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Dr. Tylisha Johnson: If Your WHY Isn't Strong Enough, You Won't Last Long Enough

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

My guest this week is Dr. Tylisha Johnson. How does one escape being a statistic - born to a teenage mother and an absent father, getting a college degree the long route, then a masters, then a doctorate. Hear how she experienced the loss of her 11 year old son to leukemia and didn't want to carry on, then pulled through and persevered. And finally how she left corporate and academia to start her own consultancy that helps businesses and non-profits reach their fullest potential.

SPONSOR: Executive Launch ( – from corporate executive to startup founder

Full Episode (YouTube):

3:10 Dr. Ty never meets a stranger, she loves people immediately.

4:00 Dr. Ty (Tylisha) started her own consulting business over 4 years ago and loves being a solopreneur. Prior to that she had a corporate and education career. But being a solopreneur has it’s challenges and it takes a special type of person – you actually work harder than any job you had prior.

6:10 How big does your WHY need to be? If it’s not strong enough, you won’t last long enough. External motivating factors don’t work long term, there must be strong internal motivating factors - and doing something bigger than yourself, with a desire to help others.

9:20 The strength of your WHY is tied to your ability to not give up.

10:50 On May 18, 2011, Tylisha lost her 11 year old son to Leukemia. She didn’t want to live anymore or carry on. But an inner voice told her ‘do not quit’.

13:15 From that point she decided her life would be an ‘excuse free zone’. There’s nothing that you cannot overcome.

15:55 SPONSOR: Executive Launch ( – going from corporate executive to start-up founder.

17:30 Tylisha is from Dover, Delaware. Born to a teenage mother and a grandmother that helped raise her. Her grandmother was very strict, gave her lots of chores – and her mother had a very hard manual job and would take Tylisha to work with her – Tylisha realized she didn’t want that life, motivated to get her education.

24:10 A key turning point was when she was sent to the principal’s office but the principal believed in her, that she was special, and told her she could be anything she wanted to be.

28:30 She always wanted to be a teacher since a child – so she majored in Business Education. Went on to get her MBA and her Doctorate of Business Administration.

32:15 She took a business class in high school that sparked her interest. She participated in Business Professionals of America (BPA) - won at the state level and then to nationals.

35:00 Not having a relationship with her biological father was painful but it drove her to succeed and prove herself.

37:00 Successful entrepreneurs often have something traumatic in their childhood and something they are still driving to overcome.

39:30 Was with her ex-husband from the age of 14 to 40. Divorce at age of 40 was just another challenge to overcome.

42:20 She didn’t immediately go to college from high school, went back to college as a young mother.

43:20 Too much TV is ‘tell’ ‘a’ ‘vision’ – when you need to be working on ‘your vision’!

46:00 Minority women have extra challenges – have to work that much harder. It’s hard enough for women generally, it’s that much harder for women of color.

47:30 Black lives matter is not at the expense of all lives matter. Can we talk about what we’re talking about?

49:50 Pushing past your own negative thoughts is critical in entrepreneurship, especially solopreneurship. Fears and doubts are color-blind.

51:20 On race, we’ve made great progress but can we make more progress from here? It’s really just about being human. Can you simply respect me for being human, with feelings? Can we agree we’re all part of the human race?

53:45 Sometimes racism is part of a ‘lens’ and discrimination and bias isn’t always conscience. And we aren’t born with racism, it’s learned.

58:00 If there’s no opportunity available, create one. If there’s no door for you to walk through, create one. If you weren’t invited to the table, create your own table – and invite others to join you. You have talents, intelligence, and gifts you were born with. You can do anything you want to and no one can take that away.

58:55 Missed opportunities come back around, sometimes better. Life is a series of opportunities, setbacks, opportunities, setbacks, on and on.

01:00:25 Dr. Ty loves the beach, here’s why.

01:03:35 Dr. Ty’s consulting company is called Transcending Horizons and the logo is an eagle flying high. And the limit that we see in the horizon is not the true limit.

01:06:10 She did her dissertation on how non-profits thrived during the last recession and now helps non-profits optimize and identify their unique differentiator.

01:11:40 Her method is called S.O.A.R. which stands for Sight, Opportunities, Activating, and Risk-Taking.

01:15:40 This is the time for innovation and risk-taking - what are you not just good at, what are you great at?

Dr. Tylisha Johnson's website:

Full Episode (YouTube):


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