In episode #73, I am joined by fellow podcaster and optimist Andrea Johnson, an optimism expert, professional encourager, coach, and speaker, helping women find their community and freedom. She is dedicated to authentic growth. Following her 6 tenets of intentional optimism, she helps women on their own personal growth journeys.
In this episode, we cover:
- Andrea's younger years living in South Korea shaped her global view of the world and what it means to empathise and understand other cultures, religions, faiths and beliefs.
- That intentional optimism is about understanding who you are and what you want to be—understanding your core values and beliefs and what you align with.
- The difference between toxic positivity and fully embracing our shadow sides.
- The 6 tenets of intentional optimism.
- It may be time to take the leap and start your own business when you no longer feel like you are making the difference you want to be making in the world.
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[00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Visualise You Show. Now, today, this is my first guest interview in Season Two. I am so excited to bring you a lot more interviews this season, and I'm kicking off this guest interview with Andrea Johnson. Now Andrea is an optimism expert.
We met last year as we were starting our podcasts exactly at the same time. Andrea is a professional encourager coach and speaker, and she helps women find their community and freedom. She's dedicated to helping others authentically grow through her six tenants of intentional optimism.
And I really think you're going to absolutely love today's episode. Now, whenever my interview is going over 50 minutes, I like to break them down into two parts. So, we're kicking off today with part 1. And in this interview, I talked to Andrea about her early childhood years, living in South Korea and how that gave her a real global view on how to [00:01:00] empathize and connect with others and other faiths and cultures from all over the world.
We talk about what it means to be an intentional optimist and to understand who we are and our core values and beliefs.
We also talk about the difference between intentional optimism and that buzzword that seems to be going around right now called toxic positivity and why we really need to acknowledge both the lightness and the darkness and all of our shadow sides, the good and the bad.
Whenever we are doing work on us. I talked to Andrea about her recent pivot to start her own business and to follow her own soul's calling when she no longer felt she was making the impact you wanted to make in the world via her corporate nine to five. And when those whispers just started to get stronger and stronger, I really hope you enjoy this episode.
And don't forget to check back for part two of the interview.
[00:01:53] Beth: [00:02:00] Hi. Okay. Welcome to another edition of the Visualise You Show we're into season two and I'm so excited to have Andrea Johnson joining us today. Hi, Andrea.
[00:02:55] Andrea: Hello, my friend, how are you today?
[00:02:57] Beth: I am really good. I’m really like [00:03:00] upbeat today. I think the sun is still shining it's September and we don't always have sun this time of year, so I'm really enjoying the sun
Here's the weird thing. it's hazy here
[00:03:09] Beth: Oh, whereabouts are you?
[00:03:12] Andrea: I'm in Virginia. I'm near Charlottesville, Virginia?
Which is where the University of Virginia is. And just about ninety miles south of DC and ninety miles west of Richmond. So right by the beautiful Shenandoah mountains.
[00:03:25] Beth: Sounds beautiful there are no mountains where I am at all, but they do sound delicious. So, I normally just kick off the show, just by letting our listeners know all about you. but we've known each other for a while. And just some context for our listeners. So, we met probably just over a year ago now, wasn't it?
When we both started a podcast at the same time. So, I feel like I know various parts of your life journey. So, there were various points I was interested in. So, one of them was around you living, in South Korea as a child.
[00:03:58] Andrea: Oh, sure
[00:03:59] Beth: Yeah. And [00:04:00] how it must have had to impact, having that global world view must've had an impact on you at a young age.
[00:04:06] Andrea: it did. and what's interesting is for the longest time I tried to suppress that. I look back now. And so, part of my growth journey is that I've been able to embrace that worldview better. And, I grew up, my parents were missionaries, so I am a woman of Christian faith and, I married a pastor.
So, to stay in that, in that genre. But we went there when. In second grade, finishing up second grade, went to an international school. There's quite an expatriate community in South Korea. And just for reference, speaking to a global community, most people know that when you say Korea it usually means South Korea.
But in the United States, a lot of times people don't understand that. I found early on that being an international third culture kid was so different that it really caused tension. And so, [00:05:00] we would come home for furlough. every three to four years, and we came home from my sixth-grade year, and I remember hearing, oh, here comes miss Korea, this and Ms Korea that I thought, oh, I should stop talking. And so, the more I tried to fit in the more, I just tampered that down. But as I matured and grew and started looking at who I'm trying to become or who I am becoming. I realized it had even more impact on me than I realized.
It was the community. The Korean people are extremely open and welcoming. Their culture is one of education, which when you get into my career story, it's oh Yeah! That totally makes sense. Because it was in all higher education and they are very. They're friendly by nature. And I think that's part of where I get some of that, the community expatriate community, they were amazing, but I also grew up seeing different things.
I didn't grow up in one little corner [00:06:00] where I only saw one type of religion or one type of demographic or one type of culture. I grew up in a school with kids from sixty-five different countries.
So, I'm dating myself a little bit, but we had Iranian kids during the late seventies early eighties, when they, kidnapped the people from the New York embassy. You learn how to deal with conflict while still being friends with people and looking past certain differences in order to come together. And I think that's a little bit of what shaped me into who I am today.
[00:06:37] Beth: I think that's really powerful. I think today there's more, multicultural aspects to everyday life, and we are more open to those experiences and differences and cultures and people and religions. But I think maybe back then, it wasn't, I think, that's really special that you have that.
[00:06:55] Andrea: I will tell you, I’m the intentional optimist. I'm all about, but realistic [00:07:00] optimism. but I will tell you, there are big pockets in the United States that do not understand Diversity of culture, yes. And, and just their blessings and curses to being just this humongous country.
And so that's a little bit of what we're working through here in the states is helping everybody get to that place. And not everybody is. It's hard. Sometimes it's hard work when you're not used to doing that. but I think overall because of social media and the internet, we have become much more globally-minded.
[00:07:30] Beth: So, tell our listeners who is Andrea Johnson, who is the intentional optimist? What does that all mean?
[00:07:36] Andrea: Oh, the intentional optimist is, I was looking for a name for a business and I really wanted to do something along the lines of sanguine with the old, sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric personality types, because. I think we all have a challenge sometimes in our lives to be that positive, sunny, to be that optimistic and to see the bright side of things.
And [00:08:00] I didn't understand how I could actually do that. when I was growing up. There's a part of me. that's very natural. It comes naturally. But like I said, I suppressed much of that. but my career journey through higher education, it was like, I fell into it.
I had no intention of working for Atlantic Ivy league schools and that kind of thing. but becoming the intentional optimist was a very concerted effort to understand who I really want to be. And when you talk about, you're really good at talking about pivots, talking about pivot moments. And when I decided, I don't want to continue on this path that I'm on because I'm miserable or I don't see myself there in 10 years that's when I just said, all right, what is it?
And I just went back and re-examined did that hard work. What do I believe? What have I been taught? Do I still espouse these things? Do I still espouse the theological and doctrinal things that I've been taught? The cultural things, the political things that I've been taught, all those.
[00:08:58] Andrea: And when I went to look back at them and [00:09:00] figure them all out, I came out with this almost philosophical statement of. This is who I am. And there are six tenets of intentional optimism and they're based on Proverbs chapter 31. But when I did that, I said, then what do I do with these? And I said, oh, I want other people to learn how to be themselves authentically and to grow as well.
And especially women have a real heart for women. And so that's the impetus behind what I do and what the intentional optimist is.
[00:09:30] Beth: I love all of that. we can talk about those tenets as well. Because I think, I feel very much the same. Like I've always been well actually when I was little, I wasn't super positive. I always had a bit of a glum face when I was very little, but I do feel now like my default button is positivity, but at the same time, I have this.
And you may come across this a little bit in the work that you do, is that there's a lot about toxic positivity and actually not allowing ourselves to feel all the feels when we're going through [00:10:00] those tough times, we still have to go through all of that. We can't just be super positive and then suppress what is actually going on underneath.
So, you come across that as part of the work that you're doing. Are you hearing more about toxic positivity?
[00:10:14] Andrea: I do. And I want to make it very clear that intentional optimism with that intentionality behind it is to see all of the sides. And when you start delving into what the tenants actually are, you realize that without seeing the dark. The light doesn't mean as much when you don't see the dark, the good doesn't mean as much when you don't see the things that are hard.
And if you're not willing to work through them, you can't get to a good place and to where you want to be. And those things always hold you back. Putting your head in the sand is never a solution. And that's what toxic positivity is to me to always look for the bright side. That's not a bad trait to be a half-full person. That's not a bad trait. Those are all good traits.
[00:11:00] But in order to do that, you have to be able to be willing to see the things that aren't great because you can't grow without seeing the things that you need to grow in. yesterday, the sermon it was when somebody gives you. Oh gosh, he was just, he was making a good point about, the fact that there are times that we have to admit that there's something that we need to work on in order to accept certain gifts.
He said, if somebody gives you a gift of mouthwash in order for you to be able to say a sincere, thank you for that. You have to admit the fact that, you need help with your breath.
And so, in order to grow, you have to be willing to see the places where you must grow and in the toxic positive world. You're not seeing anything you're pretending. it's like putting one of those Instagram filters or Snapchat filters on and only seeing the really sparkly.
[00:11:50] Beth: Yeah. And I'm just hearing more and more about, I just wondered what other coaches who have got more of an optimistic, positive outlook in the [00:12:00] work that they do, deal with that and those things that come up.
So, do you want to talk about the six tenets?
[00:12:07] Andrea: Absolutely. so really quick, the background of them is, like I said, they're based on Proverbs chapter 31. So, I am a woman of the Christian faith. but when I teach. That's just who I am, but that's not necessarily, I don't necessarily teach a Bible study. that's not where I go. Proverbs is a book of wisdom and, my mother was an amazing woman.
She was one of those that was like a bottle of champagne. She would walk into a room and the bubbles would just like, oh, Judy's here. And everybody loved her. And, when she retired, my dad gave her a Hebrew beautifully framed calligraphy of the Proverbs 31 passage, talking from King Lemuel's mother to him telling him how to find an amazing woman.
And it was calligraphy, done by hand by this Rabbi in Jerusalem and when we lost her in 2017 to breast cancer, that was the impetus that really got me thinking about [00:13:00] what I want to be like. Life is short. I see now that she is gone, and I am the next oldest.
And so how do I want to look at this? And moving my dad, especially out of his house and into an apartment, I looked at that thing. And I thought I have always thought I understood that. What is it? So, I went back and read it and I realized she is not this demure woman who follows people around and has homeschool’s or children in Cannes. She is this amazing business. She buys a field. She plants the grapes, she grows the vines, and then she sells the wine. She is a land developer. She's a fashion designer and a maker of purple cloth, which back in those times was meant you were rich.
And she was a philanthropist. Her husband's name was well-known because of her. And so, she’s just short of being an independent woman of means and really strong and a [00:14:00] leader. And it was just, I like had new eyes to see her and I thought, oh, that's okay. This is okay for me. This is what I want.
This is what I can do. And so, when I started looking at all the personal growth that I had done from starting at about twenty-one because part of my personal story is bulimia and depression. And so, my very first personal growth tool that I got was through an inpatient 12-week inpatient program. And I didn't have any psychological tools.
When you have tools in your tool belt, you can actually handle life better. so, I took all of that personal growth and leadership tools and I sat down, and I said, I just started writing out what I believe. And then they just got grouped into different things, different categories. And then they floated themselves out to about six main things with some subcategories. And I talk about it, like going into a crucible and coming out with the gem and when you put coal under extreme heat and pressure. You come out with a diamond and, it might be an Emerald for some people or [00:15:00] whatever but, either way, growing up in Korea, we did spend time on the west coast, on the yellow sea every summer at this beautiful beach.
And that is the culture and the community that I long to recreate, for the women that I work with. And quite frankly, I'm around and for myself. and it was just one of inclusion and welcoming, and we could try anything and do anything. And so, all of those things coming together, helped me figure out how to explain the tenets of intentional optimism as a sailboat.
I grew up sailing. So, we were poor missionaries, but we still had a little sunfish sailboat, a little 14-footer. So, I describe it as optimistic as your first tenet. And it is your hull, it's the boat. If you want to get from island to island, be the best way to do it is in some kind of vessel. So that's you're deciding to change it, to move forward.
And it doesn't necessarily mean seeing things all sunny, it just means. I've decided to move forward, right? So that's the, I see things could be better and it includes things like [00:16:00] hope and positivity and being proactive about things. But that's your hull. Then the next piece is presence, which is your centreboard.
And if you know anything about boats, you've got to have something going down into the water to keep you from falling over. So, it keeps you grounded. It keeps you vertical. It's having this sense of wonder and generosity and kindness and openness. The third tenant is energetic, which is your sale.
We create some of our own energy, but a lot of times just having the sail in the right place to capture the opportunities, the wind that comes through. And that also shows why it's so important to have a good centreboard, because that's what balances you, when the wind blows really hard, you got to be present, right?
So that's your third tenet and energetic includes things like being industrious. I talked about that woman who was the land developer. She always had something in the works. but just actually having energy and joy and being life focused. That's all part of being [00:17:00] energetic. The fourth one is courageous, and this is your rigging on a sailboat.
If you don't have ropes that tie your sail down or that pull it in, you've got to be able to let it out sometimes and tighten it up sometimes. And that takes a lot of courage letting go of things can be harder than holding them tightly. And sometimes you need to do that. And if you get a lot of wind coming through your sail, if you're not ready to go fast then you have to let out.
But if you're ready to go, you can tighten it up and it all tips and people lean out over the side and just fly. That's where the courage comes in. Oh, I just got cold chills. That's when you know, you've got something good when it excites you. but that's the leadership aspect of intentional optimism is the adventure and, resilience, all that in courage, the fifth one is wise, and this is your rudder on a bigger boat, your wheel, right. Where this keeps you going in the direction you want to go. This includes things like understanding the world as it is. This is part of seeing both the good and the bad and understanding you and understanding [00:18:00] others. It has to do with the words we speak so important.
You know that as a visualizer, it's not just what you think. It's what you speak. Those are really important. Those words, help heal, harm, destroy all of it. And then having respect that makes us a wise person. All of a sudden you respect people and then it’s just so much wiser in the way you respond, but then pulling it all together is intentionality.
And this has to do with a sense of purpose. Your WHY. It has to do with planning and being on a trajectory of growth. And if you don't have intentionality that lovely boat with all of its great pieces and parts is never going to get in the water. And that's where a boat needs to be in order to actually do what a boat is supposed to do.
It's not supposed to sit on the sand. It's supposed to be in the water or at the dock. It's supposed to be in the water, moving you from one place to another. So that's intentional, optimism.
[00:18:55] Beth: [00:19:00] I love all of that. I was letting you say all that because I didn't want to interject at various points when you're trying to outline all those things. I love the boat analogy. I've used it myself and often with visualizations I'll often say visualization is about having that map of where you go n your boat and the compass and where you're heading and all of that.
There are a few different aspects. I suppose I want to go back to. So, you started your story talking about [00:20:00] this beautiful. what would you call it like embroidered calligraphy?
[00:20:04] Andrea: Oh, yes. Yes. It's all in Hebrew and it's just gorgeous. It's gilded and all kinds of stuff.
[00:20:09] Beth: so, I think, I don't know if I was listening to, I think Dr D's social network podcasts, were you were talking about, I think your mum as having all of these skills and experiences, and being powerful and capable of doing so much. And when she came back, she didn't necessarily do all of those things.
And I think as you were talking, then that self-awareness, that you have had, I think, throughout all of your life, from being little in South Korea, from understanding your mom and how she showed up in the world, no negativity there.
But your self-awareness all of that and going actually, no, I want to do this differently. I want to show women. what they are capable of, I think you've got so much self-awareness I totally admire that. [00:21:00]
[00:21:00] Andrea: thank you.
[00:21:00] Beth: And I just loved the boat analogy. I think there's a lot of self-awareness there, as well around when you were saying, pulling the [00:21:12]
Andrea: The rigging.
[00:21:13] Beth: the rigging again, you need to know where you are. You need to know what the conditions are. You need to know what you're working with. You need to know, what you're trying to achieve. And again, that comes back to that. The self-awareness I just got chilled then too.
[00:21:26] Andrea: and you've tapped into the nuances of it all. It's not like you're just on this calm lake with no wind it's, you're probably in the ocean. and I do talk about going from island to island because we are not guaranteed calm seas. We are never guaranteed that just because we put our boat in the water, it's never going to tip over.
We have to have that, understanding of the currents. This is all part of wisdom too. And you have to understand where the currents are going, because if you're taking advantage of the wind. You don't have a motor on this boat. So, if you don't take advantage of the [00:22:00] wind and understand how sometimes your sail needs to be at a 90-degree angle to your boat, or it needs to be at a forty-five in order to get you where you want to go, it's not just like driving a car, right?
This is much more of an understanding of what's going on around you, the wind, the currents, the waves. When we can do that, and fully sit in what those things are then that it just is amazing. The amount of power that it gives you to say, oh, I want to go over there. So, this needs to tweak here, and this needs to tweak here and I'm going to head in that direction.
[00:22:36] Beth: I think it's a brilliant analogy. I love all aspects of that. So, let's get back to the pivoting. you're going through a pivot right now with the business and we can talk about that. Have there been other pivots along the journey that you want to share with our listeners today?
[00:22:51] Andrea: We all have life pivots, right? Like I said, I was in the hospital for bullying and depression. I ended up with gastric bypass surgery, [00:23:00] which was a huge pivot for me when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was morbidly obese. And then I found out I’m infertile. So, the pivot of adopting.
But career-wise the biggest pivot was my mother’s last year. And when she started going into hospice and every time if you live with a cancer patient, you know that every time they get a pet scan or every time they get an MRI, you're always waiting with bated breath to see what's going to show up.
And so, you never know. And that process of watching. The way I responded to her insecurity of the future, and I don't mean that she was insecure. I just mean it was unsure, but also watching her faith and her confidence in where she believed she was going eternally and her ability to say, I'm not interested in leaving this planet anytime soon.
I don't want to do that. But if I have to, I'm ready, watching that process, if you've ever watched [00:24:00] someone go through that kind of transition, it will change you. I'm not saying that death is beautiful because I was there and I'm not going to say that, but, the transition process and the way we handle it can be very beautiful, especially when you talk about self-awareness but watching that and then saying, okay, now what, in February of 2017 was the biggest pivot for me.
I spent my entire career. I never planned this, almost my entire career in higher education. And I started off working in college for a professor. And then I met my husband in grad school at the seminary and ended up working there and it just never occurred to me that I would do that. when we moved to Baltimore from my husband to pastor a church, we thought maybe I could do my own thing.
And so, I was like a Mary Kay person. I wanted to be an entrepreneur from the beginning. But I just had to discover how, and I was not self-aware enough to do it at the time. It just wasn't time. And so, a friend offered me an opportunity in the Johns Hopkins school of the medicine cancer centre. And Sure [00:25:00] I can do administrative assistant work. And I started there, ended up moving into research administration and grants, administration, working with budgets and regulation and all that kind of stuff. And then moving into the University of Virginia, where I moved further into research administration and operations and leadership, and it never occurred to me to do that career path.
There were things I loved about it. Things. I really didn't love it, but we all have that in any kind of work that we do. Even my business. Now, there are things it's okay, I have to do this, or I need to do this in order to make my business succeed. but the biggest pivot was realizing if I look down the road, I see in this particular career, I don't see myself going much higher. I don't see myself achieving the things I want to achieve. I don't see myself impacting many people. And I would tell myself. if I put this grant through and we can do a clinical trial and save people's lives, that impacts people, but I need to touch them.
[00:25:59] Andrea: I need to [00:26:00] see them and I'm not a clinical person. I learned that way early on when I was a nursing major and realized I couldn't give somebody a shot. So that was no more!
[00:26:08] Beth: I couldn't do that either.
[00:26:09] Andrea: And so that was my biggest revelation for me to say, all right, what do I love? And how can I move forward? I did What Colour is Your Parachute? Those kinds of things and realized I needed to be in a more relational kind of work. And so that's when I moved into more of, a supervisory role, which can be relational. but when you're supervising people it's not all coaching. It's not all encouraging. I'm very carrot versus stick oriented. I'm an optimist.
[00:26:42] Andrea: So, I prefer, and you can't always do that. When you supervise people, you have to have hard conversations. So, I learned much through all of that. The biggest pivot was just realizing, all right. The piece I love is helping people grow. And so how do I do that? And is coaching really a [00:27:00] thing.
Is that really a job? And so, I just had to really look at it and then figure out, what do I believe and how am I going to do this? And then I realized, okay, it's not just coaching, it's speaking. and so, I speak, and I teach and that's why when the podcast opportunity came along, I said, oh, why did I never think of that?
I hope that answered your question.
[00:27:22] Beth: It does and I think for anybody that's listening to the podcast who is in a corporate nine to five or is doing something within their career right now that it may be fulfilling on some level, or it may not be fulfilling at all. And knowing that actually, you might be making. really positive impact on people, but actually, is it in relation to your soul's calling?
Is that what you're supposed to be doing in the longer term? Because that's different and we can fall back and I did it for the longest time, moving from job to job, trying to find where I fitted in, when actually the place I fitted in was doing the thing that I was supposed to do, not trying to fit into. [00:28:00]somebody else's corporate world. So, anybody that's listening to that just knows that, listen to those whispers of the heart or in your ears or wherever you hear those whispers. and know that there's another way there's another path available.
[00:28:15] Andrea: And for me even, it was, I would have conflicts with my boss or with the general overall mission of the department or the school and, wow. Johns Hopkins and the University of Virginia. Those are amazing institutions, especially their schools of medicine, cancer centres. They do amazing work. I cannot at all disparage anything, they do amazing work.
They're just a big institution and they're not my work. And so, there's when I realized I'm having conflicts here, that's part of it was like, hello, wake up. it's sometimes the whispers are not, sometimes the whispers are yelling.
[00:28:51] Beth: I think the longer you leave it, they get louder from my experience.
[00:28:55] Andrea: and I remember telling you early on that your story of being a serial quitter [00:29:00] was very inspiring to me because I'm 55 and women at my age, are still of a generation where we were taught longevity and a job is golden. And you have to prove you have sticking power.
And I'm like, but why I don't want sticking power. I want to do this other thing. And we’re also taught that it's not okay to want what we want, and I'm not sure why we're taught that and sometimes it's not even and this is another piece of the whisper thing is I've had to realize that many of the things I believed in espouse were not specifically taught to me.
They were maybe said to me early on or insinuated. But I somehow embraced those, and I had to take the responsibility to take them off. I had to take the responsibility to name them and say, I'm not this anymore. I don't espouse this patriarchal view. I don't espouse this conservative political view.
I don't espouse this racial, view. I had [00:30:00] to say those things and take them, literally take them off. it just, there was times it felt like ripping because they're so ingrained in. But when we're willing to do that, it means that we have the ability to grow further because those things were holding us down.
Those things were, making us smaller and, being able to listen to those whispers or the yelling or whatever it is, and just take responsibility
[00:30:25] Beth: and it's liberating when you can when you realize that actually, you've got the reigns, you can do this. You don't need to be told when to do it. you can just take back control.
[00:32:29] Andrea: so, the current pivot that you're referring to is that I am a full-time self-employed entrepreneur. and I guess, two years in a row, I had my goal of, leaving my job to be full-time. And first, it was December of 2019, and then it was December of 2020 because it's really easy to take a paycheck and do your side hustle because the expectations that you can put on yourself are much lower. And so, all that, and some of that tearing off of things that I had to [00:33:00] happen in those two years to really make it for me. But, in January of 2021, I said, June 30, that’s it? And. It didn't quite have everything in place that I wanted but there was a conflict that happened in my job, and I was called back, from remote work. And that was it.
[00:33:21] Andrea: Even if I’m I not ready. I am ready. And. I'm married and my husband and I make decisions together. And he basically was like, all right, let's run the numbers.
And so, it doesn't have to be just like when people say, I'll wait. I talked to the girl the other day. I need to have my finances in place before I can have a child. And I said, okay. It's just whatever. If you think that’s good for you and if you can make that happen, but life doesn't usually happen that way.
And I was reminded. What was interesting is that we were on vacation, and I had said June 30, but I hadn't given my notice and [00:34:00] they like you to give 30 days. And so, I was on vacation. I think it was June 18th or somewhere around there when this piece of info hit me on vacation. We were starting to have these conversations. I came home and by July six, I had actually given my notice.
And so for, as a woman of Christian faith, it was almost like God said, hey, you've been saying for two years, you're going to do this. You finally said June 30, I've been trying to make this happen for you. I'm taking control. You're just doing this right.
And sometimes the things that happen in life are really good catalysts for making us just make the choices I'm notoriously long in making a decision. But once I do it, we're done. I act.
[00:34:52] Beth: And it can change in an instant. I love that you just said, this is it. This is now. So, when somebody says to me, I'm being made redundant, the first thing that I really want to [00:35:00] say is congratulations because
[00:35:03] Beth: it's like, wow, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?
I don't always say it as coldly as that, but that's what I feel like saying inside. Because it pushes us in a different direction and we might've just been hanging on, a little bit longer and there never is the right time, to just go for it.
Let's talk about that. So, if you could identify maybe one life lesson you've learned during maybe your lowest or your highest points of your career or business journey, what would you say they would be?
The first one is figuring out the life lessons of figuring out what my superpowers are, which I think we'll get into that in a minute. So, I'm going to leave that there. But seeing those, finding them and figuring those out was a big lesson. but the biggest lesson that I even learned again last week. Is just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do something.
[00:35:57] Andrea: I am a big picture and detail [00:36:00] person. I'm a DISC trainer. So that's the DISC behavioural analysis. And so, I understand that I am, an influencer. So that's like very people-oriented the gregarious happy out there person, but the very next one is the C, which is compliant, which is very detail-oriented.
And so, I've always felt like I could see the big picture, but then I could also do the details, which can feel conflicting. In my role in my career, many times it was the regulatory aspect of taking a grant from the national institutes of health, making sure that we monitor that and do everything appropriately and reporting appropriately and spending appropriately and putting all of the stuff together and doing the science well and helping the faculty and the physicians monitor all that.
That's very detail-oriented and, very regulatory. I thought maybe I would offer that as a service. as a way to bridge the gap, like as if what I do is not enough. And, I just realized, no, that's not who I am. The details are a piece of [00:37:00] me, but just, because I can do that stuff doesn't mean that I need to do it. I need to do the work that is of my heart.
[00:37:06] Beth: I’m really glad that you said that because as entrepreneurs, I think when you come from corporate nine to five or wherever you've come from, you might have had multiple hats and be managing multiple projects, whatever, wherever your work was. And we do a lot. They get a lot for the money when we are working for corporate 9 to 5; we do all sorts of things.
And actually, the beauty of entrepreneurship is that we get to choose what we want to do, and we don't need to do it all. we can simplify it and not feel guilty or try not to be that perfectionist, even though it could be hard if you are a perfectionist, but we get to choose and niche down and drill down and go, actually, this is the piece of the puzzle that I want to really focus on. And that's what I want my gift to be. And not be everything to everybody.
And like you said, it's not even that you're a Jack of all trades. A lot of times you're told these are your goals. These are the things that you must accomplish. [00:38:00] And so in a corporate job, a lot of times you're doing things because, you have to, so you just buckle down and you do them, most of us are mature enough to get to that place where we just do our jobs. and then we find joy in the pieces that. We really enjoy it, right?
It's like we find those pieces that make the rest of it worthwhile. When you can't do that, it's time to look. but that was a lesson for me to learn as an entrepreneur. I no longer need to do that. I don't have to do the work just to make the money. I can actually put my heart into the things that when I just tell people about them passionately. They say, oh, I need a link to that course. Or, oh, I need a link to your group coaching program. I'm like, oh, I wasn't even trying to sell.
[00:38:40] Andrea: So that's when it just becomes very apparent that just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it.
[00:38:46] Beth: And I love that totally love that a wonderful message to be sharing with the listeners. So, I think we've talked about it a little bit, but do you feel like there was something that's always been calling you along this path that you knew you were ultimately going to end up being [00:39:00] a coach and doing the work that you do today?
[00:39:04] Andrea: Oh, yeah. When you look back, hindsight is always amazing. I'm starting to call myself more of a speaker trainer coach rather than just a coach because I realized that I do have a message that I specifically want to share, and I want to help people learn through that. But when I look back and look at my own personal growth journey, that's part of it. That I want to help people understand how to have their own personal growth journey.
And when I look back at myself, I was an entertainer and I always have been, it doesn't scare me really to be on stage. I was in all kinds of Gilbert and Sullivan's and that kind of stuff. And that was the part of my beach community. Everything was encouraged. I was a lifeguard.
I was a leader. I had a couple of years where I was the lead in the play, the musicals. And so, there were things that I learned there about myself that I could do, and enjoy. and looking back, I don't mind teaching. I don't mind [00:40:00] speaking. I don't mind singing and, people would start coming to me in my jobs.
People would start coming to me as their supervisor or not. Oh my goodness. As their former supervisor and say, I need to talk to you, and can you listen to me? I need some advice and I'd be like, okay, like, why do you want advice from me? And, what became apparent was. That was the part that I could do well. I could actually listen to people, even though I'm a talker and it's hard to get me to shut up.
And, I actually had a science teacher who threw one of those chalkboard erasers at me one time when I was in seventh grade for talking in class. But I can actually listen to people and empathize with people. Empathy was hard for me as a nurse. It meant that I felt every needle prick
[00:40:47] Beth: Yeah. That's why I couldn't be a nurse.
[00:40:49] Andrea: Yeah but it's really good when you're having a conversation with someone and to be able to turn around and say, okay, let's look at this from a different perspective. And the more I went on [00:41:00] my own personal growth journey. The more I realized, oh, not everybody has this, not everybody understands what it means to grow.
Not everybody understands that you can be more than what this path of life has you on. And so, when I look back, I see a lot of little pieces along the way like that. Especially in the last 10 years or five years when I was supervising and people would come in, I even had a former employee show up in my office, like in the middle of a panic attack and because you're a safe place for me. And I thought, wow, that is quite the compliment to be able to, for somebody to say, you're a safe place. That's okay, I need to capitalize on this. Not something I pursued, not something I thought I could do. but that's something that I need to capitalize on. And offer to people. That's what we do. I think you used it a minute ago. It's our gift to people,
[00:41:48] Beth: And I think it's, yeah, sometimes we're in the forest and we can't actually see what our skills and experiences and all those amazing traits that we've got. What is our zone of genius and all of that good stuff. So that lets us move. [00:42:00] nicely into superpowers. So, what do you think your main superpowers are?
[00:42:06] Andrea: I think my main superpowers are relating and connecting and there are ways in which that can look a little scary for people. I will meet you. And I will start asking you curious questions. And in five minutes, I will find out everything about your life, so I have to back that up because some people are like, that's too much lady.
But there is something about my desire for community and my need for connection that fosters that ability to relate and doing my own self-awareness work has helped me see, okay. In this particular like Myers-Briggs or this Clifton strengths was probably one of the bigger ones for me. Relater is the very top one and just crystallize it all and help me say, Oh my goodness. Yeah, I really am.
Because people say you just connect. I have had people Beth come because as a supervisor I’d hired and I supervise quite a few administrative [00:43:00] assistants. And so, we ended up hiring, and I would interview a lot of people and I've had people come back to me for a reference or job reference for another job when they didn't get hired by me. And I had one girl say, I consider you a mentor. And like we talked for an hour. Okay.
Beth: And so that shows to me that I can connect with you very quickly. That shows to me that you do really listen to them, for somebody to feel like, within the hour, they must've been really listened to and understood that is a gift. That's a great gift.
And I think candour is a good part of that too because, in that position where I learned to do that, I had to tell people you're way overqualified for this job. But why are you interviewing me? I thought maybe I could help you. And, I wanted to know why, because you never know why people are applying for a job but being able to be honest and transparent with them, that's part of that relating is that. [00:44:00]
[00:44:00] Andrea: I can overshare sometimes, but I'm pretty willing to be transparent and show I'm human. I got these things, but you do too. So, let's move forward together.
[00:44:11] Beth: Yeah, I really like that. I really love that people got that from you, just from that initial meeting with you.
[00:44:18] Andrea: It's a little humbling.
[00:44:20] Beth: It really is. I'd be super proud of that if that was my superpower. [00:45:00] so let's talk about what you've got going on right now. What things are you bringing out into the world for others right now?
Andrea: Well now that I am a full-time entrepreneur, I have let go of some things that I don't have to do. And like I said, I'm really presenting myself as more of a speaker and trainer or teacher and coach. And so, in the speaking realm,
[00:45:25] Andrea: I have my podcast, which is intentional optimists’ unconventional leaders, where I teach on the intentional optimism tenets and from my perspective, on some things, then I interview women who really live out the unconventional style of female leadership. And I think it's really important for us to see as women that we don't need to lead as a man leads. And that everything that we do is leading. As people, we need to know that everything we do is leading.
Specifically, as women, we need to see that. so that's part of the speaking that I do that on that stage, and I've accepted a couple of [00:46:00] keynotes. One just got moved to a virtual instead of being in person. just because of. Hello, Delta. but I do those kinds of things. and then in that also encompasses teaching as well, because we do breakout sessions and I work with like I said, DISC, I'm a DISC trainer and I'm actually starting I’m sending a pitch out today to the local school district to promote the possibility of working with them on DISC and communication and leadership for students, faculty, and staff because it's very important to me to raise the next generation of leaders. It's very important that we have that mentoring, aspect.
And I think if I look back on themes for my life and during. It's been very learning, oriented, very mentor oriented and very help oriented. because I take something in, I process it and then I give it. It shouldn't just stay there.
So, speaking and teaching and then my coaching, I do some one-on-one coaching, but that is becoming less of a real focus. It's more of an organic thing. If somebody comes to me and [00:47:00] says, I really want one on one coaching, it's more of high touch, high dollar thing. I do have a coaching program because every time I would have a, call with someone about coaching, they would say, well don't you have a group program because I'm really drawn and I connect with other females who are Type A kind of mission-driven, they may still be in a job. But they're looking to potentially take whatever they've got going as a side hustle where they spend their emotional energy and just create that community. So, I have a group coaching program through Marco Polo channels, which is super unique. I don't know if you're familiar with them.
[00:47:35] Beth: I am familiar, but our listeners may not be familiar.
[00:47:37] Andrea: So, Marco Polo, they like to call it ‘good for you’ technology because it promotes connection. Marco polo itself is a video texting where it's asynchronous. We can text, we can video. I can put a video in for you Beth at one o'clock in the morning and you can see it tomorrow at eight or whatever.
so, coaches went to the creators of Marco polo and said, we [00:48:00] see this could be really advantageous in the coaching world. And so, they started developing their own kind of nuanced piece of that. And so, channels are a specific app and company where we can do one to many. Like I have a community of women that I coach in a specific channel.
[00:48:20] Andrea: and It's asynchronous. I'll go in and teach today. Because we're recording on a Monday and then I will teach Monday and Wednesday and they can respond with video comments. So, it's back and forth. You don't have to be in the same place at the same time. It's ideal for busy people.
It's ideal for internationals. I have a woman in the UK. I have a woman yesterday that I talked to who's in Hawaii, and then in California, so it can be all over the globe. but then we also meet on zoom just to connect because this particular, program is very goal-oriented and rhythm oriented.
But Marco polo channels, I also have an evergreen course on there and they just finished their first [00:49:00] conference in Marco Polo channels. Which was really interesting. So, it's like my little brain is going
[00:49:06] Beth: Lots of ideas.
But I promise you there's a book in the works. And then within five years, there's at least one book and I love to write. And so, my podcast is an expression of that. I have a newsletter, that's an expression of that, my Facebook and all my postings. but I just, I love to write and, that's where the boat analogy came from was just in some musings, you know, writing.
[00:49:29] Beth: So, you touched on it a little bit there, but as an entrepreneur then, tell us about what is working for you and in terms of growing your business right now, but anybody who is maybe just started their pivot journey and moving into business, what's working for, you.
I'll be honest. I find that just personal connections are the factors that are growing my business more than anything else right now. more than my public faces. And I don't know if that's algorithms, I don't know if it's just where I am in my business right now. my summer was a little topsy-turvy because of the transition I was going through, but [00:50:00] I find that just making the personal connections with people.
[00:50:04] Andrea: And there are times when I feel like that interrupts my day. And then I'm like, oh, I had no idea she was going to buy my program just because she wanted to connect that's okay. And just being open to those kinds of things. And as I know, we're still in the middle of a global pandemic, but even just zoom connections and, sitting down with someone over coffee or interviewing them for a podcast, are where my
[00:50:27] Beth: Yeah.
[00:50:28] Andrea: growth comes from. And I think that just speaks to the fact that I'm a relater and a connector because when I'm putting a bunch of stuff out there on Facebook or Instagram, I'm still figuring out how to be that connector in those particular platforms. Because when I can talk to you when I want, it's a little different.
[00:50:43] Beth: I completely agree with that. And I've been putting more time in my diary recently of having, 20-minute conversations with people who I'm already connected with on the fringes. But actually, have we sat down and really got to know one another and no agenda just making those connections and getting to know each other.
I think there's a lot to be [00:51:00] said for that because I think like entrepreneurs. We can be so focused on the hustle and the doing, or we need to do this, we need to do this. And it's like, all these things have to do less, but actually you're right. It's in those actual relationship building and connections that we make.
[00:51:13] Andrea: And it doesn't have to be perfect, all that hustle and all those things. They don't have to be perfect. It's like I'm in this transition and my website is very life coaching oriented. And so, when people go to my website, they're going to see every life coaching oriented website. Yeah. but I'm connecting with people and doing this. other stuff so I'll get to that. It doesn't have to be perfect. They still get a sense of who I am.
[00:51:31] Beth: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you've mentioned the book, but what else do you visualize for you coming up in the future?
[00:51:38] Andrea: So, this is where I get a little scared. because I said to, I have a business friend that, has just been really good. And I told her, I said, I just, I think I might want to be like the female Brendon Burchard or something. She said, oh, you have to do it. And whether or not, I aspire to be that big.
And on that big of a stage, the way he does his [00:52:00] business I think we have similar, or I have a similar idea of how I communicate to people and, I see myself communicating on bigger stages. I would love my group coaching program we're a very intimate little community right now, and it's really beautiful, but in the next year, I would love to see a minimum of a hundred women in there because that means that's a hundred women changed and it feels weird. I'm still, it's hard for me to still say this, but the bigger, the stage, the more people you touch. And so, I'm working on visualizing that.
[00:52:32] Beth: I love that. I love it. I can't wait for that to come into fruition, powerful stuff. you mentioned that you do more speaking gigs and keynote. So, I know that you've got one coming up in October, but you just want to mention that
[00:52:44] Andrea: I do it’s October 15th through 17th, and it is a hundred per cent virtual, and it's called believe it and own it. And it’s a businesswoman’s conference, or if you want to be a businesswoman, but it is a woman's conference [00:53:00] and it is three full days. It was going to be in person Myrtle beach it's $97.
And you get access to stuff afterwards, there'll be Q and A sessions, panel discussions as well, because she's just pivoted it to completely virtual and you can find it through, believe it and own it. Or, the name of this woman's, businesses, big girl panties on. She's all about women's empowerment and
[00:53:27] Beth: That's funny.
and yes, as a Southern evangelical woman, it's hard to say panties on the air, but I manage, I'm yeah, I'm fine. but believe it and own it. You’ll hear from coaches and people who will teach you about social media and all kinds of stuff. and I can make sure that you have a link for that for your show notes, but it's October 15 through 17.
[00:53:49] Andrea: I think it. begins Friday, afternoon, and Sunday.
[00:53:53] Beth: Amazing. And where can our listeners find out more about you?
[00:53:55] Andrea: the easiest place is my website and it's the intentional [00:54:00] optimist.com. It has to have the on the front. but at the top of my website, of course, pops up for a newsletter. And there are things like if you don't know your core values, I have a mini-course where you can help walk yourself through the core values, which will also introduce you to channels and how it works.
So that’s a mini-course it’s just designed to walk through in 30 days. And then my Facebook community button is up there. my launch from the beach, which is my collaborative community. And that all goes back to the whole, if your sailboat is sitting on the sand, it doesn't do you any good. So, it's a collaborative community and that's also there. additionally, for a coupon code for that, it's a membership community. And, so it's, it's $50 a month us. And, but with, the promo code, visualize20, they will get 20% off the first three months of their membership.
[00:54:49] Andrea: Yeah,
[00:54:50] Beth: And your podcast.
[00:54:51] Andrea: Absolutely.
[00:54:52] Beth: check out Andrea's podcast as well.
[00:54:54] Andrea: And it comes out every Monday. It's on Apple and Spotify and all the places.
[00:54:57] Beth: All the places you listen to the podcast, it has been [00:55:00] absolutely lovely and brilliant having you on the show today. Thank you so much for joining
[00:55:04] Andrea: Thank you. It's been my pleasure.