We often hear stories of people publicly acknowledging a higher power or vocalizing their submission to religion when life gets complicated.  I was always skeptical of the convenience of that spiritual connection.

That is, until I found myself reaching out to my religion for guidance and saw it wasn’t that individuals found religion after travesty, but that they finally chose to listen to their respective higher power within the lowest trenches of their lives.

My name is Evan Ward, and this is my Crystal Stair.

Here’s Context:

Post-graduation thousands of students across the country become anxious; thoughts swirling of pending graduation, nervously checking email inboxes for job notifications, and the overall uncertainty of future adult life.  The insurmountable pressure from family, friends, and society to maintain stellar grades, prestigious internships, and securing that high-paying job all while keeping internal mental peace can be crushing.

I’d built my identity around the things I accomplished and the things I achieved…being academically excellent and having all of these prestigious internships professionally… but I came back my junior year with 9 interviews, 5 second round interviews….and no offers. It shook me to my core, I was basing all of my value on my last great achievement… relative to those around me.

My story isn’t unique.  In a society where meritocracy and accolades sometime speak louder than quality of character, many students are left feeling unfulfilled when life doesn’t reward them for years of dedicated hard work, often questioning their self-worth and value…at ages 20 and 21.

I was at my lowest…then I decided to listen to God.

For the last four years of my life, I considered myself to be a closet Christian.  Not speaking up about my faith to anyone except people who I knew would accept it, for fear of stepping on somebody’s toes or meeting disapproval.  However, over the last year, God has stepped into my life, blessed me, and started to change me from the inside out in too many ways to explain.  I knew I had to listen.  I’m proud to say I’ve gotten baptized and have given my life to the Lord, and the blessings have been continuously pouring ever since

My spiritually ordained journey has guided me into entrepreneurship – and also into a full-time analyst position at ATKearney in Chicago, IL.  I’m the proud CEO and Founder of BUTLER, an app-based pick-up dry-cleaning service platform that caters to college students around the country.  I realized, as a business student that lugging our suits and shirts to the dry cleaners was always an inconvenience, as there were none within walking distance.  The demand and market for a delivery dry cleaning service was definitely there, it was just a matter of how to best address it.  As with any startup, there have been hitches, and I’m sure there will be a lot more mistakes to learn from, but I now operate with this renewed and divine determination and grit that shows no signs of slowing down…

Don’t count me out just yet, I have a lot of fight left.