Lisa Johnson is a Business Strategist specialising in passive income and encourages entrepreneurs to have more than one stream of income. She has successfully become a multi-millionaire during lockdown by helping other entrepreneurs bring their businesses online. This is her story in her own words and why she believes it’s always possible to re-write yours, no matter what (www.lisajohnson.com):
I have a tattoo on my wrist. It’s a semi colon. I’m not great with pain so it took a fair amount of courage to sit in the chair for all of the five minutes that it took, but it means a lot to me.
Because this small punctuation mark is a visual reminder that when you are faced with adversity or challenge or disappointment, it is not the end. It is not a full stop. It is the start of the next chapter.
I grew up with very little in the way of possessions or status symbols. No car, no holidays. I lived in a council house with my sister and my dad. I didn’t even realise we were poor. We were just “us” and my life to begin with, was happy. I had a big family in the town where I lived and I was content knowing what I knew, and as I would find out in due course, what I didn’t know.
This all changed when I gained a scholarship to the local private school. On the first day my dad dropped me off at the gates on his motorbike. Then I had to very visibly use my “free school meals” ticket at the canteen. Both things had been noted by the “popular” girls, so this was the start of the sustained bullying.
After some time, I left to escape the bullying and moved to the local comprehensive. However, I was now “the stuck-up girl from the posh school” and the bullying became worse, culminating with a knife to my throat and my infrequent attendance at school from then on.
More bullying followed me in my personal life. I was in an abusive marriage from 18, then struggled to hold down jobs because I was naïve and intimidated easily, which often came across as standoffish, meaning my co-workers saw me as aloof and started to pick on me. So, the jobs came and went, and my life seemed to be going nowhere.
There came a point when I just couldn’t take any more. I remember coming home one night from another day in another office with another impenetrable clique of colleagues and thinking “What’s the point?” I sat. I thought. I contemplated. It was a dark time.
At this point I made a deal with myself. I created a plan. I could be someone. I could achieve. No one could tell me what I could or couldn’t be.
That evening I signed up for a law degree, and I told myself that if I could do this, then I could do anything. I studied every night after work and achieved a high 2:1.
That was step one, the first step towards truly believing in myself.
Then I started applying for and eventually landed a job in banking; the start of a high flying career working all the hours that was brought to a screeching halt by the birth of my twin sons! After their birth, I was itching to get back to work, and found a PA job near my home so I could balance motherhood and a career.
But by now my drive and ambition were hard to contain, and I was bored quickly. So, I started my first business as a wedding planner while still working nine to five. It was here that I learnt about the importance of knowing my ideal client and branding and soon I was fully booked for the next two years. It wasn’t long before my wedding planner colleagues started asking me how I’d done it.
This was the tentative start of my coaching career, leading to the start of Lisa Johnson Coaching three years ago. Since that time, I’ve gone from success to success, culminating in a £1.7m launch last year in the middle of the pandemic!
I am cast iron proof that we can all re-write our stories. I am nothing exceptional. I come from a humble background and yes, I still suffer from bullying today, as an adult, in the professional world I inhabit. It still goes on.
But I do not let it affect me. I am known for my authenticity, honesty and my strong moral values, and I will never lose that integrity, because I have seen the damage bullying and victimisation can cause.
I campaign with anti-bullying charities, and believe strongly that anyone, no matter what their background, can go on to achieve great things.
You can, quite literally be anything you want to be!