Rita Ernst | The Real 50 over 50

About me

Rita Ernst owns Ignite Your Extraordinary, an organizational consulting practice emphasizing the convergence of happiness and productivity to create positive, committed, high-performing organizations.

What do you do and why do you do it?

I’m an organizational psychologist and my focus is igniting positivity at work to improve performance, culture, and well-being.

People spend one-third of their waking lives at work. It is a core part of your life experience, self-esteem, and identity. Therefore, it is essential that work contributes to your overall well-being. Workplace culture is the result of the collective experiences of the people inside a company. These experiences inform beliefs and actions. Every person on the team is an architect of the culture. Their behaviors either perpetuate the culture that exists or work to create something different.

Culture change doesn’t require action from the top of the organization but can start through the actions of the people within a team or unit. My mission is to activate individuals to create the workplace cultures they want that fill their cup and excites their contribution and to show leaders how to create the supporting context, systems, and infrastructure to fully unleash the power of their people.

What changed for you after age 50?

I have clearer boundaries and more confidence in holding to those. I’m more confident about my decisions and less concerned about comparisons to others.

What would you tell the 20 or 30-year-old YOU?

Sacrifice is simply sacrifice, not a means to a better end. Go for the ‘no.’ It’s better to ask and be denied than to play it safe.

What do you think you’ll tell yourself in retrospect at the end of your life?

People who know you are better for having known you and that is a life well lived.

What impact do you think increased visibility can have on your business?

When I wrote “Show Up Positive” in 2022, my true goal was to start a movement that activated individual works to take back their workplaces and create the community, connection, safety, joy, abundance, and satisfaction they long for. It is my goal to reach a million people around the world with this message. Every opportunity to increase my visibility is a step in the direction of making the #ShowUpPositive movement and tools available to more people who need to rise out of the distress and discontent they are experiencing at work through the power of their personal agency.

Who or what inspires you and why?

I am inspired by the We Can Do Hard Things podcast with Glennon Doyle, Amanda Doyle, and Abby Wambach. I never miss an episode. I love the genuineness of their conversations and their vulnerability in discussing topics that are often reserved for our most intimate friends. I learn and am bettering myself every time I listen. Plus, I feel a deep connection to their values and intentions for being in the world. I feel like my #ShowUpPositive mission aligns philosophically with their message.

Something else I’d like to share

I love speaking and delivering workshops to conferences, intact teams, professional organizations, and community groups. I have signature topics and also custom design programs to match your audience needs and interests.

I want to celebrate [the new generation in the workforce]… Now is a new age, now is a new time in the workplace, and we need to create something new.

Rita Ernst

The Brief

In this interview, Donna hosts Rita Ernst, an organizational psychologist and positivity influencer, in an episode of the “Real 50 over 50” series.

Rita shares her journey and insights, particularly how turning 50 marked a significant shift in her life and career. She discusses the challenges and transitions she faced in balancing personal life with professional aspirations, leading to her eventual focus on cultivating positivity in the workplace.

Rita’s work centers on improving performance, culture, and wellbeing in organizations, grounded in her experiences and insights gained from her consulting practice and personal life.

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