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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Thriving Essentials!

The Thriving Essentials Series: Episode 1


First, Happy first week of Spring, a season for growth, revitalization, and renewal! 🌻

Last week, we wrapped up The Mindset Series by exploring the all-encompassing quality of goodness. Qualities such as goodness are considered essential in many facets of life. But some are reticent to admit their need and desire to cultivate them. Because nowadays, being bad is considered ultra-cool, while being good is not. We see this when a kid who violates their curfew becomes the cool kid in the neighborhood. Or when the student who routinely disrupts class is dubbed the rizz. And to engrain the message, our modern vernacular reflects this: As a USA Today article published: bad means good. Actually, bad means even better than good.

But as we all know, no number of amendments and additions to our lexicon can erase an undeniable truth: We do not thrive by being bad. Instead, thriving requires intentionally pursuing beneficial pathways. For this reason, we will go on an enriching journey in our next series: The Thriving Essentials!
Here, we will endeavor to uncover what is needed to thrive. Let us begin our pursuit by seeking the answer to a fundamental question: What exactly does thriving mean?

Thriving and Growing

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to thrive is to grow – vigorously!
When I first read this definition, I became fixated on the word vigorously, and images of plants came to mind. Because we know a plant is thriving by its fruit. Imagine a rose plant that produces flowers profusely. Or a mango tree that produces bountiful mangoes, and so on. But a plant that does not grow does not produce fruit and cannot thrive. Likewise, a person who is not growing cannot thrive. – And this unveils a gem: To thrive, we must grow. 

When you hear the word growth, what is your first thought? A kid’s birthday? A job promotion? A few more dollar bills in your bank account? Or perhaps what happens to your cheeks when you avoid the gym for a few months? 😉While these may all suggest growth, for a universal understanding of the term, let us ask Merriam and Webster! The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines growth as progressive development. I love this definition because it is direct and clearly states what growth looks like. – Growth is progressive development. To know if we are growing, we can ask ourselves: Am I developing? And is it happening progressively? – Simple! No bells and whistles!

The vast array of growth

But today, discussions about growth are anything but simple, as growth has become a buzzword! It seems at every corner someone is talking about growth! Some talk about growing a roster of friends or followers on social media platforms. Others attempt to grow in their capacity to care for and love those who matter to them. And in business, a leader may refer to growing their numbers: sales, revenue, or market share. Then, in the complex arena of people in business, a common aspiration and metric is employee or people growth.

As employee growth is challenging to measure, some ascribe growth in finances and improvement in legal measures as evidence of such growth. – They might say: We doubled our workforce in the last three years. Or we met our ambitious sales targets this year because our employees have grown in knowledge of our product and customer service skills. In another instance, an organization with fewer employee lawsuits, year over year, might attribute the favorable outcome to managers growing in their managerial skills and abilities.
While such might be evidence of employee growth and development, they might also result from fortunate circumstances or coincidences. Therefore, a leader needs to look beyond the surface, peer deeper, and ask the all-important question: What is employee growth, how does it manifest, and how is it spurred?

Learning about growth

For such a complex yet familiar subject, we need look no further than nature! – What does it take for a seed to become a flower? Or better yet, what is required for a tree to flourish for centuries?
To delve into this realm, let us travel to a land I called home for many years: The Pacific Northwest – home of Evergreens and old-growth forests. Due to the vast ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, camping and hiking are popular passions of residents. Admittedly, although I am a fan of vistas, I am not the outdoorsy type. – Even glamping or yurts do not entice me, and it is an informed decision because, for a stint, I tried my hand at it! One such memorable exploration led me to the Olympic National Park.

In the early 2000s, one Saturday summer morning, eleven friends and I planned a camping trip. Filled with excitement, we set out at 7:30 am in three cars for a designated campground. The ride was pleasant, but the skies were dull, cloudy, and misty, as tends to be the case in Washington state. After 4 hours of chatting, snacking, singing, and napping, we arrived at our destination: Olympic National Park.
Immediately after pitching our tents in the campsite, we headed uphill for a trek on the trails! After walking for 45 minutes, we stumbled upon a majestic site: a grove of Douglas fir trees. At first sight, they took my breath away, and I stopped in my tracks!

An encounter with growth

You may have heard of the Douglas fir because it is one of the most common Christmas trees. But though in our homes, it adds warmth and invites us indoors, in its natural habitat, it is intimidating and commands one to pause. – Attaining heights of 400 feet or higher and known to live for over 1000 years, the Douglas fir is a stellar example of growth! Standing beneath the trees was overwhelming, but I was mesmerized. And as I gazed upon the breadth and depth of the life form, I felt a sense of awe. 

Reading or listening to me recount this experience might seem intriguing because of the sheer grandness of it all. But as I stared at a particular tree, I was most fascinated by its untold story: I wondered how long it had been there, how small it was in its early stages, what sort of challenges it had experienced, and why it stood tall when others fell.
Friend, this is a realm we must explore for ourselves and our fellow humans: What makes us grow and enables us to thrive? Grasping the answers to these questions impacts our physical and emotional well-being personally and professionally. For this reason, we will explore this scope in The Thriving Essentials Series.

I look forward to journeying with you!

Until next time.

For you and to you,


Image credit: Pexels | Samuel Sweet



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