I am so excited to introduce you to Chris Johnson. His narrative is filled with incredible self-reflection and awareness of who he was vs who he is. He speaks with a depth of honesty that is a rarity. I am in awe of Chris' clarity of expression and thought. The themes of fear, courage, cowardice, and the need to perform to feel valued are common threads running throughout his story. After spending 15 years in prison for robbery, Chris Johnson was recently released this past May, and now works as a Transformational Coach for the non-profit group Success Stories.
When we sat down to talk, he had this awesome lion as his zoom background. He named him Wayne. After visiting with Chris, I learned that it couldn't have been a more perfect representation of who he is. It represents the strength of character and resilience he now possesses. Join me as Chris reveals with profound vulnerability the story of his life.
Chris' insight into the human condition astounds me. He's so perceptive, intelligent, and humble. I LOVE how he said, "People have opened up to me about a lot of stuff, because I make myself safe for them." Right there. That's the key. There's no judgement.
Chris brings such wisdom to our conversation. He's an avid reader and life long learner. And it shows in how he's educated himself. I was deeply convicted by his observation of Schopenhauer's supposition that pride is having the conviction that you are something w/o it needing to be confirmed by anybody outside of you while vanity is trying to get to that conviction about yourself through other people. I just love how Chris spouts off such profound thoughts like it's nothing. We both share the same yearning for deep waters. I felt like we were geeking out together on all the great books we read and our shared love of learning.
There were two particular phrases Chris said (amongst the multitude he dropped on us), that really caused me pause and made me want to spend time meditating about, and they were: "The biggest courage is the acceptance of self and risking the rejection of others." And, "If the dissonance hits hard enough, you'll push past the shame into reconstruction." What impresses me is not only his recollection of quotes from what he reads, but how he created new quotes of his own from lived experience and observation. Man! Chris is a quote machine and an excellent teacher.
Chris, you have the courage of a lion now, my friend. St. Augustine says, "The truth is like a lion. You don't have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." May we all have the courage to speak the truth with as much clarity and humility as Chris has.
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. - Anonymous
If everybody likes you, it's because you haven't stood for anything - Winston Churchill
Instagram: @xhrisjohnson7Success Stories
- the organization Chris now works for