Photograph by Porter Loves.
In the CliftonStrengths assessment, a maximizer is one who “focus[es] on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. [She] seek[s] to transform something strong into something superb.” Life coach Anita Russell is one such individual. In her business, The Place to SOAR, Anita guides individuals through personal transformations that deeply impact their own lives, their businesses, and their communities. In April 2021, Anita will launch her mastermind course, Social Impact Mastermind: A Transformational Journey Towards Antiracism. With her coaching approach, she invites white individuals to understand themselves and their connection to others in a systemically racialized society. Her book, Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human, encompasses the essence of the mastermind and releases on March 23, 2021.
In her coaching practice, Anita works with many entrepreneurial women who are navigating their ‘becoming space.’ Her clients might be transitioning away from a corporate career to manifest a personal calling, or rediscovering themselves after raising a family for many years. They are self-responsible and seek to know themselves deeply. Whether their goals are business-oriented or personal, Anita helps her clients create strategies to readily apply to their lives for daily growth. In every relationship, Anita’s clients are the drivers, and Anita, the GPS.
Anita uses appreciative coaching (a method that “fosters personal transformation through innate talent and inherent strength”) to facilitate an affirming self-discovery process. With this approach, Anita walks her clients through a roadmap for their becoming space that touches upon four key points: discovery, dream, design, and destiny. In each stage, Anita uses all of the tools in her toolbox to help clients gain clarity about themselves and their dreams. Additional tools include visualization exercises and the CliftonStrengths assessment (view Anita’s personal CliftonStrengths assessment here). With newfound insights, Anita’s clients implement new strategies that support their personal and professional growth. For one client, a woman who is the President & CEO of a family business, Anita’s initial discovery process helped her realize that it wasn’t business coaching she needed, but personal coaching around self-care. Anita’s inquiries helped her rediscover the things that filled her own cup. With Anita’s guidance, she began adding dedicated time for self-care into her routine, which ultimately served her and her business.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic created opportunities for Anita to reach more individuals with virtual group workshops and mastermind courses. The Personal Impact Mastermind: 6 Keys to Nurture, Grow, and Empower Your Life offers an 8-week, peer-to-peer experience for entrepreneurial women to cultivate change in their business lives. The program uses an effective framework (which Anita also uses in her practice) that empowers clients to disrupt limiting beliefs, empower deep self-knowledge, and challenge themselves to unleash their true potential. Entrepreneurial women who are feeling stuck or unfulfilled are invited to enroll in the personal impact mastermind, which begins on April 5, 2021.
Preparing for a new era is a personal theme for Anita in 2021, and inspired her to create her other mastermind program, Social Impact Mastermind: A Transformational Journey Towards Antiracism. Anita created the program after the murder of George Floyd with her young grandson in mind, whom she prays won’t have to protest the same injustices that Black people have experienced generationally. Built on the foundations of appreciative coaching and personal accountability, the course creates an immersive self-discovery experience on an individual level. Starting on April 6, 2021, Anita will guide white individuals in an honest examination of their hearts and minds so that they can understand themselves and their connection to others in a systemically racialized society. The program (featuring the same 8-week, peer-to-peer format as the personal impact mastermind) involves 1.5 hours of active learning and 1.5 hours of open forum every week. Anita will engage participants with a variety of historical documents, videos, books (including How to Be An Antiracist, White Fragility, and White Rage), and personal stories. As folks join their 10-person cohort, they will also be able to continue their conversations with each other on a networking portal.
“Activism is a call for people to be a better version of themselves that is not harmful to other people based on superficial beliefs. We need to change the hearts and minds of people so that everybody feels good about living in this country,” says Anita.
Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human is Anita’s latest book (available on March 23rd), which encompasses the essence of the antiracism mastermind. Presented through the lens of antiracism, Anita takes the position that “the true power of being human is built on the acknowledgment of race as a social construct” and requires self-reflection to change. The book is for those who are willing to “activate personal accountability and responsibility” and take a stand against racism. It serves as a self-help guide for living with vision, purpose, and action.
In 2013, Anita started her business while living in New Jersey. She had stepped away from her corporate career but wasn’t quite sure which direction to take next. While she was navigating her own becoming space, the idea for her business came to light. With all of her personal experience and expertise about stepping out and redesigning her life, she poured all that she knew into her business. And, after discovering life coaching as a definite part of her calling, she became a John Maxwell Certified Life Coach.
Social entrepreneurship was not a foreign concept to Anita, but being a solopreneur was a completely new experience. She joined a business networking group in which members connected each other with referrals but wasn’t getting the personal and business support she needed. Another member in the networking group introduced Anita to eforever, and she joined her group in Swissvale (Pittsburgh), PA in September 2020.
“My peer group fed me in a different way than what I was experiencing in the other networking group. The purposes are completely different, and after going through that networking experience, I know that eforever’s purpose is what I need to build up my business.”
For Anita, the accountability she gets from her peer group helps her be more disciplined in planning and executing her business ideas. As someone who creates a lot of plans in her head, the peer environment requires her to externally present her plans and follow through with them.
Anita Russell is also a board member of OMA Center for Mind Body Spirit, the Global Business Connector for Women Speakers Association Pittsburgh, and the Northeast region lead for the U.S. Coalition of Black Women Businesses. Visit Anita’s official author page at anitadrussellauthor.com. Apply for a complimentary discovery call with Anita.