Erin Johnson: 'Never let them see you sweat and believe in forgiveness'

The chief communications officer lays out her personal guide for women facing hardship.

Erin Johnson has implored women everywhere to "keep your eyes open on your own feelings," "believe in forgiveness" and "remember what you love about your life."

The chief communications officer for Gifnote gave an impassioned speech about her personal journey of adversity during Campaign US’ Female Frontier Awards in New York City on Thursday.

Johnson spoke candidly about the moment she realized problems at work were coming home with her.

She was handed a drawing by her daughter, Scarlett, that showed a dark mass over her head.

"I said, ‘Scarlett, oh, pretty -- but tell me about this,’" Johnson explained. "Scarlett said, ‘mommy, silly, you are carrying a big rock on your head.’

"The sooner you’ve crossed the rubicon, the better. You can’t put the cat back in the bag. So if you are scared for what’s to come, it’s sometimes almost comforting to know it’s too late to turn around."

She laid down her step-by-step guide for how she dealt -- and is continuing to deal -- with the fallout.

A-team only

This is simple. For big moments in your life, whether it is family, kids, illness, love, loss, career, challenges, etc. When you need a team, it’s A-team only. There is no room for anyone else, and you will quickly learn who is A-team.

Put on your best poker face

Never let them see you sweat. I’m presenting here tonight in front of 300 people, yet I’m more scared about presenting at Scarlett and Bruno’s Career Day. But I will be brave.

Don’t cut your own bangs

You have ups, you have downs. But when you are up or down, remember that a stupid decision is a stupid decision. Don’t lose your head in your own ego.

Have a mantra and stick to it

Losing weight? Going through a divorce? Whatever it is, wake up every day with a musical mantra. And press play in your head all day long.

Do something

Feeling stuck? Get out of your head. I found the best freedom taking improv classes to completely changing my perspective. There’s nothing like crawling on the floor pretending to be tinkerbell fighting an evil dwarf in outer space.

Continue to grow

Challenges change you, and push you and test your limits. I think the lessons you learn about yourself are gold and translate to everything you do. I believe in forgiveness: of yourself, and especially others.

Unicorns make life possible

Just when you think you want give up. Unicorns appear, and people along the way make you remember what you love about your life and why you chose to take a difficult path.  

Support and magic come along unexpectedly, and it’s what I love about this life and this business. I am optimistic for the future and I believe it’s the little things every day that will make a difference.


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