We had the good fortune of connecting with Portia James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Portia, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
The single most important decision that I have made thus far is trusting the process and trusting myself to carry out that process. Being in business requires me to make what feels like a series of never-ending, incredibly important decisions, so it’s difficult to single out just one. But I am faced with the courageous, and insanely scary, decision every single day to trust my knowledge, my experience, and my intuition and to bet on myself. Even when things are going well, entrepreneurship can be so intimidating! It can be a field of uncertainty and unknowns. But I remind myself that as long as I am walking in my purpose, staying authentic, and doing right by the people that are on this journey with me, I can’t mess it up.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At the end of 2020, Behavior Genius achieved a 2-year accreditation from the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence. The audit process was rigorous, but we did it! Before, during, and after earning the accreditation, we have worked hard to allow this achievement to set the bar for our company. Two of our highest scores on the audit were on family and staff surveys – we knocked it out of the park!
There are so many things to be grateful for and things that set us apart from others. But perhaps what I am most ignited and inspired by is our culture. Every now and then, I get to stand back in awe of what it must feel like to be a staff member or consumer of our services. We are a group of people who genuinely love our families, AND – we genuinely respect each other. That sense of community is rare in our field because everything is so fast-paced. Cultivating a culture of excellence is the most delicate, yet significant work of an entrepreneur because it is generally vast and unscientific in nature. It is difficult to define and nearly impossible to control as your business scales. Bottom line: People want to love their job, and when they do, they will champion your mission and the families will be positively impacted. It trickles down from the top. I think we have overcome the challenge by including excellent culture as something that we value, setting a standard, and protecting that standard at all costs.
Along the way, I have learned (and I am still learning) the value of disconnecting myself from the outcome that I may have envisioned so that I can see and hear into the hearts, minds, and behaviors of the people around me. If I do it right, staying person-centered in everything that I do, it will be the PEOPLE who will bring forth the vision and mission of the company.
I want people to know that 1 year ago, I had no plan. I will never neglect to share that fact because it humbles me, and it reminds me that anything is possible, that flexibility is KEY, and that this is where I belong.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would have to say, one of my favorite hangout spots right now is Long Beach. We would stay at the Maya Hotel in a room with a view of the marina, grab drinks at a local bar, shop for California souvenirs that we don’t need, have at least one fancy dinner, and people-watch. Then, we would drive into DTLA and hop around to tour the Kobe murals. Honestly, the essence of LA is all about the culture. It’s the beaches, the tall buildings, and the sporting events. Even the graffiti is an experience. My best friend and I would tour the city just for the views. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
YES, Absolutely! Hands down, I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my husband, RJ.
God is a Genius, a Visionary, and a Gentleman, and He truly knew what he was doing when he chose him for me. We have just about seen it all together and he never makes me feel as though my dreams are too big or my feelings, thoughts, and fears are too small for him to be bothered with.
Babe – YOU are the hero in our story by the way that you would go before me and make room so that we can walk this path together. I am blown away by your love, your friendship, and your unconditional respect for who I am. Every day, I hope that I can get closer to making you feel as honored and as accepted as you make me feel.
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