Stories From The Heart – Embracing The Authentic Self

By | July 28, 2016

Why embracing the authentic self in story is the best thing you can do for your brand

Guest blog by Ming Johanson 


Many people who don’t know me personally would assume based on my online engagement in video, my sometimes very loud personality on stage or my involvement in panel discussions and regular speaking gigs on the radio, you would assume that I am an extrovert.

However, I revealed in my first story at the inaugural Stories From The Heart evening on International Day of Story Telling that I am actually 1 in 3 people who suffers from anxiety.

I can hear a lot of collective gasps as you read this.

To add to the humour of this I’m also introvert. Why is this funny? Well primarily because of the space that I sit in my business. where I mentor many clients in embracing their authentic self so that they can market their business and be more in tune with who they are, rather than who they “think” they should be, I often hear the following excuses:

“I could never (speak on the radio, blog, speak on stage, be a part of a panel), I’m an Introvert.”

“I couldn’t do that I suffer from (insert complex limiting behaviour and/or belief).”

Through my personal evolution, I have inadvertently discovered a hack in my thought processes and it’s going to involve me admitting something… *whispers* I’m a little bit of a control freak… which in healthy doses can be a strength instead of a weakness.

So when I stand on stage, despite my anxiety going through the roof (triggered by personal grief), my control freak is quite happy because I’m in control of the room. Sure, I might be the centre of attention, but this perceived control helps ease the anxiety monster from running circles around in my brain.

My control freak is as a result of being a child of domestic violence (of which I am also 1 in 3) and when you reveal raw emotional stories, people learn a side to you they might never have met before and connect with you on a personal level that they might never have imagined.

The wonderful thing that happens when you embrace the authentic self is you not only hold the truth of your own identity, but you empower others who might think they are unable to stand on stage. After my story a woman came up to me after and quietly revealed that she also was 1 in 3 that experienced anxiety and what a pleasure it was to see her stand on stage and present her own journey, giving more voices, giving more strength to those who haven’t found their own yet.

The Stories From The Heart live storytelling space that has been created by Lisa Evans from Speaking Savvy is an amazing one. It has created a community of people who not only support each other in their stories but encourages people to embrace their own voice and step out of the crowd and into the spotlight and be the most wonderful humans with the most wonderful stories.

Watch my first story “I am” below.


Not to be a glutton for punishment, I was given the great privilege to share a second story by Lisa and the story Gods deemed that I had more stories to tell, and boy were they right and it has helped paved the way for me to take on the importance in my role of speaking publicly around personal passions to do with freedom, human rights, domestic violence and racism that I feel often hasn’t been given a non-reactive voice to.

What a lot of people are maybe unaware is that many of the things I choose to do are not happy accidents, I don’t consider myself “lucky”. Everything I do is with purpose, specifically a purpose driven in the expression of freedom. More in recent years since dealing with grief I have found my way back to writing and speaking, something I did in my younger years as an outlet that I could control (yes again, there goes that control freak to the rescue again) of dealing with an environment that I felt I had no control over. Words either in the spoken form or written form were my freedom. Words gave me strength and power when I felt I had none.

So it seems ironic to me now that my words often become tools to give others strength and power be it in my marketing business or my increasing role as a public speaker, when others might feel they have no strength or power.

The fact that 20 years ago a particular red-haired Politician entered into parliament and once again 20 years on she has found herself in the Australian Senate, I find myself giving my voice to a situation that as a child 20 years ago had no voice to seems that timing is a beautiful thing because while this particular politician’s focus of fear mongering has changed (albeit not that much of a change of focus), my memory of the outcomes that resulted in being told daily/weekly to “Go back to where I came from.” The sentiment driven by her hurtful words and actions twenty years ago have not changed, words and actions to which she is likely oblivious to the responsibility she holds.

Racism is sometimes a tricky thing to talk about where the individual experience from my singular perspective can never be experienced to the volume in which I or others from a mixed racial background share. This is what these experiences give us. It gives us resilience in the face of an increasing and worrying fear campaign and lack of responsibility that the media and the government takes in driving the perception of the public. I fondly refer to myself as “Australian Made” which is also the title of my second story which also led to me now being referred to often and fondly in my business network as a #sextrophy watch to find out why and enjoy!

Twitter: @OTOTGo and @MingJohanson

Personal Blog:

Bio: Ming Johanson is the Social Nerd and Owner of OTOTGo a company that specialises in educating small to large enterprise in the use of Social Media and Digital Marketing Platforms. Ming has been voted multiple times as a Leader of Influence in the Perth community and is a regular contributor as the Social Media Expert on 6PR Tonight as well as holding a position on the branch executive committee of the Australian Computer Society of WA.


Stories From The Heart live storytelling events are hosted by Lisa Evans of Speaking Savvy. A heart-filled space where people can come together and share a personal story. Powerful connections are made and transformations take place. Come along! It’s better than a night on the TV.  

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