Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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Gain Freedom!

Freedom is a human right that requires courage and confidence to gain.
And to gain freedom, we must let go of the old and usher in the new. 

Dear reader,

Happy early Independence Day! (If you are in the United States.)
Tomorrow is July 4th, and many of us have barbecues, picnics, and a host of fun get-togethers planned. But, of course, July 4th is about much more than sliders, spritzers, and pool time! Have you ever wondered how others celebrated this national holiday in years past… At a time when people did not buy bags of kettle chips and strawberry shortcakes from the grocery store? 

Once upon a time on July 4th…

On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress passed the Declaration of Independence, announcing the political separation of the 13 North American colonies from Great Britain. And that summer, the markings of independence were commemorated in many towns, in the form of a mock funeral for the king. In which the king’s “death” symbolized the end of monarchy and tyranny and the rebirth of liberty. Independence Day | History, Meaning, & Date | Britannica

Buried in this historical nugget, lies a priceless gem: To gain freedom, we must let go of the old and usher in the new. And earlier generations commemorated independence through a symbolic ceremony where they did just that!

Why do we hang on?

However today, we might be inclined to think that to move forward, we need to pretend the dark events in the past never happened. You might experience this at a family dinner or a business meeting when others refuse to discuss wrongdoings and mistakes. And any who dares raise such matters is silenced! Indeed, when the past is replete with scars, forgetting, or pretending seems easier because letting go requires acknowledgment. And acknowledging errors or wrongdoing can be hard to do!

Yet still, letting go is invaluable because it allows us to release the past and embrace the future. But what often prevents us from letting go and moving forward into our future is fear. – Fear of the unknown or fear that letting go minimizes the offense and liberates or even worse, validates the offender.

Also, many subscribe to the ideology: better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know. Sounds like sage advice on the surface. And it would be prudent if one is struggling to survive in a land of vultures and vipers. But most of us don’t live under perpetual life and death-conditions. Therefore, why assume there is a devil, not an angel in the unknown? 

Fear, Safety, and Opportunity!

We often assume the worst to protect ourselves… We avoid walking alone in dark alleys because we fear an attack. Or after a medical exam, when we receive a call from the doctor’s office, our heart skips a beat as soon as the number flashes on our cellphone screen. Assuming the worst might protect us in the physical realm. But in the non-physical realm, the safe road: the path of strict self-protectionism and non-vulnerability, is lonely. And playing it safe is a surefire way to miss great opportunities. We know this all too well. Because our greatest regrets often stem from the paths we did not traverse because of fear, not the ones we dared to venture on. 

Indeed, many lives reveal a bleak reality: The proverbial one that got away often never knew what they walked away from. – This could include a personal relationship where one was not vulnerable and forthcoming because of fear. Or in the professional context, it might pertain to an opportunity that one did not pursue out of fear. The result is a door is closed prematurely and opportunity slips away!

A twinkle in the eye and on the finger!

Of course, embracing or running toward fear is not so easy. Though the benefits are often irreplaceable.
And this reminds me of a unique experience. Many years ago. I became fast friends with a young woman. We bonded over going on ninety-minute walks around a lake every week when we shared stories, struggles, and many laughs.

During that time, my friend was in a long-term relationship, and months after we met, her fiancé popped the long-awaited question: Will you marry me? Minutes after he slipped the ring onto her finger, she called me. Once I picked up the phone, she relayed the news, and we jumped, screamed, and chanted! Then I immediately drove to her house to celebrate and begin wedding planning!

A heart-wrenching experience and a bewildering request!

Crushingly, several weeks later, on a walk, she informed me that she discovered her fiancé was unfaithful. As she narrated the experience, she was in anguish. And after several weeks of counseling, they realized the relationship was severed beyond repair and broke off the engagement. Painfully, she informed me that he left her no choice as he was unwilling to let go of the other relationship. 

Then, she made a bewildering request!

My friend said she had not canceled their wedding night hotel reservations at a fancy hotel on a peninsular. And she requested I accompany her to the location. She added that staying in the hotel on the earlier planned – now canceled, wedding weekend was vital for her healing. Admittedly, I was unsure how this could be beneficial, but I was committed to supporting my friend and agreed to join her. And on the destined summer Friday evening, we sped off to put her plan into action!

An Unexpected Reward!

We arrived at the hotel late that Friday evening. The following morning, we rose to cloudy skies, and she requested we walk to the beach and perform a ceremony. During the ceremony, she read a gut-wrenching letter! In the letter, she detailed her fury, mortification, devastation, fear, and gratitude – yes, gratitude! for the existence and death of the relationship. As well as her decision to release any attachments and forgive her ex-fiancé for his wrongdoing. In effect, she acknowledged her pain and suffering, vocalized her intent to let go of any ill will, and relinquished her need for his apology.

I am yet incapable of finding words that adequately describe the surreal nature of this experience with my friend. Because it was mystical. And in time, I understood the value. By forgiving and letting go, she began to heal and liberated herself to close a life chapter and start writing a new one. And in so doing, she gained freedom! Mysteriously or expectedly, depending on how you perceive such situations, two years later, my friend was married. – To a different man, one she described as the man of her dreams. And today, they have been married for over 16 years and have two beautiful children.
A coincidence? Think not!

Indeed, my friend worked diligently to heal. She didn’t rely on time or distractions to mend her broken heart. Instead, she committed to therapy, counseling, introspection, and physical fitness. All of which enabled her healing and growth. And were vital for her gaining freedom.

Gaining freedom!

Whenever I reflect on my friend’s love story and life story, I am fascinated by the trajectory. Because she fell into a pit, faced the pain, and gained the courage to rise and dare to leapEffectively, by letting go of the old and ushering in the new, she closed a chapter, healed, and opened a new one. Indeed, freedom is a human right. But it takes heart – courage and confidence, to gain freedom. 

As we celebrate Independence Day, and enjoy the festivities, here’s a question worth pondering: What step can I take to let go of the past and open the door to a potentially enthralling future?

For more on the wealth of opportunity and responsibility freedom bestows, check out: The Great Paradox! – BLOG – www.akesatia.com and How Leaders Enable Freedom (akesatia.com)

Happy 4th!

For you and to you,



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