Get Out of the Roundabouts of Life with Deborah Johnson

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“You’ve got to be able to do the work, get the perspective you need, understand where your position, perspective, and purpose is.” — Deborah Johnson

I spoke with Deborah Johnson, M.A., an international, award-winning musician, author, and keynote speaker. Her career in the entertainment industry spans over 20 years, during which she has written several albums, hundreds of songs, and three full-length musicals.

We discuss: 

  • How Deborah began her work in public speaking
  • The three core elements of life’s roundabout
  • The power of purpose over procrastination

How Deborah began her work in public speaking

How Deborah began her work in public speaking

One of the fascinating aspects of humanity is that we all have unique paths through life, sometimes ending up in the same place by vastly different means. That fact reminds us that there are endless ways to achieve our dreams and goals. 

“I'm a performer and an entertainer, yes—but I'm more of a creator of content, and that drives me to entertain and to perform and give that to others.” Deborah shares, “Public speaking was the journey of understanding that it was still a platform for me, a way to spread my message to more people at one time.”

Deborah took her passion for the arts and performance and fed it into impactful keynotes, unlocking a new chapter in her life.

“It has taken the commitment to do the type of work that I had to do for my piano and vocal stage work,” Deborah explains, “because when you craft a show—it is crafting a show, it is rehearsing—but the hardest part for me on those shows was the speaking in between, getting the lines right, making sure I didn't mess up. That took a lot of concentration.”

Getting to where she’s at today took diligence and commitment. She worked on crafting not only the messaging but also the pacing, rhythm, and body language of her keynotes. There were no shortcuts to becoming a talented public speaker.

By focusing on this new branch of her expertise, Deborah broke out of the roundabout and started a new adventure.

The three core elements of life’s roundabout

The three core elements of life’s roundabout

It can be tempting to stay in a loop. Familiarity is one of the most impactful forms of growth hindrance out there. What's familiar is comfortable, and comfortable does not challenge us to level up.

“You've got to be able to do the work, get the perspective you need, and understand where your position is—I have three points around getting out of that roundabout: your position, your perspective, and then your purpose, and it all leads to you being able to climb your summit.”

Our mindsets are a sizable part of getting out of that endless spinning. Today, people tend to live longer. There’s a whole new chapter to write after the age that had once been considered retirement age.

“Many people are not seeing themselves just totally retiring, they're looking to do something else. And it's beautiful because you have so much more experience, you have the skills, you've got all of this to call upon now.” Deborah points out.

Sometimes we don't know what's wrong when we're in a roundabout, we keep spinning, and we think we’re going in the direction we want to go. However, something is holding us back and tripping us up. This cycle could mean we’re missing a critical part of where we need to go.

“The evaluation of where your position is, and where you want to be is very, very important. It's not just ‘okay, so let's set a goal and go after it.’ It’s ‘let's evaluate this position and where we want to be.’” Deborah explains.

The power of purpose over procrastination

The power of purpose over procrastination

Finding one's purpose is a limitless topic because the nuance of this journey varies so drastically from person to person. What may strike a cord in one soul could miss someone else entirely. 

Deborah’s drive is pulling out that special something within people, helping them use their unique talents, gifts, and skills to the best of their abilities. She guides them to the potential they’ve always had.

“I still remember the morning I came to my husband, and I said, ‘there are so many people just sitting on their skills, their experience, their uniqueness. They're not using them. It's so frustrating.’ And his eyes got really big. And he said, ‘that's it.’” Deborah shares. 

She had found the core of her work. “I hadn't even realized until later, it's what I had been helping people do in music for so many years because I started teaching privately at the age of thirteen. I would draw out that uniqueness and draw out what they could do the best.” Deborah continues, “People can do this for themselves, but a lot of times they need a guide.”

We’re all experts at putting things off—goals, plans, dreams, etc. Procrastination is another hindrance to growth, and when paired with familiarity, it can take our potential out at the knees. But only if we let it. 

Life is full of summits and valleys. As soon as we reach the top of one, we see another one in the distance that sits even higher. If we let ourselves quit in the valleys or on the first few summits, we dampen our purpose and risk never knowing where those higher peaks could take us.

What is something you’ve been putting off due to procrastination and/or familiarity? What are some steps you can take to break out of that roundabout? 

Be sure to check out Deborah’s full episode for further insights on breaking out of roundabouts, and learn more at!