How To Disrupt Yourself & Accelerate Success – Q&A with Whitney Johnson

Disrupt-Yourself-980x600The twenties are time of much disruption. Whitney Johnson can help you leverage all the energy that comes with change towards accelerating your career. Her new book, Disrupt Yourself:  Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, defines her 7 principles of personal disruption. Get a head start with Part 2 of our Q&A (see part 1 here).

20-somethings may be in a phase of discovering their strengths. Do you have any advice for them on identifying their strengths?

  1. Look at what makes you feel strong, invigorated, inquisitive successful.
  2. Analyze what you do (non-self sabotaging activities like eating a quart of Haagen-Daz) when you feel out-of-control. Your go-to-activity like building spreadsheets, makes you feel in control again because it makes you feel strong because it’s easy. That’s a superpower.
  3. Think about the compliments you get where you say, ‘oh, it was nothing’. In fact you are almost insulted. As if the people can’t see how hard you worked on that other thing that was really hard for you. They aren’t insulting. They are just pointing out the obvious. You are really, really good at something, and they want you to bring this something to work.

20-Somethings often like to stand out….while fitting in. I mean in terms of being part of the crowd and not missing out. How would you encourage them to have the courage to play where no one else is playing?

There is some wisdom in this. You need to get your pay-to-play skills in your 20s, or at the start of your career. I think for most people this is just a natural progression, getting comfortable enough with yourself to recognize that the best way to fit in is to stand out.

Any advice on learning from failure for someone just starting out? 

Work isn’t school. So, there may not be a right answer. Just remember that failure isn’t a referendum on you, unless you make it one. Which you probably will because in the Western society, identity is tied up with successes. But as you become aware of this, you can start to tease out your identity from your accomplishments. Then go make another mistake.

What 20-something self disruptor inspires you? 

Tammy Tibbetts (ok, she just turned 30), founder of She’s the First, a non-profit to help girls in developing countries be the first in their family to graduate from high school.

Disrupt Yourself is one of the 100 Best Business Books in 2015, according to Inc. Magazine.

Find more on Whitney on Twitter @JohnsonWhitney


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