By Dr. Anita Polite-Wilson
The other day I was telling my mom about the wonderful time I had teaching a class for UCSD. It was more than a class. It was a transformative experience for all the participants and for me. In sharing with her the courage people demonstrated to be vulnerable during the process, she helped me reflect on my own courage.
Recently, I transitioned from employee to entrepreneur. It was not planned—I was downsized. Yet, my reaction was purposeful—I was liberated. After more than 30 years in corporate America, I realized that I no longer wanted to continue justifying why my approach to supporting others – for which I was paid to do – was of value. So, leaving with a 6-month financial make-or-break cushion, I began the journey from the “no longer” where I was as an employee, to the “not yet” where I want to be as an entrepreneur.
Unlike my mother, I didn’t see myself as being courageous. I saw myself as being choosey. I chose the path of least resistance… for my soul. It was easier for me to believe in my value than to convince a system to believe in my value. It was easier to become equally yoked with others who lived for purpose rather than to become assimilated within an organization that existed for profit. Of course, I realize that if businesses aren’t successful, no one wins. Especially in my new role as a consultant. But I chose to be intentional about partnering with businesses that valued the synergy that results from leveraging individual strengths to accelerate organizational performance.
In my approach, I find the courage to raise people’s awareness of self and others. I find the courage to remind people of the potential that everyone is gifted with. I find the courage to reflect people’s greatness back to them in ways they don’t see in themselves. I find the courage to reinvent myself in a way that reinforces my belief that everyone is gifted to shift into new levels of success by finding answers from within. I find the courage to practice what I preach: I must change my frame and change my focus to change my future.
We all have blind spots when it comes to realize just how courageous we are. You demonstrate courage by being transparent with others. You demonstrate courage when you decide to be “all in” every day, in every way, with everyone. You demonstrate courage when you encourage someone else to stretch in ways they never imagined for themselves. You demonstrate courage when you tell yourself “I got this” before you see results. You demonstrate courage when you decide to be committed to discover and develop the best you possible.
As I share these thoughts, I remember a time when my nephew, Marcus, was young. One day, my mother-in-law recounted to my husband and me Marcus’ experience learning to swim one summer. He specifically stated that he “gathered his courage” before jumping into the deep end of the pool. We were tickled and impressed because even though he did not fully understand what gathering his courage meant, he jumped into the pool with the confidence that he would enjoy it as being refreshing on a hot summer day. In a sense, I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool. And it’s a pool that refreshes my soul. Be encouraged. Be courageous.
Dr. Anita serves as an executive coach, workshop facilitator, and conference speaker helping people and teams raise their awareness around leveraging individual strengths to accelerate organizational performance. As a coach and consultant, each engagement focuses on the design and delivery of reflective learning experiences with the values of Comfort, Community, and Commitment as being critical to the process. Dr. Anita defines client success as aligning People, Passion, and Purpose. She holds a B.S. in Management, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, along with an M.A. and Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Systems. She is also a Gallup certified Strengths Coach and an iPEC Certified Professional Coach.