255: Stepping into the Unknown with Whitney Johnson | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Whitney Johnson podcast interview on The Intentional Advantage
January 25, 2022   |   Episode #:

255: Stepping into the Unknown with Whitney Johnson

In This Episode:

Today’s guest, Whitney Johnson, says We have a deep bellied hunger for growth. As humans, we are constantly changing, evolving and growing, but growth can be daunting–maybe even terrifying. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone and into something new. What if you had a map to help you navigate the unknown?

In this episode, we’ll be sharing a map for growth to help you know where you are and feel emboldened to know where you go next. Today’s episode will help you feel more confident about stepping in a new direction.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Growth happens outside of your comfort zone.

Questions I Answer

  • How do I know if an opportunity is right for me?
  • How can I make better decisions?
  • What’s the best way to make sure I’m growing?
  • The one thing you should definitely do when you are growing

Actions to Take

  • Think about the S-Curves of your own life. How many have you had? (Hint: you’ve had more than 2!)
  • Knowing about your past S-Curves can help you move forward and continue to grow… in thinking about your old S Curves, what did you learn? How will that help you in moving forward?

Key Moments in the Show

[03:54] Why people need disruption to grow

[06:44] Walkthrough of the S-Curve of Growth

[11:37] How you gather a portfolio of S-Curves in your own life

[14:58] Why we sometimes get “pushed out” of our comfort zone by the universe

[16:40] Key questions to ask yourself to see if an opportunity is right for you

[21:16] How to make decisions even if you don’t know your Why

[24:58] The stage of growth that (finally!) feels fast and easy

[28:02] The most important thing to have for growth to continue

[31:34] What mastery really looks like

[34:00] The one thing you should definitely do when you are growing

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Extraordinary is a choice. Take that in, soak it up because of the hustle grind, repeat mantra that society has been touting for decades. It had it all wrong. I’m Tanya Dalton. I’m a seven figure entrepreneur best-selling author speaker, mom, and rule-breaker I’m here to help you live to your fullest potential. That’s what this podcast is all about. The Intentional advantage is doing life on our own terms.


Define the status quo and seeing ourselves outside of the tidy definition. Society’s name for us. It’s intentionally choosing to step back away from the chaotic rush of your every day and choosing, choosing to see that it’s your world. And it’s filled with opportunities. Let’s challenge the bedrock beliefs that so many have wholeheartedly trusted because we were told they were truths. Let’s have a healthy disregard for the impossible.


Let’s choose to be extraordinary. Hello Hello, and welcome to the Intentional advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. This is episode 255. We are well into our season on talking about on purpose. And we’ve talked about goal setting. We’ve talked about what that looks like to live on purpose. What I want to dive into today is this idea of growth and not just growth,


but smart growth. You know, when we started thinking about this season and the flow of how these episodes were going to go, I knew it was important to talk about growth because growth is uncomfortable. Growth has a lot of discomfort that’s attached to it because it’s easier just to stay wherever we are and not stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone, which is called a comfort zone for a reason.


Because when we get out of it, it’s uncomfortable, it feels disruptive. Doesn’t it. And so I knew I wanted to talk about what that looks like to really step into growth, to choose growth. Everything is a choice. If you’ve read my book, you know that every chapter is a choice in the book and growth is a choice choosing to grow,


choosing to step out of your comfort zone. So when I decided that I wanted to talk about growth, I knew I needed to have Whitney Johnson on the show. Whitney Johnson is a wonderful friend of mine who is incredibly smart, incredibly amazing. You heard me on her podcast just a few weeks ago, episode, I think it was 252 where I shared with you.


The episode that I was on on her podcast called disrupt yourself. But I wanted to have her on the show as well, because I wanted you to hear how she talks about what she calls the S curve of learning. Now, if you’re not familiar with Whitney Johnson, she is the CEO of disruption, advisors, she’s of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world.


She was named that by thinkers, 50, she’s also an expert at helping leaders grow their people to grow the organization. She’s an award-winning author, a world-class keynote speaker and a frequent lecturer for the Harvard business. School’s corporate learning. She’s also an executive coach and advisor for CEOs. She has an amazing model for what growth looks like, which I know is going to empower you.


She talks about it in her newest book called smart growth, which is what I want to talk about today. So I could talk to you about the Esker, but I think Whitney is better at doing that since it’s her model. So let’s go ahead and dive in to today’s episode Whitney. I’m so excited to have you on the show today, you host a fabulous podcast called disrupt yourself.


We actually just did a replay of your interview of me a few weeks back. And you say that disruption, isn’t just about products. It’s about people. I love that, that whole idea, that disruption is something that we want, something that we really need to create personal growth. Tell me a little bit more about that. Yeah. Well, first of all,


it was really fun having you on the podcast after we finished up, our producers said, wow, she is fantastic. So thank you again for being With you. So that Was great. All right. So disruption, it’s a term that we hear a lot. We think about, you know, don’t be disruptive in school, et cetera, but I’m using it as a term of art in a specific context.


And the background here is that I worked with Clayton Christianson at the Harvard business school where he he’s the father of disruptive innovation. He wrote a book called the innovator’s dilemma. And what he said is that a silly little thing can take over the world. Like the telephone can take over the Telegraph. Like the automobile can append the horse and buggy, Netflix disrupted blockbuster,


Uber disrupted caps. And that is something that we used as we were thinking about our investing. We would, you don’t go long Netflix, short blockbuster. And so thinking about this notion of disruptive innovation as we did this, and we were investing, I found myself thinking this isn’t just about products. This isn’t just about services. It actually also applies to people that we,


as individuals can disrupt ourselves. The big difference though, with personal disruption is that with personal disruption, we’re the telephone and the Telegraph where the automobile and the horse and buggy were the silly little thing and retake over the world because you are disrupting you. And so when you disrupt yourself, you’re effectively stepping back from who you are today to Slingshot Like that,


stepping out of who you are today, and slingshotting into who you are, who you want to be. I love that because I think we do need disruption. And I think, you know, especially as women we’re told not to be disruptive, right? We’re told like, oh, play by the rules, play nice, be good. All those things,


especially growing up in an in school. So this idea of disruption in our lives can feel a little bit scary, but it’s, it’s basically changing, evolving, growing, right? And, and that’s what I love about this newest book that you come out with smart growth. It’s really about that. Every new skill that you learn, every challenge you face,


there’s this S curve that we go through. And what I love about this is it takes that idea of disruption, which can be a little bit unsettling, a little bit like Ooh, shaky in your foundation. And it can explain that process that feels simple and easier. Right? Can, can you walk us through what the S curve is? Yeah.


So one of the big ahas that I had as I had after I’d written disrupt yourself was well, there was, that was my first big aha. My second big aha. When we were investing is that we were using this S curve on that was popularized by the sociologist Rodgers 60, 70 years ago, to help us figure out how quickly an innovation would be adopted at the base of the S that growth is slow.


So if everybody who’s listening, if you want to actually take your finger and draw from the left to the right, you’ll have left to the right. That’s the bottom of the S and growth is very slow. It’s what we consider the launch point. But then you would move into the steep, sleek back of that curve, which is a sweet spot.


And then you would get into the top of that curve and you move from left to right again, flattening it out. And that becomes that place of mastery. And, and as we were using this S curve to invest in trying to figure out how quickly innovations are going to be adopted the slow, the fast and the slow. I had another insight,


which was this S curve can help us understand how people learn, how we grow, how we develop. And so every time we start something new, start a new job, start a new book, start a podcast, start anything. We now know that we’re at the launch point of that S and growth will initially be slow. But then as you put in the effort,


you’re going to accelerate into competence and confidence. And this becomes that steep part of the curve or the sweet spot where growth will be and feel fast. And then you approach the top of that curve, where you figure things out. You’re very good at what you’re doing. You’re in mastery. And so growth now slows. And so, as I said,


slow, and then fast, and then slow is how you grow super easy way to remember it. But this becomes a model for people to think about that process of growth that we all want to undergo and all along the curve, we’re doing these micro disruptions in order to accelerate up that curve. And when we get to the top of the curve, we disrupt ourselves by jumping to the bottom of a new curve so that we can continually make progress.


Because I believe that growth is our default setting. We want to grow. We long to grow. There’s this deep belly hunger to grow. And when you have the snap, it makes it easier. The belly to hunger, I think there is. And that that’s one of the things I think is really powerful. It’s not one single S-curve in our life.


It’s a series of these S-curves right, where it’s one after the next we’re, we’re continually evolving and changing and growing. Can you, I know you give several examples in the book of what that looks like. Can you give an example here for my listeners? What does that look like as you, you finished one S-curve and you get into the next S curve,


what would that look like? Yeah. I think that since we’re in a very first chapter, we, I give an example, but if it’s, but it’s of a man, so I I’ll use my own life to do that. And then as I’m sharing my own life, then I hope that everybody who’s listening will be thinking about, well, what does that look like for me?


So, so if you think about this notion of an S-curve, first of all, and for everybody listening. So you’re in high school, you’re at the bottom of an S your first year in high school. And then you get to the top of that S and then you finish after four years or to the top, and then you graduate and you jumped to the bottom of a new S curve.


Maybe you go into the workforce, maybe you go to college, maybe you get married and start having children, whatever you, or maybe you do all three, but you’re at the bottom of a brand new S-curve in my career specifically, I went to college. And so I went, I started in college and then I got to the top of that S curve.


And I graduated from university. And then I went to New York and I was at the bottom of an S curve as a secretary, figuring out what I was going to do, what I wanted to be in my career. After a couple of years, I had an opportunity where a boss believed in me, allowed me to jump to the bottom of another S curve of being on,


in an investment banking analyst of moving on to the professional track. And I did that for several years, and then my boss got fired. And so they probably would have fired me too, but I was pregnant. And so you don’t usually hire people who are pregnant with good, positive, good, good performance reviews. And so I was in this case,


pushed off and ask her, moved into equity research, which felt like a huge step back, turned out to be a career baker for me, did that for eight years, got to the top of the curve. This time I disrupted myself to become an entrepreneur. Co-founded a firm with Clayton Christianson, did that for about five to six, seven years,


and then decided I really wanted to chase down this idea of disruption, of these S-curves to write about it, to think about it, to coach around it, to build a business around it. And so that’s the S curve that I’m on right now. And as you are all listening, if you will think about your life and you’ll draw out that S drop that S you will see that your life is a series of S curves,


and you will also see that your life, as it stands today is a portfolio of S curves. You’re on an S curve in your career. You’re on an S curve, possibly as a parent, certainly on an S curve in your relationships, possibly with your hobbies. And if you want to drill down even further, every single day is an S curve with a launch point,


a spot and mastery. At the end of the day, I liked that this whole idea that these S-curves is portfolio of S-curves, it’s all this knowledge, all this skill, all this, all this expertise that we’re gathering together. I love that, that idea of looking back and seeing all these S-curves in your own life, because I think we forget about all the things we’ve been through,


all the things we’ve accomplished. We, we forget about it cause it’s in the past, but it’s really powerful to go back and take a good look at that. What I, what I really like about this model you’ve created here is that it makes it so it’s possible for us to pinpoint where we are in the growth process, which allows us to decide our next steps and that whole idea that it’s slow then fast and then slow again,


that really empowers us. It really allows us to understand that when we’re in that slow phase, we’re not going to be there forever. And I think that’s when people sometimes get a little bit, you know, oh, it’s tough. That launch point when you’re starting something new, what you call the launch point in the S curve. You know, you say that we,


we start with the Explorer stage, which is where you consider the destination and you use that word consider, I think very intentionally there, which I like you don’t say you choose the destination because sometimes the destination chooses you, but you said you got pushed off an S curve. So is there anything that happens that’s different when the S curve, when you’re kind of thrust into the Esker versus you choosing it?


Is there anything that happens, you know, psychologically or to us that’s different? Does it matter if we’re choosing that new S-curve or not? Yeah, I think it’s a great, it’s a great question, Tanya. I think at some level it does not matter because whether you get pushed onto a new S curve, which is something that’s happened as a consequence of the pandemic,


our life, our pre pandemic S curve of a life, and there’s the post pandemic S-curve of a life we all got pushed there. Sometimes we choose to jump to a new S curve. I think we have to still decide, am I going to stay here? Do I want to be here? What does this look like? What will the top of this S curve look like?


The one difference I would say is that when you’re willing to choose to disrupt yourself, when you’re willing to choose to jump to a new S curve, you can psychologically prepare yourself for it, which makes it somewhat easier. I am choosing to start a business. I am choosing to have children. I am choosing to do this. And so then when you’re very conscious about what is you’re choosing to do,


that makes it easier to go through this difficult and sort of challenging part of being at the launch point of the S curve, but it’s still uncomfortable regardless. I’m still uncomfortable. And I think that’s the big thing too, especially because that growth is slow. As you, you talk about in the book, it’s slow there at the beginning, it’s even more uncomfortable.


So sometimes we’ll shy away from it. And so sometimes that is why the destination chooses us. We get pushed on the Esker. Yeah. Right, right. Absolutely. I actually have this hypothesis and this might be true for some of the people that are listening, which is, you know, sometimes we say that we got pushed off an S curve.


And yet I believe that sometimes we get pushed off because we know it’s not the right Esker for us. And we, we know it, we can feel it, but, but we’re so afraid to jump to a new one. The inertia takes over that the universe then gives us a nudge and we end up exactly where we need to be. And I know I’ve,


I’ve lost a job. As I said to you, I got pushed, you know, from one part of the bank to another part of the bank. And yet it turned out to be the best thing that could happen to me. So I would really have people also who are listening, who say, you know, I got pushed off this S curve.


If you go back and really analyze and dissect it, you will likely find that it was not the right for you. And sometimes we need that push because we don’t want to step out of, into discomfort because we’re already comfortable in the discomfort that we’re in. Right. We become comfortable in our own discomfort, that whole idea of the slow growth of looking like we don’t know what we’re doing of trying something new can be a little bit daunting.


It can be a little bit, you know, scary because we wonder what people are going to think. So I think daunting, I think daunting is the polite word. I think terrifying is more like us. I was trying to be polite, but let’s just go for it here. It is. It’s terrifying at times because it feels like you’re jumping off a high dive into a tiny little pool and truly that’s where we want to be.


I love that whole idea of the deep belly hungered for growth, but we can be afraid of it. And that’s okay if you’re afraid of the growth, it’s okay to feel like I’m not sure if I really want to do this. You say there are a few key questions you can ask yourself to really see if this is the right S-curve for you.


Can you walk us through some of those questions we can ask ourselves? I think that that’s really powerful to understand it, to know. Absolutely. So there are seven key questions that I really encourage you to ask yourself whether you chose to be on this curve or not. So I think that’s really important as you can choose it, but you still want to ask yourself these questions.


So the first one I want you to consider is do I believe it’s achievable? Now, some of you might say, well, there’s things that are achievable that I don’t believe are achievable. And so, and I get that, but I still believe that there some element of ourselves that we, we believe it is we it’s sort of in the, you know,


in the, in the new Testament, in the scriptures, we talk about, you know, I believe therefore help thou mine unbelief this falls into that category of do I believe that I can believe that it’s attainable? And then how do I cross that bridge and doing that inner work or that mental work of reprogramming our subconscious mind to believe that it’s achievable.


But that’s the first question is, do I believe in the deepest part of myself, it’s actually something that I could achieve. So that’s the first thing. The second question that I encourage people to ask when you’re in this Explorer phases, is this something that’s really easy for you to test? For example, it’s a lot easier for me to test. Do I want to become a runner?


Because all I have to do is put on shoes and run for a minute and I can start testing that versus do I want to become a UFC fighter? That’s a lot harder for me going for a run in the rain. There’s a big difference. So, so if I do want to do a UFC fighter, like how could I test that in a very easy way?


So that’s the second thing is how can I test kind of if in business terms, what’s the minimum viable product for me? How can I test this in that way? The third question that I really want you to ask, if you’re thinking about growth, being your default setting, and you want to grow, is it familiar enough to be navigable? Meaning it doesn’t completely terrify you,


but is it novel enough that you can still grow? And so those are, there’s a balance, but the research would suggest that if you want it to be 85, percent-ish 85 to 95% familiar and 10%, five to 10% unfamiliar. So familiar industry you’ve been in business before, but you’re doing it with different people, you know, kind of thing,


where you’ve got some novelty, but enough familiar that your fight or flight, your flight response doesn’t trigger. So, so granted, when that you just run away, I think one other, two other questions there’s seven in total. But the two other that I would mention is does it fit with my identity and my identity of who I aspire to be?


So who do you aspire to be? One thing I remember when you talked on our podcast, Tanya, you talked about how you got a picture of yourself and you put it on a magazine cover and that wasn’t your identity at the time, but it was your identity of who you aspire to be at the same time. There may be people in your life that don’t see you as that person.


And so in order to change that identity, there’s going to be an emotional cost that you’ve got to incur in order to help other people around you see you differently as well. Definitely. So that’s does it fit your identity? And then the last thing that I would say is, does it align with your why, if you don’t know what your, why is exactly right now,


that’s okay. Read Tanya’s book because she talks about doing on purpose, but know that figuring out what your, why is. It’s almost like an onion that over time you will excavate and figure out what it is, but it’s something that’s that. But for today, based on what your, why is today, does it align with who you are? And again,


I keep using the deepest part of yourself because this really goes to those important questions and the deepest part of yourself. What animates you? Why are you here on this planet? And does this thing that you’re thinking about doing, I like that idea of your why today, because your why is going to change. Because again, we have multiple, S-curves multiple things that we take on in our lives and shifts and growth and all these things that happen.


Your why is going to evolve and grow with you. It’s not something that you set and forget when you’re 20 years old and that’s it for the rest of your life. So I liked that this notion of it’s not just your, why, it’s your why of today. I want us to really make sure that that’s a good point, that, that the listeners get that.


It’s okay. If you don’t know what the big, why is that’s all right. We can figure that out. Sometimes, like you said, it’s the peeling of the onion. You start to figure it out as you go, right? The path that I’m on, my why now is nothing I would have ever assumed I would be on when I was 20 years old,


or even when I was 30 years old. Do you remember what your, why was when you were 20 or 30, by any chance? Well, I wanted to be a teacher and I just really wanted to help kids. I wanted to help make an impact in kids’ lives. So in a way I still do teaching, right. I don’t have a classroom,


but this is my classroom, the podcast and the courses and all those things. So it’s, it’s a shifting, but it’s not a full, it’s familiar yet novel. I just say. Yeah, exactly. Right. And so in many respects, the why is intact. It’s just that the, how has shifted. And I think that’s, that’s something that’s quite lovely.


I think to dive a little bit deeper, to help people think through this as for a very long time, if you go back to my first book, dare dream. Do I talked about my, why was to, to not be stuck? I wanted to be unstuck. And if you think about that, if you’re really focusing on your words and what your words mean,


you don’t want to get out of debt. You want to build wealth. You don’t want to be stuck or unstuck. You want to, to be making progress. And so one of the things that you might find is what is your present? Why? But over time, it’s going to shift where I realized, well, my, why is I want to grow?


And I want to help other people grow. And so that’s what I mean when I say what it is today, because it’s likely that the seeds of what it is are there, it’s just that it’s going to, they’re going to be permutations and it’s going to manifest and how that all shows up is going to be different. Just like you said, you wanted to teach,


but how you’re teaching, it’s very different today than it was 10 or 15 years. Absolutely. I think that’s, that’s a wonderful, beautiful thing is we’re shifting and growing, which kind of brings us to that second phase of the S-curve getting to that sweet spot. I want to talk about the second phase, which is the faster phase in just a moment.


Let’s take a quick, take a quick minute episode break. In today’s episode, we’re talking all about smart growth. We’re talking about getting out of your comfort zone, thinking outside of the box, doing things differently. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast or reading my emails, you know, I’ve been doing something a little bit differently. I decided to step out of social media.


I made that choice to walk away from social media and I promised you, I would find ways for us to connect in even better ways, even deeper to really build our relationship. And so that’s what I’m going to do. So tomorrow on January 26th, if you’re listening to this live, I’m going to be hosting my very first Intentional advantage live session. We’re going to do it at four o’clock Eastern.


And I would love to have you come and join me. We’ll use this time to connect for you to ask questions for us to talk more about all the episodes we’ve been talking about this season to dive deeper into that. So it’s a great chance for you to ask me questions directly and for us to have a conversation I’m excited about doing something very different than anything I’ve done in the past.


So if you’d like to join me, or if you can’t join me live and you want to catch the replay, simply go to Tanya dalton.com/live. There’ll be a little sign up there for you to sign up so I can send you the link to join us. We’re going to do this over on Crowdcast, which is a lot of fun we can interact.


We can have a great time. You can ask me your questions and I’ll be answering them live. I think there’s going to be a lot of fun. The Intentional advantage live. So join me, Tanya dalton.com/live. All right. So Whitney, we’ve talked about how that first stage where you’re an Explorer and you’re a collector is it can be slow. It can be a little bit terrifying,


but then, then we hit that second phase of the S curve. This is where you get to the sweet spot and you are at this point because you’ve explored, you’ve collected ideas. Now it’s time to like, get the fruit, right. All that planting that we’ve done. Thanks you a little bit smoother. And it feels fast. Why is it that it feels so much faster at this space?


Yeah. All right. So first of all, what I want to say about the launch point, and then I’ll talk about the fast part is that at the launch point, it’s not that growth isn’t happening. It’s just that it’s not obvious. It’s not apparent. And so what’s going on in your brain. And the reason that it feels fast when you get into the sweet spot is our brains are running these predictive models.


And whenever we decide to start something new, we have this hypothesis about what is it going to take for me to get to the top of this curve? And that’s where some of those questions that you asked is, do I actually want to do everything I need to do to get to the top of this curve, but you’ve got this hypothesis. You’re making these predictions,


many of which are inaccurate. And so your brain, A lot of which are inaccurate well Said nearly all of which are inaccurate. And so what happens when they’re inaccurate that dopamine, that, that, you know, when you get surprised and delighted, it’s dropping all the time because you’re inaccurate, but, but what’s happening in the sweet spot is that as you have persisted and made more and more predictions,


they are going to get increasingly accurate. And as they get increasingly accurate, they’re, they’re getting accurate because you’re getting more competent. And as you’re getting more competent, you’re getting confident. And so you’re getting, and lots of emotional upside surprises, a lots of dopamine. So this is the place where growth not only is fast, it feels fast, and it is exhilarating because you’re figuring stuff out and it just feels so good.


What’s interesting now is that you don’t actually notice that it feels good because it just feels good. So that’s, but that’s, what’s happening in the sweet spot. As you’re accelerating this thing that you were doing, that was just you’re doing this. It wasn’t who you were. It wasn’t part of your identity. And that’s, again, part of why it’s hard to be at launch point as your identity is shifting now in the sweet spot.


What you’re doing is starting to become who you are. And there’s this, this metamorphosis in the fourth stage, we call it the metamorph. It sounds like a superhero. And it should because you are a superhero when you’re changing, but that’s, what’s going on in this sweet spot, this place of competence and autonomy, you feel like you’ve got control over what it is you’re trying to accomplish.


And you feel the sense of relatedness to, to not only what you’re doing, but to the people around you, that you We’re moving from being the caterpillar into the butterfly. But because you’re in the process all along, you don’t even notice that you have these beautiful butterfly wings, right? And, and so it is kind of stopping to, to,


to take notice and to be mindful of it. You know, one of the things you say is it’s really important in this stage is having focus. That’s one of the keys, because otherwise we end up getting off the S-curve or why is it important to have focus at this point? Yeah. So it’s a great question. So one of the things that can happen is as you get increasingly competent,


you’re going to have more and more people say, wow, look at how competent she is. Let’s ask her to do this and this and this and this and this and this and this. And if you do all of those things, it will derail you. There’s a wonderful myth. It’s the myth of psyche and psyche. She was in love with arrows and she made a big mistake and Aphrodite,


the goddess of love was really mad. And she said, basically, if you want to get reunited, you’ve got to do these four tasks. And one of those tasks was that she had to be willing to go into the underworld and say no to people. And if she wasn’t able to say, no, she wasn’t going to be re reunited with arrows.


And this is actually symbolic of the psychological development that has to take place for women in particular, is that we have to learn to say no. And so part of being in the sweet spot and staying in the sweet spot and being able to make it into mastery is, is going from this place of, I’m open to lots of things saying lots of yeses at the launch point to be willing to say no,


and to focus on what you are doing right now, because that focus is what’s going to allow you to Yeah. Really reminding yourself. Cause it’s easy to get that shiny object syndrome where like, Ooh, I could do this or I could do that. And other people reinforce that, right? They say, oh, you should come do this. Or have you tried doing that?


I, you have, I believe you have some botanical drawings in your office to help remind you of being mindful and staying focused. Is that right? A strawberries. Can you tell us about that? Because I liked that story in the book because I loved how personal it was and how you have this very like amazing reminder on a daily basis. Almost like a little hidden,


hidden reminder for yourself. Walk us through that, what that looks like. Yeah. Yeah. So, well, strawberries are really important to me because my husband grew up on a pick your own strawberry farm. And that’s, you know, I, I met him and sort of fell in love with him around that time. And so strawberries are very meaningful for being now in our,


where we live. Now we have, we don’t have pick your own strawberries, but we grow strawberries and make jam out of them. And so one of the things that I’ve done is that I have on my wall. If you could see me behind me, I have these botanical prints of strawberries in part, because strawberries feel like home to me because of my relationship with my husband,


but also because they remind me of the importance of being whole. And so they’re, they’re not like an orange where you’re, you know, you peel it apart and your compartmentalize things, a strawberry is just one thing that’s all put together. And that, that importance of putting together all of the different pieces of our life and approach again in a very holistic fashion.


So that’s how I think about it. But now I’m curious, Tanya, what was that takeaway from? I just loved how you had this like very gentle reminder for yourself to constantly stay focused. Focus is, you know, one of the things I struggle with that I, I do want to do all the different things and I have to continually remind myself to focus.


So having something there in your office, that’s just this very gentle, very kind reminder to stay on point to stay the, stay, the path that you’re on. I just, I loved how personal it was. And I felt like that was a great tip or idea to, to integrate into my own way of doing things as well. All right.


I want to talk about the third phase of growth mastery. It’s time to celebrate everything you’ve done to get to this point. And you talk though, you share this quote that I think is really good. You say good leaders don’t want to be comfortable. We’re continually growing and evolving and changing. I think that some people think I just need to get good at something.


And then I can just coast. Then it’s going to be like, oh, so easy. But you say that coasting is a bad idea. We get to mastery. We want to celebrate, but we don’t want to just coast. Tell me about that. Well, it’s not only a bad idea. It’s not actually possible. So if you think about a mountain climbers and this is something probably I may never do in real life,


but if you get to the top of a mountain, that’s above 26,000 feet, you’re so high up, it’s called the desk zone. So your brain and your body will start to die. You can’t stay there for very long. And when you’re at the top of an S-curve, so by analogy, if you try to stay there too long, your brain and body will literally start to die.


Cause what’s happening. Think about this predictive model. You know, when you’re in the sweet spot, lots and lots of dopamine, upside surprises, but when you get to the top of your curve, what’s happening with that predictive model is that you’ve figured it out. You’re done. And so you’ll get a little bit of dopamine, but very little. And so you’re effectively bored.


And if you’re bored, your plateau will become a precipice in time. You will start to undermine and sabotage your own growth. So you cannot actually coast. When you get to the top of an S curve, you either need to jump to the bottom of a new one, or you need to find a way to keep climbing by having that top be a summit,


but not thus summit, but coasting is not actually possible. You’re either growing or dying. Let me think about which one I want to choose. Not much of a debate there, right? But I like this idea is, you know, it’s a summit, but then there’s other summits to continue to go on to it’s it’s this idea of always staying curious that it’s not the end.


I think that’s the mistake. A lot of people make when I do X or when I achieve Y or when I do these things, then all of a sudden I’m done and we’re never done. We’re always changing. We’re always evolving. We’re always growing, but it is important to stop and celebrate. You make a really strong point for that in the book.


And I think that’s so important because so many people don’t, we just, we get to the top of the mountain. We’re like, okay, that’s the top of the mountain got to go to the next mountain or I’m just going to sit here or it’s so important to stop and celebrate. Why do you think that is Well, celebrations important for a number of different reasons.


First of all, a BJ Fogg, a social scientist out of Stanford has said that celebrating and positive emotions are what create habits. And so you want to celebrate at the launch point when you’re doing something or starting to do something you want to celebrate when you’re in the sweet spot, when you’re doing it and you want to celebrate in mastery when you did it,


because what’s going on is your brain is then saying, this makes sense to do. You’re paying attention to it. You’re focusing it, focusing on it. And when you pay attention to something, you get more of something. Like we said earlier, I want to build wealth and you focus on building wealth. You’re going to build wealth. And so,


so that’s one of the things that happens is you want to celebrate so that you can do, you know what you did and you can do more of it. But the other part and reason it’s important to celebrate. Once you get to the top of that curve and you, your identity has shifted from what you do to who you are, whatever that thing is,


is to honor the fact that you did it, it’s honoring yourself and who you are. And, and when we don’t take time to celebrate something it’s as if we’re negating what it is we did. And so it’s really important to plant the flag of that mountain of, and I’m proud of it. We all need that Tom Hanks moment where he makes fire on the island on Castaway,


where he’s like, I have created fire. I think that’s so powerful. We, we don’t stop and do that. Look at what I’ve done. Look what I’ve created, whether it’s something giant or jumping something small or something, you know, it’s meaningful to you because it’s been your S-curve. Yeah. Yeah. Right. So let me ask you this.


As we close out the show, which, which area do you think women’s struggle with the most, the traction when they’re at the launch point, when they’re starting something new, is it at the sweet spot where they need to stay focused? Or is it when they retrieve mastery? When they’re really good at something and they feel like they can’t do anything anymore,


where do you think people struggle? Do they stay at the top of the S-curve too long? Are they, where is it that especially women have a hard time. Not, not fair, not fair. Yeah. Okay. I will answer the question. I think, I think w women’s struggle and mastery. And one of the things that we’ve seen from the research is that whereas men are tended to be judged on their potential.


Women are judged on track record. And so when you’re in mastery and you’re thinking about wanting to do something new, it’s very difficult to do that because you’re going to go to this place where you’re not going to have a track record. And so while you may be willing to try something new, the people around you may be reluctant to let you try something new.


So it’s systemically a challenge. I think so, systemically, I think it’s more difficult for women in mastery. What we talked about, focus when you’re in the sweet spot. I think the biggest challenge for most women is in, is at the launch point where you’re not, you’re not who you were. There’s a sense of, I have to be perfect because I’ve been rewarded for being perfect.


And if I’m not perfect, then I won’t feel like I matter, like I won’t know what to do with myself. And so I think part of the reason why I think this S curve can be so valuable is it gives you permission to say, I am doing something really hard right now I’m being uncomfortable, but this is normal. And if I want to grow,


I have to do this and I can picture this and I can visualize this. So I would say, and I’m tipping my hand. Cause you’re probably going to ask me, what’s hard for me. I think the launch points the hardest. So I think you, you maybe have given us a little idea, is that the hardest part for you? It is the hardest,


it’s the hardest, because when I’m doing something new, I feel so uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassed and shame can kick in because you know, when you’re a little kid, like if you couldn’t get an a on that test, then you were dumb. And if you’re dumb, then your parents, aren’t going to love you. I mean, all sorts of weird stuff can happen.


And so it’s the hardest place for me to be at the launch point. But what I will tell you is that now that I have this visual, whether it’s trying to go a vacation and unplug, which can be very difficult, I can now talk myself through this and say, all right, I’m on vacation. And I’m trying to unplug, and I am doing a terrible job of it because I feel like I should be working.


I feel like I, I need to move things forward. And I say, no, no, this is normal. Of course, you’re feeling uncomfortable. You’re doing something new, you’re unplugging. And then I can talk myself through it and I can talk everybody else around me. I love that idea. It really is. It’s talking to yourself through it,


just talking yourself through the discomfort. Only you can do that for yourself. Truly. I believe this was amazing. I think this, this S-curve is so powerful in helping people understand how growth works and where they are, and just really empowers them in so many ways we need, where is the best place for people to connect with you and to get the book?


Because it’s, it’s a great book. I love the book. Oh, thank you. I’m so glad you liked it. Well, first of all, I wanted to just let you know or not let you know, but you and I discussed that you’re going to give away five books, so super fun. And I don’t know how you’re going to do that.


Maybe they have to tell you where they are on the S curve. I don’t know something fun there, but the best way to find me, I would say, number one is go listen to the podcast interview that I did of Tanya on the disrupt yourself podcast, because it was very good. And then you can also go to go to Amazon and buy the book or smart growth book.com


is a great place where there are some fun bundles and packages and things that you can do that you will get, not only a book, but some other, some other things You are. You’re such an inspiration. I love, I love the way that you talk about growth. I love the way that you model growth in your own life. This has been such a joy.


I’ve loved getting to know you over the last few months as well. Just thank you so much for coming on the show. I know my listeners are going to get so much out of this, so thank you. Okay. Didn’t you just love Whitney’s perspective on growth. I felt like it was so empowering. That whole idea that she talked about, that we have this deep bellied hunger for growth,


I think is absolutely true. I think that is absolutely accurate, but it can be frightening. It can be a little bit daunting or she said not daunting, but terrifying, but having this S curve in mind, knowing where you are in the S-curve, I think is incredibly powerful because it allows you to know where you are and where you want to go next.


And if you’ve heard me talk at all on this podcast or read either one of my books, you know, I say overwhelm, isn’t having too much to do. It’s not knowing where to start. When you know where you are on the S-curve of growth, you know, where you’re starting from today and where you want to go next. So I want you to think about your S-curves.


Where are you in the S curve? I know for me, when I started reading Whitney’s book, it really got me thinking about all the different S-curves I’ve been on. You know, she mentioned, you know, high school into college, that’s one S curve leading to the next. I went into teaching, you know, just thrown into the classroom,


doing my thing with my students. That was an S curve. And then I shifted even from the regular classroom into being the technology integration specialist for my school. And then I had another S curve with stepping into entrepreneurship and starting my first company. Well, if we back up, actually I think I missed an S curve. Their motherhood was an S curve.


It was certainly a lot going on as I stepped into motherhood and then into entrepreneurship and then closing a business. Each one of those is an S curve. Every one of them was a chance for me to gather more ideas, more knowledge, more expertise, which then I’m able to share with all of you. So each one of those S curves has brought me to where I am today,


which as I mentioned in this episode is a very different place than I thought I would be when I was 20 years old. And that is a really good thing. So Whitney has really given us, she’s given us a great model to use, to really understand that I would love for you to think about where you are on your S curve. Are you at the launch point?


Are you in the sweet spot or maybe you’re at mastery, maybe it’s time to make sure that you’re not just coasting, but trying out something new. I have five copies of Whitney’s book that I am going to give away. So I would love for you to email me@helloatTanyadalton.com and share with me where you are in the S curve. Are you at the launch point?


Are you in the sweet spot or are you at mastery and what you plan to do next? So send me an email@helloatTanyadalton.com. Share with me where you are on the S-curve and your favorite takeaway from today’s episode, because we’re all gathering together. Our portfolio of S-curves when we choose to step out of comfort and into growth. That’s when we have the Intentional advantage.


Thanks so much for joining me today. Quick question though, before you go, do you like prizes? When you leave a rating and review of the Intentional advantage podcast, you’ll be entered to win my life changing course, multiplying your time. Simply leave the review and then send me an email@helloatTanyadalton.com with a screenshot. I choose one winner at the end of every month.


So go ahead. Do it right now. Just a quick comment with what you loved about this episode or the show in general and a rating and send it our way. Not going to lie by stars is my favorite, but I’d love to hear what you think of the show. And if that’s not enough of an incentive for you to win the multiplying your time course,


I have to tell you the reviews are the number one thing that supports this podcast. And me, it’s the best way to spread the word and get business tips and strategies to all those other women out there who need it. So there you go. Two great reasons for you to go and leave a review right now. So go ahead and do it,


send that screenshot my way, because I want to give you a free course and thanks again for listening today. I’ll be back next Tuesday and I’ll plan to see you then.



The transcript for this productivity podcast for women episode was created using AI.

Tanya Dalton is a female host of one of the best productivity podcasts for women. She is a motivational and inspirational keynote speaker and the author of two productivity books on the topics of finding balance, time management and goal setting.