Chasing It

Originally posted on LinkedIn, Dec 2017:

It has been 11 months and 19 days since my email ceased to exist. I knew it was going to happen. With a lump in my throat and a pit in my stomach, I had broken the news of my decision to my boss: someone I look up to immensely, someone who continues to shape my professional growth exponentially. For the first time, I had chosen personal over professional; concluding it was time to shift from West to East; from a coast, a city and a company I had made my own, to a town that was far from mine in so many ways.

Sitting in my family's home, the sound of the holidays downstairs, I repeatedly refreshed my inbox as it rendered a prompt: "This account does not exist."

Staring blankly at the screen, I did what I always do in situations where I lack control: I looked at the clock, marked the time and gave myself 60-seconds to feel it, to grieve it and then quite abruptly, to let 'it' go.

The days that followed were full of anticipation for a cross-country move, a new role at a new company, a wedding, a marriage. Despite all that happiness, the pit in my stomach remained: I could not let 'it' go. I threw myself into my changed life. I respected the founders, my colleagues and the mission at my new company, but that was not 'it'.

Staring blankly yet again, but this time at a whiteboard, six-months to the day from my Twitter departure, 48 hours since leaving my new company, I began to brainstorm.

The board remained bare for more than a few days, but then 'it' started to come to fruition. 'It' was something I had been living since the beginning of my career at ESPN, perhaps even earlier as an athlete and/or through my involvement with UVA's sports information department. 'It' is connecting people at the intersection of media, technology and sports through curated events, while also supporting women who occupy the space - a fervor for which I can no longer deny.

My husband, other family members and close friends will tell you 'it' has not been easy to put structure to my passion. I know, no matter how long I live, I will never be able to thank them for their support, but I do know this: Must Love Sports is my 'it' (much more to come as it unfolds further).

In the interim, and trust me on this, regardless of how you define your 'it', no matter how hard 'it' may seem, do yourself this favor: look at the clock, mark the time, take 60 seconds, get some control, gather your team, and chase 'it': hard and without hesitation or apology.

From what I can tell, 'it' will all be worth it.

Raleigh Anne Gray