The greatest assets of our society are our children, and we must ensure that their education and well-being are never taken for granted or hindered by conflicting interests. By cultivating adaptability, learning from diverse perspectives, and valuing individuals of all ages, we can build a resilient and thriving community for generations to come. In this episode, we have special guest Lizzy Johnson, CEO of TransCend4, educator, administrator, and entrepreneur that supports school districts to impact students across Texas and beyond. Today, she covers a wide range of topics, starting with the challenges of being a parent with no manual to follow, and how adaptable and agile kids are today. Lizzy also touches on resilience and the importance of being adaptable to changes in the environment. She discusses how society should learn from those with different perspectives, whether young or old, and not discriminate against people based on their age. And she emphasizes how the younger generation might just be the key to building the society we all need. The episode is light and funny, and listeners are encouraged to share the episode with friends and family, leave a review, and take a free resilience assessment at resiliencerank.com. Tune in now.
- 03:14 Mind shift – change in mindset
- 16:38 What school is about
- 29:37 You just know in your life when you find what you love to do
- 38:33 You need to have the right people there, and that means vetting and training.
How do we leverage continuous uncertainty to thrive in this unprecedented new world?
The answer is to build the resilience we need to power us through the challenges we face so that we become “Change Proof.” Prepare to tackle the future with confidence by reading Adam’s latest book Change Proof: Leveraging the Power of Uncertainty to Build Long-Term Resilience.
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The Power Of Education In Building A Resilient New Generation With Lizzy Johnson
In this episode, I have an amazing woman. You’re going to love her. She’s got the greatest energy in the world. Her name is Dr. Lizzy Johnson. Lizzy, as she’s called, spent many years in the Texas Public Education System beginning as a classroom teacher, campus coach, and then district-level administrator. For the past couple of years, she’s led her own company, TransCend4, through numerous initiatives throughout the State of Texas, and along with her is her mighty team of five. They are impacting decisions made for students and not adults. You are going to enjoy this conversation with the amazing Dr. Lizzy Johnson.
I used to object to the word busy, and it’s funny now that I don’t mind it at all. I don’t use it a lot still because I’ve trained myself to say things like dynamic, varied, or other words, but I’m embracing the busy more. You’ve got a dynamic calendar and you’re very active. Based on your bio, you’ve done some amazing things in the world. My question to you is what is one thing that is not part of your bio or intro that you would love for people to know about you?
I would love for people to know that I am raising an incredible human. She is my highest accomplishment because I’ve raised her myself. It’s so funny when you become a parent, nobody hands you a handbook or gives you a guide or user’s manual. None of that happens. They send you home with this little baby. All they do is check the car seat and make sure it’s in right. I have learned so much from her and mostly from her generation because she’s in such a unique generation that I feel is going to be the catalyst of change for our world and who totally understand the concept of pivoting. They are not married or connected to a way of things. They’re a group that can easily change on the fly.
I love it because I’ve watched her grow into this person who will be leaving me, and it will be me and my fat dog. It’s rough, but I’m so proud of her. When people ask me how Chloe is, I never say, “She’s fine.” I always say, “She is so awesome,” because I have this feeling like I did a good job with her. She’s got some accolades that I never would’ve achieved at her age. It blows my mind.
I read a lot of books, and that’s just me. I try to bring in as much as I can to be better. Mindshift is a change in mindset. The book is by Carol Dweck. I would use that book with my administrators when I was director, assistant sup, or things like that. I started thinking, “This is a parenting book too.” You have to be able to shift your mindset with another human in order to be better for them. I learned to do that with Chloe and be flexible with her. Not that we didn’t have discipline and order in the home, but I’ve learned that she’s growing and I had to be able to do that.
One of the things it says is positivity is key, ensuring that the person can learn to be positive about things because we all get down and out and get bad attitudes. That’s human nature. We live in an incredible area where there are middle school and elementary a block from our home. It was such a blessing. It’s one of the reasons why I chose to buy this house. Every morning before Chloe left for school, I would say, “Chloe, who’s better than you?” She would say, “Nobody.”People can learn to be positive about things. Because we all get down and out, we all get bad attitudes, that's just human nature. Click To Tweet
There’s something to be said about positive affirmations, especially with children. Not only did I do that with Chloe, but I started doing that with my students, in the hallways or the cafeteria when I was an administrator. As I then transitioned into being a central office administrator, I would do it with the people that I supported, the principals, assistant principals, and things like that. It became a mantra, and I wanted people to realize that they can be the best at what they are and just keep striving for that.
You’re going to make me cry. People who are reading this now are tearing up. I love you. That’s the reason why I wanted you on the show. We don’t even know each other. When we met months ago, and it was wonderful to be able to work together at one of your events, you’re amazing. What you said is a reflection is the projection of things that we feel are related to ourselves. I’m going to say this to you, Lizzy. Nobody’s better than you. Isn’t that true?
Yes, that’s right. You better believe it and you’ll achieve it. You’ll get there.
Good on Chloe. She hit the mommy lottery is what I feel like.
That’s a great thing about her. She’s cognizant of that and aware. She has friends and acquaintances, has grown up around other kids, and realizes that she’s got it pretty good. Some of that too is I waited until I was in my mid-30s to have her. That was purposeful on my part because I wanted to be ready and prepared. Not that you’re ever truly ready, but I felt like I needed to be in a place professionally and personally to tackle that. That worked out as well.
We have four kids. I might have mentioned that to you along the way, but they hit the mommy lottery. I completely resonate with how you described what it’s like when you take these kids home. There are a couple of things I want to reflect on what you said. One is they let you take the baby out of the hospital is like, “What are you thinking?” especially with the first one, but it’s like, “Are you kidding me? Do you not know me?” We were young at the time. We were babies ourselves. It’s like the babies are taking a baby home. It’s crazy.
They don’t come with a manual, and you got to figure it all out. Maybe it’s a little bit like IKEA furniture and you put it together. I don’t know if it’s a male thing, but it’s a me thing that I’d be like, “I can’t deal with these instructions. There are too many of them. It’s all in Scandinavian on one side.” You put it together and go, “That’s backward.” You got to take it apart and put it together again. That’s the way it is with parenting. You’re going to put some stuff together backward and things are going to be a little sloppy at times. It goes through that.
With four kids, the one thing I can tell you for sure is that it’s not a one size fits all. To be agile or adaptable the way Chloe or her generation is one of the greatest skillsets, resilience-wise of parenting. If I was going to write a book, blog, or something about resiliency in connection with our parenting lives, you have to be agile and adapt to the environment as it changes.
That’s what Darwin said. It wasn’t about survival of the fittest. It was the survival of those who are the most adaptable to their constantly changing environments. Let’s talk about Chloe’s generation. This doesn’t come up on our show that often, so I’m thrilled about it. When we talk about Millennials, they get a lot of crap. Gen Zs is a whole other thing. Is Chloe a Gen Z or is she some other generation at this point?
Yes, because she’s seventeen. She was born in 2005. That’s where it falls.
She may be Gen Z. We’re looking at these kids coming out of a pandemic. These are kids on their technology almost like it’s an adaptation of another hand or something. You said something like, “They’re not so attached to the status quo,” the way a lot of other people are that have difficulty changing in the midst of the fact that the universe is nothing but change.
That’s so true. Technology is big, you’re right. They like the best technology, but I’ll be honest with you. Chloe would prefer to go to like a vintage thrift store and buy clothes than go buy brand-new clothes. They’re very conscious of waste. I’ve watched her friends do things. She’s really weird about how we recycle. She’s taught me so many things. Even little cotton balls or cotton pads, she’s like, “We don’t buy those. We use ones we can wash.” I’m like, “Okay.” I think about them and the amount of information that they have received in their lifetime. When I was young, having an Encyclopedia Britannica was the pinnacle of knowledge.
We’re like brother and sister. We had that whole big set that some salesperson came to the door and convinced my dad to buy.
You could open that and learn about other countries, cultures, and just things. There were pictures, and I was like, “This is great.” I grew up in poverty, and that transitioned when I was around the age of ten when my mother married my stepfather. We came into a change where we had another income and had things like that. When those books came into my life in 10 or 11, I was gobsmacked. I was like, “This is the craziest thing ever.” Another funny story, but in my first year of teaching, we didn’t have the internet or email. Do you remember we had CDs and discs that you could put on the computer?
It was like an Encyclopedia Britannica. You could google Martin Luther King, and his speech would come up, or all these things about him and you could watch it. My cousin who’s very much like my brother had a computer in his home. I stayed with him for a little while during my first year of teaching. I would put those CDs on that computer and watch that stuff. It was the same feeling like, “This is amazing.”
The internet came in my second year of teaching and thought I hit the jackpot as a history teacher who would love to show those things in an instant or quick information all coming rapidly. The kids were enamored by it. I wasn’t the best teacher, but I had some great resources. I think about Chloe and her generation about how they have been inundated from birth with visual images, videos, and information constantly. That’s a reason why they are able to adjust and change rapidly because they have to be aware of the things that come at them that may not be truthful.
I don’t think that could possibly be the case. Let’s not go there.
Those kids and some of the younger Millennials are the best private investigators you will find in your life.
They’re like little Columbos.
They don’t have degrees in it or credentials, but you give them a name or an idea and they can write a dissertation on it. That’s another reason why they’ve had all this information thrown at them for so long that they’ve had to come up with that survival skill of vetting and understanding what’s true and what isn’t and using that knowledge to their benefit.
My dad didn’t buy anything from anybody. It was hysterical that all the things that got through were those books. It was expensive. He was a civil servant. He worked for the parks department and as a preschool teacher. He didn’t earn $30,000 in his 30th year there. He spent almost $2,000 on this big set of books. I would ask him stuff or my brother would ask him things, and he’d be like, “Look it up.” That was all he would say to us. He would point at those books, “Go crack that book open.”
We would open that Encyclopedia Britannica and it had some authority. It’s almost like when I became a lawyer and I would open up the law books. It was like whatever was written in that book was the quote, the truth, or the gospel. You’re right. Now, information or content is coming from so many places. They’re taking in so much more content by I don’t even know what exponent you could even attach to it, but so much more. They have to discern not only so much more but also so much more quickly than required to discern between things so that we could know where we stood. It’s a very different environment.
You, my generation, and the older would hear something and would believe 100%. No doubt. Whatever it was and whoever said it, that’s what we do. That’s another key component to them. They’re seekers of the truth. They are going to ensure that this world course corrects and gets back to that way. Some people dismiss them because they’re young. I had shoes older than Chloe’s.
I used to tell parents that when they would come in my office and get frustrated at their middle school kid like, “I had shoes older than your child and their brain is not formed. Why are you so frustrated? Let’s tap the breaks here. This is what school is about, they’re learning. They’re learning how to work through these things and how to be better citizens.” They’re the key to us figuring out how to be a better society because they don’t take things for face value.
I want to bring something up and I’m not bringing it up to be controversial. In fact, it never shows up in this show like opinions about politics or things like that. This is my disclaimer or the caveat for people reading that I’m not taking a position one way or the other on the thing I’m about to bring up but more on the point that you’re making.
In the timeframe that we’re doing this interview, there are a lot of demonstrations in Tennessee, in the City of Memphis, and in Nashville. These two particular lawmakers, African-American young men, and the one that I’ve been listening to and seeing a bit is 27 years old. You brought up MLK, and Dr. King was 27 around the same time when he was also protesting and being jailed.
In hindsight, I don’t think anybody would debate or dispute the fact that Dr. King was both a person of peace and a person with incredible influence well before the influencer thing. He would’ve been the Kylie Jenner or whoever. He was an influencer about something that we all needed to take notice of. We needed to be influenced. Our world needed to change. All that is excited about making a change when that change might impact differently, in some way.
I feel like there’s a 27-year-old person, and I don’t remember how old the other gentleman is, but let’s say he’s about the same age who stood up to power and making quite a stand in that area. Truthfully, regardless of whether you’re in favor of the thing that they were objecting to or you’re not, that’s not the point. The point is, as you’re saying, it’s a generation of young people that are going to have at it and that’s what we want. Let them get their turn to decide the world that they want to live in and raise their children in. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
They are next in line. There are bad humans and good humans. I’m not going to dispute that at all, but sometimes we discount people because of their age and that is a dangerous thing to do. I have been around some smart very young people who may not have all the life experiences as an older generation or older person, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the will, fortitude, and knowledge to make good change that we need.Sometimes we discount people because of their age. But there are very young people who may not have all the life experiences but have the will, fortitude and knowledge to make good change that we need. Click To Tweet
Those kids are all getting ready to be voting age. When I turned eighteen and could vote no matter what side of the aisle that you’re on was a huge deal for me. I had a teacher who was very good about telling us, “That is your civic duty. You live in a country where the vote is an honor and a privilege. There are so many people who want that but don’t get it so you better use it.” He was such a great mentor to a lot of students at my school. He was an English teacher. I’ll never forget that. I thought, “I have to go sign up to vote because Mr. Henry said that’s important. We have to do that.” The majority of our group in that class that had him felt that way, but that was not the norm when we were young.
To this day, I still come across people my age that still don’t go vote. I’m like, “I don’t care how you vote. You should go vote. Everyone should vote. We are letting a small group or a minority group of people of numbers decide big decisions for a huge swath of the population.” Changes are coming because these kids are chomping at the bit to get registered to vote. They know what they want and what they want to see their world look like. That’s going to enact change in other areas to meet them in the middle.
It’s a little bit like when you’re a young person and see someone who’s succeeding in sports, music, or some other thing and you go, “That’s a model for what’s possible for me. If that person can do that, then there’s no reason why I’m not also able to do the same or something different.” It’s the other side of it too. People reading this are going, “There’s a lot of age discrimination on both ends of the aisle.” You got young people that are dismissed and people that are older that are in their 60s, 70s, or older than that who have been dismissed in our society for a very long time.
To this day, there’s a lot of ageism in that area, too, where what would be more important than almost anything? It’s to cultivate the wisdom of people that are at a place where they do not necessarily want to get out there and hustle every day for a living but have all this knowledge, information, and wisdom to share with people. That’s not always looked upon nicely.
Again, it’s a funny thing when you think about the people who are running a lot of the show now, they are older as it turns out. While I’m fine to be critical of practices, policies, decisions, and performance, be critical. I can’t wrap my head around why you dismiss a person because you call them old. You got to be kidding me here.
We have to also realize age is a different factor than it used to be years ago because of the way we live and how we take care of ourselves now. Medicine and science have come so far for many years that someone in their 70s is a very different person than in their 70s in the ’50s or even in the ’60s, ’70s, and even the early ’80s. Those are different people now.
I’m going to tell you what’s so crazy. In our city, we have a senior center. It’s through Parks and Rec, which you’re probably familiar with now that you told me your dad worked at Parks and Rec. It’s a gathering place. They have programming and seniors go there. They have card games and all that stuff. When I first moved here to my community in 1996, that was a place where they would have square dancing, bridge games, quilting, and those things. Now, that is a different place. They’re doing Zumba and taking trips all over the state together. There are weight rooms in there. It’s a totally different atmosphere. Look at how short of time that was ago. That’s a great point that you’re making and to reflect on how age has changed over the years.
I’m a resilience speaker, but a researcher as well. I’m constantly going through information about things about our brain health because our bodies are going to last longer. We are all anecdotally able to see that around us as well. People are going to live longer, but I also have a business partner whose mom is dealing with dementia. The idea that we’ll live 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, or who knows longer than we might have and our brains aren’t fully functional at that moment is not negotiable for me.
We think about it. It’s like, “What are the things you do?” I got a green drink right here. I use this stuff called the Athletic Greens, which I love. There are lots of other great products. Some people use Momentous and some people make their green drinks, which is what we used to do, but with a busy schedule and all those things, I’ve been using this.
Sleep, how you sleep, or figure out how to sleep. There are a lot of ways to get better rest, moving your body, exercise, and hydration are basic things. There are some things that people don’t always hear about, but studies have shown that if you go buy a sauna, some other place, or a club that has a sauna 3 to 4 times a week reduces the incidence of early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia by more than 60%. That’s remarkable.
Those are small things you can add to your normal routine. I have a friend that I went to college with. We travel sometimes together with a group of us. We were on a trip together, and I said, “Have you drank water? You need to drink some water.” Now, he has this water jug he takes with him everywhere because he always thinks Lizzy says, “I got to drink water. It’s time to drink water.” I always text him every once in a while, and say, “Have you drink water?” It blows my mind the number of people that do not drink enough water. That is life essentials.
Isn’t that trippy that we don’t understand better? We’re only 70% water ourselves. What I understand is that sometimes when we eat, we think we’re hungry, but we’re not. We’re dehydrated. You have a little ache and pain in your body and think, “I got to rub something on that, take a pill or whatever it might be.” It’s like, “No, you’re dehydrated.”
It’s the answer to the majority of the problems that people have.
Brain fog? Water.
Chloe is a water connoisseur, both of us. We drink water all day long. That’s all we drink. When we go to restaurants, I may have a cocktail every now and then at a restaurant if I’m with my friends, but I’m a water drinker. I’d love that I’ve instilled that in her because it is the solution to a lot of problems people have with their bodies.
Let us pivot to your business. Would you bring us up to speed on some of what you’re up to? You don’t speak for a living, but you make a fabulous speaker. You knock the cover of it if you ever want to do that on top of everything else. You were seated along the way. You were in the classroom, and then you were an assistant superintendent. You’ve worked with schools. If I say anything about you, you are passionate about kids, education, and helping parents and communities better serve their kids. How does that lead to the work that you do in the world now?
As you said, I spent many years in public ed. I started as a classroom teacher and loved it. It was the best thing ever. I was meant to do it. You just know in your life when you find what you love to do. Along the way, as most educators, you start getting challenged by others like, “You should think about this. What’s next in your career?” Honestly, I was very resounding being a classroom teacher and being with students for the majority of my day.
I started coaching swimming, and I loved that. It was another outlet in seeing kids achieve. Eventually, I worked my way into a Master’s degree and decided to go into central office. I did a lot of different positions at the central office, but never superintendent because I always joke, “I never wanted seven bosses.” Most superintendents have a board that they answer to and they have 7 to 9 bosses. That wasn’t a good gig for me. I don’t even want one boss.
After doing all those different positions, being in schools, and realizing we, as educators, at least in Texas, sometimes sit back and let others make decisions for us. I started getting involved and being vocal, especially when I left the umbrella of the public atmosphere and started my own company in 2018. What we do is we go out and advocate for kids in various types of program management for school districts.
One of the big things my company TransCend4 does is we assist school districts with their community members who are putting together a potential bond package for their citizens to vote on, which leads to better facilities, new facilities, improvements, safety, and security upgrades, and all those things that are very important in our world now.
I’ve done research with a couple of research partners on why schools are important for student and teacher engagement, and how ensuring those schools live up to those expectations for our kids. We all have our doctorates. We also love to go out and help school districts with their collaborative visioning, which some could liken the strategic planning, but we prefer to call it something different. We do it a little differently as well. It helps the district cast a vision for the next 5 to 10 years so that their citizens and community know what they’re doing for students.
All this work revolves around kids. Everything is always pointed toward what’s the best decision for students. We don’t do work about adults. Ultimately, our teachers, campus administrators, or district office will benefit from these things, but the decisions made in these rooms are all about students. We then do different program management as far as helping school districts with different things that they need to move forward and have continuous improvement as far as academics or leadership coaching for principals, aspiring principals, and things like that. That’s one of my favorite things to do.
I love to work with people who are in a role in a school district but want to be a principal. The hardest job there is in education is leading a school campus. It’s harder than being superintendent because you know exactly the direct impact you have on students with outcomes, teacher effectiveness, and all of the changes and things that happen in schools. That principal has got to be strong. We love to work with aspiring leaders. That’s one of the joys. I don’t even feel like it’s work. It’s such a blessing to be able to do that.
We are branching out into working with cities and municipalities to bring this similar type of atmosphere. What we’re doing in those spaces is good for the citizens of that community. Education is the bedrock of any strong community or civilization. It all goes back to education. If we don’t take care of kids and have the best environment for kids, then we’ve not done our job.
In my spare time, when I’m not raising a kid and taking care of other kids, I like to go out and advocate for strong school boards. We are under attack around our nation. We have to be resilient in making sure that our school boards are not politicized because a school board is not the place for a Republican or a Democrat to gain notoriety. A school board is a place for leaders to come together and work to make the best decisions for kids. School boards are governors, not managers.
In our society, we’ve got to course correct and back to a time and a place where we have school boards that are not chaotic. I have worked in situations in my career where the school board became very chaotic. The direct result was that student outcomes declined rapidly because the focus shifted away from kids and onto adult drama. We got to stop this nonsense in our society. We have to go back, reset, and make sure in our communities that the people that want to be on the school board want to be on it for the right reasons.
I am working on empowering people within communities who don’t work for the school district, but who are concerned citizens and have a vested interest in their community. I’m empowering and working with them to create a bunch of people who would be good for school boards and to educate them. Not say, “I’m tapping you. You should run for school board.” That’s not enough. We have to make sure that we are working on teaching them what it’s about to be on a school board, what service you are providing to your community, and why it’s such a big deal. This is not fifteen minutes of fame. It’s not an ego trip. We got to stop this nonsense. I’m engaged in that space now.
My child’s getting ready to start her senior year and many people would probably walk away at that point, but I’m not leaving this area and I’m not leaving Texas, at least not any time soon. I want to make sure that we get back to a spot where our kids, over five million of them in our state alone, have the best support and the best leaders that are working for them. They are our clients, and we have to make sure that we stop this nasty rhetoric and that we do the right things for kids.
The idea of creating almost like a farm system for the school board like in baseball when somebody’s ready, they get moved up to the major leagues. The idea that people in the current environment are quality people, by that I mean they have the right heart and right agenda for that service, don’t have a conflict of interest and, as you said, they’re not looking for fame, an ego trip, or whatever it is. Those people are not going to be attracted to the type of boards that exist at the moment.
Those people are not attracted to politics, but I’m not going to spend time trying to clean up politics because that’s the way politics have always been. It’s always been a very dirty business and not very polite. We’ve gone way too far there. Even in the dirtiness of politics, the wheels stayed greased. You could grease the wheels so that people could work together and get stuff done. I’m not certain that that’s happening too efficiently anymore. That’s a big problem nationwide.
To start with something so fundamentally important, as you say, the people who are impacting the direct experience of our youngest or our kids, there could be no room for conflict there. You got to have the right people there. That means vetting, training, and not creating or tolerating an environment that would keep good people from wanting to get involved.
You’re right. We’ve had a school board here in my community that’s been very strong for many years with educated people who get it and who understand the role they play. We are experiencing a shift where we have outsiders who haven’t lived in this community long, who now want to be on our school board, but not for the right reasons. It’s going to take some committed citizens who are vocal and have some circle of influence to ride this. I’ve stepped up to help and I’ve recruited others. We all have a vested interest, but we’re seeing this around the country.
I understand change is good and change is needed, but it’s got to be the right change. It has to be for the right reasons. If you have a struggling school district, the leaders are not doing well, and nobody’s checking them, then there needs to be a change on your school board 100%. If you have a very stable school district that has outcomes that are knocking it out, doing the right things for kids, the kids succeeding, and programs that are meeting all of their needs, not just kids that are geared for college, but I’m talking kids in every vast arena and you have people attacking your school board and your leaders, something is wrong there. They’re not in it for the right reasons.
I didn’t expect we’d go there, and I’m glad we did. In 2018, you created a brand-new business, which was a leap and a pivot. Anything you want to say about that for the folks out there that might be inspired by this? As you said, we’re living longer, going to be healthier, and be out there getting our black belts in karate at age 70, Zumba, and all that, so why not a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th career?
It’s funny you say that because in our space in Texas and K-12 public ed, people retire but they’re not elderly. They’ve put in their work and they’re in their late 50s, maybe early ’60s, and still got a lot of life in them. They’re ready to work. Think of the experience they bring to the table. One of the biggest jumps for me was to undertake this business and cut myself free from my stable world. I know nothing about business. I do not have a BA and I am not a business-savvy. That was a big deal. I’m an educator. I don’t know anything about marketing or any of that stuff, but I did know something.
I knew that I had a lot of experience and a lot of life experience as well in the area of K-12. When I stepped away and started this, my goal was, “If in a year, I can’t pay the bills, I’m going to go back to what I know,” but it didn’t happen. We have expanded and moved forward so rapidly. Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation because of some things that we offer business-wise, but people are moving here and they’re not leaving. Some states see an influx of people, but then they see people leave as well. We’re the opposite.
I have a superintendent and a dear friend of mine in my community. He’s my child’s superintendent. He said something, and it was so resounding. He said, “Lizzy, these kids are coming, but they’re not bringing schools in their backpacks.” He’s right. They’re not bringing teachers and all these other things, so we got to meet them where they’re at.
What happened was this business started at exactly the right time when we started seeing the surge in our state and the need for educators to help other educators. I’m a huge proponent of K-12 vendors. I like to call them partners. They’re the people who work with educators, provide services, goods, and all of that. They’re good and solid people, but you don’t find a lot of them that have former educators in their ranks and their organization.
The thing about my company is myself and all of my amazing consultants, even our executive assistant who is an angel from above, all of us have worked in school districts, been in various positions, and led school districts and initiatives. All of that experience comes into this company now, and it’s priceless. One of our missions in our company is we make decisions for students. That’s why we’ve been so successful is because we’ve talked the talk, we walked the walk, we’ve been there, and we can help school leaders. Even though I knew nothing about business, about a company, or starting a company, I did know good practice and doing things in the space that made sense.To be successful, talk the talk and walk the talk. Click To Tweet
You didn’t even read the book, Pivot, to do it.
I read the book later.
A recap for our readers, we met at one of the events that you put on. That was exciting for me. That event took place at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. I don’t know what Jerry Jones calls that stadium these days.
It’s AT&T Stadium.
He’s a smart businessman so he got a big-time sponsor for his stadium, but that was a blast to have that conversation. There were some superintendents that were there. I’ve spoken to a lot of school superintendents in school districts. I mostly speak to corporate audiences and the like. I got back from the city of Palo Alto which had me come up there and do two days of worth of training in resiliency for 1,000 of their municipal employees, and I haven’t yet had an audience of principals. As you said, that’s the toughest job in the whole thing. I’m going to put it out there. I’m going to intend that I ended up being able to talk to some principals soon. If you ever choose to pivot again, you’re like a dynamo, we’ll get you on stage anywhere and people will be like, “She’s amazing.”
It’d be like standup comedy, I’m afraid.
It’s always good to make them laugh. If you can make them laugh, you can make them cry, and do the whole thing. If I could do a back flip still, I would and do other stuff. I appreciate your time and presence here. Thank you for that. On TransCend4.com, you can find out more about the work that Lizzy, her team, her consultants, and everybody are doing there.
If you’ve got questions, either for Lizzy or myself, you can go to AdamMarkel.com/Podcast, leave a question, comment, or anything there. It will be answered, I promise you. It won’t be by a bot or AI. It will be by a real human. Also, if this conversation resonated with you or if there’s somebody else in your life, a colleague, friend, or family member that would enjoy reading some of what was discussed here, feel free to share this episode. It’s a request that I make.
I started doing this a couple of months ago, and it feels true and right to ask for support. The algorithm, as it goes, tells us often what we want. It assumes what we want to see, hear, and all that things. We want to see this show end up in front of more people. The more you can refer it out to others, the more you can give it a five-star rating, if that makes sense to you or some other thing on the platform that you consume, the more it helps us to see this show proliferate. We appreciate that support greatly. That is the last thing I want to say other than to wish everybody an amazing rest of your day or evening, wherever you are at the moment. Lizzy, again, thank you so much for being a part of our show.
Thank you, Adam. It’s been a pleasure and honor. Sign me up anytime.
I don’t think I oversold this show at all. Lizzy is amazing. Dr. Johnson is somebody that you meet that walks the talk and is so congruent as a mom or parent, as an educator, administrator, and now as an entrepreneur that’s supporting how school districts impact students. For her at the moment, it’s across the state of Texas, but it is a global or a national movement. I would imagine at some point it will be global because how can’t it be?
We have to recognize where our greatest assets are and our greatest assets are with kids. It will always be that way. It’s always been and, hopefully, we will start to recognize that we can’t take their start in life and education for granted. We certainly can’t let things interfere with what is truly in their best interests. There are other things to get in the way of that and other conflicts of interest to impede what is in the best interest of kids and how we get there.
In this episode, we only covered a bit of that. We talked about so much more starting with what parenting is all about from the very beginning, which is being blind with no manual or handbook for how to be a parent. They just let you take that kid home from the hospital. It’s shocking. I remember my wife, Randi and I, when our first child was born, our beautiful girl, Chelsea, we literally looked at each other go, “They’re going to let us leave? Is one of the doors going to close and the alarm’s going to ring out? These guys don’t know what they’re doing. They’re clueless and they’re babies themselves. They’re having babies as babies.”
We had a laugh about that, but that led to talking about how adaptable kids are nowadays. Our kids are so adaptable. They have learned how to be so agile. There’s a lot that we can learn from them in terms of being agile and adaptable. That is truly what resilience is about. That’s what Darwin said. He didn’t talk about the survival of the fittest. It’s the survival of the most adaptable to changes in the environment. That’s what we’re talking about there.
I loved how she talked about her daughter in such glowing terms and says to her daughter, “Chloe, nobody’s better than you.” She asked her, “Who’s better than you?” Her daughter answers, “Nobody, mom.” That statement accompanied how she’s sent her daughter off to school since she was a little kid. It’s brilliant.
I enjoyed talking about how it is that we are seeking greater truths in the world and our willingness to learn from those that have a new perspective, from the ones that are coming online, from the time of birth on up to their teenage and early twenties, and how we can learn from those folks, as well as how we have to cultivate the wisdom of people who are later in life that has seen, done, and experienced more.
We can’t apply, diminish people, dilute the importance of people, or discriminate against people based on their age, whether it’s because they’re young, in their twenties, wanting to see change happen in the world, and speak up and be heard on subjects or people who are older are sometimes thought of as not as capable anymore and relegated to things that are less consequential. That discrimination is as insidious and deleterious to our society. We got to cover and talk about a bunch of that, and it sounds awfully serious, but honestly, this talk was light, funny, and a breath of fresh air.
As I leave you to it, I hope you’ll share this episode with your friends, colleagues, friends, and family members. When you do that, it helps the show grow when we get more people that are downloading and subscribing. If you haven’t subscribed, we’d love it if you do that. If you’d leave a review on your platform of choice, that’s also super helpful in connection with the algorithm.
If you have yet to determine your own resilience level or even if you did it a month ago, you might find that your results are different because this is a snapshot in time. You can simply go to ResilienceRank.com. In three minutes, you’ll get your assessment results. It’s entirely free, and then you’ll get some amazing resources to help you to develop even greater resilience mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. That’s all there for you for being a part of this community. Thank you, again. I want to leave you with the words of Dr. Lizzy Johnson, “Nobody is better than you.” Thank you.
About Lizzy Johnson
Lizzy spent 25 years in the Texas Public Educational System beginning as a classroom teacher, coach, campus and then district level administrator. For the past 5 years, she has led her company TransCend4 through numerous initiatives throughout the state of Texas and along with her mighty team of 5 they are impacting decisions made for students and not adults.