Women In Wellness: Michaela Renee Johnson of ‘Be You Find Happy’ On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
An Interview With Candice Georgiadis
…Pay compliments. There’s no faster way to fill up your personal bucket than to spread kindness to others.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michaela Renee Johnson.
Michaela Renee Johnson is a best-selling author, licensed psychotherapist, and host of the top iTunes podcast, Be You Find Happy which encourages people to speak their truth with grace and live a courageous life of authenticity. Her initiative, Be You Find Happy, holds workshops and conversations on finding happiness in spite of life’s setbacks and has landed her speaking opportunities across the nation.
She is an avid adventurer and aviator having traveled to over 20 countries. She always has a book and a journal within arms-reach and has a soft spot for inspiring quotes. She is an endless horizon lover who lives in Northern California where she hikes, kayaks, and spends time in her garden while continuing to work toward a sustainable life with her family and farm full of animals.
Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism Communications, Master’s of Arts in Psychology. California State Licensed Psychotherapist #90280.
Connect with her at www.MichaelaRenee.com
On Instagram @MichaelaReneeJ
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I was raised in a 27 foot fifth wheel with no electricity and no running water, before hashtag vanlife was a cool thing. This experience let me to find a way to tap into resiliency at a very young age.
It became evident to me what sets people apart are the ones who can dig deep into their resilient nature in spite of life’s setbacks. That’s the thing about humans, we are quite literally hard wired to solve problems. Humans thrive when they are uncomfortable and the greatest inventions blossom in this space. Here’s the really enlightening thing about failure, one person’s failure is another person’s success and failure is in the eye of the beholder.
My parents never saw living the way we did as a failure; they saw it as a fresh start to building a better life.
When you come upon opportunity in life, know that it is okay to try, and even better to fail when you worked passionately and endlessly on reaching your dreams and goals. The grit that you experience in your most trying times is what builds your resiliency as you continue in life. On the precipice of every perceived failure is the view to your biggest successes in life. Rarely do we make the changes we need to make, the ones that advance us the most when we are comfortable. Don’t spend your life working toward one thing, embrace the journey, lavish in the experiences, relish in the failures, be grateful for opportunity and by all means, cheer your successes.
After hundreds of hours earning a master’s degree in psychology, and hundreds of hours learning to be a psychotherapist, which included getting counseling of my own, I thought I fully understood the inner workings of the human mind. I already knew from my upbringing that resiliency and grit were the key ingredients to helping people move through grief, loss, anger and a slew of labels like anxiety, depression, PTSD. I also believed that it was my mission to “help people gain the clarity they need to live their best life” something I touted on my online profile from 2011. But I quickly began to realize a critical component was missing. It wasn’t enough to say happiness is a constant reset, and that you need to be resilient and bounce back quickly in spite of life’s setbacks, it wasn’t enough to say living with clarity would help you show up more authentically in your life and experience more happiness. Something was missing.
Brene Brown’s TedTalk The Power of Vulnerability came out when I was interning as a therapist. Over the years I’ve directed hundreds of people via my counseling couch and the podcast to her youtube to learn being vulnerable, and living a courageous, daring life, to move forward and let go of shame. And I wholeheartedly agreed with all of that.
But it wasn’t enough. I started to realize something was missing. I realized that it didn’t matter how much clarity people had, or how authentically they showed up, or how much grit and resiliency they through at tough situations, people needed to BE THEMSELVES. They needed to be able to show up in whatever way they looked that day and be okay with that. I needed to learn a little something about this too.
This is when I realized the key to a happy life, is speaking your truth with grace. Too often in our lives we answer a question with how we think other people want us to respond. Too often we make decisions in our lives that don’t align or connect with our inner truth. We are living authentically for everyone else and the seeds of resentment start to blossom. A life well lived is one where we can show up as we are, and share that with the world, unapologetically.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I think there are many things in hindsight that became lessons or experiences, but I think the bigger issue was a mindset adjustment.
There was a time I wrongly believed that I could achieve happiness via peace and contentment, that by being me, gracefully I would epitomize calm and create a life of ease. The trouble is, we are human. We are going to misstep, we are going to feel irrational emotions, we are going to show up in less than kind ways, we are going to prioritize the wrong thing and make decisions that in hindsight were dangerous, toxic or without certain considerations. That is okay. It’s okay to be an ever learner. It’s okay to be human. The journey of becoming means acceptance of the good with the bad. It’s our obligation to circle back, make amends and speak our truth with grace.
It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I realized all of the wild and crazy things I’d attempted, started and dead-end roads I’d traversed down, only to find myself turning back or taking a side cut had lead me to where I am now, best-selling author, host of a top iTunes podcast and successful psychotherapist. If I were to hit pause on the replay of my life I can see my anguish when something negative happened, it hurt, it didn’t feel good, it was hard, but now, they are so clearly what helped catapult me to the next place. It’s not as if they all worked out beautifully and my failures were swept up in a dust pan, sometimes it was overcoming the failure itself that lead to the discovery, sometimes it was seeing someone else succeed at what I’d failed to do, or given up on. But with 20/20 vision on the past, it wasn’t any one thing; it was every one thing that lead me to where I am now. I know that each day moving forward the same will be true, it makes it easier to accept the space I’m in, sit with it, learn from it and show up with gratitude when it’s in hindsight.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
There is a big push for transparency and authenticity, which I wholeheartedly support. That said, I’ve learned that not everyone needs access to you. As someone who wrote a memoir early on, many people had access to an inside part of my life. From that experience I learned that it is important to keep things private, and/or more intimate and protected.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
My new book, a Growth Tools workbook is due out Fall of 2022. I help the world via my psychotherapy practice, podcast and books. I feel that I’ve learned as much about myself and my world as I have helping others.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Have gratitude. I think the number one thing that people can do is find a space of gratefulness, it’s an immediate way to change your outlook.
Pay compliments. There’s no faster way to fill up your personal bucket than to spread kindness to others.
Reserve the right to change your mind. Don’t be so stuck in your ways that you can’t consider other perspectives.
Learn something new. Stagnation leads to an unstimulated mind, and idle mind is the devil’s playground to steal a popular adage.
Let it go. Figure out what’s within your control in situations, and learn how to let the rest go.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’d love to see a penpal movement. I think there are national tragedies whereby people rally behind each other in the moment, but time passes and people move onto the next thing and people are left behind, not checked back in on. I think having a movement like that would have a really profound impact on the world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
Your failures lead to your successes.
Discomfort leads to change
You are not the things that happen to you, but the way you respond defines you
Grit & Resiliency directly correlate to happiness.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Our mental health directly affects our ability to handle setbacks in life, create the life of our dreams and continue our growth.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!