How would you feel if time and money were no object? Or if you always knew that the answers you sought were at your fingertips? Or that the creative spark you would need for the next project was always going to be there. You would feel limitless. I’m Johanna Buchweitz, and it is my honor to welcome all of you to Limitless, the show where we have open, honest and direct communication with extraordinary women in business to provide you with actual next steps for super growth based on their proven success tactics.
Joining me on today’s episode is Johanna White, an award winning graphic designer and visual branding strategist who designs premium brand identities that create impactful first impressions. Johanna, welcome back to Limitless.
Thank you. I’m so honored to be here a second time, and I promise I won’t start this episode with a squeal.
I’m so happy to have you here with us. For anyone who’s just tuning in and who didn’t hear the first episode that I did with Johanna. We had such a blast. We were laughing. She’s a really good friend of mine. I also work with her. She’s helped me with my brand. My brand looks so amazing. I never could have made it visually look as cool as it looks like if it were not for her.
So I’m just super excited to have you back here. And, you know, the first question that I like to ask everyone on the show and anyone who’s already heard her answer to this and listened to her before we can hear it again, we’ll love it. So you know that I believe all driven female entrepreneurs are modern day superheroes. So let’s hear it again; Johanna White, what’s your superpower?
Oh, I have a twist on it for you this time. So my superpower is joy. But beyond that, its superpower is choosing joy. Because when you can choose joy, no matter what your circumstances are or your situations or what’s going on in your life, you have nothing left to fear. So I believe that choosing joy is the antidote to uncertainty and fear. So my superpower is choosing joy.
I love that because I think so many of us also forget that joy is a choice, and it’s something that we kind of have to choose every single day to keep feeling it, like no matter what situation we’re in. So I think that’s such an incredible way to think about it. So for me, I love your story like your entire life, your business, everything you’ve done is just like mind blowing.
So for anyone who’s not familiar with your story, I would love for you to share a little bit about your background and what even got you into branding in the first place.
Sure. That’s one of my favorite questions ever, because I get a chance to share about miracles and who doesn’t like to talk about those. So my background is in graphic design, but I didn’t always do branding, and I definitely didn’t always do it in a way that was ready to kick ass and take names. About eight years ago I was still working at a creative services agency doing design, but not in a way that really made a difference in people’s lives. I was playing it very safe. I was just following the rules, treating, you know, doing my job like a conveyor belt. I was miserable. Everyone in the office was really low mindset people. The sky’s always falling.
You’re just lucky to have a job. So I lived in fear and I lived in scarcity. And then one day out of the blue, I went from feeling perfectly healthy to waking up with a pounding migraine that lasted for four days. And it was so intense I had to sleep in my closet. If I could sleep at all, like a tiny pinprick of light just pierced through my skull and I felt like something was wrong.
But I thought maybe I’ve just been spending too much time in front of a screen. But when the migraine finally went away, I was left with sudden partial paralysis down my left side. My sternal platomastoid muscle was completely atrophied. My I don’t actually know the name of it, but the muscle that’s right behind your collarbone looked like somebody had scooped it out with an ice cream scoop. I couldn’t raise my left arm very far. I couldn’t talk very well. And worst of all, I couldn’t swallow. So food or water would come out of my nose instead of going down my throat. So that’s when I knew screens had nothing to do with it and something was really wrong. We went to a Neurologist who then sent us to a neurosurgeon. Who then called me at like 8 p.m. At this time I was working two jobs just to pay the bills in this second shift, and he called me at 8:00. So, you know, something’s really not good. And he tells me that you have a brain tumor. And I was just shell shocked because I was healthy. I thought my whole identity was being strong. I was the strongest person in my family by a mile. Even as a woman, I had grip strength that was like 10lbs stronger than the average man and 40lbs stronger than the average woman. And that was my identity. I’m healthy, I’m strong. Like I can do anything. Yeah, I’m not really rocking it on the work side of things, but I got this and that diagnosis became the very first
of two and a half years of trips to the doctor, leading to more and more uncertainty and a time that all I wanted was to hear an answer that I could then go solve a problem and get to the solution and be healthy again. Instead, it was, well, we we did another MRI and we think it’s the same or maybe bigger.
We’re not sure. We did a brain biopsy and the results are inconclusive. It might be malignant or it might be benign. We’re not sure, how about you go to this other doctor who could do this.
And do this? And so it became this spiral of no one, including the doctors, know what’s going to happen. And probably within just like six weeks of getting diagnosed, I looked around the office that I was at and I went; Oh. I’m not going out like this. If I don’t know how much time I have left, I am not going to die knowing I didn’t even try and I left everything on the table and I was afraid of failure. So I didn’t do anything. And so I walked out of the office. I don’t even think I gave it two weeks. I just walked out, literally walked.
Down the street and started knocking on business doors saying, hi, I’m Johanna,
I design stuff. Do you need anything designed? And I went full on Mary Kay salesman on myself and said I know that I am capable of a lot and right now I’m doing a little.
Knowing that I may or may not have much time left. I am going to change right now. And so that is how Design by Jo was born. Thankfully, it’s come a really long way in professionalism since then. And my health and my life have made a huge shift and a huge transition because where the doctors couldn’t help me, I was blessed to have friends speaking into my life and challenging me on my mindset, and they weren’t afraid for me to hate them and they weren’t afraid to say things that made me angry. Because when I first found out about the tumor, I just wanted to curl up and lick my wounds and die.
I went from being super strong to it doesn’t matter what I do and work out or whatever, my body’s not responding. It’s going the other way, if anything, and working out hurts. And I just want to give up and can’t feel sorry for myself. Like, this is fair.
But those friends challenged me and they said, Johanna, you have said your entire life that you believe in God and you believe that he heals. But you’re not talking like it right now and you’re not acting like it. This is your chance to finally do something about what you say you believe your chance to act on what you believe. And so I rose to the challenge. I found every verse that I could in my Bible that talked about healing. I stopped listening to anyone. Stories about asking for healing and not getting it. I put on the blinders and said, That’s their story, not mine. And I choose life. And so in the midst, like through the two and a half years of uncertainty while the doctors were running tests and saying, we don’t know and passing me on to the next one. I was standing and fighting and speaking out what I believed over myself. And slowly but surely, my body responded.
My muscles came back, which the doctors have said, even if we do surgery, you have nerve damage now and it’s permanent. So those functions are gone. Say goodbye to them.
But I said, Nope, that’s not actually what I believe. And I learned to not take the doctor’s word as the last word. And I don’t say that against doctors. They’re amazing. And they do so many good things for people and like they are trying to serve in their very best way while not giving you false hopes. But in this instance, if I had accepted that, I’d probably be dead by now.
And instead, when they said, We can’t help, that’s okay. I know a guy who can and he loves me and. All right, Lord, it’s just you and me. What are we going to do about this?
And so that is when I learned so much about mindset and drowning out the fear, because I noticed early on in the journey that when I had the symptoms, if I panicked, the symptoms doubled. So I’d go from choking and could barely breathe to passed out on the bathroom floor because my throat closed all the way and I didn’t know initially what I could do about a tumor, but I knew I could do something about the fear.
So I just started – first I tried not to be afraid, which works really well. You just say Don’t be afraid, and you can’t think about anything except for how afraid you are. Come back to this later. This applies in business too. But I said okay, I can’t not be afraid, but
maybe I can drown it out because those fearful thoughts were like a hamster wheel in my brain. You’re going to die. You’re going to die. You’re going to die. We don’t know results are inconclusive. You might die. And I couldn’t stop them, but I could put something else in on purpose. And so I started just playing meditations and verses about healing while I fell asleep at night. And I would plug in my headphones and listen to messages about healing while I worked and just let it be in the background. And it slowly started to replace the fear and that was when I realized what I mentioned with the superpower, which was once the fear started to fade, I could look at it and I could go, What am I really afraid of?
Am I afraid of dying? And I realized I wasn’t because I believe and I know where I’m going. But I was afraid of losing my quality of life and of being unhappy because I am just naturally a joyful, bubbly, happy person. And I was afraid that if I was in a wheelchair or if I never got my arm back or, you know, if I couldn’t design or I couldn’t dance, what if I couldn’t dance anymore?
What if I couldn’t run anymore? I wouldn’t be happy. But then I realized that you can choose joy. No matter what. And when I discovered that there was nothing left to fear, and once there was nothing left to fear, the healing could begin. And it did. So eight years later. I haven’t been back to the doctor in five. The last time I went to the doctor they did an MRI. They had me scheduled for surgery actually. And then the surgeon refused to operate on me because he said, I’m not going to take a healthy body and potentially rip it apart. Just because this MRI says there’s a tumor like your body doesn’t believe it. And I was mad at him because once again.
I wanted certainty and he dragged me all the way there like 5 a.m.. You fasted for 24 hours, your whole family’s there ready to tuck you in and see you when you wake up. And then they say they’re not going to operate. And once again, life spirals out of control.
And there’s no certainty. But now I’m super grateful that he had the guts to say that to risk his, you know, his name and reputation and stand up for what he believed, which was you don’t need this anymore. I don’t really care what the MRI said. You don’t need this anymore. And the funny thing, though, was they still wanted me to constantly come back and do a watch and wait where they would every six months, do an MRI and see how it was going. But they had already told me they weren’t going to operate on me based on what they found in the MRI.
They were only going to operate if the symptoms themselves put me in a wheelchair or on a feeding tube or any of the things they were afraid the surgery might do. And I was like, Well, if you’re not going to trust the papers anymore, neither am I. And every single time I come back for an MRI, my faith is up here because my body’s doing great. And then you tell me it’s still there and maybe it’s bigger and it scares the pants off me. And I go home and I have all my symptoms back because the mind is so powerful and I’m strong enough to believe, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to consistently submit myself to someone else’s opinion saying that you’re not actually healed and so I had to stop going and that was my choice. It’s not the right choice for everybody. There’s definitely times when you want the doctors to keep an eye on it and they’re, you know, ready to take action when it’s necessary. But in my case, I was not trusting what I knew to be true in my spirit and in my body. And I was just looking at the physical instead of tapping into the spiritual and telling the physical, you line up with this, because I know now from this that we get a choice and a lot of people a lot of people think that when my circumstances are better, I’ll be happy. When my circumstances become this, then I will have joy and or I’ll have faith once I see some things start to happen. Whether it’s in business or marriage or life.
You know, they think that once they start to see that positive change, then they’ll believe a little bit. But it doesn’t work that way. You have to speak and stand and risk looking like a crazy person. Well, the physical symptoms or circumstances are still a mess. And then they line up with what you believe. And it’s the opposite of how I lived most of my life in fear and uncertainty.
But now I live full out and I am so excited for what’s now and for what’s next. But I’m definitely just grateful for the lessons that I learned during all of that. So that was a really long answer,
total brain tumor monologue. But I haven’t yet learned how to split that story up into bite sized
pieces. So thank you for sticking with me.
I love how you tell that story. I really do. So I don’t think you need to split it up because it’s so powerful and it’s so beautiful. And I think it’s important how you share it, because it does take anyone who was listening, like on that journey that you also went through. Right. Because like you said, it started with taking that first small action step of just walking out of your job, like and being physically ill, like most people, if they leave it just because, like, okay, they want to take care of their health. But you were like, no, like whatever happens, happens. Like, I’m out. like, this is not this is not serving me, it’s not bringing me joy. In fact, it might actually be making me sicker. And the fact that you were even able to have that realization and take the first action step, it’s like you gave that signal and you gave that sign that you were ready to receive whatever it is that you needed to receive. And the fact that you were fearful, like you said, it wasn’t like you had no fear, you had no idea. Like, how are you going to like, you know, heal a brain tumor? And they’d like through all that might be like the party line, the punch line, the high level story. Like you had to like go through those steps of saying, okay, what can I actually do today? Like, can I put a new thought there instead? Like, or can I just add another thought there? Even if that fear, like you said, is, is still there with it, let me just also infuse it with a little bit of positivity and faith. And I love that, too, because, like, the truth is, we do live in a world where we focus on being able to see something before we believe it, when really we need to believe it before we can see it.
And like, you know, from your your Bible verses as well, like you said for me, one of my favorite verses about this is I tell you the truth, if I if you had faith, even as small as the mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. All because it’s about having that faith and also asking for help because that’s what you did and you were able to receive the messages you needed to receive on even the smallest step. And once you took that first step, you got guidance on the next one. So I think that’s what’s really beautiful about your story because it was really that progression.
It’s like sometimes when we think of miracles, we think of like in an instant this magnificent, miraculous occurrence happening. And we don’t always think of miracles as something that happens over time, that we have to initiate it. We have to welcome it. We have to change our mindset, right, and think through it and then receive it. And slowly but surely, like that end result does happen. It doesn’t have to happen in an instant for you. You said it took a couple of years. Right. And I think that’s such an important reminder to be open to receiving miracles. And also that miracles are not necessarily be done in the traditional fashion that most of us grew up learning about. So when you were in the midst of it, right, like when you were in that deep pit of fear listening to the doctors, what was the first thing that you did when you talked about turning to God, you talked about looking in the Bible verses like one. How did you even get that? The courage and the strength to be like, I know that I need to do something differently. And then what exactly did you start to do and how did you kind of make that a habit? Daily?
Okay. Well, you can laugh at my answer, but I think the first stop licking my wounds and do something turning point was I found this pair of yoga pants that I spent weeks searching for
something encouraging, like, okay, maybe that was for step look. For one thing that I could put in my life that would remind me and be encouraging. I found this pair of yoga pants and it said, I can, I will on the leg. And I got them and I laid them out. And it started to shift my mind into thinking every single day that I can physically move.
It’s a gift. It’s not about the outcome of that movement. It’s not about whether it helps or makes me stronger. I can still move. That in itself is a gift. So every day that I can, I will, so I had these yoga pants and I get them out and every day I like to put them on, remind myself and do a little bit so it was putting something physical in my life just to start to remind me. And then I actually reached out to that designer and asked if they wanted to be sold in the United States. And this has nothing to do with the brain tumor. But at the same time, as I started Design by Joe, I was so inspired by these pants that I started another company called Uniquely Yoga, because I figured there was a lot of women in the world who were taking the doctor’s word as the last word and something as simple as a pair of leggings, or maybe it’s a t shirt with a great saying on it.
Or maybe it’s your favorite mug, like something to remind you what you believe and take action on that. So that was the first step. And then the second step was kind of stop taking advice from people who don’t have faith and in situations like this, the numbers are about Nine to one.
So I would have so many concerned, caring, like well-meaning people basically telling me, Johanna, you’re in denial. Stop worrying about your business. You need to just actually, you need to quit working and go on Medicaid and get Social Security because you don’t have great insurance. And there’s no way they’re going to cover a six figure surgery or even more if you don’t do something like you need to quit and just rely on everybody else to take care of this, basically. And I looked at that advice and my inner life and just kind of rose up and went, No, because I don’t think mentally I’ll be able to recover from that action. I need to focus on what’s next. After this, I need to believe that there’s something next and great after this that there is an after this. If I just quit while I’m still physically able to move enough to do my job or to work, if I just quit and go on Medicaid, where will I be in three years or in five years? I will have to start over and I’ll always be the girl with the brain tumor and I’ll be the victim. And so I chose to ignore their advice. I did quit my job, but instead I started three companies in the same year and said, There’s a next, there’s a future. And I’m going to focus on it, which is like it’s the opposite of denial. I think instead it was done in faith that there is a next and also in the spirit of what it said on the yoga pants, if I can, I will and if my body stops functioning to the point where I literally can’t work, okay, then let’s talk about Social Security and Medicaid. I’m not afraid to ask for help but as long as I can still do this, I feel like for my own mindset, I need to be still doing this and focusing on a future. So it was taking action on something encouraging, just one small thing and stop listening and ignore the advice of the nine people who say, give up, quit, stay here and just wait for help.
I love that because it’s true. Like, you know, we all have people in our lives that love us and mean so well, but they’re also looking at things through their own lens. As someone said, something really cool resonated with me a lot the other day where they said, Most people don’t tell you the truth, they tell you their truth and I was like, Wow, okay. Yeah. Like that makes sense, right? So it’s like they were really trying to help you and coming from a good place, but that was their truth. And you have to be able to filter out that noise and know what advice is like, helpful and like actually feels good to you versus what doesn’t. And then being able to say thank you so much, but this is not what I’m going to believe. I’m going to do things a little bit differently. And I love how you were able to look forward and kind of see this future and envision it. And then you created it, right? Like and I think that’s so important because a lot of the times, like we always hear we have to be present and it’s really good to be present, but sometimes that also can be confused with. I should just know that the exact moment exactly what’s happening today is the only thing that’s there for me, and it’s going to continue as we move forward because it’s not like you can be present in the moment, but also have this vision for the future of how you want to live, how you want your life to look like and know that it’s possible.
And you did that. And I think that’s really remarkable. And I love it because I’ve seen also now, like, your company is thriving and you’re living this beautiful life and it’s so cool. And one of the things you actually said reminds me a lot is one of the first mindset books I read called You Are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenser.
And he talks about that a lot. Right. Because it’s not everyone but with certain people. If you give them the placebo and you tell them this is the pill that cures you like you’re healthy now, like even if all their tests are showing they’re fully sick, you tell them that they’re healthy. And there is a large percentage of people in the studies who will fully be recovered.
And there’s anyone who’s listening right now, like you can Google this book and you could also Google some of those studies because it’s really interesting. Like especially people with cancer, they think they’re fully healed. The second if someone then tells them the medicine is not real, there was actually a story and like the person died within three days like that examples in his book and that is so powerful like the fact that somebody can be fully healed from being told and actually fully believing that they are fine, to finding out that the medicine doesn’t work and dying.
Yeah, that’s by the way, I heard you talk about that book the other day and I can’t wait. I already ordered it on Amazon. I’m waiting for it to get here. But that’s so true and I was going. That reminds me of another piece of this I wanted to say, which is it’s not about which path you take. It’s about choosing a path, believing that it’s your path and sticking with it until you see results like it’s not about getting the medicine or getting the placebo, it’s about believing that it’s going to work. So there is a lot of different routes I could have gone and I know a lot of people with brain tumors who did have surgery and their lives are better. I know people who didn’t even go to the doctor and they just said, I’m just going to pray and stand on this. And they got healed. I know people who had quick miracles and people who had slow miracles and it doesn’t matter.
It’s not about which way it was. It’s about choosing the way that you believe really is the way and stick with it. Like no matter what, what adversity comes out, you stick with it. So it’s it’s yeah. The power of belief is insane. And I that’s why it can work in reverse. It can work in the negative. In fact, in our lives, it mostly works in the negative until we get intentional about it.
When I would start seeing my body recover and muscles are coming back and I’m feeling great and the migraines are gone. And then I go get another MRI and they tell me, Oh, it’s actually still there. Maybe even bigger. I would leave in tears and the next morning I would wake up with all of my symptoms back, plus the new ones that they so helpfully told me I might have next.
It’s the power of your mind is just beyond what you can even comprehend so I love how
much you talk about mindset and Limitless. And because whether it’s business, whether it’s relationships, whether it’s life and health, it really does start there.
Yeah, and thank you for that. Like for me, one of the cool things that I love about it is really the science behind it, because when I was first introduced to any of this mindset work and even the You Are the placebo book, what I really liked was like for me when anyone said mindset or meditation, I thought it was very like, Ooh, okay, like out there.
And I was like, it’s not really going to impact my life. Like, good for them. It’s great. Like, nice tools, cool. Like, doesn’t apply to me. It’s not going to help me. I like, already shut it down before I even tried. Is like nobody do that. You should try something first. But I was over it and. But these books, they actually talk about, like the real science behind your brain.
And for me, that was really helpful and helped me like actually start to apply these things into my life and see the results of it because I needed that science to be open to it. So, you know, great job, Doctor Joe dispensed all like very, very well doubt like. Well, I like sticking that in there, like helping all of us who are a little less open to it at first.
Like, you know, we wrap our heads around it. So I think that’s really cool because like the brain it is beautiful, right? And like, it can do so much. It’s so powerful and it can be used for good or it could be used to cause us, like, a lot of pain and suffering. And it’s what we choose to do and how we want to start rewiring our brain and training our brain to think differently.
And you can kind of do that at any time in your life, whether you’re 18 years old or whether you’re 75. Like it is never too late. Your brain is always going to work and you can always change your neural pathways. And that’s pretty awesome. Like science is so cool.
And when you don’t have the thoughts you need inside of you, you can borrow thoughts. That’s what I did, like putting in the headphones with sermons on healing or meditations on healing and borrowing someone else’s belief. I was borrowing their words and letting them become my words so it doesn’t even have to be all inside of you. You can. You can choose what you want to be in there and put it in. That’s your next action step. If you can’t shut down the fear, drown it the heck out.
And it’s good because there are so many resources because that might not come naturally to all of us, like what thoughts we want to have. Instead, we might not know, but it’s cool because between books, podcasts like Google, there’s so many cool resources that can help us start to think through things differently. And then as we hear stuff, we can also put our own lens on it and tweak it in a way that resonates more for us. So did you have a specific mantra or something that you did to like to say it for yourself, like whenever any of these people or doctors would like to give their opinions and you knew that’s not what you wanted to think. And it’s not what you wanted to believe. Was there something you said or did to try to instantly kind of reverse that?
I did, actually. I had a lot of favorite verses that I leaned on for this, but there was one in particular that actually popped into my head the first night that I woke up with the migraine before I even knew I had a brain tumor. And I thought it was kind of a funny verse for the situation because at that point I thought I just had a bad headache from too much screen time.
But the verse that popped in was I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.
And I was like, Alright, Lord, that’s kind of funny for a migraine, but all right and then a few days later, when we find out it’s a brain tumor, I believe that God was kind enough to give me.
The words of life before the doctors gave me the words of death. And so every time that it would be overwhelming and the fear would just hit so bad. I would just pace and say that verse I shall not type but live and declare the works of the Lord and the amazing thing was there were so many times, so many ups and downs and so much uncertainty. But I just kept standing on that. And then when the time was right, I would discover another one and I’d stand on that and like maybe two years. And I was in a yoga class and I was laying in savasana and I heard the verse that says, If you live by the flesh, you will die. But if you by the spirit put to death the misdeeds of the flesh, you will live. And it just translated itself as a tumor. It’s definitely a misdeed. And wait, I can just put it to death. I can just say you’re gone, you’re done.
And so then that became like, I’m confident I’m going to live, not die. Now it’s time to put this misdeed out. I can do more than just survive. I can command it to go. And so then I stood on that one and I just love how, how the words we need if you put them into your life at a time that you need them, they come back when you do so action, step for work, life, business, put in good inputs. Now whether you think you need them or not. Motivation, meditations. Words of life. Because when that moment hits and the catastrophe and the uncertainty spirals, they will come back into your mind exactly when you need them. You’ve already planted the seeds to plant the seeds before you need the fruit.
I love that. It’s so beautiful and I love hearing you talk about your story. Like I get a response every time I hear it because it really is like also a testament to your faith and your openness to be healed and to receive help no matter what form it came in. And I love that like you use that verse and you said it over and over again and it really just kind of helped bring you back and to like what you wanted to believe and what you knew in your heart was true.
And it’s wow. Like, I’m always, like, blown away. I feel like I’m always speechless. I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’s so good and it’s so inspiring because I think for anyone, whether they’re dealing with like a brain tumor or a physical illness, suffering from like anxiety or depression or dealing in the, you know, with grief or any issue that you really have, it’s in your story also applies to them. It applies to anyone who is dealing with a dark moment in their life because where you are today doesn’t have to be where you’re going to continue to go. And like we always say, okay, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And I think most of us roll our eyes a little bit. When somebody does, we’re like, Yeah, yeah. But like, right now it’s not very light. It’s very, very dark, like. When I hear you, it’s the fact that you were able to kind of see that there was a possibility of light, even though you did not necessarily see it in the moment. And you kind of just went with that more and more, you were able then to actually see that there was light at the end of the tunnel and find a way to be guided through it. And to me that’s just like it’s a really just I don’t I don’t even know the proper word to describe it. It’s miraculous. Really amazing.
Well, I think it’s human nature to feel like we need to know the ultimate outcome before we take a step in any direction. I used to be that way. It kept me panicked about every major decision in my life for years, like choosing college, choosing a career. There’s so many things I want to do. What if I go the wrong direction? I have to know how it’s going to turn out.
What if I go to school to learn to train horses? And it totally burns me out, which it did. So then I started over that for design and I loved it. I took a step and that’s what I finally learned, especially during this healing journey, was I couldn’t know the outcome. Apparently even the doctors couldn’t. But what I could do is choose where I wanted to go and take a single step in that direction. And then the light gets a little brighter and you see a little farther and you.
Take the next step. That’s what I do in my business too, and I think so many people could benefit from that because in the last two and a half years with COVID, everyone got a taste of that uncertainty, whole life uncertainty. Welcome to my world and when that happened, so many people panicked because they couldn’t see what they thought was there for sure outcome. They had been living their life thinking that they knew what was going to happen, more or less security in a job, in a career, in a spouse like they thought they had that security. And then the whole world got turned upside down and no one knew what was going to happen tomorrow our flights are going to be canceled. Are we going to be stuck at home? I was like, This is it. The whole world for the most part, got darker and more fearful and more angry and more bitter and turned on each other. And when I saw that, I was blessed to have gone through something already that taught me that certainty isn’t actually real. It’s an illusion you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, like certainty shouldn’t be your goal and you don’t have to know the outcome before you take a single step. And so during that time, my business thrived because I was okay with just choosing joy and moving one step at a time and finding everyone I could and saying, I can help you choose joy. Like, let’s not spiral into fear because we are all uncertain, right now. That’s okay. What I learned is that actually uncertainty is all the time. We just kind of think that some things are certain, but in reality, life is always shifting and changing and we have way less control over the external world than we like to think.
And so just take that next step and then the next one will come. You don’t have to know the end result before you even look for it.
It’s such an important reminder because like, especially like us female entrepreneurs, like there is no certainty. It’s like we like to think we can control everything, control our outcome, control exactly like you know what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, in a year from now. But but we can’t. And when we accept that and we just focus on the things we can control right now, and it’s exactly our mindset and our thoughts, which many people don’t realize.
I think that you actually can control it. They just kind of accept it as the baseline. I know I did for a really long time too, but like when you start choosing to want to think differently because that’s the first step. Even if you can’t think differently, right? The second you can acknowledge like you want to and that’s your goal.
And how can I start to do that? Like you also just automatically feel better just from that because you accept that there’s so much you can’t control and you want to just focus on the thing that you can. You can’t control how somebody talks to you. You can’t control all these different factors. You definitely couldn’t control COVID like. And what happened if your flight got canceled, like you said, like you had no idea. But when you accept what you can control in this moment, like it just empowers you and it removes even just, like, the tiniest bit of fear to know you’re not a victim of life. You are in control of your own life. And I think that’s such an important reminder to all of us. So thank you for that.
It’s funny, we can’t control what we like to think we can. External circumstances. This is how life will turn out, but we can control what we think. We have no control over which is our mind and our thinking. And the amazing thing is how much that thinking affects our life and becomes a ripple effect. Like when I do projects in house, sometimes certain clients will bring me in to consult on a brand project. They have a lot of internal designers and they want an umbrella brand and they want them then trained in and executing that. And I’ll just kind of wade into the mess and they’re all running around putting out fires. A corporate environment like this is their world, it’s every man for himself, and I’ll just go and do my job and be myself. And before I leave that project, I’ll have people coming by my desk and bringing a friend and saying, Hey, this is Yohanna, you should just talk to her because she makes it feel better. When you talk to her you’re having a bad day you just need to talk to you about ethics every time. Like, hey, you hang up on this person. I don’t know what’s wrong, but can they just hang out with you for a while? Like being stragglers by my desk? And it’s amazing because that’s the ripple effect. I’m going in there to work on a brand. I’m not going in there to coach or council or anything, but I just wade into this world of normal mindset, which is panic and fear and hurry, RUSH. And I can’t control anything, so I’m going to lash out at everybody. And I just in that environment continue to choose joy in my own life. And it spreads and it literally draws people in.
So no, you can’t control the world and you can’t control other people. But when you change your mindset and your thinking, it does affect other people in the best way ever.
Yeah, and that’s true, because people also recognize that, that in the midst of the storm, you’re the one who’s calm. And to anyone who’s listening, who’s like, no, I’m type-A personality, there’s no chance I could do that. Let me tell you, Johanna and I are both very type-A. We would love to be able to control different scenarios, but we’re still able to kind of have that focus.
And that’s what I love about you, because, like, you’re it’s not like it’s just like, okay, let’s just relax, be like, chill about life and go with the flow and like, like just no structure. It’s you’re very structured, you’re very organized, and you’re the best at what you do and you thrive on it, but you’re still able to keep your like those traits and be so open and relaxed in like these moments and like, know that maybe you want to control that, but you can’t.
You’re like, it’s okay. Like, let me try to think about something, you know, like, let me think about this differently. Let me solve the problem and as a result, you’re able to always come up with solutions to the problem, which I think is really cool.
Well, thank you.
I think if you want to be the best at what you do, you have to acknowledge that you’re still human and that there will be problems. And instead of trying to avoid problems, saying like, if I was really the best, I would be superhuman and nothing would ever go wrong. That’s where everything goes wrong. But if instead you say, I am the best at what I do, but also I’m the best at solving problems because I know there is going to be some and you just start to relax into that and accept that things will go wrong, problems will arise, and you just say, How can I now make my clients life better by giving them the best problem solving experience that they’ve ever encountered? And that’s when they start to say, Whoa, I have never had such a great experience with someone. And it wasn’t because I was perfect or as close. But it’s pretty true.
So you’re very close to your work actually in the results, it’s good.
But you know as well as anyone, we’ve had a couple of snags in project work together.
And you’ve been extremely gracious about it, which makes it much easier for me to go solve the problem and come back and say, You know what? Everything is always working out for us. Yeah, this went wrong. Here’s how we can not only solve it, but we can have an even better outcome than we thought we could the first time. And when you go into it with that mindset, you really can be the best at what you do.
I love that and it’s actually really funny because like I know a lot of people who I talk to, they know you and they all say the exact same thing. The first thing they say is, Oh my gosh, I love Johanna so much. She’s so great. She is so joyful. She’s so sweet. And I’m like, Yeah.
And then they go, She is the absolute best at what she does. And I’m like, Yeah, she is. But like, so you talked about this little things with like, you know, that really help you being the best, but like you also had to refine your skill and because at the end of the day, like you are providing a service and you are able to, I think like overdeliver on the results. Like for me it leads like you completely exceeded my expectations. I didn’t even know some of the stuff you did was possible and I was blown away. So to anyone who’s listening, who is offering a product or service and wants to be known also as the best at what they do, how can they refine their craft and really just like organize it and bundle it and perfected to as much as possible where they know that they’re delivering such immense value to their their clients?
That is a fun question. I might have like eight different bullet points here to answer that, because it’s not just one thing, but feel free to pivot me If I go to find one. But one one way that you can be the best at what you do. This is some advice from Tony Robbins, who’s one of my favorite ultimate coaches. He says that if you fall in love with your clients instead of with your products or services, then you will be a business who adds more value in the way that your customers want, and you will pivot when times change. You will be around for the long haul. That advice was given to me probably five years ago when I went to one of his events, and it completely changed my life and my trajectory because I can safely say that before that I was a really good designer, but I was just a commodity. I was definitely not the best and I wasn’t even doing full branding. I was just doing bits and pieces and I was just asking clients, What do you want? Okay, I’ll go make that. And when I heard that, I came back and I sat down and I started emailing and calling my clients and saying, What do you wish you had in a relationship with your designer or with someone working on your brand? And so I asked for feedback, which can be painful and scary, but it began the journey of me becoming the best at what I do, because I asked, how can I add more value to you? Not in fluff, not in a weekly newsletter that actually is just for SEO and does nothing for you? How can I add value to your life in a way that benefits your business? And they told me and I started to implement it. So asking for feedback, I then let’s say bullet point two is drawing a blank. It was right there. And then I got so excited about the feedback. Here we go. Save room to work on your business, not just in your business scheduled time. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. And especially these days, technology, softwares, everything they update so rapidly that if you say I’m the best and then stop, you’re going to be the best for like 5 minutes really being the best is confidence mixed with humility and knowing that there’s always more to learn and always more places to grow looking for what those could be and then taking time that you save from not working on client work, and instead like it’s like being in school all the time. I am always part of a coaching program or a course or
I’ll take another training on some aspect of my business and I’ll sometimes get lucky and packets of time appear and I’ll find a thing to put in there to keep training and growing my skills. But more often I have to be intentional and make time, block it on my calendar and say, This week I’m taking no client work.
Instead, I’m going to improve some more skills so that I am not just selling myself or branding myself as the best, which is part of it. You need to show up that way, but then you gotta live up to it instead of living up to it equals constantly growing and training and adding depth and substance. When COVID hit the first time, I said, Wow, suddenly there’s going to be a little more time in everyone’s schedule. And I went and took web development courses and learned how to code because up until that point I was doing some web design, but I was leaning heavily on developers to make it possible, and I was nervous to offer a lot in the way of websites to my clients because I thought if if this developer I’m working with drops the ball and I can’t deliver on it, then I don’t want any part of that. I want to always deliver what I promised. But if I can go and learn this skill, then I can feel confident that if they drop the ball I’m stepping in and we’ll still get to the outcome. So it’s finding ways to grow and choosing areas of growth to add confidence to you, because the more confident you are, the more you’ll be able to show up for your clients.
That was one of the feedback that they gave me when I said, What do you need more of? They said, We need an expert. We don’t know what we don’t know and we need someone who knows the whole branding journey from messaging to visuals, personal branding and websites. We don’t want to have to work with seven people.
And try to explain to person number six what person number three said, I should go on the website and we don’t want to have to hire a copywriter to translate what this person told us was a great idea. In our Strategy Session, we want an expert who is not afraid to own it, to step up to the plate and to walk us through the whole journey. So I asked and then I listened, and then I said, I’m willing to be that person because I want to deliver immense value to my clients. So whatever it takes, whatever I have to learn, whatever hours of coding I have to do, even though it eats at my soul. I’ll do it because I am in love with my clients. I am truly in love with what I think I want to offer. And so I’m always looking for a way to make their lives better. And I also believe that if you’re the best, you know that when you win, others win too. And when they win, you win. So my clients succeeding is something I am always looking for ways to improve on.
How can I help them take their brand and get more value from it? How can I continue this relationship? Not so that they keep hiring me, although that’s fine and great. But really, because if you are of the mindset that you have a client and then you’re going to be done with them, you’re already thinking like you’re in it for yourself you just want the job, I want the money
and then you went out. But if you’re of the truly service mindset that a client is a friend for life and maybe you don’t get coffee together if you’re not that kind of friend, but if you plan on this person being in your life forever, you will treat them different and they will feel it and they will say, This is a great experience.
You are the best. It’s not just about the service that you offer, although you do need excellence, but it’s also about the experience that you offer. Yeah. And then my next bullet point is just let’s get back to excellence. Our world has gotten so used to plastic. Cheap. And I’m not just talking products, I’m talking e-books and quick courses that are cheap, but they don’t even work.
But they’re just someone told them to put a course out there and make a funnel and and they’re just adding to the mess, they’re adding to the noise, and they’re not anyone. And people are so used to that that they’re like, It’s okay, everyone’s doing it. I can do it too. But if you want to be that, you can’t act like everyone and it doesn’t matter if that might be the fastest way to make a million if It’s not truly serving people, you’ll lose it as fast as you made it. So I come with the mindset of excellence across all touchpoints equals brand experiences that matter and equals raving fan clients and equals you really being the best. Like raise the bar for yourself and for others. And it doesn’t matter if everybody else is putting out cheap plastic.
You can be different and it might take longer and might be a little harder. And it might not get you to a billion company quite as quickly. But it will be that company that lasts for the long haul
and that people talk about and keep coming back to that slow burn towards excellence. And I’m going to pause because that was almost another monologue.
No, I love it.
And one of the things that I really appreciate is that you do practice what you preach. You really are very relationship and client focused, and it’s not like just a party line. It’s like genuine and authentic and like just your level of excitement even for myself, like when I’m a client of yours, like when I have even the smallest plan where I’m just like, Yeah, whatever. You’re like, what? Get excited, like, and you’re really actually so happy for me, like as a friend, as like a person like that is so cool. Like, and that’s really rare. And I think we always hear like, okay, like you need to deliver as much value as you can and your clients and a lot of us hear that. I’m like, Yeah, of course that makes sense. But if anyone is looking for a really good example of who does, I like spectacularly like Johanna. Why is your girl? Because you do like you deliver. But if anyone is looking for a really good example of who does, I like spectacularly like Yohanna. Why is your girl? Because you do like you deliver on it. You show up for your clients, you’re very relationship focused and you’re very excited for them and all the things that you said, like it does help you be the best. You have a much harder time showing up in a way that blesses people because you hate being there.
And that will come through. So step one, if you just can’t even imagine wanting to spend.One week every month learning something new in your business, probably you’re in the wrong business because I like learning new things. I’m excited about what I’m in. So if you want to become the best, start with loving what you do, it’s a lot easier to get to best when you do that.
That’s such good advice and it’s something that comes up a lot because being passionate about your business and it helps you not just like everything that you said, but also when you know, bumps along the road come you’re able to deal with it in a lot better fashion. You’re able to think a bit more clearly because you’re like, okay, this is like, now cool. This is like a problem that I get to solve and it’s going to make my business better. It’s going to deliver more for the people that I’m serving. And that is so cool as opposed to like total panic or like, I can’t believe I’m having this issue again. It’s going to affect my bottom line. What do I do? Because like you’re, you’re thinking of your business in a little bit of a different way, only as numbers and as a result, as opposed to a community or client focused and service focused. And that’s something that you do so well. And I love that. I love everything that you do. I’m like your number one fan. I feel like I think you actually have a ton of number one fans of anything. I’m just going to join the number one fan club. I think we should start a Facebook group of your fan club. A lot of us. But yeah, you’re awesome. And so thank you for coming on again. You always like to have so much, so much value to share. And like everything you always talk about, it just resonates and it’s beautiful. Your journey is beautiful and I’m excited to see your company continue to grow and expand. And yeah, there is no limit for you. You actually perfectly define what the show is all about. You are limitless because you truly believe it, and being Limitless is about start. Well, it starts with your mindset and you definitely have the limitless mindset. So thank you for being an inspiration and for always sharing amazing, actionable tips that all of us can take. I feel like I have a whole laundry list now in my mind because I need to start to think inspired. But I love it. So thank you.
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me on here again, of course.
And so for anyone who is listening and they want more Johanna White, because who doesn’t? Where can we find you?
Well, you can find me on my website and learn a little more of my story. It is designbyJoStudio.com or you can find me on Facebook or Instagram. The handle is @designbyJoStudio and then mostly you can just find me hanging out with the other Johanna. We’re probably on a zoom call or maybe I’m getting back to New York to stride around a little bit. So look for me I’ll just keep popping up wherever she is and She’ll keep popping up wherever I am. Find one, you’ll find the other.
Thank you so much again for coming on.
You’re so welcome.
We hope you enjoyed hearing from the incredible Yohanna White. And if you did, please leave us a review on Apple, Spotify or wherever you tune in to listen. Please share this episode with anyone who you think might enjoy it. Thank you so much for tuning in to this week’s episode of Limitless. See you next week for a new episode.