Lisa Johnson-Bowers is an educational consultant, leadership coach, and entrepreneur. Now retired, Lisa spent almost 30 years teaching children in Ohio classrooms. Upon graduating high school in 1980, she started coaching high school softball while attending Kent State University to study medical technology. Her love of coaching influenced her to choose a career path as a teacher. Lisa graduated from Kent State with a comprehensive science degree and earned the certification necessary to teach all branches of sciences between grades 7-12. After a brief tenure teaching in Ashtabula, she relocated to nearby Mentor where she spent the bulk of her career. Among her early accomplishments were organizing the school’s first AP-level chemistry curriculum, as well as ascending to the position of head coach of the varsity softball team. After her youngest daughter was born, she gave up coaching softball in order to focus more on her family and the education-based aspects of her career, like working closely with students to make sure that course materials were not only learned, but fully understood. An internal drive for improving the lives of others and innovating on existing educational models would not allow her to simply stop there, though. Lisa began conducting workshops designed to help her co-workers embrace cutting-edge teaching practices, while simultaneously creating other workshops that concentrated on character education and technology.
Now, Lisa Johnson-Bowers is looking to brand herself into a new career as a teacher, student, and parental support specialist. She is a Thinking Into Results (TIR) consultant for the Proctor Gallagher Institute and a District Director for the Science Education Council of Ohio, a statewide organization that supports science teachers at all levels. She is also the founder, proprietor, and operations manager for Success Is Intentional, a small consulting firm that assists educators of all levels in understanding vanguard teaching concepts, as well as cultivating new skills and mastering old ones. Some of the more impactful programs Lisa has introduced in her specially-tailored curriculum include ‘Teaching to Change Lives’, ‘Coaching to Change Lives’, and her own personal adaptation of the ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens’ training course.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Success Is Intentional is the name of the LLC that I established years ago as I began consulting work facilitating professional development in teachers and participating in speaking engagements at conferences, retreats, and educational symposiums. The name is a key phrase. It’s a constant reminder to myself that success IS intentional and is a result of deliberate action.
Rather than use the LLC name, I am now rebranding the business by using my own name. So, instead of “Success Is Intentional specializes in educational consulting and coaching,” it’s “Lisa Johnson-Bowers is an experienced teacher and coach.” Outside of the classroom, I have a different role, and with it, the opportunity to influence a larger audience. A coach raises people up to a level they cannot get to on their own. Many people do not realize that the next level even exists, let alone understand how to attain it. I do my best to rectify that. As I support and inspire teachers, students, and parents throughout the world, I nudge them up to that next level so they can accomplish great things.
There is an extension of the Growth Mindset emerging. This extension is a different thought process. When we as teachers alter our mindset a bit, it changes education, how students learn in the classroom, and it even impacts parenting—again, not by changing the curriculum, but by simply pivoting our thinking. This pivot is a simple change that makes a tremendous difference.
The difference between teaching to be successful and teaching to be significant is becoming quite evident, and society’s focus on the former is resulting in a massive exodus from the profession. Right now, our culture is geared to generate successful teachers. What I mean by that is professional development is designed to train teachers to make sure that their students achieve higher levels on standardized tests. However, that should not be the only goal. Teachers are wired with an innate desire to be significant in the lives of their students, and that’s incredibly important, too. As we have learned from the pandemic, educators teach a hidden curriculum—by which I mean that significance, that intangible, positive effect on a student’s mentality and overall welfare—that a narrow focus on student success on standardized tests can’t replicate.
The internal struggle of a teacher is genuine. A teacher who wants desperately to be significant to students, yet is pressured by the culture to concentrate only on student success is forced to be someone they are not. That causes burnout. I enjoy working with teachers and helping them to rekindle the inner teacher inside themselves. I help them to realize they can still be significant to students, even amidst this politically-charged culture that so values data and emphasizes student success.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day begins by listing the things that I am grateful for, reviewing/rewriting goals, and creating a short list of tangible items that I can accomplish that will move me closer to my targets. I do this to keep myself focused and to be mindful of designing my day before it is designed for me.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I create from the inside out; I create from within first. I SEE it in my imagination and I FEEL it through the excitement of achieving my goal, then I follow my instincts and act accordingly. I ignore all evidence of what is happening outside of me, especially people who say my ideas are too difficult or impossible. Then, I know that I will eventually TOUCH it. I make this distinction because, as we all know, goals don’t achieve themselves and things don’t magically drop into our laps without action.
My advice to everyone out there is this: SEE it, FEEL it and then follow your instincts and ACT on it. Then, you will, without fail, TOUCH it. Remember that all progress is created internally, outside of the masses. Inside is all that matters. Ignore the outside.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There are two trends that excite me:
One is the Growth Mindset. This is a hot topic in education, and it is exciting that so many people are embracing the concept. The realization that we can all succeed and that we are all continually growing is exciting and it will change education. As a consultant, I add the next step or level to this concept by increasing the awareness that we are all born with the ability to succeed. Our culture and ourselves have added the limitations that we encounter as we grow up, but these obstacles are illusions. Once we pivot our thinking and increase our awareness of the Growth Mindset, education will permanently change. This idea is not new; studies that illustrate it were discussed in Psycho-Cybernetics, published in 1960.
The second trend is all the advancements that the pandemic has pushed us into adopting. The necessity of remote learning prompted teachers to embrace telecommunications and educational software in a way that wouldn’t have otherwise taken place. The use of technology as a tool to construct learning in the homework venue is an enormous step forward. Concepts that only a few had embraced prior to 2020 have been revealed to the entire world of education now. It is a matter of redefining best practices and avoiding the temptation of merely adapting our worksheets to these new tools.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I remain focused on my purpose, my goals, and once I find myself in the zone, I do my best to stay there. I start the day with gratitude, not from the head, but from the heart. This process helps to put me in the zone. Next, I rewrite my goals with details. I try to see my goals as if they are already accomplished and FEEL them as if they are already completed. Then, I write three to five things that I can do to move closer to each target. For entrepreneurs, educators, students, and parents alike, the key is to remember that WE create each day, whether it happens automatically or if we do it intentionally. However, the latter is the only path to real productivity and genuine personal betterment. It’s critically important to be intentional about how time is spent.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Uniqueness is everyone’s superpower! You can step away from the masses and accomplish lasting, positive change. For example, I created our school’s softball team when I was a junior in high school (with friends). Years later, the team has won eight Division 1 State Championships.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
“If you see it and feel it, you’ll soon touch it.” That’s it.
I think people agree with me if they’re aware of this idea. But many people see the negative things, and they feel the negative stuff, and then the negative outcomes inevitably occur. It’s a phenomenon that has to do with attitude and mindset. It happens all the time. It happens with kids. They see this fear that something terrible will happen in their mind’s eye, and they feel the fear of it, then suddenly, shoot, it happens. Then, their reaction is usually something like ”I knew it! See, I told you so!”, thus reinforcing the original negative, pessimistic attitude. So goes the cycle of an unhealthy mindset.
However, people are creating every single second, whether they know it or not. They do it automatically. It’s a product of being human—we’re a creative, pattern-recognizing, and problem-solving species by nature. The proper mindset for positive evolution and prosperity in an individual, specifically in a young person would be, “well, I’m creating all the time, anyway; why don’t I create what I want?”
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Have gratitude, of course. I also recommend that everyone read or study every single day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Study about YOURSELF. Success depends on confidence. You can only operate at a level that matches your self-image. Raise your self-image, and you raise your level of success. Confidence is a product of the mind, but also a prerequisite for success.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The number one strategy that I have is summed up by a sentence I have written on my board: “How can I serve you?” My top business strategy is to leave everybody with a sense of increase. The only approach is to help people. If you focus everything on helping people, you will do nothing but succeed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
To be successful as an entrepreneur requires separation from the masses, stepping away from the norm. There is comfort and a feeling of safety with the mainstream world, and without focus, it is easy to be overcome by the gravitational attraction back to the norm. Failure comes when we lose focus and slide back into our old routines, safe and comfortable, yet not at the expected achievement level. This digression is something that we all experience from time to time.
Remember to keep the main thing THE MAIN THING. I have another expression written on the board in my office: “Money is a certificate of performance you receive for helping others.” When I focus on my services as if I’m giving a gift—because I’m here to serve people—all goes well. When I lose that focus, it all fizzles out. The magic in life comes from helping others.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
There is no better time than right now to create a program to help kids catch up in school. That’s a fact. Many kids are behind right now because of the pandemic, and parents are looking for a way to help them catch up. Of course, the parents are expecting the school boards and districts to do that, but that may not be enough. If someone is looking to create a business right now, it would be a really good idea to create something to support the younger students and bring them back on track to where they ought to be with their education.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Programs by Peggy McColl and Bob Proctor. Also, Brendon Burchard’s Growth Day is a $50 monthly ($200/year) membership for entrepreneurs. It’s the best money you can spend!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Suite has changed the world. I use it every single day.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Three books leap to mind, actually. First, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. You don’t have to read the whole book. A lot of times you just read a chapter, but you read that same chapter every day for a month, and every single day it will be amazing. Also, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Malz is a fantastic book that will change education. The Growth Mindset is enormous in education right now, and Psycho-Cybernetics will plug any reader right into that concept. Lastly, This Thing Called You by Ernest Holmes. It’s only a 30 to 40-page book, but it’s also amazing.
What is your favorite quote?
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
- In my heart, at my base, I am a COACH, and regardless of whether it is in the classroom, on the field, or as a keynote speaker/course creator/educational consultant/entrepreneur, I raise people up to a level they cannot get to on their own.
- I support and inspire teachers, students, and parents throughout the world.
- Success lies in the phrases “how can I serve?” and “always leave others with a sense of increase.”
- Embrace your uniqueness and exercise your imagination. All things are created in the mind first before they are made in the physical world.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.