Whitney Johnson at the Next Generation of Government Summit. Photo by Miguel Joey Aviles, @miguejoeyaviles
At day two of the Next Generation of Government Summit, Whitney Johnson gave an impassioned presentation on the power of identifying a purpose to guide your career. "When you’re clear on your why you become a problem solver letting nothing stand in your way," said Johnson. “When there is a why, there is always a way.”
Johnson is a leading thinker on driving innovation through personal disruption, having co-founded Clayton Christensen’s investment firm, and is now the co-founder and managing director of Springboard Fund, investing in high growth women-led businesses.
Whitney is a regular contributor for Harvard Business Review and Linkedin, and she speaks and coaches at Fortune 100 Companies, top tier educational institutions, and industry conferences. Her work has been recognized by Thinkers 50, which named her as a finalist for the 2013 Future Thinker Award. She is the author of Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When you Dare to Dream.
Her story is one of resilience, strength and determination and it was a privilege to hear her share her thoughts. Johnson started the presentation by talking about how she is a huge fan of reality TV.
“The thing that reality TV doesn’t capture is just how hard the heroes journey is,” said Johnson. Journeys are always filled with insecurity, self doubt and struggles. But in our world, sometimes all we see is the snippets of success. But to carry us through the journey, we all must be guided by a sense of purpose.
“Do we have a sense of purpose to carry us through?,” Johnson challenged us to consider. In order to find our purpose or why, Whitney provided five questions to help us reflect and understand what drives us.
- What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
- What has been one of your biggest obstacles?
- What were your new year’s resolutions?
- What are you driven to do?
- What are your favorite quotes?
These are important questions to consider, and gives us some clarity on our goals, and what we desire to achieve in our careers. “Stop focusing on your to-do list and start focusing on your to-be list,” Johnson said.
Johnson reminded us that we are all on our own journeys, face unique challenges and have conflicting desires. But when you can harness that energy, and map it back to your organization and drive success through collaboration, remarkable things can happen.