PTBM Logo H5

From Occult to Optimism: Johanna’s Journey of Transformation | Johanna Wilson

Today’s Guest Johanna Wilson

Meet Johanna Wilson: a seasoned business powerhouse from the Pacific Northwest with a 15-year trajectory of navigating through the thrills and challenges of emerging markets. Known for her ability to effortlessly pivot between executive roles, business development, and directorships, she balances her intense professional life with a deep commitment to volunteering and outsmarting her dog, Kingsley, in games of 'you can't catch me!

Key Takeaways

  1. Johanna's Personal Transformation: Johanna opens up about her intriguing journey from her past involvement in the occult to finding solace and direction in Christianity. Her story is a testament to the power of faith in overcoming life's challenges and finding a new path.
  2. Philanthropy and Business Integration: Delve into Johanna's passion for philanthropy, especially in fighting child trafficking. She shares valuable insights into how businesses can incorporate charitable endeavors into their practices, making philanthropy a cornerstone of their operations.
  3. Podcasting's Impact and Character Development: Matt Edmundson highlights the transformative effect of podcasting in marketing and community building. The discussion also touches on the significance of character development, navigating life changes, and the role of faith and prayer in personal growth, offering listeners profound lessons in resilience and generosity.

Links for Johanna

Links & Resources from today’s show

Related Episodes

Sponsor for this episode

At Aurion Media, we're committed to helping you set up and run your own successful podcast to grow your business and impact.

"You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be really rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing else I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, and had a platform to champion my customers, my team and my suppliers. I think just about any entrepreneur, or business leader should have a podcast because it has had a huge impact on my own businesses." - Matt Edmundson.

Is Podcasting Right For Your Business?

This is a great question and one we think you should really think about. Podcasting is proving to be a great tool to open doors to dream clients, network and build phenomenal customer relationships. But we know that podcasting might not be right for everyone. That's why we have put together a free online workshop to help you decide if Podcasting is right for you and your business as well as to understand what is involved for you.

Is Podcasting hard?

It certainly doesn't have to be. The technology has got easier and cheaper, so the trick is making sure your strategy is right from the start. Most podcasts end because it was started on a whim or even a good that just wasn't thought through or planned. Once you've got that in place, it's then about the right guests and consistency which all comes down to the team that you have around you that can help with this. No worries if you don't have a team...Aurion has a series of done-for-you services that can help you get the right strategy and bring the consistency you need to have real impact on your business.

Want to know more?

Visit our website for more info. We'd love to help!

Johanna: [00:00:00] I spent a portion of my, of my life, I would say in my, in my 20s, mainly in my 20s and early 30s. Believing that, um, striving to make a living and striving to have enough money to be okay in life, or even to get rich in life, was the goal. And that should be my main kind of focus for where I spend my time and energy.

Um, and I, since then, gone through a lot of things that have shown me that that's actually not the purpose of life. And, you know, this life is so short and. You know, you really can't take any of that with you. So if that's not the purpose, what is the purpose? And to me, it really is doing things that, um, essentially, you know, bring us closer to, uh, the best version that we can be, or the version of us [00:01:00]

Matt: Well, hello and welcome to Push To Be More. I'm your host, Matt Edmundson, and we're about to dive into another deep exploration of what truly fuels the journey of life.

Now joining me today, I have another exciting guest, Johanna Wilson from Moss Crossing, and we are going to be delving into her unique life experience, the hurdles she has had to push through, and the ways she recharges. Her batteries, uh, and well what she's doing to be more really. There's a lot of questions.

There's a lot of conversation to get into. Uh, so get ready. Now, before we do, don't forget, you can find all the detailed show notes and complete transcript of our conversation at pushtobemore. com. That's pushtobemore. com. And hey, whilst you're there, if you haven't done so already, make sure you sign up for our newsletter and each week we will zip all the shows, insights, links [00:02:00] and goodies directly to your inbox.

Absolutely free, automatically. Very, very cool. So make sure you sign up. Now, this episode is proudly powered by aurion Media, the magic behind the scenes that lets entrepreneurs and business leaders like you and me amplify our voices by hosting our own podcast. Now, why on earth would we want to host a podcast?

Are you crazy, Matthew? Well, let me tell you Uh, my podcast journey has been nothing short of transformational. You see, it's not just about marketing and let me tell you, that is a massive part of it. Uh, but it's about community. It's about connection and amplification. It's given me a platform to celebrate my customers, my team, my suppliers and created a ripple of impact far beyond what I could have imagined.

But I get it. You know, the technical stuff can feel daunting, setting up, distribution. Getting the tech right, understanding the strategy, seems like there's a lot going on, [00:03:00] doesn't it? And honestly, who wants to get tangled up in production? Definitely not me. And this is where aurion Media steps in. They're in effect your backstage crew that makes sure your show goes on flawlessly.

You get to do what you do, which is talk to people, engaging with incredible people. And aurion Media takes care of all the nitty. Gritty. So if you're wondering whether podcasting is the missing piece in your growth strategy and in your marketing, and if I'm honest with you, I think it probably is, uh, it's time to have a chat with aurion Media.

Check them out at aurionmedia. com. That's A U R I O N media. com. Have a look, see what you think. Now that's the show sponsor. Let's talk about our guest, Johanna Wilson, a seasoned business powerhouse from the Pacific Northwest with a 15 year trajectory of navigating through the thrills and challenges. of Emerging Markets.

Known [00:04:00] for her ability to effortlessly pivot between executive roles, business development and directorships, she balances her intense professional life with a deep commitment to volunteering and outsmarting her dog Kingsley in the game of You Can't Catch Me. Oh, yes. Uh, well, that sounds fascinating. Uh, Johanna, welcome to the show.

Great to have you. Uh, tell me about this game with your dog. What's that all about?

Johanna: Well, thank you so much. It's great to chat with you. Um, yes, my dog's favorite game is to run away. He doesn't, he doesn't really want to chase his ball. He wants you to chase him. So, uh, needless to say, I get my aerobic exercise out when I take my dog out into the yard. It's very fun you stop playing tag tag, you know, in elementary school, so I get to play a little tag as an adult.

Matt: yeah, no, it's fair play. I used to have a dog years ago when I was growing up as a kid that, and as soon [00:05:00] as you open the door, if you weren't on it, I mean, as soon as you open that front door, that dog was out, bam, and he'd be straight in the farmer's fields and you wouldn't see him for about eight hours.

Uh, and eventually the farmer would bring him back, so.

Johanna: Well, glad you got him back.

Matt: yeah, yeah, every day, every day, and the farmer was never happy bringing the dog back out, and every day I said, I'm very sorry, uh, he's like an escape artist that dog, uh, so it sounds like, it sounds like your dog's the same though.

Johanna: Yeah, I mean, he loves to run, um, he's, he's pretty good about staying within the boundaries of our property, but my husband has trained him very well, so, um, I don't have to worry too much about that, but he loves to play and, um, you know, dogs are great de stressors, so I'm happy, happy he's here,

Matt: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. Well, Johanna, listen, great to meet you. Let's jump straight in with the podcast powerhouse question that I do like to ask, which is simply this, uh, we are pushing the boundaries here at aurion Media, [00:06:00] uh, who are paving the way, I love this. For passionate leaders to amplify their reach through podcasting.

Now, let's imagine you're about to hit, uh, you're about to hit record on your very own podcast show. If you could pull up a chair for anyone, past or present, who's left an indelible mark on your journey, who would you want on the other side of the mic and why?

Johanna: right, so the first person that I would have on, this is a past figure, although some would say it's a present figure as well, would be... The infamous Jesus Christ, um, and, you know, and that may be a controversial answer to some, but, um, I think that he, he made such a mark on humanity, even outside of the religious.

Matt: Mm hmm.

Johanna: in things that he said and the messages that he conveyed to the world. And the things that [00:07:00] have happened in modern times, I mean in my own lifetime, you know, they can be pretty troublesome. And I would just love to sit down with him and like ask him how he would advise people today in this modern environment to be able to Carry out his, his message and to people all the way back then, cause it was in a different time historically, obviously, and we have different issues, um, today.

So for sure, that person, um, living, uh, there's a couple of, uh, presidents and CEOs that I would love to interview. Uh, the first one would be, uh, Lindsay Snyder, who's the president of In and Out Burger in. Uh, the United States, and I don't know if you're familiar with In N Out Burger, but

Matt: am, yes.

Johanna: um, for anyone who may not be familiar, it's just a popular burger chain up and down the west coast, and they've spread a little bit eastward, not too far, though, uh, and Lindsay Snyder is a third generation, she inherited the [00:08:00] business from her grandparents, um, and, uh, she went through a lot of, uh, personal tragedies and hardships, um, things like addiction and just all kinds of turmoil in her life.

That's it. Came out on the other side, um, a lot stronger and a little bit more spiritual. And what she did was connect the business of In N Out to a foundation called Slave to Nothing. And, uh, Slave to Nothing is a nonprofit that, uh, essentially funds other nonprofits that help to combat human trafficking and help to combat. Um, and so I'd love to talk to her about how she, how she does that, you know, how to connect your empire, your business empire with a cause, you know, to help people

Matt: Mm.

Johanna: in that. Um, so that would be one. And then another one is for similar reasons, and that would be the Um, CEO of [00:09:00] Newman's Own, um, and they make natural and organic food products here in the United States.

Um, Paul Newman was the founder, and that business gives 100 percent of its profits to, uh, charities. That help, um, children in poverty and, um, animals and things like that. So they're kind of infamous for having the 100 percent of our profits are donated on all their labels and they're pretty big corporations.

So, um, I would love to chat with them as well for the same reasons, but to just get a better understanding from someone who's been doing it for many years, um, you know, how do you run. A large business empire, um, especially in the food industry, cause you know, those margins are tiny and difficult, you know, to maintain in order to give back.

Um, and it's almost like that's the, that's the reason behind why they're doing what they do. You know, it's not just to make money.

Matt: So, I [00:10:00] mean, well, there's three fascinating answers to the question, Joanna, and I, I, I, I would love a conversation with all three myself, I'm not going to lie. Um, if I look down the list, so we've got Christ, we've got Lindsay and we've got, um, the, the, the, the board at Newman's. The, the thread that came across to me in all that you said was that they are all very Generous people, it seems, and the thing that you sort of, um, connected with was their ability to do charity, to serve communities, to think beyond themselves.

Is that an important thing for you? Is that, is that, am I getting the right sort of golden thread there amongst those?

Johanna: Yes, it definitely is. Um, I, you know, I spent a portion of my, of my life, I would say in my, in my 20s, mainly in my 20s and early 30s. Believing that, um, striving to make a living and [00:11:00] striving to have enough money to be okay in life, or even to get rich in life, was the goal. And that should be my main kind of focus for where I spend my time and energy.

Um, and I, since then, gone through a lot of things that have shown me that that's actually not the purpose of life. And, you know, this life is so short and. You know, you really can't take any of that with you. So if that's not the purpose, what is the purpose? And to me, it really is doing things that, um, essentially, you know, bring us closer to, uh, the best version that we can be, or the version of us that's the closest to God as possible.

Whether you want to say God, or you want to say the universe or the divine source of all creation, you know, people have a lot of different names for this. I call it God. Um. [00:12:00] You know, if that's really the purpose is to become closer to that, um, you know, what are the things that we should be doing in order to achieve that?

And yes, money is a part of our reality. It's, it's something that, you know, we're not really going to get rid of, but how can we use it to achieve this other purpose, you know?

Matt: Well, two fascinating statements, if you don't mind, that I would love to get into. The first one is... Um, what happened in your, I think you said thirties to cause this sort of course direction in your, uh, course direction changing your thinking, um, what sort of happened there? And then I, the second part of the conversation for me is, is, um, if your purpose has changed, how has that impacted your business and what you do?

I'm kind of curious what the outworking of that is for you personally, but let's start with, um, what happened in your third? So maybe it wasn't in your thirties, I don't know, but what happened to, to sort of [00:13:00] change your trajectory and your thinking?

Johanna: Yeah. Um, so I, I would say my, my twenties were, were a time of, you know, trying to find my place in the world, you know, where am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to be doing? Um, and I found myself, uh, essentially just working really hard to make money. I, I left college early. Um, in order to go to work and just very quickly, um, became sort of enveloped with this idea that I needed to, uh, be making money and be focusing on work and all of that.

Um, but during that time, I had a little bit of a, a strange spiritual experience that will kind of led me to question everything that I had ever known. And that. That period basically prompted me [00:14:00] to go out and explore different parts of the world, away from, um, the sort of traditional way of living life. So I moved to Hawaii, and I volunteered on a biodynamic farm out there. And, um, I thought, like, hey, you know, maybe I should start looking into...

This yoga stuff and maybe I should start exploring like, you know, more of these esoteric realms of Thinking and spirituality. And so I went on a very long journey, um, and essentially fell into a group of people who were hard workers, but were also, uh, very much practicers of the occult, so to speak, and so I became kind of very.

I was very deeply, um, wrapped up in, um, certain parts of the, of the occult in terms of, [00:15:00] um, moral philosophies about how to live my life and, um, you know, my existence and all of those things. And that also impacted my work because, you know, nothing in that, World was telling me, Hey, you know, maybe you shouldn't be so focused on yourself.

It was actually encouraging me to focus on myself more, um, sort of like, yeah, of self empowerment, self reliance, self love, um, self this, self that, self help, all those self things. Um, and what ended up happening was I, I became very arrogant and I became very self obsessed. Um, I was obsessed with, sort of, um, I don't know, I was obsessed with improving myself, but not focusing on self improvement in the sense of like, of helping other people.

It was more like, what do I need to do to myself in order to get [00:16:00] better? Um, and it really, it led to a type of narcissism, I think. Um, and... I really wasn't happy at all. Um, you know, the things I was doing were not fulfilling. Um, I wasn't seeing any self improvement, um, through my spiritual practices. Um, things were becoming more and more complex in my life.

And eventually, um, something happened that caused me to need to move completely out of the environment that I was living in. So I moved away from the city. I was in, um, I left the relationship that I was in. I kind of left behind a lot of that, um, more Wiccan, esoteric, occult type practices there with the people that lived there and moved to Oregon where my family is, um, and ended up, um, staying with my mother for a period because my whole life had, um, I had to leave my whole life behind.

Matt: hmm. [00:17:00] Mm

Johanna: Um, and I don't want to get into the details of why, but let's just say some big things happened that made it so that I really didn't have a choice. I had to go. So, um, yeah, so entering this sort of new state, um, being around new people, I almost feel like, um, I hit a little bit of a rock bottom.

It was like my world was so shaken, and again, what I thought was true, Um, previously I was starting to question again and started thinking, um, I really don't know anything like, you know, what I've done so far, I spent so much time and energy trying to build something with my own, um, philosophies and my own, what I think is right.

You know, from within myself. And that's really the message that's pushed a lot today is, you know, what's right for you, you should do whatever you want to do, you know? Um, but [00:18:00] that sort of taught me that for me, that's not really true. You know, I really don't always know what's best for me. I might think I know, um, but that thinking can also get you in some really sticky situations.

And, um, so I ended up, um. Getting a great job, thankfully, um, you know, I, I decided to sort of like drop all of my own direction and just kind of like give it up to God basically, cause I felt so helpless. I was just like, okay, I don't know where I'm going next. I'm starting all over again. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to take the things that I learned and incorporate them into a new career or not, or a new life or not.

So God, I'm going to sit back and I'm just going to like work a regular little job for a year, and I'm going to wait for you to tell me what you want me to do. And, um, about, and I waited and I just decided I'm not going to [00:19:00] look, I'm not going to worry about it, I'm not going to try to figure it out. And about nine months later, I received a job offer through a friend of a friend that, um, paid very well.

It was going to allow me to use some of my past experience in sort of a new, um, venue, a new type of position and in a new industry. And I was also going to be able to use my business skills to, um, help a startup company push forward. So that was very exciting to me. And I thought. Thanks, God. Awesome. So I went ahead and took the job.

And, um, that position and that, that company, um, was a startup company in an emerging industry that was highly regulated, um, and just, you know, very disorganized starting from the ground up. The government agencies didn't know what they were doing. The startups didn't know what they were doing. You had a lot of people coming from a world where [00:20:00] Normal business practices were not the norm, you know, they were running business kind of under the table.

And now they're coming up into a world where their business is regulated and they have to do everything by the book. And then you've got, you know, business tycoons swooping in from New York and from Florida and all these places, um, to also capitalize on the industry. So it's kind of a clash of all kinds of different personalities and, um, It was very exciting, crazy, um, fun to help build this company.

And, um, the whole time, you know, I, I didn't really forget what had happened previously and, you know, just started realizing that, you know, Hey. We need to be incorporating philanthropy into our businesses somehow. You know, we have this opportunity to kind of start this new industry. How can we help people?

And, um, I've had several experiences with, um, people that have been [00:21:00] victimized, uh, via human trafficking in my life. And so that's kind of an area that I'm passionate about personally . And so I started trying to talk some of these businesses into donating like a portion of their profits to small non profits that helped to prevent human trafficking. Um, we started a, um, our own, uh, women's networking group, um, that was its own non profit. And we would have fundraisers, uh, to raise money for, um, one organization up in Washington called Rock, Paper, Scissors, and, um, what the founder of that organization does is she goes into schools and talks to young people about grooming and what that looks like so that they're able to recognize it if it ever happens to them in school or.

School. Um, and yeah, so just trying to incorporate more, more of that into, into things. Um, but [00:22:00] as time passed, you know, it's been about, I would say eight years since that all started. Eight or nine years since that all started. And A lot has happened since then and I've, um, become a lot more, um, involved in just studying kind of like ways of thinking that have a lot more to do with, um, I guess humbling ourselves and, um, using life as, um, As a way to, essentially, like an example would be to act like Christ, um, doesn't necessarily have to be Christ, but I, in my opinion, he's the best figure at the top of the line. Um, so, you know, what can we be doing to act like him and in business that can be difficult because, you know, there's just a lot of stuff that goes on. That's very much the opposite of that, you

Matt: Mm hmm.

Johanna: but yeah, so, um, I, I do a [00:23:00] lot of, I've done a lot of studying now of, um, you know, people who have suffered a lot, people who have been martyred. Um, you know, people who, you know, they live very simple lives and I like to ask those people, you know, why and kind of study like what's behind that.

Um, you know. Why would you choose a simple life where all you do all day is, you know, either help orphans or, or pray for people or whatever it is over, you know, being the top salesperson at Oracle,

Matt: Mm.

Johanna: you know, what causes us to make those, those choices? Um, and. So those are just things that I think about a lot more now and, um, I definitely, you know, I try to, as much as I can, whenever I get into conversations with people at work or at networking events, um, you know, just to kind of bring up that there has to be a bigger purpose behind [00:24:00] what you're doing, even in your, in your work, um, in business, Than a position you want to achieve or an amount of money that you wanna make.

Um, you know, so

Matt: Yeah. Wow. That's a, that's a fascinating story, uh, or fascinating journey, um,

Johanna: mm-hmm.

Matt: Johanna. And I'm, I'm curious, you know, you... Um, obviously faith is playing a big part in your life, right? It's interesting today. I've done two podcast recordings, one with you, one with a guy called Todd Saylor, and again, faith was a big, um, part of his journey actually.

Um, and can I ask, did you grow up with faith, um, or was it discovered sort of after this time in Hawaii? Uh, because it, the reason I ask is getting involved with the occult seems to be. You know, at the opposite sort of end of the spectrum to what I know about, say, the Christian faith, for example. And [00:25:00] I'm kind of curious how you kind of weaved in and out of that.

Johanna: Yeah. So I, um, I didn't grow up in the same exact type of faith that I am sort of more ascribed to, to the day, but I did grow up, uh, both of my parents were, uh, Protestant ministers in the Assemblies of God churches. Um, Mainly on the west coast of the United States. Um, so, you know, they'd be considered to be more, uh, I guess you could say fundamentalist, um, very, very much focused on scripture and things like that.

Um, and a lot of things happened in my family. Um, so needless to say, I was raised, you know, believing in God. Um, I saw angels when I was little, like I always had weird kind of psychic experiences with heavenly things as a child.

Matt: hmm.

Johanna: And I never forgot that. But for me, I was also a big questioner and researcher and my, my dad and my parents ended up leaving the church, um, Not completely, but they had to [00:26:00] leave the church we were at.

They got a divorce when I was probably about 10 and from there, that really rocked me and that caused me to, um, start questioning my religion and my faith, um, and what I was taught. And so I started doing a lot of research on, you know, well, where did the books of the Bible come from? And who wrote them?

And why? And who put the Bible together originally? And why? And what happened to all the books that didn't get put into the Bible? Where are they now? And, you know, how are these decisions made in a historical context? Um, and... You know, thinking more philosophically about the concepts that I was taught about God and about Christianity as a child.

And I found that the people around me couldn't answer my questions. There were a lot of people in my particular denomination that really didn't understand the history of Christianity, and they really didn't have answers to my questions. And [00:27:00] so my conclusion was that it was all a farce and that I had tried to and all these things, um.

So I went on my own research escapade and reading about, you know, the Council of Nicaea and Constantine and the Lost Books of the Bible and all of that, um, but sort of like, you know, I was 14 years old, so intermingled, I didn't have anyone directing me, so of course, intermingled with that, I also came across, um, you know, um, People like Sylvia Brown, who was a famous psychic on television on the Montel Williams show, and so she would sit up and talk about reincarnation, and she would talk about, uh, past lives and all these things, and Edgar Cayce comes into the picture, and so I started to research some more of these people who had more of an esoteric mindset.

Um, sort of offering that mindset and those philosophies as an alternative to [00:28:00] people questioning what they had originally believed in my opinion, like, I don't see it as like a trap door now. It's like, there's all these little trap doors that are out there that you can fall into as a sort of replacement.

Matt: Mm hmm.

Johanna: And so I sort of fell in down that rabbit hole of, um, you know, looking into all of these like esoteric things and, you know, mystery schools and occult societies and, you know, ancient native traditions in different parts of the world. And, um, that was kind of what led me into the actual realm of the occult.

Um, in that process, I. You know, you kind of have to start brainwashing yourself a little bit to stop believing in God in the sense that you can even call God, God, you know, you have to start calling God the universe or source or

Matt: Yeah.

Johanna: the God, which is what I replaced it with for a long time.

the problem in my opinion happens [00:29:00] when, when you start to continue down that rabbit hole, you know, some of that stuff, when you first encounter it, um, Um, it's very appealing and it seems very correct. It seems like a much more historically correct explanation of the nature of reality than, um, like I said, the denomination that I came from that couldn't give me any answers.

And so, um, I think that's partly why it appeals to people is because it appears to have more answers. But all of that stuff is really just surface level. Um. of that world. And once you start getting into deeper and deeper into that stuff, you start running across some really, really disturbing things and it happens very slowly.

It's almost like a cult, I would say. Um, and for me, thankfully, I was able to see those things for what they were. Um, And get out [00:30:00] before, you know, I became further traumatized or victimized by those things, but a lot of people don't. And they get really stuck kind of in the middle and that's where they stay their whole lives.

Um, you know, so. Anyway, um, I was able to kind of come out of that because I, um, you know, I really needed something to turn to when I sort of came out of this rock bottom situation that I was in before I moved to Oregon, um, and I started seeing that, like, In my personal opinion, I felt like I was kind of being spiritually attacked.

Like, I felt like a lot of really, like, bad feeling things were, like, coming at me and, like, just this dark cloud was hovering over me and I didn't really know what it was. Um, but I, I talked to someone in my family who, um, was a Greek Orthodox Christian and The Greek Orthodox are, you know, uh, pretty [00:31:00] different from, you know, the Protestant in that, um, they're, it's sort of like the original church that was founded by the apostles that kind of stayed the same all the way up to today.

And it's just been preserved ever since. Um, and so I was basically just told, you know, just. Essentially use the phrase Jesus Christ and say Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me when you're feeling those things. Work across yourself. And because I had come from the occult, I knew or believed that things like that did have power because symbols and rituals and things like that are all about what creates power in the occult.

Matt: yeah, um,

Johanna: they like to steal things, you know, from, from other, other faiths. So, um, so I did that and I started going to church again at an Orthodox, a Greek Orthodox church, and just to kind of like get a little bit of peace once a week, I just needed some peace. So I [00:32:00] started going once a week and I kind of felt like.

Harry Potter, every time I would go to church, I would like walk in the doors and I felt like I was like putting on this cloak of invisibility and then I could walk out and keep that protective cloak on the rest of the week. Um, and it could have been in my head, but I actually don't think it was in my head.

I think it was actually a phenomenon that was occurring. Um, and so that's what got me started on getting back into researching the history of Christianity. Like, what caused me to break away in the first place, and what's going on over here. And I found some really amazing philosophies in, within that branch of Christianity where the history was all there.

It was like every question I asked about, you know, the books of the Bible and what about this. supposed contradiction, and what about that thing? And, you know, what about this thing that happened in history, and when they put the books together, and, and the councils of Nicaea that happened to kind of like [00:33:00] build the original philosophy of Christianity, or preserve it rather, um, you know, all of the information was there.

It was like the, the guardians of the history. I was with the guardians of that history and they were able to explain to me, um, both in a spiritual context, but also in a historical context, what had happened and why. And it gave me a completely different, uh, mindset. Of Christianity than I had ever had before.

Um, and one that was a bit more, um, effective, I guess I would say than what I had encountered previously. Um, it was just, it's just less when I was growing up, my, you know, my faith was more. Um, it was just like missing something, you know, it was like, there wasn't the depth there that I really needed to like sink my teeth into, and I don't really know how to explain it, [00:34:00] but um, but now I feel like I have that, and if, if I hadn't been involved in the occult, and if I hadn't actually I've subscribed to that for so long and gotten so deep into it, um, I don't know if I would have made it back to Christianity, which is really interesting.

Um, and. You know, it's now I encounter people that I can have conversations with who are in that world because, you know, there's a lot of, I think there's a lot of misconceptions and almost hatred towards Christianity, mainly because so many Christians are doing Christianity wrong. So like the general public sees that hypocrisy and they just get all riled up about it and.

You know, they're like, ah, we hate Christians and we can't have Christian, we can't have religion involved in anything like separation of church and state and all of that, which I totally understand. Um, but I think that when you can [00:35:00] speak the language of who have, who are in different mindsets, maybe because you've been in that mindset yourself in the past, it's easier to sort of relate to where you're at now to them.

You know, you can have those conversations in a different way than someone You know, who doesn't really speak their language. So I think that that's been, been a benefit of the whole thing.

Matt: Wow. So here you are then, uh, going through quite a, the phrase that I would, I don't know if it's the right phrase Johanna, but it sounds like you are having quite a significant identity crisis. Um, well having two of them really, one when your parents got divorced and the other one when you were in the occult, um, you had this sort of, this major identity crisis, everything sort of stripped away from you.

Um, and the thing that I, that I, that I heard you talk about was you're like, Right, I'm going to go get a job and God you're going to have to open some doors and I'm just going to go sit here for a [00:36:00] while and just pause my life and not make any rash decisions. Which I think is, I don't know if you think the same, in hindsight seems incredibly wise.

Um, you know, so often I think when life is crazy and we're in, because life is very much seasons isn't it? You, you go through seasons and you're in one of those seasons where it's just all not right and things are going wrong and you feel like you're putting out fires. The temptation is just to go at a thousand miles an hour, isn't it?

And just keep going and keep going and try and solve problems and try and make life better. But actually it sounds like what you did was just pause, um, and just wait and find peace during that time. Um, uh, once a week, you know, feeling like Harry Potter going to the, you know, putting on the invisible cloak.

Um, it sounds like that. That was quite a restorative nine months after some quite, um, quite harsh [00:37:00] realities, I suppose, or quite traumatic events, maybe. Um, And I'm, I'm curious to hear that, you know, when you were 14, you were reading some quite dense books that most adults still haven't read, you know, um, uh, and you, and you've got a lot of your questions answered, um, proving once again, that perhaps faith is not actually blind, uh, which I, I, I, I, I do take, uh, exception to when people say, oh, faith is blind.

I'm like, no, no, I think you have to research more than you think you do. Um, and it's, it's quite fascinating listening to your story. Um, I, I guess, um, Johanna, before I turn to the question box, cause I'm aware of time, but I'm, I'm guessing if you could go back and have a conversation with your 12 year old self, you know, your parents are getting divorced, cause it's interesting that the phrase is, the, the, the comment that I found really fascinating here is that if you didn't go through the, the court, you maybe wouldn't have found your way back to your, um, childhood faith once for better expression, that [00:38:00] actually, um, you've got a.

Choose to grow through what you're going through sometimes, right, and we all look back at events and go, I kind of wish that that didn't happen, but if that didn't happen, I don't know if I'd be where I am today. It's quite an interesting thought process, isn't it, a thought exercise. But if you could go back to your sort of 12 year old self and give yourself some advice, what would you say?

Mm hmm.

Johanna: I would definitely say to keep praying through everything. Um, and you know, I think prayer as a concept can cross, you know, many different genres of thinking. It doesn't just have to be specifically a Christian prayer. Um, so for me, um, praying to God, I would have said, keep doing that through the whole process.

I think that would have been probably the most powerful thing I could have done for myself in terms of, you know, staying connected and just protection going through all the [00:39:00] trials. Um,

Matt: Keep praying. It's an interesting one. It's an interesting one. And so, you're obviously, you're getting involved in charities and you're supporting charities that are involved in, um, stopping trafficking, uh, and grooming, um, which is, it's just a very sad world in which we live that you have to have those kind of conversations in the first place.

Um, but is there a reason why that charity, that charity sector specifically, as opposed to say, I don't know, third world development or, we've had various people on the podcast. I'm thinking like Ram Gidimaw, who was very active in the fair trade movement. Um, he was on early in the podcast. He's also very involved in anti trafficking.

We had. Um, uh, various people on, um, all, you know, were sort of philanthropic, kind of, Vaishali, uh, she was on recently, she's very philanthropic, yeah, you probably should connect with her, she's lovely. [00:40:00] Um, but it's, it's one of those where you kind of go, I'm curious to know what the driver was behind that charity sector specifically, or was it just, it just, that was there in front of you at the right time?

Johanna: yeah. Um, so, I mean, I've just had experiences. Um, I, I was friends with someone who used to do rescue work, um, with the police force for abducted children. So I, I witnessed and heard about some pretty gruesome rescues that happened through my friend. Um, I mean, this is. Um, but then I also, I also had a very young friend who was the daughter of a friend of mine, a friend of mine, um, died and, uh, her daughter was groomed into prostitution at the age of 13 through her middle school by a young boy who was, um, being taught how to be a pimp.

Um, and so these things happen, you know, and she has a whole story and I, I had to like rescue her, When she got kidnapped [00:41:00] at gunpoint at a certain point, it was very crazy. Um, so like God has just put me in some really interesting situations, um, with that issue, um, and. Like, to me, the child trafficking aspect of what happens, in my opinion, is the worst thing that's happening on this planet right now as a result of evil.

It's like evil impacts so many different areas of life, but that particular thing, child sex trafficking, in my opinion, is the worst. And so, in my, like, logically in my mind, I'm like, okay, well, I'm just going to try to contribute to the worst. Um, and I, then I do have these experiences that kind of drive me to, like, I've seen it firsthand, like, I know it's not a joke, I know it's not a conspiracy theory, and, like, if people don't do something, it's just going to keep happening, so.

Matt: Yeah, no, I mean, my wife, um, works with a [00:42:00] charity here in Liverpool. Again, certain ladies from certain cultures are more prone to this. And, I mean, it does happen in the West, it totally does, but it is happening all over the world. And it's horrific, and it's heartbreaking. And I get to hear some of their stories, and I'm just like...

Your heart just breaks for them, um, because it's, you're like, why is this not on the news? You know, why, why, why am I hearing about another stupid politician making another stupid statement? Um, because it's inconsequential in reality. And I don't know, it's one of those, I suppose, we don't like to hear about it all the time, do we?

But like you said, it happens and it's real and it's. Um, it's definitely something to get connected to and get involved with, I think, um, especially, you know, if. If you have the means and wherewithal to do so, I think it's incumbent in a lot of ways to get involved with that. And especially because I think it became more real to me when I had a daughter, probably more so than when I [00:43:00] had my sons.

But when you have your, when you had, for me, when having a daughter, it just made me think about a lot of things that I'd never actually thought about before. It was quite sobering, I suppose, in a lot of ways, you know. So, good on you for doing that, but um, yeah, lots more to be done. Lots more to be done.

What does um, what does growth look like for you, uh, Joanna? What's the next five or ten years got, got in store?

Johanna: Um, well, I, those are questions I am again asking God at the moment, um, you know, where am

Matt: Has he answered yet? Has he, has he given you the answer yet? Mmm.

Johanna: but I hear, I feel like I hear the voice again kind of saying like, do another pause and let me show you, um, so I think I may end up doing that. But, um, You know, I do, I love the business world and I do plan to, you know, stay in it to some degree.

Um, [00:44:00] so we'll have to see where that takes me.

Matt: Mmm.

Johanna: but you know, I would say like the, the growth that I'm actually focused more on these days is, you know, just kind of like overcoming my own flaws and really trying to like, get that. I don't know everything and that the messaging of. That I, that has been drilled into my brain for years, which is like, you know, you know where you're going, you know what you should do, like, no, no, no, no, like, I need to, I need to tamper that down and really just try to like, hear, um, you know, from someone who has an, something that has an aerial view of reality, of like, what I should be doing, where I should be going.

Um, and really just like trying to take criticism better from others. Um, and really look at myself, like, am I doing these things that people are telling me I'm doing and how can I get better at that? Um, you know, what are [00:45:00] practices that keep me focused on what's right rather than. You know, the sort of the scramble to like, have what I need to have all the money I need.

Do I have enough in my retirement account? Like, you know, do I have home repairs? And am I hanging out with all the family members enough? It's like, you know, those are all, those all matter. But more importantly, like, how am I acting towards other people?

Matt: yeah.

Johanna: am I doing the things that are cultivating good qualities?

Inside of myself, so, um, yeah, so just really just trying to be able to let things go and trust more, um, realizing that I'm out of control, that's a really hard one for me, I think for a lot of people it's hard, um, those are all things that I'm really practicing at every day to get better at, and I think that's, like, where the real growth comes in is when you have, like, a family member say, you know, you're a lot nicer than [00:46:00] you used to be.

Matt: Well at least you're moving forwards, right, it's

Johanna: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Matt: way around than, oh, you're not as nice as you used to be, I don't know,

Johanna: yeah,

Matt: definitely better that way around. That's really interesting because actually when I asked you the question what does the future look like, the response really was character, I want to develop my character, and I need my character to develop, which is not a typical answer.

Um, you know, we're, as entrepreneurs, we're very good at saying, well, the next five years the turnover will grow by 25 percent per year, and it, but actually grow, developing character I think is probably the foundation to, well, for me, character is the foundation to, you know, a successful business life,

because you've got to have the character,

Johanna: your character dictates where your needle is pointed, and so, you know what I mean? It's like, your needle can be pointed in whatever, you can have whatever goals you want. In the direction your needle is pointed. But the real question is like, your [00:47:00] character pointing the needle in the right direction?

You know, cause it's really easy to go on a crazy train for life in the wrong direction if you're, you know, if your mindset isn't, isn't right,

Matt: yeah, no, totally, I was, I remember that Stephen Covey. Uh, but the seven habits, and he talked about the difference between leadership and management. Um, and I've kind of adapted over the years, uh, in the sense that, um, you know, success is about climbing the ladder and purpose and character is making sure the ladder is against the right wall.

Uh, and it's, it is the same sort of thing. Making sure the needle's pointing in the right direction. Loving this conversation, Johanna, and it's great to hear your story, but for now, we are gonna turn to. The question box, state of the art graphics here on the screen if you're watching the video. Uh, this is where I'm going to flip through the cards.

You're going to tell me when to stop, where we stop. That's the question we ask. So are you [00:48:00] ready?

Johanna: Ready.

Matt: Okay, tell me when to stop.

Johanna: Okay. Okay.

Matt: Well! Well, given the conversation that we've just been going through, the question is, are you ready? And I want you to know you chose this question, right? You told me to stop and we've got it on video. Is it better to give money to the government or to charity?

Johanna: Oh, that is such a good question. I, you know, I, I would definitely say as a person who works regularly with government agencies as a part of my job, and I love them, however, I would say charity, it's probably more likely to be used, um, it'll go a bit further giving it to charity. So as soon as it enters the wheels of bureaucracy, it's like.

You know, it kind of loses its power a little bit.

Matt: it does. And I understand what you're saying. [00:49:00] I think for me, it's an interesting question because when I think about it, your default answer is to go, well, it's much better to give the money to charity. But only because I'm in control of where that goes to. And I feel like with taxes... And the money that I pay to government, I have no option.

I either pay it or I go to jail, right? Whereas with charity, it's within my discretion, you know, uh, does my business give money to charity? Do I give money to charity? Do we do the fundraising, you know, like you've been doing for the, the, the trafficking charities and stuff like that? That's a choice, that's a decision.

Whereas I feel like taxes... Mmm, they're a decision to some degree, but man if you get caught out you're going to jail, right? So there's, there's, it's an interesting one, isn't it? And I wonder if that's part of the reason why we feel maybe the way we do, because you, you pay your taxes because you have to, but rarely do you feel your tax money is being spent well.

Um, and we've always, we [00:50:00] always can complain about that, whereas with charities, we can give money to charities, we can feel good about that, I suppose you could argue that charities don't always spend the money well, um, but it's, it is, yeah, it's a distinct choice isn't it, and I can feel good about that, I never feel good paying my tax, I'm like that's just, that's all that money gone to the government, and they're just going to spend it on a

Johanna: there's a philosophy in, um, in my faith, which is there's a big difference between giving happily, voluntarily with love or, and giving with a bad attitude. And it's like, the thought is, you know, if you're, the church says, like, if you're going to give us money with a bad attitude and you don't want to give us that money, then you keep that money.


Matt: mm,

Johanna: We don't want you giving it to us with, you know, a bad taste in your mouth. If you can give happily and freely as an act of charity, as an act of, you know, giving to the poor, essentially, it's a different [00:51:00] act than giving to the poor. So it's like, it's almost like two different acts in a

Matt: yeah. Yeah, it is. It is. And I suppose that's what makes it quite interesting, isn't it? Um, but that's not to say, obviously, the politicians waste all that money, and I'm sure they work very hard, and there's a lot of public servants that do a good job, but, um,

Johanna: They try.

Matt: They do. I guess if we didn't pay our taxes there would be social collapse.

Um, so I, I get the need to pay them. Um, but I

Johanna: We can do both. Mm hmm.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I, boy, that's a beautiful thing, I suppose. We can do both. Um, and, uh, we can use that. Um, the good thing, I suppose, in England is if you give money to charity, I don't know if it's the same in the States, if you give money to charity, you don't have to pay tax on that money that you give. So, that always feels good, to fill that little form in at the end of the year, which says I've given this much money and the government gives them all that money that I've paid in tax for that back, and it's lovely.

Johanna: Right. And then you can keep that and give more to charity. So,

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. [00:52:00] Listen, Johanna, it's been great talking to you. Uh, if people want to reach out, if they want to connect with you, find out more about what you're doing, um, what's the best way to do that?

Johanna: um, they can find me on LinkedIn and, um, send me a message directly on LinkedIn, or they can email me, um, to my personal email address, which is my first name, uh, Johanna, J O H A N N A L E E Wilson, W I L S O N at gmail. com.

Matt: Fantastic. Well, we'll of course put all those links in the show notes as well, which you can get along for free with the transcript. If you've, if you've signed up to the newsletter, it'll be coming to your inbox as well, but that'll be on the website, push2bemore. com. Uh, Joanna, listen. Um, it's a fascinating day today because we spoke to two people and faith has played a big part in that and it was just really interesting listening to your journey and how this is all sort of connected and worked out for you.[00:53:00]

And, you know, I, I, I appreciate your openness. I appreciate your willingness to talk about it. Um, I was always bored. It was funny. The question at the end, I suppose I was always bored up. You never talk about, uh, religion and tax or religion and politics. The two things you don't talk about and the two things that we've talked about today, uh, it's been quite, it's been quite refreshing and Um, but, um, yeah, thoroughly enjoyed it and, uh, got a lot out of it and, um, super, super thank you for coming on to the show.

Johanna: Yeah. Thank you so much.

Matt: Well, that's a wrap on another fantastic conversation. A massive, huge round of applause, of course, to Johanna for joining us today and shedding light on her very inspiring journey. A huge thanks again to today's show sponsor, aurion Media, for all you change makers out there contemplating podcasting as your new vehicle of expression and connection and marketing.

Do connect with them at aurionmedia. com and of course, they'll also be linked. on the website as [00:54:00] well, pushtobemore. com. Now remember, keep pushing to be more. Don't forget to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts from because we've got some seriously compelling conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.

And in case no one has told you yet today, dear listener, let me be the first to tell you, you are awesome. Yes, you are. Created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Johanna has to bear it. I have to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. Uh, now Push to Be More is brought to you by aurion Media for transcripts or show notes, swing on by the website.

Push to be and a big kudos to the team that makes this show possible, which includes the wonderful Sadaf Beynon and Tanya Hutsuliak. And a shout out of course to Josh Edmondson for at Incredible Theme Music. So from me, from Johanna, thank you for joining us. Have a fantastic week. Wherever you are in the world, I'll catch you on the flip side.

Until then, keep pushing. Bye for now.