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Standing Tall

2 January 2024

Janie listened to the Stand Tall and Own It podcast hosted by Andrea Johnson and appreciated Johnson’s no-nonsense approach as she prepares for the year ahead.

Tags: happiness, janie listened, janie read, leadership

Last week I went through a year-end reflection exercise to help me reflect on some of my lessons learned from 2023 and to plan for the year ahead. Rachel has always recommended this practice and I’ve found it to be really helpful to sort through thoughts and feelings and limit my ruminations. As I considered some of the lessons I learned over the last year and places where I want to continue to grow and develop, I thought about a resource I discovered in the last few months that has been helpful to me; the Stand Tall and Own It podcast, hosted by Andrea Johnson.

I first met Andrea through my work with the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Women’s Roundtable (BWRT). She attended our Connections Luncheon in August 2022 and then expressed interest in being part of the Executive Committee. Since then, she has been an invaluable team member who led the planning of our Women of Excellence Luncheon in March and our second Connections Luncheon in August. I started following her podcast a few months ago and I’ve found the episodes to be full of insightful guidance that really resonates with me. I’m not typically a big podcast person. (I usually prefer to read rather than listen.) However, I was curious to learn more about Andrea’s work and I’ve found that I enjoy her point of view and watching the podcast episodes through YouTube makes it feel like it’s just the two of us having a conversation.

Two of the more recent episodes really got my attention. In Unlocking a Better Life with Simplification, Andrea shared that sometimes her brain gets really cluttered and it almost feels like she can’t think. She described this as “reaction mode” and said it shows up when she is overwhelmed and makes her “angry, shortsighted, and unhappy.” This description sounds exactly like me when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Andrea went on to share how she has worked to move herself from “reaction mode” to what she described as “proaction mode” which is when she’s able to look ahead and prepare for things before they arrive. This is a skill I’ve been actively working on and listening to this episode helped me reflect on some of the times I’ve reacted in ways I’m not proud of and to consider how I could handle things differently in the future.

Being more aware of when I’m in “reaction mode” has helped me recover more quickly and hold my face when receiving feedback. Instead of reacting defensively and speaking before I think things through (which is often my default reaction when I’m overwhelmed). I stay quiet and allow myself time to process and decide how I want to respond. It has also helped me to not take things so personally and to be more thoughtful about whether I want to respond to something that bothered me, or if it’s better to just let it go.

I also found Embracing the Power of Your Voice very interesting. Andrea interviewed guest Courtney Elmer. They discussed how Elmer has cultivated curiosity and wonder to help her find her voice and learn how to express her own point of view. She shared a book that was really impactful to her called The Hidden Messages in Water by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Emoto was a Japanese scientist who did a series of experiments with water where he discovered that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words, and feelings. He froze water with different written messages and found that the water that was frozen with the words, “love and gratitude” and “thank you” developed into beautiful ice crystals that looked like incredibly intricate snowflakes. However, when he froze the water with the words, “you fool” no ice crystals developed at all. I thought this research was fascinating, and as someone who has to work to address negative self-talk, I am always intrigued when I read about scientific studies focused on the impact of negative thoughts. I’ve ordered a copy of his book and am interested in reading more about his research.

If you’re looking for a resource with useful guidance and a no-nonsense perspective to help you with your own professional or personal growth journey, I think you’ll enjoy listening to Stand Tall and Own It.


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