Introversion is more about Energy than the way you show up! This week we welcome Speaker, Comedian, 4-time author, and Networking Expert for Introverts, Mahlena-Rae Johnson. Listen in as Mahlena-Rae shares her story of how witnessing people scared to network despite their success inspired her to start a career helping others overcome their fear. She explains her shift in how she defines success, focusing more on living a life that makes her happy.

About the Guest:

Speaker, comedian, and 4-time author Mahlena-Rae Johnson is a Networking Expert for Introverts. She has been featured on CBC Kids, The Great Canadian Woman Podcast, BusinessBecause, and more.  

Mahlena on Instagram:  

Mahlena on LinkedIn:

About the Hosts:

Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. As a pioneer in the industry, she brings more than a decade of experience to her clients, which includes global wellness, entertainment, and lifestyle brands. Blair has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards, and more. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including CBC Radio, CEOWORLD Magazine, She Owns It, and Thrive Global. Blair is also the #1 best-selling author of Pulsing Through My Veins: Raw and Real Stories from an Entrepreneur. When she’s not working on the board for her local chamber of commerce, you can find Blair growing the “I Am Resilient Project,” an online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments. 

Theresa Lambert is a High-Performance Lifestyle and Success Coach, Speaker, and Bestselling Author of “Achieve with Grace: A guide to elegance and effectiveness in intense workplaces. She founded her coaching and consulting firm, Theresa Lambert Coaching & Consulting Inc., to help ambitious women succeed with more elegance and less struggle so they can lead with focus and nourish themselves to the top. Drawing from her nearly 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and most recently her 6-year tenure as the General Manager of Nita Lake Lodge she brings both a real world view and proven applicable tools to support her clients. Theresa has been recognized as a business leader in Whistler’s Profiles of Excellence, featured in Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, Hotelier Magazine, and Beyourown, and spoken at Women in Hospitality Leadership events, including Empower Her. Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, Theresa now lives in Whistler, BC where you can most often find her on the golf course in the summer months or relaxing by a fireplace in winter.


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Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Ever wonder what success actually means? How do you get it? And how do you keep it?

Theresa Lambert:

We all want it yet sometimes it feels only some of us get to have it.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:t's be real for a hot minute.:Theresa Lambert:

Can you put it in a box?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

How can you get it?

Theresa Lambert:

Can people take it away? Or are you the one with the power?

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Does it mean the same to all of us? Or are we the ones that create it?

Theresa Lambert:

From PGA golf bros to doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs and spiritual mentors, we get together to meet with successful people from around the globe to dissect success for vibrant conversations and interviews. Make sure you click the subscribe button on the app store because each week we will drop a new episode to bust through the myths around success and dissect its true meaning. Who's ready for the most badass and massive uplevel in their business? It is back what's back momentum land Teresa's signature six month business and mentorship accelerator is now open for enrollment

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Theresa Lambert:

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Blair Kaplan-Venables:

ready to give your business the momentum you desire. Head to Teresa Lambert coaching comm backslash momentum to secure your coveted spot. Welcome back, got another episode of dissecting success. And we are here with someone who I cannot wait to talk to. I just met her recently and what she talks about her expert topics to me are extremely fascinating. We have Milena Ray Johnson. She's a speaker, comedian, and for time author. She's a networking expert for introverts. She's been featured on CBC kids, the great Canadian woman podcast business because and more and I am so excited because I wonder how she got into networking as an introvert or even if she is an introvert. So welcome to our show.

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:ple scare me. So I decided in:Blair Kaplan-Venables:

I love it. Okay, so With that explanation, I am super curious to know what does success mean to you?

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:ness school as I graduated in:Theresa Lambert:

thank you so much for sharing that. I think that what we have found specifically, you know, for our own conversations we had about success, but specifically as we have spoken with so many different diverse guests, from all walks of life from all over the globe, all different age ranges to which is I think, always such a big part of it was that for so many of us, you know, we grew up with this idea that success is found for this achievement in our Korea for the the you know, stars we can hang on our wall or the trophies we put on the shelf. So you know, all the things that we can do from the outside perspective, well, right, like, do you have a home? Do you have a career? Do you have a title? Do you have money in your bank account, like you can sort of go all these external things, but this journey, that so many, now, I will say incredibly successful people, including yourself have gone through this shift because at one point or another, we've, we've realized that what comes from the inside, that joy, that happiness, being actually able to do something that feels purposely aligned with who we are. And that fulfills us on such a greater level, right? Like that joy that it brings us to, you know, for you to help people successful people that are introverts to actually write, to be able to make that a job to write books, to share this beautiful message. doing that, and then as a result of that, actually having that outer world success, right, that I think is so remarkable, because it's like we flip it on its head. And it actually still works, right? So we get to re write the story for ourselves to say, you know what, my success is about living this happy life and finding joy and doing things that are joyful, and having a healthy family and having a healthy body myself, right and choosing what really lights me up. And then as a result of that, we still get to create the financial success that we desire in our life. And that, you know, just, I mean, it kind of gives me goosebumps, because I think that that is such a new beautiful way we get to be now and every single time somebody changes the story, it's like this door opens that we can walk through and say wow, you know, she that so I can do it too.

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:

Yes. That is quite insightful Theresa

Theresa Lambert:

This is what happened.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

I got some question. Oh, okay, Hi, I'm an extrovert. So like, walk me through what it's like to network as an introvert, like, what are some of the feelings you have? Or, you know, for me, it's like a networking event. I'm so excited. And I get my business like in person to be like business cards and plan my outfit, and I can't wait to get there. And I get there early. And I try and talk to everyone and make connections. And now that it's online stuff, same thing I show up, I dm people and look people up on social media, people who are fascinating I connect with, I am probably the opposite of an introvert. And so what is it like as an introvert, like me, when people are listening, they're not even sure if they're an introvert, like, how do you know if you're an introvert? What are those tips to navigate a networking situation?

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:

introversion is more about energy than the way you show up. So for instance, especially in business school, but also, this has happened to me in a in meeting new people online, through zoom, and through other video chats. People think that introversion is about how people appear to them. And if they're talking to people, or if they're reserved, or if they the way that they approach other people determines your introversion or extroversion. But for me, I'm very determined person, I'm an ambitious introvert. So I know what needs to be done because my drive over ride the fear that I might allow myself to have the the energy that you have within yourself determines your introversion or extroversion. So if you're someone who, who, for instance, in March, when you heard that lock downs were happening across the world, and that meant that you couldn't see people in person. And your first thought was, how am I going to connect with anybody ever again, Africa to be able to, to to be happy, because all of my connecting points are gone, then you're probably an extrovert, because you need that energy from other people, especially physically in the room. Whereas extroverts are, whereas introverts like me, not all of us, but some of us, okay, we have to stay indoors for an known amount of time, that's going to be weird. But that also means that there's no pressure for me to have to go to places and do things with people to justify my, to justify my existence on this planet, there's no need for me to, there's there's no way for me to continue going to in person networking events, because that is a hazard. And that means that other stuff will happen. And that will be fine. And I'll have a lot more time to just sit and think quietly. And that will be let me renew my energy. And it has there has been a definite, there's been a definite split among people that I've seen, not just introverts and extroverts, but people who are accepting the change and people who are fighting against it. The the benefit for introverts during this period is that you can't, it is more acceptable now, for you to stay at home and connect with people online. And you could go next door if you know your neighbors and talk to them, if they're in your bubble, or if you've all been vaccinated. But the possibilities for connecting with people very deeply and very strategically, online are much more available now and acceptable now than two years ago. Because people get because what I don't think extroverts sometimes understand is that we might be as introverts making the same type and number of strong connections. If we do it in a way that works for us, then if we try to get to all the people in every way all the time and burn ourselves out. So the it may, it may be fun for extroverts to talk to, let's say 20 people in a room and a night. And it may make more sense for introverts to talk to only three people in that room that night. But at the end of that night, they're probably still going to get the same amount of work done. They'll have three connections or maybe even two connections that will move them forward. Whereas the extrovert then has to spend the time organizing those 20 connections and seeing who are even these people I don't know why you actually want to talk to them, or did I just like their shirt.

Theresa Lambert:

So interesting. I find that really interesting. I've always considered myself an introverted extrovert. I I need to like prepare to go out and I recharge when I come in. But most people just naturally assume that I'm an extrovert, which is really interesting. And I think it's just a perception that people get, which I think is just driven by when I show up, I show up with my energy. And so it was really interesting that you said that introversion is about energy. But what got me very curious is how this is a different feeling on the screen. I hadn't really thought about this. Because it just all of a sudden happened. And I was already utilizing meetings like this before, so it didn't seem like the odd change. But certainly networking virtually was a completely new concept to me. And I actually felt like, I remember when I came to that fast virtual network meeting that Blair had invited me to, and I was terrified to see why. And I like usually don't really have a problem speaking or introducing myself and I was like shaking in my boots. So it was interesting that when you were just speaking, it almost seemed like this offered less frightening, I don't know if that's the right word or less intimidating, I should say, not frightening or less intimidating. base for introverts to connect. So maybe you can speak a little bit more about just a different feeling that you've experienced, and maybe your clients experience virtually versus in person, because I find in person way less intimidating than the screen.

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:e, I, you wrote this story in:Blair Kaplan-Venables:

That's so beautiful. And I totally agree with that. It's interesting listening to you talk about energy. I was reading Amy Schumer's book and she's saying that she's an introvert isn't an extroverted introvert. And so I said to my sister on vacation years ago, Alana I think I'm an extrovert or an introvert and she's like, no way you're an extrovert, an extrovert. And even in my wedding speech, she made a speech about how I tried to convince her I was an introvert. But the energy concept is so important, because you know what, I am someone who thrives off the buzz of a room. But what I really learned with the world staying safe at home, was that I loved not having anywhere to go, I loved saving time and money on travel and commuting. I love not having to see tons of people. And I found just as much value showing up online and chatting in the chat box. And in the beginning, my concern what my big issue wasn't like, Oh, no, how am I going to connect it was thank God, I need a break, I need a break. And I think a lot of people felt that way. And so maybe there are a lot of people out there who think they're extroverts, but they do have this level of introversion is that a word introversion extroversion, we have this level of introversion, you know, in us, and maybe it's like a scale, like I, I really like being home. And maybe a lot of that has to do with like, I am sober, like I stopped drinking years ago. So like, I don't mind going to like a wine and cheese. But like, after everyone has had two drinks, I leave, you know, and so for me, I like spending time with people, maybe one on one or in small groups and doing things like camping or hiking and business, I'd rather have the one on one meeting. But what I really learned was, I love the screentime, I love the going to virtual events and being able to turn my camera off and chat in the chat box, or shut my computer and go hang out with my cats, or hang out with my cat while networking, or am I wearing pants, you'll never know. And so it's just interesting. So one, I just want to say that like, I think you're confirming that I do have part of I'm part I'm part introvert. But too, you know, I think people do need to stop looking at all the things that are missing out and like embracing the things that are here, because this is the new way of the world for now. And we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. But we know what tools we have access to now. And I would love to know like if you had one like the most important tip to give an introverted person who's going to go network maybe for the first time at a virtual that maybe they're going to a conference, they know they need to grow their network, they've never networked online or ever. What is that one tip that you tell every introverted person who's about to go network?

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:

Well, I will answer your question first. And then I have a comment on what you said. So the first, the first thing I'd say to either introverts or extroverts is to plan. If you know about the event that you're going to attend, learn as much as you can about it from the information that is given and see if there are other people who plan to attend that event. And then connect with them and say, say I'm excited to attend this event to or posted somewhere saying it especially since it's virtual, you're not going out. So this is it's a safer than you to actually let people know what you're doing. Let people know that you're going to this event and and start buzz around that. So it makes it feels like maybe you know one or two people who are going and it's going to make it easier for you whether you're introverted or extroverted. And then with what Claire was saying about, maybe you like hanging out at home. I have had some time to think about how capitalism affects all of what we do in general. And I have focused more on why is this event happening and or why am Why am I doing what I'm doing and norms and standards and especially at events that are networking events, there is a lot of alcohol available on allegedly it's supposed to help people loosen up and and Be able to connect with people better but that is also something to think about if you're sober person so and also if you have to pay for the event is the event necessarily set up in a way that is conducive for you to meet the people that you need to meet or is it set up in a way that is financially feasible for the for the organization putting on the event. So there are a lot of things that you that we now have the time to think about. Like why was I spending so much time picking out the right close to go to the event and there are times I picked out a specific sweater that I liked so that it gave off the right feeling and now I wear the same seven t shirts over and over for my for my my different zoom meetings and eventually the people that I see every week are gonna see all of them but it's a it's a jumping off point that is equally as lovely as my dog or or bear sweaters that I used to wear. So for people who are who are having the time to sit and think about whether they're an introvert or an extrovert I would ask you to think more deeply about why you did the things that you did in the before times and why you are choosing to do the things you're doing now instead of focusing on a label focus on what works for you and why

Theresa Lambert:hat I remember that Christmas:Blair Kaplan-Venables:

So I'm fascinated by what you have to say. And I'm sure listeners are too. So how do people work with you? Like how how can people get a hold of you? How can people work with you? Let's dive into that. Well, right

Mahlena-Rae Johnson:

now I am focused on my b2b offering. So I help media companies specifically in the US and Canada who want to increase employee engagement and reduce employee turnover. So if that sounds like you, or it sounds like your company has that need, then definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn. And in as as I will let everyone know who I am. My name is Milena Ray Johnson. If you type in the first part of my first name, ma h le na in Google, you'll find everything about me. So go to LinkedIn and type in Molina. I will pop up if you are not necessarily some Who's like I want to bring this to my HR representative and you're like, I want to work on my introversion more private basis, then you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. Then also available on Instagram. So again, type in Molina into Google, I should pop up and follow me on LinkedIn or on Instagram, and I will be happy to connect with you.

Blair Kaplan-Venables:

Amazing, and we'll drop all your details in the show notes. Thank you again for tuning in to another episode of dissecting success. Molina Ray Johnson, it's been phenomenal. Thank you. And without further ado,

Theresa Lambert:

peace. That's a wrap for another episode of dissecting success. enjoyed this episode. Make sure to subscribe to blackout on Venables and Teresa Lambert's podcast dissecting success on the App Store.

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