Dec. 22, 2021

Being an Intentional Optimist 🍍 Unconventional Leader | Andrea Johnson

Being an Intentional Optimist 🍍 Unconventional Leader | Andrea Johnson

Are You a mission minded women with unique gifts, looking to grow, lead and succeed?
Are you looking to level up for 2022?
Let me introduce you to Andrea Johnson. She aims create a giant global community of women helping other women accomplish their goals, their dreams, their desires.
Gift for Listeners 🎄🎁 ⛵You may want to check out: Launch From The Beach⛵🎄🎁

Today, we are living in a world of unique opportunities to be intentional optimists and unconventional leaders.

We are all role models in:

  • how we show up as global women leaders, 
  • how we choose to thrive in the world of work, 
  • how we pivot into new opportunities, and 
  • how we contribute and lean into legacy.

What Inspired Me? 

  • Andrea Johnson builds community and lives in authenticity in order to have the freedom she values.

About the Guest

Andrea Johnson coaches high-performing, mission-minded women to grow, lead and succeed, using the six tenets of Intentional Optimism - Optimistic, Present, Energetic, Courageous, Wise, and Intentional. She empowers women to find community and freedom to be as BIG as they are created to be, through coaching, speaking and podcasting. 

About the Show

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Dr. Michelle St Jane

A podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe. A unique destination for learning about Leadership + Conscious Stewardship + Legacy.

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Intro: You're listening to Life and Leadership: A Conscious Journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane's weekly conversation on how to have a positive impact for people, the planet, and the wider world. If you want to live a life of intention, to be proactive with your time, and bring your vision for the future to live one today at a time, you’re in the right place at the right time. Let's get started. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:00:00] Andrea Johnson, is the host of the Intentional Optimist Unconventional Leader podcast.  Today, Andrea and I are going to share our 🍍wisdom, 🍍strength, and 🍍hope as women thriving in this wonderful world. We face new and unique risks and opportunities. Connect with Andrea and I through our stories about:

❇️ how we show global women leaders, how to thrive in the world of work, 

❇️ how we pivot into new opportunities,  and 

❇️  how we contribute and lean into legacy.

[00:00:26] Andrea is an 🍍out of the box thinker, 🍍 possibility seeker, 🍍professional, encourager, and 🍍podcaster.  I couldn't think of better titles for you Andrea. They just so sum up all that is about you that can't be summed up. 

Andrea Johnson: [00:00:38] Thank you very much. I am excited to be here. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:00:42] I love the topics that you lead around.  When I was looking at your website and your profiles, there were so many great topics. I especially liked: Your Time has Come.  

How did you even get to that? Why is that important for leadership? 

Andrea Johnson: [00:00:59] I tell ya, Michelle, I joke with other coaches and other speakers about how nine times out of 10, our ideal client is ourselves. So we described that person. We look in the mirror and we go, oh, you look familiar.

[00:01:10] For me,  Being able to look at other women and say, Hey, stop messing around here. Stop playing small,  just coasting. You've got too many things to offer. You've got too many opportunities. Right now, especially. I launched all this in the middle of the pandemic.

[00:01:27] But, some of that wording came early on in the pandemic. This is an opportunity for us. An opportunity to step up in a totally different and new way. For me, my time had come because I was completely fed up with this idea of:

🍍 never quite getting itch scratched,  

🍍never quite doing what I wanted to do. 

🍍Always playing smaller than I could.  

I woke up one day and said, “that's it. I'm fed up. It's time. My time has come.” And I'll bet yours too? 

Michelle St Jane: [00:01:57] I can remember when I was a young professional sitting in these meetings, and I'd have the answer. Or I'll be sitting in these meetings and they were going down rabbit holes. Seriously, it would take an hour and a half before they got out of the rabbit hole and got onto a fabulous strategy. 

As I got a bit older, especially towards my late thirties, early forties, I started speaking up. In the end, I realized that I attracted those kinds of labels, you know like, bossy. I won't go into that because labeling is shaming.

Andrea Johnson: [00:02:27] It's real. You have to be realistic. One of my posts was:

🍍 You are not too loud. 

🍍You are not too big. 

🍍You are not too much!

Women for some reason are labeled with those kinds of things. I believe we're all created 🍍perfectly uniquely for a specific purpose. 🍍  I'm a Christian, by a very creative creator, by the purposeful creator with a plan. If I don't step into all of that, then I'm not fulfilling what I'm supposed to do. 

 I totally hear you and you get it. Those are the labels in the world that we live in.   

Michelle St Jane: [00:03:03] Thank you for bringing up, faith.   When I did my doctorate, I went for gender parity. I did not reach it. Interestingly enough, couldn't get the women to join. 

In terms of global leaders, I had black, white, brown.  I had a number from different places of origin. Intentionally I sought to include people of a different faith: 

🍍Muslim, 🍍Christian, 🍍 Jewish, I'm just not naming the exact ones necessarily.

[00:03:32]That was also really important. One global CEO, said to me, “come around my desk” and he pulls his draw, he was a Christian.   He showed me faith-based quotes out of his Bible he’d read when he was stressed or didn't know what to do, there on the bottom of his drawer taped.

[00:03:53] These quotes.  Would often give him the right answer. And then, because I was raising wicked problems, like social and environmental issues. I had a Muslim, leader who would bring in the fact of, they could only do business in a Sharia-based way.

I had worked in mutual funds, banking, and investments.  Why aren't we not bringing more of this to the fore?   Is this not appropriate for business schools to be expanding into, how do you do this?

[00:04:25] We will get down to values. Values-led leaders are willing to share their faith well as their strength and hope. 

Andrea Johnson: [00:04:42] Yes. And here's the thing. As a Christian, there are times that I really struggled. As a missionary kid, I grew up in Seoul, Korea.  This is one of the things that influenced my current desire to build community, which we'll talk about in a little while.  I spent some time at a beach on the west coast about halfway down the peninsula of Southern part of the peninsula. Not the Northern part. It was this community that I spent every summer there. Learning how to live in a more ecumenical community.  Now, granted, it was still all missionaries from the Christian perspective. But understanding, I don't have to be a missionary. I don't have to be a minister.

[00:05:21] It doesn't have to be a ministry. It can still be a business run within the values that I set. Within the parameters that I say are important based on my values and beliefs. Every person in the world has that opportunity. It's just, where do you base your values and beliefs? That's the only difference.

[00:05:38] When we look at age-old wisdom, a lot of it is very similar. There are some things that are really common sense. Right. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:05:49] When I stepped out of the corporate world, I started a social enterprise law firm. The name literally came to me one night when I woke up and it was ‘kairos,’ which means to be on spiritual time.

[00:06:01] Kairos is one of the twin sons of Zeus. The other twin was called, Kronos, which means to be on the clock

I’d had enough of being off the clock working 60-80, hundred-hour work weeks.   I was covering Europe to the west coast of the States. I had a four-hour window when I could actually sleep when I was in the corporate world.

[00:06:23] I'll tell you it was my normal.  Now it's like, 🤯 Nope! 

I'm really loving the dialogue raising around this is. One of the things I'm hearing coming out of the pandemic is people don't want to go back into it doing that ⏰ kind of work.  Rather, they’d like to try to find ways of being that enable a healthy lifestyle.   

I named my business, 🕊️Kairos, so it was really interesting to me for people who clicked that 🕊️Kairos was a faith term and those that clicked 🕊️Kairos was a Greek term.  Nobody put the two together. I did put both ⏰ Kronos together in my doctorate when I made the pinnacle of being about the different aspects of time.

[00:06:57]Whether you are on spiritual time and 🕊️Kairos in the flow, or whether you're in ⏰ Kronos being cannibalized in the capitalistic market. Yeah, it was a little on the edge there. 

Sometimes, you don't know what the future she was going to look like. I stepped down from the corporate world. I discovered more time for prayer, contemplation meditation and yoga, things that I've been doing since I was a teenager. In terms of the future of my leadership, I went in a totally different direction because having a social enterprise that had a triple bottom line, means that I had to make enough money to stay in business.

[00:07:30]There was a point for that, but I also wanted to have a social and environmental impact. So, I had a triple bottom line.  

🍍Why do you need to step up and be a role model? Another one of your terms I quite liked. 

Andrea Johnson: [00:07:41] Absolutely. When you go to listen to my podcast, in the trailer, the very first one,  I stress that over and over.

🍍You are the answer. 

🍍You are the future. 

I'm talking to women here, right? What's interesting is that most people that share my podcast are men. 

🍍It is 100% geared toward and presented to women. 

🍍It's all about women's leadership. 

One of the things I say is “you are the role models for the future generations,” it's so easy for us as women, I speak mostly from the United States perspective, to get stuck in the mindset that “what I'm doing is making the wheels turn, I'm not actually making a difference.” 

You and I have talked about this before.  We're all made uniquely. We all have experiences that we've been through. 

When I talked to women, who've raised three and four kids. I'm like, you are probably the best problem solver and the best future thinker that is out there.

[00:08:37] Claim those as a skillset. Each of our experiences is different. Our messages are all different and unique.

Unconventional leaders lead at any time. In any place with their unique skill set and strengths. The women that I work with are looking at me, I'm a role model to them.

[00:08:55] Anybody that is watching you, sees you as a role model, it's your choice, whether or not you want it to be a good role model or not a good role model.  

Michelle St Jane: [00:09:06] I’d add to that: let's realize we are role models, and our babies are watching, the analytics and the algorithms are definitely watching.

Andrea Johnson: [00:09:18] Oh! Those are scary watchers

The other piece to that is first, we need to understand, yes, people are watching. Everybody's watching. 

In the church, we talk about that. That we might be, the only quote-unquote, “Jesus,” somebody else ever sees. Right. 

Are you going to live in a way that reflects your faith or not?  I would say that to anybody in any faith, either live your faith or don't claim it. 

I don't suffer hypocrisy well, in myself or anybody else. I think most people feel the same way. I think that's the way it is with a role model. You need to understand that you're a role model that people are watching, whether you like it or not.

[00:09:48] Then you need to be intentional about what you want to do about it, you need to, as you said, mentor other people always.

 I, use this analogy, this little barrel 🍌 of monkeys, where they got one arm up and one arm. I say, “you're pulling me up by helping me. Then I'm putting my arm out here for someone else to link onto to pull them up.”

[00:10:06] As soon as I learn, I share. Right? This is how we mentor and role model for the next generation of leaders

I'm in my fifties. So this could be women who are 50, 40, 30. 12, whatever. Right? That's how I think we are the role models for future generations, and we have to do it. Nobody else will.

Michelle St Jane: [00:10:26] What a role model you are! 

A women's leadership coach, 

A motivational speaker, 

You do behavioral analysis 

You're a podcast host of the Intentional Optimists and the Unconventional Leader.

 I have not seen anyone bring all those terms together.

[00:10:46] From the moment I met you, I thought she really is intentional. She is an optimist. She's a coach.   

Andrea Johnson: [00:11:03] It's my responsibility to share what I have. We all reach a point where, as a coach, we understand it's a responsibility for us to share what we have. If it's wisdom, if it's experienced, none of it is proprietary.  Unless you need to copyright something.

[00:11:21] If you need to get a trademark on something, that's fine. Worst case scenario, you give it away and you just do something else because it's not a limited space that your creativity comes from. It's eternal, right? It's, big. it's unlimited. You can get more. If you've created something, you can create something else.

[00:11:35] We do want to be paid well for what we do. But the reality is the more we give the more we're going to get. That's just how it works. 

🍍I would be lying if I said I had a hundred percent confidence in every single word that was out there about me.

🍍I'd be lying. If I said I didn't have a crisis of confidence every so often. Like we do.

Being transparent about that, I think is one of the things that help when I coach other women. When I teach and, when I share, our thoughts affect everything,   Your thoughts affect your feelings, your actions, your results. I give some very personal examples:

🍍For me, weight loss has been a real thought process.  

🍍Launching my coaching business.

🍍Being willing to step up and say, I'm going to be a podcaster, and I'm going to put my opinion out there that everybody's going to hear.

[00:12:25] Being willing to step up, take that brief step up, and then you're in the adrenaline. Right. You understand what that is like too. These words are reflected back on you as a global leader and as someone who is willing to celebrate all of that.

[00:12:49]Michelle St Jane: [00:12:49] Your smile kind of sells you. You have the best smile.   I love your pictures. As podcasters, we both launched on the 1st of September 2020.

I remember having a crisis of conscience so bad I was ready to give up in the middle of August. I was just really lucky to have gotten a fabulous team behind me. Then I realized had the opportunity to create content of a quality that I wanted to see out in the world. I had the opportunity to bring on amazing guests like yourself and feature their voice and their contribution to the world.

[00:13:19] Podcasts have been around for a very long time. Sometimes for my age group, especially for women, I have to make the path by walking. I'm quoting Paolo Freire. 

I really love the fact that I had the opportunity to create a manifesto. I took the time to I that:

🎙️Codes of Consciousness #leadership > Codes of Conduct 

🎙️Living life in great humor > To Do Demands

🎙️Radiating prosperity & spiritual wellbeing #legacy > accumulating

🎙️Philanthropy, #Conscious Stewardship > Charity

The bottom line, I was leaning into expressing the values I wanted to share out there.

[00:13:59] Sometimes the women who take the world stage are the ones who are already huge and have had doors open.  I'm the one who leans on a 🚪door. 

Andrea Johnson: [00:14:09] How hard can I push this short woman? Right. This little bitty woman can push really hard. 

[00:14:15] Michelle St Jane: [00:14:15] I'm going to move into the area of values because they can be positive, or fear-based.

[00:14:19] I think we have to be accountable, to be aware of our values and our alignment into them in terms of, having the opportunity to bring our authentic and self forward. So, what are your values

Andrea Johnson: [00:14:30] I'm going to ask you a question first. I want to know your definition of a value so that I know how to best answer that question. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:14:37] Values, for me, are in how I express myself. How I am. 

 I will share a couple of mines:

🦉Wisdom, I'm devoted to leaning into my sense of purpose, yet serving others through my wisdom, strength, and hope

We've both mentioned the crisis of confidence and failure. I am a woman who believes in failing fast and quietly. If I'm going to have a go, it's all good. I find failures are a place I actually thrive because I'm very creative in my thinking.  I’ve been described as a stratospheric thinker. Yes, that fits me quite right. I want to take all my knowledge and experience and apply it to the social, environmental, and business space.

[00:15:18]  Compassion✨, how we treat people, including the planet, all living beings, and including out of space are very important to me. 

Andrea Johnson: [00:15:27] I have a course on discovering your core values. What I do as a coach and one of the things I think are foundational to personal growth is understanding your core values.

[00:15:38] First it's awareness. You need to be aware that and:

🍍 know you need to grow

🍍know where you are, who you are and what you are,   

🍍understand your values, 

🍍understand how your thoughts affect all of your outcomes. 

Andrea Johnson: Those are my top three that I think are foundational to personal growth.

[00:15:52] When I talk about values, I'm talking about these principles that are almost immovable in your soul. When I walk people through a core values process, it takes a while, a minimum of 30 days. Sometimes you need to just kind of hang out with them for a little while and figure them out as you go.

Andrea Johnson: [00:16:13] They might change.  I don't find that they truly change. What I find is that they actually come up and are more evident, or maybe the world changes, but the value is actually the same as an iceberg.  You have the little bit at the top and then you have the waterline and then you have the giant iceberg below the waterline. If we're not willing to let them grow and develop and float up to the top and expose themselves a little better, I think that we do ourselves a disservice.

Based on that, I thought my top value many, many times, well for several years was freedom. The reality is that's my third value. 

My very top value is community. That goes back to my time at the beach and being able to say, this is the community I want to be a part of. But it really isn't that I'm trying to create that community it's that it resonated with all of that in my soul. That is community-based. 

When I talk about community, I'm not even talking about the neighborhood, I'm not talking about municipalities. I am talking about shared openness, welcoming, acceptance, and safety. And. The collaborative nature of how we work. As a business, I'm trying to build community.

[00:17:26] When I talk about my Facebook group, it's my Facebook community. When I talk about my membership program, it's my membership community.  The whole goal behind all of that is to build community. 

My second is authenticity. I discovered long ago that I was a square peg that just didn't fit in any of the round holes available to me. Thus, it's like all those descriptors that you said, how can she be these things? Well, here I am. Willing to say, unapologetically, this is who I am and being able to be brave, curious, welcoming, safe, and wise all at the same time. That's being authentic to me.

[00:18:05] If I'm doing something where I am not comfortable speaking my mind, then I know that I probably don't belong there. It's probably something I don't need to be doing. 

My third one is Freedom, it didn't go away, it just bumped down on the list a little bit, because I think what they do is they feed each other.

[00:18:20] For me it was showing up in:

🍍Don't tell me what to think. 

🍍Don't tell me how to act. 

🍍Don't tell me what to do. You're not the boss of me.  

You know, it's very bossy. and that's how it showed up when I was younger. It shows up in physical things like travel, being able to travel, being able to go do things.

[00:18:36] The way I see it now is I build community and live-in authenticity in order to have the freedom that I need. And some of that is freedom in my mind. Some of it is freedom in my heart, in my relationships. and then eventually in like financial freedom, because if I do all of those things, I will have what I need. Values are huge to me. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:19:00] Especially in this new decade, we're living in a very anxious time. I think if you've got your values to the forefront, you're willing to be conscious and aware, they will move up-down, and around.

[00:19:15] I totally agree with you. In terms of, being limited by fear, there's a lovely poet=m by Khalil Gibran:

It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.

She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests, and villages.

And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast, that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.

But there is no other way.
The river cannot go back.
Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.

The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear to disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean

Andrea Johnson: [00:19:56] that's beautiful. I just got cold chills. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:20:01] just think in this time, it's just so important to be aware that fear can be limiting. Values can allow you the freedom to find yourself.   

Andrea Johnson: [00:20:10] I also call values our guardrails because they help us to make decisions. If something doesn't line up with my values, it's usually pretty easy. Say, no thank you. it also helps me set boundaries many times. They're just in my brain, A boundary of, whether or not I need to participate in a conversation or about cause does this build community, does this help me be authentic?

[00:20:28] I can just let it go. Because I'm a talker, you can tell, I love to be involved in the conversation. That's part of building community. It is the connections that we have. Having the values helps me build both my internal and external boundaries, do it with grace and kindness. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:20:43] Such a delight to talk to you. I'm going to put a caveat here, and extend your thoughts:

🍍 Rules sometimes can be broken. 

🍍Grandmothers can be podcasters. A podcast can be your virtual speaking podium.  

Those are my two. 

I thank you Andrea.   You're an optimist as am I.  From the testing, I fall in the 96th percentile of the world as an optimist. I suspect you're right up there with me and as well as, being an idealist and the 90th percentile. 

 Synchronicity always shows up when I live into my sense of purpose

I enjoy cooperating for the benefit of others, especially vivid visionaries like you. Let’s celebrate everyone succeeds and collaborate to solve issues and lean on doorways.

[00:21:29] Tell us a little bit more about the work that you're doing and how you yeah. 

[00:21:33] Andrea Johnson: [00:21:33] I have:

🍍Join the Facebook community, it's called Intentional Optimists

🍍 My website,, you can click to join my Facebook community. 

🍍 Maybe purchase or get a disc assessment so you can understand how you communicate and how others communicate.  

🍍 Join my newsletter. You can click a button to do my values quarter. 

🍍 Join our book club

🍍 You can work with me one-on-one.

I'm constantly adding value in there. It's a place where you can come together and learn the six tenets of intentional optimism

Through my podcast I shine my light out there every week, you get something, either a, teaching from me or an interview with a woman who's living out tenets of intentional optimism. If you tune in, you'll hear Michelle on there. We had a delightful conversation. 

The newest way you can work with me is through a 🍍 new membership community called ⛵ “Launch from the Beach.” ⛵  

My goal is to create a giant global community of women: 

🍍 helping other women accomplish their goals, their dreams, their desires. 

We, do that starting small with little bitty sailboats, getting ⛵ into the water, helping them understand how to make that sailboat sail.  That's all part of intentional optimism. 

I want to make sure that we have a good bedrock of a community to build it's on a new platform called Marco Polo Channels, which is video-based and has no algorithm. It is literally just me and the community. We'll come together once a month for a little bit of socializing live on zoom. 

Michelle St Jane: [00:24:16] I'm just so grateful Andrea.

Reach out.  I am interested to hear from you. Do you have a topic you'd like to explore? It would be great to have your feedback.

Dr. Michelle St Jane

Podcast Host: Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey 

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Andrea Johnson

Optimism Expert, Professional Encourager and Coach & Podcast Host of Intentional Optimists

Optimism Expert, Professional Encourager and Coach.
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