INdeep with Makenna Johnston
INdeep is a monthly series of interviews with people that inspire me. They may be coaches, healers, teachers or wellbeing advocates and experts.
I ask these guiding lights to share their stories of darkness, fear, growth and triumph that have lead them along their journey and I then ask them to go deep… sharing their current struggles and secrets that they don’t normally share with the world.
Stories of courage, honesty, vulnerability and the abolishment of “perfect”.
Every month we will have a rare opportunity to see the person behind the teacher, the human behind the bright lights and struggles that have lead to their success. You won’t want to miss these intimate musings that are not often shared beyond covert journal entries.
This month I spoke with Makenna Johnston, founder of www.MakennaJohnston.com
Tell us what you do.
I'm a business strategy and bliss coach who is building a movement around helping entrepreneurs (especially women entrepreneurs) intentionally create their bliss. I encourage entrepreneurs to stop emulating lifestyles and business models that don't make their heart break randomly into song, and to instigate bliss in their lives through discernment, business strategy based in their dream outcomes, and mindset tai chi to silence those baddies your brain that say 'I can't do this'. Because the truth is? You can have a blissed out live and business, we just have to get you past your bliss threshold and into your zone.
I work with clients one-on-one, and in sisterhood circles known as the MB3 and MB3 Mastermind. I love to work with groups and build connections so entrepreneurs can stop working on islands and build bridges to create vibrant community, freedom, and joy.
How did you find your path to help and inspire others?
I was a corporate monkey for a brief period of time. I was an account manager for the largest online advertiser in the world. I had the dream job as a team lead for a multi-million dollar account working in strategy, creative direction, and project management for the largest online advertiser in the world.
And yet, something just didn't feel right. A pit in my gut going 'this isn't the right job for you, this is someone else's dream, not yours."
Almost serendipitously, at the same time that thought was bouncing around my skull I found love in a most unusual place (for a liberal thinking, anti-government type) with a Captain in the US Air Force. As luck would have it, we moved to Georgia nearly 6 months into dating. So I ditched my job, and made the move. The move came with deep seated fears of 'how the hell with I fit in'? I'd always been a Northern girl, and Georgia was the antithesis of where I had wanted to live.
And yet, I trusted my intuition that this move was the right decision. This move would open doors. This move was good and perfect, and timely. And within just a few weeks upon arrival to GA, I set up a non-profit that I had been percolating for years and was offered to teach at two universities. I had the opportunity to teach ideas to brilliant young minds about development and business practices in the developing that I'd only chewed on. To say I was overwhelmed with joy at that time would have been an understatement.
A funny thing happened on the path though, after my non-profit work in Kenya, I felt deeply called to work with women through labor and childbirth. And began work as a birth doula. I found quickly that I loved the work, but more than the work itself I loved the process of helping women ease through transitions, find joy amid moments of pressure, and to really dig deep into their work of bringing new things into the world.
Another move came, I had to leave all my work as a professor, my community, and my network . My non-profit had to shut down (for unrelated reasons). And I was at a crossroads of 'what next'. I knew that I loved my work as a professor and doula, but didn't want to be tied to a career that couldn't move with me. Military living wasn't suited to location specific jobs.
Then I found the world of coaching, and was fascinated by the interplays between doula-ing and business coaching. I found that my work was almost identical. Offer information, help illuminate clients' own power, allow them ultimate autonomy in their decision making. And then it hit me, that I could combine my passion and love for business (because it runs deep, even if the corporate world doesn't sit right with me).
I found that I simply had to trust the nagging feelings in my gut that said 'no'. Because if I did, I often found another feeling whispering softly 'yes, yes that is the way. That is the path. You can do this'.
Are any of those old challenges still playing out for you?
Following my intuition on 'what next' and 'how to act' has never been my strong suit, and I'd say to this day I still ask myself "this is crazy, is this really the right decision'. In the course of my life, so many of my decisions have been made that make me feel nuts. Georgia. Kenya. Birth Doula. Entrepreneur. Even taking the initial corporate job was strange for me to do, although it was the right job at that time. That feeling that 'what if I f*ck up' or 'what if I follow the wrong path' still haunts me. But I'm getting better at listening. It is a process.
Tell us about a recent challenge that you’ve been facing in private.
My wife lost her Air Force job this year. Job cuts and budget shifts. It had nothing to do with her skill. And I had to follow that voice in my gut that said "Colorado. Go home. The mountains are calling." It wasn't easy, I wanted nothing more than to hide my head in the sand and process, but instead we put our house on the market overnight. Bought the Bliss Bus (our RV) and took at look at small cabins in the mountains.
While all that sounds utterly dreamy, I haven't figured out what the gift is yet. We lost our identities (in a big way). Our main source of income. Our benefits. Our sense of security. But I just know, that there is something big waiting to unfold.
What is the next step for you?
I'm embracing patience. And a daily practice of joy. I'm moving my body. I'm building my brand. I'm breathing as often as I can. But it still grates on my nerves at times. I find that patience is my best medicine today.
But I'd love to hear from YOU. How have you managed a great transition in your life? What sage advice do you have to share?
Makenna Johnston is a business strategist and bliss coach who work with entrepreneurs to overcome their fears of seizing their dream life and owning a business they crave to work on. A mindbody connection junkie and business strategist, Makenna weaves her techniques seamlessly to coach clients through her signature process The Bliss M.O.™. A Colorado mountain dweller, and avid athlete she can be found moving and shaking the wildernes over when she isn't coaching. She haunts the internet at www.makennajohnston.com