Anita Ross is on a mission to coach women and equip them with the tools to live their dreams.
We’re taught at a young age that when one person treats the Earth with love and care, it has an incremental effect on the environment. But what if you went from macro to micro and made it a priority to treat yourself with love? What kind of effect would that have on your career, your life and the lives surrounding you? Anita Ross is on a mission to coach women through this concept, to equip them with the tools to live their dreams.
The Brooklyn native is a former engineer who enjoyed a successful career trajectory in corporate America. Ross was familiar with all the demands and achievements that can look a lot like fulfillment. But after an abusive relationship brought about a painful realization — that self-love was missing and causing an avalanche of unhappiness — she couldn’t look back.
life coach’s inspiring take on the power of self-love.The self-love and radical uplifting she discovered not only changed her own life, but also motivated her to change the lives of others. What followed was two books with teachings on turning self-loathing to self-love and a career in speaking and mentoring. Read on to get this
How I realized that self-love was something to really pay attention to: The thing about self-love and self-esteem is that it can be tricky if your life appears to be working really well, right? So I always did really well in school with minimal effort. You know, I did engineering, I have a master’s degree in engineering (from University of Michigan), and they paid for my master’s. … I got my first job before I even finished college. So I was doing really well in many areas, had lots of friends. … But the one area where I saw the red flag that I did not love myself and had virtually no self esteem was (in) intimate relationships. I went (from) one unhealthy relationship to another. And they ranged from just simply being inauthentic — being with someone because it was easy and I didn’t want to be alone — all the way through domestic violence.
The rock bottom moment that forced me to make a change: I am a survivor, and I had multiple relationships where there was violence engaged. So I had a crash, a rock bottom moment when I was at the height of my corporate career. I was home working on a project for work the next day, and I was supposed to present in front of some VPs. My boyfriend at the time, who I’d been trying to break up with multiple times … was angry, he came to the house, knocking on the door. I opened the door, he pulls out a gun, pointed in my face and tells me that no one is going to ever love me the way that he loved me. … I ended up calming him down. He left the house, the cops were called, they didn’t press charges. Next day, I rock the presentation. He calls me, he says, do you want to go out and celebrate? And I said, yes. It wasn’t until two weeks later when I was staring at the same barrel of that gun that I had had it. And in that moment, what changed me was that I had this flighting thought of, I didn’t care whether I lived or died. And that was the moment that shook me. It was like rock bottom, and the only way I could go was up, and I chose to live.
Why we struggle with self-love: I’ve learned that it is basically a compilation of experiences that have happened in our past, whether that be trauma as deep as some of the things that I’ve been through or whatever is deemed to be trauma to a person. Or it could be any, what I call “less-than messages,” from society or people in our lives that we buy into. Like, you’re not good enough, you’re not skinny enough, you’re not smart enough. And then also our circumstances: where we grew up, do (we) have money, education level, all of them influence how we feel about ourselves and whether we love ourselves or not and hold ourselves up to our innate worth.
How I describe my movement: I call it the Mean Time Love movement; we have Mean Time Love graduates all over the world. Graduates, technically speaking, are folks that have done the retreats. I have two retreats, one based on each book. The first one is where we really get to the bottom of what’s in our way from loving ourselves and learning how to experience self-love. And the second one is how do we navigate life from that place of self-love. …. But anybody (can engage) in the Mean Time Love work, whether … through a book discussion, doing book clubs using one of the books, or seeing me speak, doing a mini workshop at lots of organizations or churches. Right now I am working with WEAVE doing workshops. I’m also getting a lot of speaking engagements. And I try to work with community colleges here to do workshops or be keynote speakers at their women’s retreats.
How I connect my message to the corporate world: I have gone to multiple corporations and spoken to women’s groups, like Wieden+Kennedy, which is one of the premier advertising agencies in the country, out of Portland. I went and spoke to their group called 51%, supporting them and creating a safe space so they can talk about these kinds of things — harassment on the job, important distinctions and inequities (in the workplace). Creating safe spaces where women can talk about those things has been really important to me.
How I reach and engage people online: I actually started my first online series that is a class. I’ve done online courses on my Mean Time Love Facebook page, which are just using Facebook Live and having people engage and ask questions and I’ll deliver content. (I recently led my) first webinar series. It’s called the Breakthrough Bootcamp 2020. It’s a six-week series on Zoom. It’s all of us sharing and interacting, and the content is delivered each week. Last night, we did “embracing yourself just as you are,” knowing that that’s the first step in transformation. I love it, I think it was so fun ’cause there were a couple of people in their pajamas and, like, being able to have a powerful experience and workshop experience through a virtual (medium), it’s a game changer. You know, cause I’m used to doing so many in-person events. I love it.
Self-empowerment is important because: I believe that when we hit critical mass of women who love themselves fully, empowered, understand their worth, that we will in fact rid this world of the ills that plague it. I believe that women are the answer, and when we understand our worth and operate from that place, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. That’s my end game!
How acting authentically in all areas of life can impact your whole life and influence the world: (I coach people in) all areas of our life: spirituality, education, finances, career, family, intimate relationship, community and friendships. And it’s interesting because when we’re talking about the process of self love, someone will say, “Well, I’ve got all these areas working but my job, I’m miserable, but I’m making such good money. So I can make up for it.” Nah, you’re not in the full experience of self-love and really understanding what self-esteem means for you if you’re not operating that way in all areas of your life. And that’s the thing — when people settle or do things for reasons other than what they authentically want, then suffering is involved. And hurt people hurt people. When we’re honoring ourselves in all areas of our life, we’re thriving, and we’re out there doing good. It ultimately creates a shift in the world, and that’s why I keep doing the work, even if it’s one by one.
My favorite tip for productivity: As an entrepreneur, my biggest tip is not to go home to do your work because I find that I’ll be like, oh look, I can do the kids’ laundry and turn the TV on. And so I literally either go to a Starbucks or some sort of coffee shop that will have me there for a certain amount of hours to get key things done.