What Sufi U brought to my business

Nov 11, 2014 | Sufism

samah-jo-ann-ross-photo.jpgManagement Consultant Samah Ross was surprised at how her experience shaped her career Ten years ago, when Samah Jo Ann Ross graduated from the Jaffe Institute–the precursor to UOS–she planned to transition away from her career as a business consultant and to launch what she assumed would be a thriving healing practice. “I was absolutely convinced I was going to be an energetic healer,” says Samah. “I’d seen many people making a living doing it, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I eagerly took some workshops and started heading in that direction. But soon I noticed there was one big problem: I didn’t have any clients! I kept on trying for three, four, five more months, until finally I realized, I probably shouldn’t quit my day job.” A Twist of Fate As fate would have it, just when Samah thought she would be leaving her management consulting practice, she noticed that she was receiving more and more corporate clients. After deep listening and prayer, she realized that her consulting work was the place where she had the opportunity to serve. Samah works as an interculturalist: she provides training and executive coaching to help managers in global industries learn how to lead multicultural teams. Her clients improve their listening skills, deepen their cultural sensitivity, and learn how to thrive in new and changing environments. “In the context of a Sufi healing, we can be very transparent about the intention to facilitate spiritual growth and lead people back to God,” says Samah. “But in my executive coaching practice, I start by saying something more like, ‘Hey, I am here to help you do your job better, be a better manager and increase your profits,’ but it’s really all the same. At a deep level, it’s all about service, about helping people to find their higher purpose. In other words, why are they in this position? What would be a higher (or additional) purpose, besides putting more money in their bank account?” Although she didn’t originally intend for this to be the outcome, Samah has discovered that her education at the Jaffe Institute enabled her to provide a much deeper experience in her consulting, by expanding her ability to hold people’s hearts and respond to their needs. “When people feel heard and understood, they not only trust you but they are willing to follow you and go where you lead them.” A New Chapter Just over a year ago, while in Zawiya, Samah received clear guidance to return to the University and complete the fourth year Master’s program. “I had entertained and flirted with the idea of going back for a master’s degree, but there wasn’t light around it for me until just last year.” How did she know that this time was different, and that she was being guided to return? “Asking our heart gives stability in our lives, and takes away some of the uncertainties.” Will the fourth-year program continue to deepen Samah’s consulting practice? “Actually, I’ve announced to my husband that I feel called to be something else, but I don’t yet have clarity about what will unfold for me next. I’m just going to wait and see what Allah makes!”