Episode 110 – Unstoppable Joyous Person with Kathryn Johnson
Kathryn Johnson says that she is “an expert at turning obstacles into joy”. I believe it especially after interviewing her for this episode of Unstoppable Mindset. Born with the disability cerebral palsy, Kathryn constantly faced challenges growing up as a person with a disability. Like most of us, her biggest challenges were the people who thought they knew much more about what she needed than she did herself. She will tell you stories about this and how she worked to make her life an example of how to turn “no you can’t” to “yes I can”.
Kathryn represented Canada in what we now know as the Para Olympics where she won in Germany two bronze metals. She has three college degrees. She worked as an accountant for more than 15 years before deciding to write her first book and begin her own coaching business.
Kathryn is by any definition unstoppable as you will see. She points out that being unstoppable is really a matter of choice; a choice we all can make.
About the Guest:
As an expert in turning obstacles into joy, Kathryn can help you find the gift in any situation.
Born with the disability cerebral palsy, Kathryn overcomes a lifetime of “no you can’t” to “yes, I can”. With 3 degrees, 2 world championship bronze metals, a best-selling book, multiple awards, and certifications; her life’s journey has prepared her to help YOU navigate and succeed on your life’s road.
Kathryn’s integrated open-door coaching programs utilize both analytical left-brain thinking (she spent over 20 years as a certified accountant) and intuitive right-brain thinking (she is a certified life coach and spiritual intuitive) to gather deep insight into your life. This whole brain combination of left and right brain thinking comes together in one-of-a-kind open-door coaching programs that range from 8 weeks to one year.
Book a FREE online discovery session to talk with her about how she can help YOU turn your everyday obstacles into greatest joys!
How to Connect with Kathryn :
LinkedIn: (99+) Kathryn Johnson | LinkedIn
Link to Free Gift for your audience
Link to my special gift for your audience: Joy of Obstacles Workbook
Contains questions to help you overcome your obstacles as well as additional quotes not in the book.
https://inspiredbykathryn.com/shop/#33-principles-living-joyfully Coupon Code: JOY
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson 01:21
Welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to talk to Kathryn Johnson. And she will tell you that one of the things that she gets to do is turning obstacles into joy. And you know, you can’t get any better than that. So I’m not going to give her any more of an introduction than that. Except I expect this to be a good fun interview. And that’s what we want to do here at unstoppable mindset is have fun anyway. So with that in mind, Kathryn, welcome to unstoppable mindset.
Kathryn Johnson 01:54
Oh, thank you so much for having me, Michael, I’m so happy to be with you today. Looking forward to chatting with your listeners.
Michael Hingson 02:02
Well, I appreciate that. And yeah, they’re, they’re as much a part of this as anything. So I appreciate all the background that you gave me to help me prepare, and at the same time, you taking the time to do this. So let’s start this way. I love to start this way. Tell me a little about you growing up and sort of your, your earlier years before we get into everything that’s going on today.
Kathryn Johnson 02:27
Well, my earlier years actually set the stage for where I am today, I had the interesting experience of being born with something called cerebral palsy. And that is a neuromuscular disorder disability that causes difficulty in my case with walking and coordination. And so I actually view that as my greatest gift. Because it’s shaped by perspective of everything I do shape my perspective of the world. I realized it simply being alive is a privilege because sometimes people you know, they don’t make it as much as to live as many years as I have. And being able to move freedom to move is also a privilege. And there’s a lot of people that aren’t as able as I am. So I see very much as a privilege rather than what I’ve lost.
Michael Hingson 03:25
So, you you grew up with cerebral palsy, do you walk at all? Or do you watch here or what?
Kathryn Johnson 03:33
No, I walk with two walking canes. And when I am at home, I don’t use my canes at all I just I basically use my canes for being outside of my home.
Michael Hingson 03:45
That stability, better balance.
Kathryn Johnson 03:49
Yes. You know, there aren’t there things like walls and stuff like that they don’t hang on to side so. So I need some support. But otherwise, I’m self sufficient on home and I just find it easier because I have full of use of my hands that way so
Michael Hingson 04:07
well, you know, that’s as good as it gets. So do you have any children? No, I know. If you did, so you got your hands you can beat him up and all that sort of stuff. And you know, whatever it takes I don’t and I mean that facetiously of course but still. That is great. So you grew up with cerebral palsy?
Kathryn Johnson 04:26
Yes, I did. And so how
Michael Hingson 04:31
did that affect you in school? What was it like going to school and being it definitely in a minority from that standpoint? Oh,
Kathryn Johnson 04:41
for sure I’m gonna date myself a little bit. I started school right at the end of the end of I think what they called segregation or the beginning of mainstreaming, which means they used to, they used to send people like me A quote unquote, too special school with people with disabilities. What your what year was that? What year was that? I started kindergarten not 1978. Okay. So yeah, by the time I was in first grade, that was 1980. And it was just they were just starting to realize that maybe we can put these kids with, with the normal kids.
Michael Hingson 05:26
Yeah, the whole concept of normal. So. So you were, you were mainstreamed as it were? Yes. And how did that all work out for you?
Kathryn Johnson 05:36
Oh, you know, I feel as an adult now, looking back, I feel bad for my teachers. They had no idea what to do. And, you know, the truth is, they didn’t need to do anything. They just needed to treat me like anybody else. Because fortunately, cognitively. I’m just as smart as my peers, if not towards the top end of my class. But they just thought, what are we going to do? Like, it was always a question of what are we going to do with Katherine because she’s different. And I, I’ve spent my whole life I think, with this message of whoever I talked to that, you know, you really don’t need to do much differently. If I, if I would like help, I will ask you directly. Because I know my limitations. So if you, if I don’t ask, don’t worry about it. I’ve got this handled. I’ve dealt with this my whole life. I’ve find that people see me, I walk into your room, and the first thing they think is, how can we help. And it comes from a place of having good heart, but also a lack of awareness, that somehow, maybe like, things are hard. And I don’t I don’t think that things are hard. And things are just different. Because like I said, I’m used to this dealing with this every day all day 24/7 I don’t get a day off. So I got it handled. The best thing to do for me personally, is if you want help me ask me how I need help. Because often, people tend to just kind of take over and think they know what I need. And then and then we end up kind of literally tripping over each other. And it becomes this awkward mess of how to help Katharine and I just, I just want to be with people, you know, just be with me just get to know me and be with me and learn all the interesting things there is to get get to know me, because there’s really a lot of things that I’ve accomplished
Michael Hingson 08:01
as school progress did. Did life in a sense, get any easier? Did did teachers improve it all the more they got to see you and see that? Gee, maybe it isn’t really as bad as we thought.
Kathryn Johnson 08:17
Absolutely. And I think I think there’s two reasons for that. I think one society changed over time, thank goodness. And I think also, you know, I matured, so I was able to communicate better, and people got to know me over time. So they just learned they learned my observation that you know, all this worrying we’ve been doing about Katherine really is not an issue. I remember in the 10th grade in high school that that this isn’t the 90s, early 90s The teachers had this great idea that I needed a escort from from, you know, grade 12 to help me get from the front door to where the bus Mia at the end of the parking lot. Because what if I fail? What if I fell on the ice in the wintertime? And I thought for goodness sake. I’m 15 years old. Are you serious? But you know it just my request to be left to my own independence fell on deaf ears. Until one day, my buddy my bus Buddy was walking along with me on the ice. And she slept and I didn’t. And that was the end of that. And they left me to my own devices after that.
Michael Hingson 09:50
So where were you going to school by the way geographically.
Kathryn Johnson 09:53
I went to school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is north of North Dakota. So I see pictures are are a definite thing. We’ve got snow from November to February at least Yeah.
Michael Hingson 10:06
Yeah. Do you live there now or where do you live now?
Kathryn Johnson 10:09
No. Now I’m very fortunate to live in beautiful British Columbia on the on the West Coast. Less snow. Almost no snow. However, we do have snow today. It’s snowing today.
Michael Hingson 10:23
Yeah, we might live south of you in Victorville California. I don’t think we’ll get snow. We live in a valley. So the snow usually goes over us but places around us get snow. We won’t. But we’ll be getting rain later this week. So that’s fine.
Kathryn Johnson 10:37
Oh, good for you. California. Rain.
Michael Hingson 10:40
We live up in the mountains. And it is true. You can go from the beach to skiing in a couple of hours. And we’re closer to the skiing than the beach. But still. It’s nice. And we enjoy Well, that’s great that you’re living in British Columbia? Yes. Much better than a little bit more climate friendly place to be?
Kathryn Johnson 10:59
Yes, it is. I moved for a lot of reasons I like that the city is that things are closer together than in the West, the western provinces of Canada, and it’s just easier to get where I need to go. So that’s why I moved.
Michael Hingson 11:16
So you went to high school? And eventually they they left you alone a little bit more and left you to your own devices? Yeah. Did you ever slip in the snow or on the ice?
Kathryn Johnson 11:27
Oh, sir. But I got up. I mean, you know, people keep that. So people say what if you fall? What if you fall? And I say well get up? To me, it’s such an obvious answer. Because what am I gonna do sit, like, sit there and cry about it? You know? No, I’m gonna get out because I know how to fall so that I don’t I don’t hurt myself. You know, I don’t do it dangerously. And I just I know, I also know how to get up because they don’t let you therapists don’t let you leave. Don’t live. Don’t let you go home with a pair of crutches unless you know how to get up from them. When he got home, so So you are you are well prepared when you leave with your walking aids to use them in all aspects?
Michael Hingson 12:29
Well, you just said something very interesting to you know how to fall. Yeah, of course, a lot of people don’t really learn how to do. And so they are more apt to hurt themselves than somebody who truly knows how to fall when something happens.
Kathryn Johnson 12:46
That’s true. My experience is, you know, if I, when I start to fight gravity, that’s when I hurt myself, when I just go with it. I’m not really falling, my knees are touching the ground, but I’m not really falling. Right. And it’s, you know, I’ve heard I’ve gotten hurt more often because people try to catch me then then if I just let gravity do its thing. It’s, it’s so it’s very interesting.
Michael Hingson 13:18
And that’s an interesting way to put it that you get hurt more when people try to help. Because they don’t know how to help. And we’re not doing enough to educate people, we just assume that disability means lack of ability. And that’s not what disability means at all. It’s a characteristic and we need to somehow educate the public that the reality is you should learn what to do. And the best way to learn is to ask us,
Kathryn Johnson 13:46
yes. And everybody’s different. So you know, I know what works for me and I, I always talk about my experience. And then I say, you know, in general, ask the person because I don’t know what it’s like for everybody on crutches. I just know what it’s like for me on crutches.
Michael Hingson 14:08
Yep. Well, so you left high school after graduating and all that and then what did you do?
Kathryn Johnson 14:14
Well, then I decided to enroll in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Manitoba. i The plan was to get a Bachelor of Social Work. But you needed a year of a year of university. So I decided to study psychology. And then I didn’t get into the Faculty of Social Work. So I decided to study another year of psychology. I even applied out of province. And you know, year three, I I tried two years to get in to the Faculty of Social Work, and that that didn’t happen. So in year three, I finished my mice my arts degree with a major You’re in psychology and a minor in sociology. And that was, that was interesting, but it was like, Okay, now what? Because an arts degree doesn’t qualify you to do a lot of things in the world of work. So I took a year off. And it was kind of like Now watch, and I was training competitively for track and field at that time. At that point in my life I was, was racing competitively, in wheelchair racing. I raced anything from 100 meters to 800 meters. And I’ve also done some some half marathons and thing, some road races. So I took a year off, and I went actually to Vancouver to train with the national team for a few months in night, and then that summer, I went to Germany to represent Team Canada.
Michael Hingson 16:00
Now was that in Paralympics or regular non para Olympics,
Kathryn Johnson 16:04
that was what you would consider para Olympics. Okay, adaptive sports.
Michael Hingson 16:10
But still, the bottom line is you did it and you ran?
Kathryn Johnson 16:15
That’s right. Well, in a wheelchair, yes. In a racing wheelchair. Okay. Yes. All right.
Michael Hingson 16:22
So you say you went and competed and,
Kathryn Johnson 16:26
and I ended up with two bronze medals in the 102 100 meters. For Team Canada, yay, lay. And then I realized something very interesting. Why am I doing this? Because at that time, I had I started racing when I was 12, or 13. At this time, I was now 20. And I, I, you know, it’s it literally you’re going in circles, racing around the track going in circles. And it was a lot of work. And I just thought, you know, I just, I’ve got all these metals. And I’m never going to be satisfied because I’m always going to be able to get faster. So I left the sport after I competed in Germany, because I felt like life was calling me to different things. And and after that, what did I do? Well, I went into, I went into business school, community college, one of the best things I ever did. I took business, majored in accounting. And my teacher said, Gosh, Katherine, you’re so good at accounting, you should really finish finish your accounting, get a professional accounting designation. And I thought, My goodness, more school like this is down five years of post secondary education, more school. And so yes, I did finish and I ended up with a professional accounting designation. And then,
Michael Hingson 18:15
so what degrees did you have by this time,
Kathryn Johnson 18:17
by this time, I had a Bachelor of Arts major in psychology, a Business Administration diploma, and a CPA, which is a Chartered Professional Accountant in with a Canadian designation.
Michael Hingson 18:34
Now your first degree, the Bachelors of Arts degree, you said you got in three years, is that normal?
Kathryn Johnson 18:40
That is normal. That was the last year they offered a three year program. It’s now four,
Michael Hingson 18:44
it’s now four. Okay? Alright, so you now have three degrees, you have become a person very knowledgeable in accounting. And what did you do with that?
Kathryn Johnson 18:56
Well, I finally started working
Michael Hingson 19:01
to start at some point, anyway,
Kathryn Johnson 19:03
yeah, well, I had summer jobs and different things along the way. But you know, I finally started in though in the world of work, full time work and accounting, accounting, being an accounting clerk and working my way up and, you know, along the way, I work for a lot of small businesses and I tend to be very efficient at what I do. Because you know, having a disability your eye, have private I pride myself on being efficient because there are certain things I do they take longer. So I need to be more efficient at what I do right to be equal to others. And so what this did is gave me a very unique skill in that I was a lot I would it allowed me to see ways I could make companies more efficient, which was wonderful. I tended to save them. 10s of 1000s if not hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year, streamlining their processes, and making everything more efficient and making the company more profitable, and the employees happier. And in the process, I got to experience six layoffs in 20 years. Oh, boy, just because, wow, you took the job from a job and a half when you you know, you’re you’re doing your job, and you’re working overtime over much so much because you’re buried in inefficiency and pile of paper to, oh, we only need you halftime and I was like, Well, I don’t want to work half time, I want to work full time. So like, I laughed, and I moved on, and I found something else. And then happened six times in a row.
Michael Hingson 20:55
So there’s a there’s a message there somewhere, there is a message
Kathryn Johnson 20:58
there somewhere. The sticks, layoff and the final layoff was in 2017. I chose I chose a layoff package in 2017. For several reasons, the company was going through a restructure. And I was feeling like my work at my company. As good as it was, I wasn’t making the impact in the world I wanted to make. And I just thought you know, I I need to do something else. So I took a layoff package. And I went to California for six months. Right? It sounds cliche, but I honestly that’s what I did. I went to California for six months to unwind, took the train from from Vancouver, all the way down to the Bay Area had a lot of fun with some friends I have there and took a bunch of personal growth retreats, I’d been studying personal growth since 2009. And my very last retreat that I was at in October of 2017 was a small meditation group of 10 people. And they all said one thing, they said, Catherine, you’re brilliant, you gotta write a book. And I thought, me write a book. I’m an accountant. I don’t know how to write a book. And, you know, but everybody said it. And they really meant it. I could tell and, and so I went home, and I thought about it for a while. And because I thought what am I going to do with my life, you know? And I thought, okay, if I write this book, it will change my life. I just know that I know that in my heart. And I thought, well, do I really want it? And the answer was absolutely yes. Because at the end of my life, I absolutely did not want. Somebody has shown me. Look what you could have had, if you chose to be uncomfortable for a little while. Look at the impact. But you said no, no, no, I’ll stay in my comfort zone. That’s okay, I’ll stay in my numbers and my comfort zone and my steady paycheck. i The thought of that just made me sick. So I thought, Okay, I’m gonna write this book. And in January 8 2018, I started to write a book called The Joy of obstacles. What am I going to write about? And I thought, well write what you know, which is my life. And so my book is, is a self help memoir that takes readers from birth to present day, and different milestones in my life, different experiences, each chapter has questions where the reader can look at their own life and take the principles from the book and apply them to their own life to help them move through obstacles. Essentially, my message is this. We all have obstacles, as a vehicle for learning and growth. And there’s always good in the obstacle, even though, just keep looking for that good because there’s something there’s something there, that’s good, you’re growing, you’re learning, you’re connecting with other people, most importantly, you’re connecting with other people, if we had all the answers, we wouldn’t need other people as much. We wouldn’t need creativity, we wouldn’t need all these things. And the world would stagnate. So really, obstacles exist to help us learn, learn and grow and connect and be a better version of ourselves through being a better version of ourselves. Everybody wins. So it’s our job to him. embrace those obstacles that were given and connect and look for the good and help each other grow when we reach out to, to overcome our obstacles. We grow because we’ve overcome what we’re struggling with, but also the person helping us grows. Now, I want to just tie that back to something I said earlier about people trying to help me and it made it a little different, a little difficult. So in that case, I would say the lesson is, for me to be communicate in a way that I don’t necessarily communicate in a way so that my needs are heard. And the lesson for the other person is to understand me on a different level, and broaden their perspective about who I am. And what I’m able to do and look at me in a different way.
Michael Hingson 26:02
The other side of talking about the fact that we all face obstacles, is that we also all have gifts. And we need to recognize how to use our gifts, and we need to learn to use our gifts. And those of course, gifts that we have, can help us deal with the obstacles that are put in our path, because the obstacles that are put in our path are there because of whatever and whoever we are, right? That’s right. And so it’s all about learning to use the gifts that you’re given. What do you think your greatest gift is gift is?
Kathryn Johnson 26:40
Well, I think, I think honestly, being born with cerebral palsy was my greatest gift. And it is my greatest gift because it it shapes that shapes by perspective of everything because I don’t get a day off. As I said, I don’t get a day off from this. I don’t have good days and bad days. It just is. i It’s impossible for me to live life without it. And I realized, like, I’ve learned all these skills, I’ve learned to be resilient. I’ve learned to be an excellent listener. Because when you maybe don’t move like other people, you need to rely on your other senses. And for me, it’s listening and speaking, as opposed to maybe running away from a difficult situation, right? Also, I’ve learned to be a very good problem solver, in terms of how am I going to get from A to B? How am I going to navigate this situation life? I understand. You know, I’m very resourceful. I’m very efficient. I know how to I’m organized. My time is very well organized. I’d look at people who can drive and have two legs that work like most people. And I think about how they they run their day. And I think my goodness, how do you get anything done? You’re going you’re going back and forth and up and up and back and inside out and like I would have that done in half the time
you drive at all?
Kathryn Johnson 28:24
Actually I do not I rely on public transit and I’m I’m okay with that. That’s one of the reasons I moved to Vancouver because their transit system is
Michael Hingson 28:33
yeah, the transit system up there is really good. Didn’t know whether you by any chance drove and used hand controls?
Kathryn Johnson 28:41
No, I do not. I choose not to I find it easier just to take the bus. I’m fine with that.
Michael Hingson 28:48
Well, in my opinion, it will be high time when autonomous vehicles really are perfected and we can take driving out of the hands of drivers because they certainly don’t do it very well.
Kathryn Johnson 28:58
Well, that’s what I’ve heard you know, it’ll be interesting. It’ll be interesting when we have those autonomous driving cars I wonder what that will be like you never know.
Michael Hingson 29:09
I I’ve been in many cars and I listened to the people who are driving grumble about this person cut me off or this person wasn’t watching. This person is doing whatever. So I figure that there’s there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to drive and I think that the Department of Motor Vehicles is very prejudiced not allowing a blind person to drive because I think we can probably drive just as well as anybody else. The way I keep hearing people drives. I don’t see a problem.
Kathryn Johnson 29:38
We’ll see what happens with that one. Michael? Hi. No,
Michael Hingson 29:40
no, the the time will come when we really get to. And I’m serious. Take the hands take the driving out of the hands of drivers because too many people take it way too much for granted. They’re not really looking at it seriously. And as you said they they’re often very disorganized and frazzled, and in what they do,
Kathryn Johnson 30:03
hmm, yeah, I, I’m fine with taking transit or taking a taxi. It’s either way it works saves me a
Michael Hingson 30:12
lot of money. It does, it does in the long run, it’ll save you a lot of money. We don’t have really good public transit here. But I’ve been on the transit systems up in Vancouver, so I know how good they are and how well you can get around up there. We’re using them. I lived in Boston for a while. And then Massachusetts. Boston has good public transit too, which really worked out well, for me.
Kathryn Johnson 30:40
That’s good. You know, what I’ve noticed lately, Michael, in Vancouver is they’re, they’re starting to put Braille on the bus, the sign for the bus, and they put it at sort of arm height so that you can know what bus is gonna stop at the stop.
Michael Hingson 30:58
So does it change as buses are coming?
Kathryn Johnson 31:01
But it’s Braille. So?
Michael Hingson 31:05
Well, what I’m getting at is that oftentimes, the signs that are available, show you what bus is coming, what the next one is, or whatever, they don’t do that in Braille. They could, but that’s a pretty expensive process.
Kathryn Johnson 31:18
Yeah, they don’t they don’t. We also have digital signs. That’s what I’m getting at some, some stops have digital signs, the sky train has digital signs. The newer line has voice, as well. So it tells you what stopped it. You’re at and which train is coming and all of that. Yeah. Right.
Michael Hingson 31:47
Well, so for you, having been born with cerebral palsy, and, and I can appreciate you saying that that’s really your greatest gift. And we could talk about disabilities and how they are our greatest gifts. And there’s a lot of merit to that, for the reasons that you said, What is your disability taught you specifically,
Kathryn Johnson 32:09
never give up. Or at least, never give up. If you want to do something. Like if you really want to do something, never give up because there’s a way you know, and there comes a time in life. And I talk about this in my book, there comes a time in life when maybe it’s time to move on. And that’s a separate issue with a separate decision making process. But if you have some, if if somebody has the passion and the desire to do something, do not give up because you have the passion, it’s yours to have. And there’s a way, there’s a way you’ll figure it out, you’ll be connected with the people to help you. You’ll find the resources, you know, often people in life, they say, Well, I’d love to have this in my life. But here I am at point A and I can only see these certain things in this box. And why when I coach people to do is what would you absolutely love. Start there. And then take a step. Because as you take a step from 100%, of what you want this vision of 100% of what you want, your perspective will change just like you’re walking down the street, when as you walk, you see different houses or you are aware of different things in your environment. But if you don’t move, you don’t see different options. So start with 100% of what you would love in your life. And take one step at a time. And eventually, you will find your way. There’s a
Michael Hingson 33:55
big difference between being stubborn and being passionate, just being separate. I’m going to do this regardless, which may or may not be something that you will be able to do. And it doesn’t necessarily reflect the passion of being able to do it, you’re just going to do it because but if you’re truly passionate, there’s a whole lot more of yourself that goes into it. And as you said, you start by really envisioning what you want, and you will figure out how to get there because it’s what you really want to do as opposed to just being stupid about doing.
Kathryn Johnson 34:29
That’s right. And I’ve been both we all have. I’ve definitely had my stubborn moments in life which have served me you know, they’ve served me at the time, I think in a way they’ve served me how so? Um, it just yeah, it’s just this idea of like, I’m not gonna let what someone else thinks, stop me, just because someone else is older, bigger, stronger. are indifferent and tells me they know. Because they don’t know. If there’s something in my beingness that is guiding me to do something, I’m going to do it. And nobody can tell me otherwise, even if it seems crazy to them, that I can get something done. I know I can. And that’s all that matters. So what it’s taught me is don’t worry so much about what other people think.
Michael Hingson 35:33
When he asked you this, you said something earlier about having experienced six layoffs. Do you think that your last layoff for example, you said the company was restructuring and so on? Did any of that come about because of the things that you did to make them more efficient, and they had to change the way they were doing things?
Kathryn Johnson 35:53
That sounds like such a, like, another lifetime ago? I? Um, yeah. I mean, I think so.
Michael Hingson 36:04
It didn’t hurt.
Kathryn Johnson 36:05
Yeah, it certainly didn’t hurt. That’s good way of putting it. I know that the majority of the other layoffs were because of efficiency because of efficiencies that I created.
Michael Hingson 36:17
Well, so you, you’ve been through a number of changes. Yeah. Then you didn’t start decided to start writing a book? Did you publish it yourself? Or do you find a publisher to help you? Or how did that all work out?
Kathryn Johnson 36:30
It’s it’s self published on Amazon. Okay, it’s available in ebook print and audible. It was very important to me to have an audio book because I know not everybody can use their hands. And in this case, not even be able to, you know, read text. So I wanted to have I wanted to have an audio book for people who learn differently by verbal information. Did you make Did you read it? No, no, I hired. I hired a voice, a voice when you call them?
Michael Hingson 37:11
I heard a reader
Kathryn Johnson 37:13
a voice. She’s a voice actress. Beautiful job. Very, very happy with what she did. Yeah. Because again, it’s not my strength. A lot of people told said all it’s a self help book, you should record it would be better if it’s your voice, you know. And I thought, you know, it’s not that it’s not as easy as people think, to record a book. Like, really, I respect that there is finesse involved. And that is not something that I have, at least not in in terms of writing of reading an entire book. And I’m so glad that I that I hired it out. Because I know people who started publishing their print book at the same time I did their print book is long published, their audio book is yet to be yet to be published. So it’s still you know, in the studio. And that’s too bad. Yeah, yeah.
Michael Hingson 38:25
And everyone has gifts, as I said before, and yours may very well not be in the reading of the book. I think that it is, it is very possible for most all of us to learn to tell stories and to communicate with people. But reading a book is a whole different art form. And so that that may very well not be what you should do. And that’s something that only you can decide, and nobody should second guess that so I’m with you. Yeah, yeah. i When my first book thunder dog was published, people said, Are you going to record it? And I said, No, because I think there are people who could do a much better job than I and the publisher of Senator Doug Thomas Nelson publishing contracted with Oasis audio when Christopher Prince an actor out here in Los Angeles, actually read the book and did a wonderful job with it.
Kathryn Johnson 39:22
Yeah, it was, it was certainly a great investment, I think.
Michael Hingson 39:27
Yeah, but it’s good that it was at least put in to into an audio format. It’s on Audible and all that. So I hear exactly what you’re saying. However,
Kathryn Johnson 39:38
she loved my book. You know what she said? She said, your book came to me just at the perfect time, Catherine. So it helped her.
Michael Hingson 39:47
Isn’t that the way of it? A lot of times that happens? Yeah. Are you a religious person?
Kathryn Johnson 39:54
No, I’m not a religious person. I am a spiritual person though. So I don’t necessarily believe in any strict dogma. But I do believe in things like divine timing. And I would say a divine intelligence. Okay.
Michael Hingson 40:15
And that is, that is as good as it gets them. And I agree with you, we all get guidance. And there is that inner voice that talks to all of us if we would but learn to listen to it.
Kathryn Johnson 40:27
Michael Hingson 40:30
Well, you talked a lot about obstacles and dealing with obstacles. What do you think the most important important thing is? In facing obstacles, what’s kind of the, the most important key to facing an obstacle that you can tell us about?
Kathryn Johnson 40:49
We always have a choice of how we respond. So remember, things don’t happen to you. That’s I think that’s a that’s a key for people to remember is, is life doesn’t happen to you. Things happen. Events are neutral, we may not like them, believe me, I’ve had my share of doozies. But things are neutral. And they’re there for our good for our growth, how we how we choose to view them is up to us. You know, they’ve done studies with twins that grow up in in not so pleasant environments. One of them ends up being incredibly successful. And they said, Well, why? And they said, well, because of the tough environment I grew up in, I want it to be the exact opposite. And they went off that they got to be incredibly successful, whatever that meant for them, the other twin, and basically repeating the cycle, whatever that cycle was. And so it’s all a matter of perception, and like, what am I going to do with what I’m faced with? It’s not the thing, it’s how we respond to that thing. And that’s 100% within our control. If you need help, you know, there’s coaches out there, I coach people on how to overcome their obstacles. So I’m here for you, if you’re looking for some support.
Michael Hingson 42:25
Well, let’s talk about that a little bit. So you wrote a book. And when you were writing the book, is that all you did, or you got laid off? And you had to, I would assume figure out a way to get some sort of income. What did you do?
Kathryn Johnson 42:39
What did I do? Well, I’ve been, I have been building my business ever since and relying on on my resources that I’ve accumulated up to that point.
Michael Hingson 42:54
So tell us about that. So you decided to start your own business and exactly what is the business
Kathryn Johnson 43:00
the business is, I’m a, I’m a coach, speaker, author. So I have my book, joy of obstacles, I have a workbook that goes with it. I also have a second book called 21 simple solutions to take you from surviving to thriving, which is just as it says 21, quick one page tips, then it’s a journal that you can apply those tips to your life and steps to implement them on a weekly basis. I do speaking all over virtual speaking mostly at this time. I’m based in Vancouver, and I’m also a coach. So I coach a system that was taught to me by Mary Morrissey. And like I said, I help people build a vision and then give them support for for creating a life that is in their heart, and then they would absolutely love. I’m also intuitive, so I do things like intuitive card readings or tarot readings. I do mediumship readings. And I do a process called ancestral clearing, which is great to help people overcome obstacles because what that does is it’s all about what you feel in your body. I don’t need to know your history. A lot of people say I don’t want to talk about is too difficult. I don’t need to know. All I need to know is my shoulder hurts. Or My knee hurts or oh, I have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach or whatever. I can work with that. So you know if you’ve got some pattern that you’d like to resolve, you can book an appointment with me all my appointments are virtual. So it doesn’t matter where you are in the World I can help you.
Michael Hingson 45:02
You can do readings virtually.
Kathryn Johnson 45:04
Yes, I can. Yeah, I can.
Michael Hingson 45:07
How did you get to be a coach?
Kathryn Johnson 45:10
I decided, yeah, I’ve got I’ve got 15 years, I’ve been studying personal growth since since 2009. So, so what happened is I, I finished accounting school in 2002. And then, you know, almost immediately I started to study esoteric, spiritual things consciousness, why are we here, all of those big questions. And then when I moved to Vancouver, you know, personal growth is big out here as it is in California as well. And I just got really involved with, with this whole movement of being the best person you can be. And I thought, that’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about it’s not about for me, it’s not about you know, going to school getting a job saving your money, so you can retire and golf. I mean, that’s just, that’s, that’s great, if that’s what you want. But for me, that wasn’t the point, there was a bigger picture. And, and I saw, I just kept studying, and the more I studied, the more I loved it. So now after 15 years, I decided to coach,
Michael Hingson 46:32
you have to get a license or certification to be a coach,
Kathryn Johnson 46:36
I am certified, I did take a correspondence course. However, coaching at this point is a profession that you do not need a certification. That’s not it’s not a nationally standard, standardized profession.
Michael Hingson 46:54
But there is still a process behind it.
Kathryn Johnson 46:56
There is a process behind it. Yeah, they vary depending on which which school you you take your training through, I took mine through correspondence. So
Michael Hingson 47:09
you know, it’s, it’s interesting, what comes to mind, as you’re talking about all the various aspects of things here is that we spend so much time focusing on a lot of stuff. And the real focusing of ourselves on a lot of stuff is all about, we think we have to control it, or we want to control it, then we never really learn to recognize what we really have control over and what we don’t have control over, which gets back to your whole issue about choice, right? And that, in reality, we should learn to focus on what we can control and leave the rest alone. And we also seem to have a hard time doing that, don’t we?
Kathryn Johnson 47:54
Yeah, we do. Um, myself included. And I think that that comes from fear, which is false evidence appearing real. It’s the stories we make up in our head, you know, they get the best of us, sometimes myself included. And so you know, get information, obviously, the more information you have, the more likely those little fear Gremlins will calm down. But also, you know, trust your heart, trust your heart, I believe your heart is like your compass. That’s your guiding light of what’s what is right for you, or what’s your path? Or, you know, what’s your next move? And often it doesn’t, it doesn’t always make sense, you know, why would somebody with a successful accounting career after 20 years, you give it a lot? Why would somebody do that? And basically, because it felt like the right thing to do. And there’s something calling me that says, I want to make a bigger impact in the world. And I think that this is a better way for me to do it. versus sitting and dealing with, you know, accounting numbers all day. I want to be talking to people and helping people directly.
Michael Hingson 49:25
Tell me your acronym again, for fear,
Kathryn Johnson 49:28
false evidence appearing real.
Michael Hingson 49:31
There you go. And it is something that we all deal with a lot. And we, again, it gets back to want to control and you’re right, a lot of it is based on fear. We’re actually writing a new book that is a little way away from being publishing published. We have a publisher for it. And our working title is a guide dogs Guide to Being brave because I’ve worked with a guide dogs over the years. But we were writing it to talk about fear, and to try to help people overcome what I call being blinded by fear. Because things happen to us, we don’t expect them to happen. We’ve been conditioned to be afraid of those things that happen to us that are unexpected. And I suppose you could say there’s some natural reaction that causes some of that. But at the same time, we can learn to let real fear be a positive influence and force in our lives rather than letting it overwhelm us. And so we’re writing a book about that. And it’ll be a lot of fun when we’re done with it, we’ve got our first draft done, and hopefully it will be going to the publisher soon. And that will be fun. But fear is oftentimes false evidence appearing real. I think it was Mark Twain who said, I’ve had lots of fears, and most of them don’t ever come true.
Kathryn Johnson 50:59
That’s right, we worry. Again, myself included worry about things. And 95% of them are never going to happen. Focus on what you want, not what you’re afraid to just take one step at a time. One step, just a small step makes a huge difference.
Michael Hingson 51:21
Well, for you, having come to the place where you are in the world, what do you feel your purpose or your mission is in life today.
Kathryn Johnson 51:30
My mission is to move the world together, through embracing obstacles and helping people find their joy, we’re stronger together than we are separately. And as I’ve said, throughout this interview, obstacles are here for us to learn and grow not just the person with the obstacle, but the person helping the person with the obstacle. And all of us, you know, are meant to live our best life that I think is our sort of our personal mission. As humans on this collective Earth, Deepak Chopra describes it as we all have, we’re all pieces in a puzzle. And if we’re not living our best life, we’re in the wrong place in the puzzle, and the other pieces don’t fit together. So we all have the possible, we all have the responsibility to live our best life and be be the best version of ourselves be in the right place in our puzzle. Other people around us will then move into their right place, and the world will be so much better for everybody. And it’s all about, you know, trusting our hearts, people are so caught up. And I think this is collectively we’re caught up in doing what is our normal, you know, we sort of were born into circumstances, and we just go from one thing to another because we do and more comfortable and we don’t know what else to do. So I’ll just keep doing what I always do. But is it really? Is it? Does it really feel right? Are we really happy? Or are we just comfortable? And I think, you know, especially now with all the changes in the world, people are really starting to wake up and say, you know, there’s something, there’s something out there for me that is just more impactful than what I’m doing. This is great. I’ve learned a lot from this aspect of my life. But it doesn’t, it doesn’t feed me. It doesn’t feed me. It I you know, there’s something different that’s calling me, I don’t know what it is. But boy, just there’s something else where my time is better spent. And people are starting to search. And so those that’s those are the people that I want to draw into my community, and we can help each other overcome our obstacles and be the better version, the best version of ourselves.
Michael Hingson 54:09
Yeah, we, we oftentimes do find that we just want to stay in our comfort zone. And that is great. That’s okay. It’s nice to be comfortable. But if we don’t learn to grow, we never will grow. And it is something that all too often people just don’t want to do. I’m always fascinated when I hear that one of the top five fears that people have is public speaking. It’s been considered the number one fear a lot of the time. Yeah. And I kind of think why? Because people are afraid or they’re going to be criticized or they’re going to be laughed at or they put all sorts of obstacles in their way. But that’s the key, right? They’re putting the obstacles in their way. They’re not even real ops. Stickles. But the reality is that we talk to people all the time we all communicate, we don’t have a problem doing that. And so why should it be any different if you’re actually going to go out and be a public speaker, because what you’re going to be doing is saying, essentially, hopefully the same things to now a much bigger audience. And probably if people come to hear you speak, they want to hear what you have to say. And that’s really pretty good.
Kathryn Johnson 55:29
That’s really powerful. Would you believe it? That I was probably the kid in the class who was the worst at public speaking?
Michael Hingson 55:38
It’s hard to imagine.
Kathryn Johnson 55:40
Now I’m sitting here on the radio with you, Michael, we’re having great time.
Michael Hingson 55:44
We are. And it’s, it’s not all that hard to do if we allow ourselves to grow and stretch and there are things that we can use to learn to speak well, did you do anything like go to Toastmasters? Or any of those sorts of things? Or how did you learn to become a good speaker?
Kathryn Johnson 56:01
Um, I got some mentoring. I did honestly go to Toastmasters. I didn’t stay very long. Because I feel like the type of speaking I do is not really what Toastmasters teaches. Toastmasters is more of a business speaking organization. What I didn’t realize though, is is what I’m good at was speaking. So it gave me some sort of awareness that way.
Michael Hingson 56:35
I think it’s shifted some from that. I haven’t heard many people today really say it’s all about business speaking, because it’s really about speaking, and whether it’s business or something else. It’s still about learning to communicate. And there’s a lot of opportunity to get more information. I didn’t do a lot with Toastmasters, although I’ve done some. But I think that for me, probably, I love to tell this that, for me, the biggest way that I learned to be a public speaker, was when I was growing up, and I had to take spelling tests in school, the teacher would hand out will everybody had their pencils and papers, and the teacher would say the words and everyone had to write the words on papers, and then you exchange them. And then the teacher would write the words on the board, so that you could grade the spelling, except when it was my class, because I wasn’t going to be grading papers. And I wasn’t going to be writing the words because I didn’t know how to write well enough to do that. So the result was, I had to spell the words in front of the class. I remember missing one once. But the bottom line is I worked at not missing so that I could spell the words correctly, and that people could rely on me to spell them appropriately. So I usually got an A in spelling, my wife would would say today, you do a lot better with spell checker. But still, it’s all about learning. And I think that helped me a lot not to be afraid to be in front of an audience. So I’ve kind of always rejected the concept that we have to be afraid of public speaking, we don’t need to be.
Kathryn Johnson 58:22
That’s true. That’s absolutely true. And again, it goes back to you know, like your obstacle was not being able to write so you had to speak. So there you go, how an obstacle actually gave you a strength that is probably better than average. Right?
Michael Hingson 58:40
So and in a lot of ways because it also when I was learning to teach, I took courses and teaching from the Irvine School UC Irvine School of Education. And one of the things that I did was not write on the board for my classes, I would get a volunteer every day to write on the board. And it got to the point where everyone wanted to be the board writer that day. So they had helped me engage with the classes and establish a relationship with them, which was also a good thing. And it also meant that I was facing the class talking with the class and not staring at the board writing something down and I’ve been in classes where all the professor’s ever did was just write on the board all day and never understood why students didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention to what they did.
Kathryn Johnson 59:31
Well, isn’t that interesting? Thanks for sharing, Michael. That’s interesting. Yeah, that’s great.
Michael Hingson 59:38
So what makes your coaching program unique and something that people should want to partake of?
Kathryn Johnson 59:45
Well, my my coaching program is unique in that it focuses on both the practical side or the right brain and the intuitive or left for Brain side. So as we’ve been talking, today, we’ve talked about how I’m very organized, and I’m gonna getting from A to B and problem solving and all that. So my coaching program helps people navigate life in that way. But it’s also, it helps people connect with their intuition. And I help them connect with their hearts with their, with their passions, and their higher selves so that they can use their their inner guidance to guide them on their path. And I do readings, as well as for part of my coaching.
Michael Hingson 1:00:43
Well, if people would like to reach out to you, and I’ll go ahead,
Kathryn Johnson 1:00:47
yeah, so I suppose both sides, both that intuitive side and your practical side, that’s what you get with
Michael Hingson 1:00:53
me? Well, if people want to reach out to you and learn about your program, learn about the coaching and perhaps get a reading, perhaps, learn a lot of the skills and tools that you have to offer people how do they do that?
Kathryn Johnson 1:01:06
They can reach out to me on my website inspiredbykathryn .com Kathryn is K AT H R Y N.com. And you can send me a message, there’s, you know, there’s courses, everything’s on the shop page. So inspired by katherine.com/shop that will take you directly to all the wonderful things I have. I’d love to hear from anybody. I have a wide variety of services to help you no matter where you’re at. So if you’re looking for support, please reach out. I know, I know I have at least something that could help you. So I’d love to say hello, and help you on your way and connect and say hi.
Michael Hingson 1:01:57
I can’t resist saying that you and I met through Podapalooza and we’ve talked about podapalooza on this podcast often. What brought you to Podapalooza?
Kathryn Johnson 1:02:07
My, my marketing consultant is connected with with the group somehow. And she said, Hey, Catherine, you might want to try this event. What do you think? And so I signed up.
Michael Hingson 1:02:24
So did you go to be interviewed? Or did you go because you might start your own podcast? Or have you started your own podcast? That kind of thing?
Kathryn Johnson 1:02:31
No, I don’t have my own podcast as yet. I’ve been to pod palooza. I’ve done two events. And I’m registered for the January one as well.
Michael Hingson 1:02:41
Yeah, as As am I. So I think that will be a lot of fun to do. Well, Kathryn, thanks again for being here. And for my with us. And I hope everyone really appreciates all that you’ve offered. You’ve offered some great insights and great lessons. And as I said, I think that the most important thing that you and I and we’ve shown it a lot here today, the most important thing we can say is disability does not mean lack of ability, and that people need to grow and recognize that we have talents too. We are just capable as you we may not do exactly things in the same way that you do. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t do them. So I hope people will reach out. I hope people will come and talk with you and learn and become better than they are.
Kathryn Johnson 1:03:35
I hope so too. I just love to help people. And it it hurts my heart to see people struggling unnecessarily. So if I’ve said anything at all, if you have any questions for me, I I’d love to just you know, have a chit chat and answer some questions. I offer a free 30 minute discovery call. For anyone who is just looking for information, no obligation. You can book it straight from my website. Inspiredbykryn.com Perfect. Well,
Michael Hingson 1:04:09
all of you please reach out to Kathryn hope that she’ll do that. I would really appreciate it. If after listening to this you would write me personally I’d love to know what you thought of the podcast. Please give us a five star rating. If you’d like to write me, please email Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com Or go to our podcast page www dot Michael hingson H i n g s o n.com/podcast. But please give us a five star rating We appreciate it. I really would love to hear your comments and your thoughts and if you know of anyone who might be a good guest for unstoppable mindset and and hopefully some of you have listened to a lot of these and so you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we do love to hear from you with any suggestions of people who we ought to have on the podcast. Kathryn, that goes for you as well. If you can think of anyone love to have your thoughts and suggestions about others to have on the podcast,
Kathryn Johnson 1:05:08
I sure Well, I should Well, I’m meeting a lot of people. So I’ll keep you in mind Michael, this was a great time. Thank you so much.
Michael Hingson 1:05:16
Well, thank you and I really appreciate you coming on and once more thank you for being here with us. Here welcome.
Michael Hingson 1:05:27
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.