s wife that loves him so consistently and she also operates a business that takes her internationally – it’s called Francis and Benedict.

All three are incredible inspirations.

business owner girl entrepreneur girl boss
photo credit: @jessimnichols


  • What has been your biggest set back so far?

The idea of competition, hands down.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that the blogging + design world is over saturated.

You can’t scroll through your feed on Instagram without seeing an outfit of the day, a giveaway or a “link in bio.”

At first, I hated it. I cringed every time out of fear.

I knew there were others doing what I was doing; therefore, I felt as if I had to be “the best” to be remembered.

That was my biggest setback.

It was when I realized that my story and what I had to say was going to reach the people I was called to reach.

To pretend, to compete, to strive is so not my character and when I do pretend, when I am competitive and when I strive for something I’m acting out of who “Rachel Awtrey” was created to be which gives off a completely different brand than I work so hard to maintain.

When I was able to finally let go, tap into my very own calling and knowing that no one is going to do it like me and I’m not going to do it like anyone else, there was a freedom that diluted any competition or set back.     (speaking straight to my soul)

  • How do you find confidence when it’s lacking?

I think of who I was and who I am today.

I think of all the circumstances life has tossed towards me.

I think of my story and my victory.

I think of all the things I’ve conquered rather than all the things currently conquering me.

I keep my perspective eternally minded. Really, I’m on the winning team, why not be confident?

Easier said than done, I know.

But, when I think back on all that I’ve been through and the things that should never have happened, and all the ways the Lord has shown up and come through, it’s hard not to be confident in Him and all of the ways that He’ll come through today and tomorrow and the next day. (yessss!)

  • Have you ever been tempted to quit? If so, how did you persevere?

Oh yes. If you’ve never contemplated throwing in the towel, you’re not doing it right.

Sorry for preaching, but if you’re not hearing any voices of adversity, you’re not walking in your calling. 

The enemy only attacks what he sees worth attacking.

If you’re not doing what the Lord has for you, you’re not a threat to the enemy so you won’t find much adversity.

However, when you’re advancing the Kingdom, speaking the Truth and encouraging others in their walk, the enemy is nothing but threatened – be prepared for an attack.

A lot of times, these attacks come physically and I get super sick.

Other times it comes through having to battle lies with Truth.

I have to be attentive and careful and listen to exactly what I’m feeling and believing.

I normally want to quit after hearing “no one is reading anything you’re writing” or “no one’s transformed from what you’re doing, you’re wasting your time” or “look, she just did it better.”

I persevere by praying. I’m honest with God. I ask him for encouragement, I ask him for people to reach out and give me honest feedback, scripture for truth.

Every. Single. Time. I receive an email, a text, a message from someone who read something, somewhere and was left with some Truth to chew on.

I think I would’ve quit already if I didn’t know how to ask for help in the times I wanted to tap out.

Always ask for help!

  • What is the biggest hate you’ve ever received in your journey & how did you overcome it?

I think for me, it’s really easy to praise people’s opinions and put too much weight on them.

For example, if a friend thinks what I’m doing is silly, I’ll probably stop or at least consider stopping.

I spent a lot of time in prayer asking the Lord why I care so much and he clearly, and sharply, revealed that in those moments I’m praising people more than my God;

I’m caring more about what my Observers have to say more than what my Maker has to say.

Ouch, but it was true.

My mom once told me, “if you wait until everybody approves, it’ll never happen” and it’s so true. Everyone has an opinion about everything.

I also saw a quote one time that said, “you had a purpose before anyone had an opinion” and that  hit home.

I’m not called to please people, that’s impossible and callings are never impossible.

I’m called to make an impact, to share my story, to leave people with a little bit of Jesus whether they know it or not and no one’s opinion should become a hindrance. (this is a lesson we all need to learn!)


  • How do you inspire yourself to change for reasons other than a better outward appearance/self-praise?

I’m always inspired to be a better wife, to be a better creative, to be a better friend.

A lot of this isn’t for praise, it’s the nitty gritty work done way behind the scenes that not many people recognize.

But, if my husband realizes a difference, that inspires me because it means I have a healthier home and family.

If I realize I’m feeling more creative, I become more efficient in my work and do it more excellently and that inspiration overflows to other areas of my life.

Inspiration for change is contagious and healthy and when you make a small change, just for you and your health, you almost glow and it carries over into other areas of life.

graphic designer blogger entrepreneur girl boss
photocredit: _tdane
  • How do you combat comparison?

I try and remember that their success doesn’t threaten mine because we’re called to different directions.

There’s only one mission for Rachel and no one else can complete my mission, and I can’t complete anyone else’s.

That’s relieving.

Comparison often comes from feeling as if someone is your “rival.” But, you can’t have a rival if you’re not called to the same game.

I often listen to the “Happy Hour” podcast with Jamie Ivey and in one of her earliest episodes she had Jess Connolly on. Jess talked about her morning practice of raising her arms and declaring, “I am taking myself out of the race for being the most/best _____.”

I practice this when I feel the competition get strong, too.

“I take myself out of the running to be the best web designer.”

“I take myself out of the running to be the best dressed at this brunch.”

“I take myself out of the running to have the best Instagram aesthetic.”

(Obsessed with this. Definitely going to seal this practice.)

It helps! You start to realize how small your problems are and for me, saying it out loud releases the authority it once had over my mind.

It’s almost like my brain remembers, “Oh yeah, we don’t need to care so much about that” and competition no longer exists in the natural.

  • Your main healthy tip?

You have a choice about what you put on and in your body.

Make the best choices.

Treat yourself, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, take care of your body and it’ll take care of you.

A friend once asked me, “What if you had one car for your entire life? You couldn’t trade it in, you couldn’t sell it. It was yours and you were stuck with it.” I’d probably put the best level of gasoline inside, I’d change my oil when I should, I wouldn’t work it too hard, I would take it into the shop anytime it made a funky noise.

“Right” she said. “What if we thought the same about our bodies.”

Oh shoot. That hit me hard.

I need to be treating my body as if I’m stuck with it for my whole life – because we are.

  • What is your favorite healthy snack/meal for busy days?

I love chopping up a sweet potato and throwing it in the oven for a few minutes while I’m getting ready and taking them to-go.

They’re so easy to eat on the go and they’re the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Another one is a banana and almond butter, I love that combo.

business owner graphic designer girl boss

  • How has your spiritual life helped you reach this point?

I wouldn’t be where I am without opened doors that I didn’t even know existed.

So many times I’ve wanted to settle. But, I knew the Lord had more because he promised me “abundantly more all that I could ever ask or think” Ephesians 3:20 and “knock and the door will be opened” (Mark 7:7) and that I have plans for me “plans for hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

So many times I’ve been “hungry” and ask the Lord to provide.

Just when I’m about to accept a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, he says “wait” and rewards my patience and/or perseverance with a big ol’ feast.

He only wants the best for his children.

He only gives good gifts. We just have to wait for the right time to open them and never be afraid to ask for what we want.

If it aligns with what He has for us, the possibilities are endless. I can’t imagine doing this on my own without asking Jesus to join my team and root for me.

  • Why do you think it’s so important for your success to adapt a healthy lifestyle (mind, body, spirit)?

There’s so many scientific reasons behind why you should consider your mind and body when wanting success in your life.

When you’re taking care of yourself, you feel empowered and confident making your decisions more firm, your interactions more friendly and your thoughts more clear.

I don’t know about you but success doesn’t seem flimsy, unfriendly or murky to me.

Success is genuine thoughtfulness, confident approaches and clear direction.

A lot of times I feel as if I’m thinking most clearly and acting most like “Rachel” when I’ve had a good, colorful meal, I’ve walked and thought out my day, I’ve put on a coat of mascara and lipstick and have asked God to move and show up in my day.

  • What roles have health/wellness (mental, physical, spiritual) played in your success?

Luke 16:10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”

I feel like when we take care of our bodies and the primary things we’ve been given in life, God wants to give us bigger gifts because he trusts us with the small things.

I remember I had a doll when I was little. Her name was Kit. Her hair was always tangled, I snuck her in my backpack, I slung her around on the playground. I asked for a new outfit for kit and my dad gave me a look.

He told me he was nervous that if he gave me a brand new outfit for Kit, it may not last very long because of the way I neglect to brush her hair, keep her at home and play with her gently.

It clicked.

Why would someone give me more if I couldn’t handle what I already had?

I feel like success is the same.

If we can’t take care of our minds, bodies and hearts, what makes us think we deserve more?

When we steward our mental, physical and spiritual health, God trusts us to be the right people to do his work excellently.

So, I’m all about 9 hours of sleep at night, diffusing lavender when I’m stressed, positive self-talk in the mirror when I feel low and a good walk in the warmth of the sun before I start my day.

It’s the little things that we can do to feel like our best “us”.


  • What is your mantra?

Do the best with what you have right now, that’s all that’s expected of you.

Don’t give what you don’t have and don’t hold back what you can give.

  • What advice do you have for other women hoping to start their dreams/pursue scary passions?

No dream is too big, no passion is is too much.

Always go for it, always ask for help, always be willing to learn, always reach out to that someone that you admire, are inspired by or have a question for.

If fear is holding you back, just start by sending one email to one person that can help you get to where you want to be.

The best way to conquer fear is to what you’re afraid to do.

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

  • What would you like to tell your 14 year old self?

If you think someone has everything figured out, look closer. No one ever has it figured out but somehow it always gets figured out.

  • What would you tell a girl who doesn’t feel like she’s worth the confidence and success?

I’d ask her who told her that.

A lot of times that I feel like I’m not worth something it’s because, unfortunately, someone once told me that I wasn’t.

I have to ask for clarity, pray for Truth, seek scripture to battle what I was once feeling unworthy of.

God wants to give us what our heart desires, He’s not the type to dangle something in front of our face and keep it away from us or make us want something we can’t have.

You’re worth it because He’s worth it and we’re really here just so that other people know He’s worth it, because they’re worth it.

  • If you would have never started pursuing your dreams, where do you think you’d be today?

Probably in a cubicle sipping my mediocre coffee, definitely eating a (probably stale) donut wishing I was writing my own content, publishing on my own website and designing what I want to design.

I’d be thinking “if I had just started when I felt like I needed to start something…”.

If you’re thinking about starting “that thing” you daydream about, start now. Immediate obedience comes with greater reward.

It means that you were obedient no matter the circumstance.

You don’t want to be sitting a year from now wishing you had started when you wanted to start.

  • What 1 piece of advice do you have for girls wanting to make a change?

No change is too quick.

For the longest time, I had myself convinced that every change needed to be slow and steady (for my own sanity).


If it’s for you and you’ve prayed, found wise counsel that agrees, and have felt that change is necessary, everyday unchanged is wasted.

  • If you had to tell someone ONE TIP to success over all else – what would it be?

Tell your story. Even if it means you aren’t understood.

Even if it means they won’t meet you with the same vulnerability.

Even if it means someone may think of you differently.

You’ll leave the moment more transparent and you’ll invite the spirit of vulnerability into the situation.

If you don’t share where you’ve been and what you learned, someone else may be missing out.

If you encourage someone because of where you’ve been, where you’ve been just gained purpose and that’s success.

I could have half of the subscribers, clients and people interested than I have but if people are still being moved and encouraged by what I have to say about where I’ve been, what I learned and what I know, I’m successful.

Redefining success around vulnerability changes the game with your purpose and reaching goals you set for yourself.

  • Most importantly: How do you like your coffee?

Easy. Black with a spoonful of honey.

  • How can we stay in touch & keep up with your journey?

I’d love for you all to join in on the fun over on RachelAwtrey.com or introduce yourself over on Instagram at @rachel.awtrey. Stay tuned for some very very fun projects in 2018. It’s about to be a big year for this little dream of mine!

I honestly can’t wait to cheer her on and see what big things are going to pop up in her corner of the world.

Rachel was a dream to work with!

And she shows you how no dream is too big, obstacle too scary, or voice too loud to stop you from fulfilling your calling.

Comment below how you can stop believing lies that you’re unworthy of achieving your goals. 


And if you liked this, you’d love Madison’s interview: From Girl Next Door to Business Owner

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