When you feel stuck and need a mentor
Whenever I feel stuck or I’m looking for a mentor, career-wise, one of my favorite things to do is to identify people whose careers I really admire, and watch them from afar. I study how they work, what they’ve done and what changes for them over time.
I learned about Whitney Johnson after I read her first book, Dare, Dream, Do. It’s about building dreams for your life, and it has so many useful applications for that time period of transition in your career after becoming a parent when you can dream up what your future life can look like. So, when I reached out and asked her to be on the show, I was floored when she said yes. It’s always a particular joy when you get to connect with someone you’ve watched and learned from for a long time.
Innovation, disruption, and management theory
Whitney is an innovation and disruption theorist and an executive and performance coach. She was formerly a Wall Street analyst who also started an investment firm with Harvard’s Clayton Christensen. She’s also a bestselling author of three books, and her most recent book is all about building great teams and using the ideas of disruption (both of yourself as well as your process) in Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up The Learning Curve.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE TALK ABOUT:
- What the term “disruption” means and why it’s more than a buzzword.
- How pregnancy and parenting are both “disruptive forces” and how that makes them really powerful potential forces for good.
- How pregnancy gives women the opportunity to think strategically
- Her parenting journey—when and how she decided she wanted to be a mother.
- Managing work travel and an intense work schedule with parenting.
- How to hire great people and how to build great teams.
- What to do when you have underperformers on your team, or people who have outgrown a role.
SOME QUOTES FROM THE EPISODE:
- “The big ‘aha’ I had was that this theory disruption, which we were applying to products, also applies to people.”
- “I was fortunate It was easy to get pregnant. But once we had a child, it was lovely, but I felt incredibly incompetent as a mother. At the same time, when he was born, for the first time in my life I felt more ‘me’ than ever.”
- On choosing the narratives about pregnant women in the workplace: “Instead of saying ‘Oh, I’m pregnant; I’m embarrassed; this is going to be awful,’ saying ‘I’m going to have a baby. I’m confident that as I go through this crash course and masterclass of having a child, I’m going to be a much better contributor and manager.”
- “We undervalue our superpowers, which come naturally. We think, ‘How could that possibly be valuable? But it’s like breathing. The ability to breathe isn’t valuable until you can’t breathe.”
The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #105
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHITNEY JOHNSON
Whitney Johnson, is an innovation and disruption theorist, executive and performance coach, and one of the world’s leading management thinkers, according to Thinkers50.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
The Disruption Diagnostic evaluates where you are in your career trajectory and gives you actionable insights to get to the next level.
EPISODE SPONSOR & SPECIAL OFFER
One of the biggest challenges we face in business is developing focus, figuring out how to do less and gaining clarity around what’s really important. I have developed a three-step process that helps me simplify and make decisions about when to say no. Get the free guide at https://startuppregnant.com/stop.
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