Introversion is more about Energy than the way you show up! This week we welcome Speaker, Comedian, 4-time author, and Networking Expert for Introverts, Mahlena-Rae Johnson. Listen in as Mahlena-Rae shares her story of how witnessing people scared to network despite their success inspired her to start a career helping others overcome their fear. She explains her shift in how she defines success, focusing more on living a life that makes her happy.
About the Guest:
Speaker, comedian, and 4-time author Mahlena-Rae Johnson is a Networking Expert for Introverts. She has been featured on CBC Kids, The Great Canadian Woman Podcast, BusinessBecause, and more.
Mahlena on Instagram:
Mahlena on LinkedIn:
About the Hosts:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. As a pioneer in the industry, she brings more than a decade of experience to her clients, which includes global wellness, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. Blair has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, and more. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including CBC Radio, CEOWORLD Magazine, She Owns It, and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 best-selling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “I Am Resilient Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.
Theresa Lambert is a High-Performance Lifestyle and Success Coach, Speaker, and Bestselling Author of “Achieve with Grace: A guide to elegance and effectiveness in intense workplaces. She founded her coaching and consulting firm, Theresa Lambert Coaching & Consulting Inc., to help ambitious women succeed with more elegance and less struggle so they can lead with focus and nourish themselves to the top. Drawing from her nearly 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and most recently her 6-year tenure as the General Manager of Nita Lake Lodge she brings both a real world view and proven applicable tools to support her clients. Theresa has been recognized as a business leader in Whistler’s Profiles of Excellence, featured in Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, Hotelier Magazine, and Beyourown, and spoken at Women in Hospitality Leadership events, including Empower Her. Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, Theresa now lives in Whistler, BC where you can most often find her on the golf course in the summer months or relaxing by a fireplace in winter.
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Ever wonder what success actually means? How do you get it? And how do you keep it?Theresa Lambert:
We all want it yet sometimes it feels only some of us get to have it.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
Hi, Teresa Blair here. We are two badass entrepreneurs, bestselling authors, coaches and business mentors, who have had success filled success, questioned our own success and reclaimed it. Let's be real for a hot minute. 2020 has been a roller coaster ride, and many of us have started to wonder if they'll lose the things that made them successful. So we got curious, Ron real about what success is truly about?Theresa Lambert:
Can you put it in a box?Blair Kaplan-Venables:
How can you get it?Theresa Lambert:
Can people take it away? Or are you the one with the power?Blair Kaplan-Venables:
Does it mean the same to all of us? Or are we the ones that create it?Theresa Lambert:
From PGA golf bros to doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs and spiritual mentors, we get together to meet with successful people from around the globe to dissect success for vibrant conversations and interviews. Make sure you click the subscribe button on the app store because each week we will drop a new episode to bust through the myths around success and dissect its true meaning. Who's ready for the most badass and massive uplevel in their business? It is back what's back momentum land Teresa's signature six month business and mentorship accelerator is now open for enrollmentBlair Kaplan-Venables:
10 entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to join us exclusive experience that kicks off December 15. This VIP program includes two to one coaching, monthly masterminds and training sessions plus unlimited access to get your questions answered in real time.Theresa Lambert:
Imagine where you can take your business and the six months that we will work together,Blair Kaplan-Venables:
ready to give your business the momentum you desire. Head to Teresa Lambert coaching comm backslash momentum to secure your coveted spot. Welcome back, got another episode of dissecting success. And we are here with someone who I cannot wait to talk to. I just met her recently and what she talks about her expert topics to me are extremely fascinating. We have Milena Ray Johnson. She's a speaker, comedian, and for time author. She's a networking expert for introverts. She's been featured on CBC kids, the great Canadian woman podcast business because and more and I am so excited because I wonder how she got into networking as an introvert or even if she is an introvert. So welcome to our show.Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
Thank you for having me, Blair and Teresa. So yes, I am an introvert I'm an INTJ and I have haven't really identified as an introvert all my life it was just something I'm like, yeah, this is who I am. I don't need necessarily need to be out and about with people all the time. I like getting my energy from being by myself, which I fully embrace the older I got. And the way that I got into a specifically the subject of networking for introverts is that I spent a lot of time before business school, but especially during business school, having to network so I went to the University of Southern California. For my MBA, I focused on marketing, entertainment and entrepreneurship. And in our class, our specific school the focus for us was career community and class and none of the three C's was more important than the other. So it wasn't just academically focused or career focused or community focused, we had to use all those three together. The difficult part for some people was not really getting, getting how networking works. And a lot of a lot of stuff is put on to networking without actually looking at it. Like people have very different networks and has very different opportunities. So I knew that I I'm someone who's focused on getting what I want. And as they grew up, you know, as a grown up bad, but more so now. I have found that there are successful business owners who I have been in groups with who state that they want to network and there they are, like I don't know how I'm an introvert people scare me. So I decided in 2019 that I'd figure out some way to help them and then just kept going from there and now it's 2021 and I'm still going and still figuring it out.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
I love it. Okay, so With that explanation, I am super curious to know what does success mean to you?Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
Well, success for me has shifted over various years, I hadn't been something I thought about as a child, it was more like we do things. And then other things happen and there was a path. But that changes a lot once you get out of school, and you have to make your own path of, of milestones. So a lot of my milestones were focused on career and, and finding success in your job. And when that didn't happen. For me, especially after business school as I graduated in 2010, during a recession, I felt like, well, something's wrong with me, because I'm not successful, like I'm supposed to be. And now that I'm in 2021, the end seeing the effects of the global pandemic, affecting everyone's perspective on what they should be doing with their lives and their time and their energy. successes really shifted for me into finding joy, and what makes what adds joy into my life. And some of that would have come from the career success that I thought I wanted, and totally deserved, but didn't get. But now success for me is more about living a life that makes me happy, and in a definitely want to be a financially successful person. But there's more to it than that. It's the cost benefit factor. So right now I feel like I am successful, especially with how I am making sure that our family is healthy, because our family is all healthy, even though it's a pandemic. I love that,Theresa Lambert:
thank you so much for sharing that. I think that what we have found specifically, you know, for our own conversations we had about success, but specifically as we have spoken with so many different diverse guests, from all walks of life from all over the globe, all different age ranges to which is I think, always such a big part of it was that for so many of us, you know, we grew up with this idea that success is found for this achievement in our Korea for the the you know, stars we can hang on our wall or the trophies we put on the shelf. So you know, all the things that we can do from the outside perspective, well, right, like, do you have a home? Do you have a career? Do you have a title? Do you have money in your bank account, like you can sort of go all these external things, but this journey, that so many, now, I will say incredibly successful people, including yourself have gone through this shift because at one point or another, we've, we've realized that what comes from the inside, that joy, that happiness, being actually able to do something that feels purposely aligned with who we are. And that fulfills us on such a greater level, right? Like that joy that it brings us to, you know, for you to help people successful people that are introverts to actually write, to be able to make that a job to write books, to share this beautiful message. doing that, and then as a result of that, actually having that outer world success, right, that I think is so remarkable, because it's like we flip it on its head. And it actually still works, right? So we get to re write the story for ourselves to say, you know what, my success is about living this happy life and finding joy and doing things that are joyful, and having a healthy family and having a healthy body myself, right and choosing what really lights me up. And then as a result of that, we still get to create the financial success that we desire in our life. And that, you know, just, I mean, it kind of gives me goosebumps, because I think that that is such a new beautiful way we get to be now and every single time somebody changes the story, it's like this door opens that we can walk through and say wow, you know, she that so I can do it too.Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
Yes. That is quite insightful TheresaTheresa Lambert:
This is what happened.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
I got some question. Oh, okay, Hi, I'm an extrovert. So like, walk me through what it's like to network as an introvert, like, what are some of the feelings you have? Or, you know, for me, it's like a networking event. I'm so excited. And I get my business like in person to be like business cards and plan my outfit, and I can't wait to get there. And I get there early. And I try and talk to everyone and make connections. And now that it's online stuff, same thing I show up, I dm people and look people up on social media, people who are fascinating I connect with, I am probably the opposite of an introvert. And so what is it like as an introvert, like me, when people are listening, they're not even sure if they're an introvert, like, how do you know if you're an introvert? What are those tips to navigate a networking situation?Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
introversion is more about energy than the way you show up. So for instance, especially in business school, but also, this has happened to me in a in meeting new people online, through zoom, and through other video chats. People think that introversion is about how people appear to them. And if they're talking to people, or if they're reserved, or if they the way that they approach other people determines your introversion or extroversion. But for me, I'm very determined person, I'm an ambitious introvert. So I know what needs to be done because my drive over ride the fear that I might allow myself to have the the energy that you have within yourself determines your introversion or extroversion. So if you're someone who, who, for instance, in March, when you heard that lock downs were happening across the world, and that meant that you couldn't see people in person. And your first thought was, how am I going to connect with anybody ever again, Africa to be able to, to to be happy, because all of my connecting points are gone, then you're probably an extrovert, because you need that energy from other people, especially physically in the room. Whereas extroverts are, whereas introverts like me, not all of us, but some of us, okay, we have to stay indoors for an known amount of time, that's going to be weird. But that also means that there's no pressure for me to have to go to places and do things with people to justify my, to justify my existence on this planet, there's no need for me to, there's there's no way for me to continue going to in person networking events, because that is a hazard. And that means that other stuff will happen. And that will be fine. And I'll have a lot more time to just sit and think quietly. And that will be let me renew my energy. And it has there has been a definite, there's been a definite split among people that I've seen, not just introverts and extroverts, but people who are accepting the change and people who are fighting against it. The the benefit for introverts during this period is that you can't, it is more acceptable now, for you to stay at home and connect with people online. And you could go next door if you know your neighbors and talk to them, if they're in your bubble, or if you've all been vaccinated. But the possibilities for connecting with people very deeply and very strategically, online are much more available now and acceptable now than two years ago. Because people get because what I don't think extroverts sometimes understand is that we might be as introverts making the same type and number of strong connections. If we do it in a way that works for us, then if we try to get to all the people in every way all the time and burn ourselves out. So the it may, it may be fun for extroverts to talk to, let's say 20 people in a room and a night. And it may make more sense for introverts to talk to only three people in that room that night. But at the end of that night, they're probably still going to get the same amount of work done. They'll have three connections or maybe even two connections that will move them forward. Whereas the extrovert then has to spend the time organizing those 20 connections and seeing who are even these people I don't know why you actually want to talk to them, or did I just like their shirt.Theresa Lambert:
So interesting. I find that really interesting. I've always considered myself an introverted extrovert. I I need to like prepare to go out and I recharge when I come in. But most people just naturally assume that I'm an extrovert, which is really interesting. And I think it's just a perception that people get, which I think is just driven by when I show up, I show up with my energy. And so it was really interesting that you said that introversion is about energy. But what got me very curious is how this is a different feeling on the screen. I hadn't really thought about this. Because it just all of a sudden happened. And I was already utilizing meetings like this before, so it didn't seem like the odd change. But certainly networking virtually was a completely new concept to me. And I actually felt like, I remember when I came to that fast virtual network meeting that Blair had invited me to, and I was terrified to see why. And I like usually don't really have a problem speaking or introducing myself and I was like shaking in my boots. So it was interesting that when you were just speaking, it almost seemed like this offered less frightening, I don't know if that's the right word or less intimidating, I should say, not frightening or less intimidating. base for introverts to connect. So maybe you can speak a little bit more about just a different feeling that you've experienced, and maybe your clients experience virtually versus in person, because I find in person way less intimidating than the screen.Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
Yes, there are differences that ay ay ay, ay. There was no culture that was talked about on a mainstream basis about how people connect online, and even then show that I watch, like Grey's Anatomy, there is this complete contempt for the concept of meeting someone online, it's usually in, in reference to dating, like, I can't believe that you would date someone online. And I'm like, I, you wrote this story in 2012. And I met my husband who I, I married my husband in 2011, who I met online in 2010. So it there's a, there's a need for people to catch up with what is actually happening in certain spaces, because the people who project media aren't necessarily like, on it, like they are in the world, like most people are, to be able to talk about trends and phenomenon. So the there's a for me the in, in person versus versus in person versus online. Networking is like comparing pizza and tacos. I like both pizza and tacos, they're both great, and you don't have to stop eating pizza, if you start eating tacos, they're both a meal. They both originate from different places, but they're both going to make you full. And they're going to do it in different ways. So you don't need to worry about whether you can replicate the in person experience virtually because that's not what it's there for. And some people are are fresh, still frustrated about how I I wish that they're still focusing on I hope that we can meet in person someday and I'm like, that might not happen. And that's okay. Some of the the people that I have been, I have had the strongest connections with and also have done the biggest projects with over the past year. I have I hadn't met before last year. And I have still never met them in person. But there are people who who are very close to me and and know about my life and have supported me in different projects. And we've never met in person. There are other people I have met in person who are great, but I can't, I can't be everywhere at once. I can't be in multiple countries at the same time. So there the benefit of networking virtually is that you can meet anyone, anywhere who has an internet connection, and you don't have to spend the the time or resources driving downtown driving to a rural city or rural town. You don't have to take a plane to another country or continent. You can get what you need from that person and build that connection in a different way than if you were meeting them in person because first of all, you can meet them and second on You have more, you have a different way to connect with them. So, for instance, I do a lot of zoom meetings just because that's what they that's what I do. And people are so sometimes people are so focused on whether you have your camera on or off that they don't look at the chat box and and see that people are connecting to the chat box, and actually forming relationships there. And I've met people through there and done, essentially business partnerships with them. And I've never met them, and they and I probably won't meet them in person, but I would like to, and and, yeah, there's just there's benefits that I think people can take advantage of, during this time of uncertainty instead of lamenting what they don't have right now.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
That's so beautiful. And I totally agree with that. It's interesting listening to you talk about energy. I was reading Amy Schumer's book and she's saying that she's an introvert isn't an extroverted introvert. And so I said to my sister on vacation years ago, Alana I think I'm an extrovert or an introvert and she's like, no way you're an extrovert, an extrovert. And even in my wedding speech, she made a speech about how I tried to convince her I was an introvert. But the energy concept is so important, because you know what, I am someone who thrives off the buzz of a room. But what I really learned with the world staying safe at home, was that I loved not having anywhere to go, I loved saving time and money on travel and commuting. I love not having to see tons of people. And I found just as much value showing up online and chatting in the chat box. And in the beginning, my concern what my big issue wasn't like, Oh, no, how am I going to connect it was thank God, I need a break, I need a break. And I think a lot of people felt that way. And so maybe there are a lot of people out there who think they're extroverts, but they do have this level of introversion is that a word introversion extroversion, we have this level of introversion, you know, in us, and maybe it's like a scale, like I, I really like being home. And maybe a lot of that has to do with like, I am sober, like I stopped drinking years ago. So like, I don't mind going to like a wine and cheese. But like, after everyone has had two drinks, I leave, you know, and so for me, I like spending time with people, maybe one on one or in small groups and doing things like camping or hiking and business, I'd rather have the one on one meeting. But what I really learned was, I love the screentime, I love the going to virtual events and being able to turn my camera off and chat in the chat box, or shut my computer and go hang out with my cats, or hang out with my cat while networking, or am I wearing pants, you'll never know. And so it's just interesting. So one, I just want to say that like, I think you're confirming that I do have part of I'm part I'm part introvert. But too, you know, I think people do need to stop looking at all the things that are missing out and like embracing the things that are here, because this is the new way of the world for now. And we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. But we know what tools we have access to now. And I would love to know like if you had one like the most important tip to give an introverted person who's going to go network maybe for the first time at a virtual that maybe they're going to a conference, they know they need to grow their network, they've never networked online or ever. What is that one tip that you tell every introverted person who's about to go network?Mahlena-Rae Johnson:
Well, I will answer your question first. And then I have a comment on what you said. So the first, the first thing I'd say to either introverts or extroverts is to plan. If you know about the event that you're going to attend, learn as much as you can about it from the information that is given and see if there are other people who plan to attend that event. And then connect with them and say, say I'm excited to attend this event to or posted somewhere saying it especially since it's virtual, you're not going out. So this is it's a safer than you to actually let people know what you're doing. Let people know that you're going to this event and and start buzz around that. So it makes it feels like maybe you know one or two people who are going and it's going to make it easier for you whether you're introverted or extroverted. And then with what Claire was saying about, maybe you like hanging out at home. I have had some time to think about how capitalism affects all of what we do in general. And I have focused more on why is this event happening and or why am Why am I doing what I'm doing and norms and standards and especially at events that are networking events, there is a lot of alcohol available on allegedly it's supposed to help people loosen up and and Be able to connect with people better but that is also something to think about if you're sober person so and also if you have to pay for the event is the event necessarily set up in a way that is conducive for you to meet the people that you need to meet or is it set up in a way that is financially feasible for the for the organization putting on the event. So there are a lot of things that you that we now have the time to think about. Like why was I spending so much time picking out the right close to go to the event and there are times I picked out a specific sweater that I liked so that it gave off the right feeling and now I wear the same seven t shirts over and over for my for my my different zoom meetings and eventually the people that I see every week are gonna see all of them but it's a it's a jumping off point that is equally as lovely as my dog or or bear sweaters that I used to wear. So for people who are who are having the time to sit and think about whether they're an introvert or an extrovert I would ask you to think more deeply about why you did the things that you did in the before times and why you are choosing to do the things you're doing now instead of focusing on a label focus on what works for you and whyTheresa Lambert:
I love that thank you so much for sharing that and I think sometimes taking ourselves outside the box so most of the time for me personally at least a second I take myself out of the box and feel think about things more on an open wider vision you know way I find way more answers and something that came through when you set that like why we were doing the things and why we're doing them the way we do them now I'm a big believer in energy and our energy matters greatly to how we impact ourselves and the people around us and so I do spend a lot of time in my life as of late thinking about you know what are the things that give me energy and what are the things that don't and I for one like Blair was very I had no problem with the like locked down finger at the beginning or like the fact that there wasn't a lot of events and I was really like it's kind of nice not to have to go to all these things and it really hit home for me i mean i also transitioned Korea's I left my hotel GM Korea which is a very social always around people job So usually when I would get home I I would just be like I don't want to be around people anymore. I've been around enough people but Christmas rolled around and as you were sharing that I remember that Christmas 2020 and I just couldn't help it to think as like you know I don't miss running from one Christmas party and networking thing to the next like every like I mean there'll be like three to four events to go to a week leading up to Christmas and like it was intense and not having that happen was kind of nice and then of course you know there there was also that that whole thing on like well that was nice aspect of it so I love the suggestion of thinking what you know what worked for you Why did it work for you before what why you doing what you're doing now and on what's working for you. Now I think that's such a beautiful way of looking at it. And all of that just having our you know, listeners also tune in and being like, I can be an introverted extrovert and extroverted extrovert and an introvert and extrovert, it doesn't really matter. Choose what feels good.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
So I'm fascinated by what you have to say. And I'm sure listeners are too. So how do people work with you? Like how how can people get a hold of you? How can people work with you? Let's dive into that. Well, rightMahlena-Rae Johnson:
now I am focused on my b2b offering. So I help media companies specifically in the US and Canada who want to increase employee engagement and reduce employee turnover. So if that sounds like you, or it sounds like your company has that need, then definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn. And in as as I will let everyone know who I am. My name is Milena Ray Johnson. If you type in the first part of my first name, ma h le na in Google, you'll find everything about me. So go to LinkedIn and type in Molina. I will pop up if you are not necessarily some Who's like I want to bring this to my HR representative and you're like, I want to work on my introversion more private basis, then you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Then also available on Instagram. So again, type in Molina into Google, I should pop up and follow me on LinkedIn or on Instagram, and I will be happy to connect with you.Blair Kaplan-Venables:
Amazing, and we'll drop all your details in the show notes. Thank you again for tuning in to another episode of dissecting success. Molina Ray Johnson, it's been phenomenal. Thank you. And without further ado,Theresa Lambert:
peace. That's a wrap for another episode of dissecting success. enjoyed this episode. Make sure to subscribe to blackout on Venables and Teresa Lambert's podcast dissecting success on the App Store.