The Future of Blog

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash


I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to share via this WordPress blog. As you have noticed, my sharing shifted a lot last year because I found a new blogging home over on Medium. If you’d like to join me over there, here is the link:

Becoming a part of that expansive blogging community on Medium has expanded my readership and my writing in ways that were very unexpected and a huge blessing for me. So, I am shifting my blogging away from this WordPress blog to my medium blog. I hope you’ll join me over there, too.

Happy New Year!

Check out my latest article on how my perfectionism has gotten triggered by all the talk about new year’s resolutions and how I’ve learned to combat that old tendency.

To read the full article:

Use my friend link to access this article on medium – click here.


In addition to expanding my blogging during 2022, I also completed season 3 of the Plant Your Seeds of Transformation podcast show via youtube and most major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and many more. If you’d like to see who our guests were for season 3, you can check them out at, they included leaders who are black women or allies of black women. Our main topic of discussion for 2023 was centered around understanding what perfectionism can look like so you can keep it from stealing your life and love.

On A Personal Note

On a personal note, I’ve learned much more about myself and my community within the past 3 months than in a very long time because of the pressure/friction placed on me due to family crises and traumas. If you follow my personal Instagram reels, you’ll already know what happened. I am sharing here just briefly to encourage you to know that you don’t have to give up everything during a crisis, but it is ok for you to slow down, or pause, and take stock of things.

God bless you and your 2023. May you get and stay free in all areas where you need that, including staying free from perfectionism and its toxic impacts.


How Can a VA or a Remote Worker Be Perfect?

How can a VA or a remote worker be perfect in their career, business, or life? Well in one sense, that is impossible, and in another sense it is possible, but there are some things you need to understand first.

First… know that it is not possible to be completely and totally perfect all at one moment in time all by yourself. This is an unrealistic expectation that many of us (yes I include myself) place on ourselves (and on others), and this is toxic. It is impossible to be totally perfect at one moment in time, especially given other factors such as being new to the endeavor or having extenuating circumstances, like being sick or being isolated without support.

However, you can become better over time. That is the goal: a VA or a remote worker can become better over time, and within a supportive community, your work can begin to look like a well-oiled nearly perfect “machine”.

Once you are aware of this, you can take care of yourself better and advocate for yourself with anyone else who is placing this unrealistic, toxic expectation on you. Unfortunately, for VA’s and other remote workers, this is very common, and many of them are isolated and without a supportive community to help them address issues with employers or clients. So, they leave their remote careers demoralized and traumatized. Many times they do not even know that being treated this way is abusive because they may have been conditioned to accept this behavior by their pre-existing culture in their community, family, or in a prior work culture.

What Are Some Personal Stories of Perfectionism?

If you have listened to some of the episodes of my podcast (Plant Your Seeds of Transformation podcast show), you would have heard me and my guests share our own stories on this topic. One of my guests, Nia Ridgle, discussed how toxic perfectionism impacted her life saying, “We are leading other people, but we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves behind close doors.”

How Can You Get Help With Perfectionism?

This is where a coach can help fill the gap of support that a VA or remote worker may need. If you would like my support, you can ask me for a free discovery call by registering at this link:


Also, this is where becoming part of a supportive community can also help fill the gap of support you need. If you’re a high achieving black woman leader looking to expand your community, learn more about mine and how you can connect with us every Thursday in the previous article I wrote called, “It’s Back! Thursday Co-working“. We start on 9/1/22, but you can join us any time during this 12 weeks of co-working.

After you join our community, you can access this journal as a tool to help you during your 12-week co-working journey.
Click here to learn more.
2022 Events event

It’s Back! Thursday Co-Working


click button to join and access co-working link (starting as low as $3 per month)

What to Expect after Joining?

  • Access to 12-week Fall Co-working via Zoom Audio/Video Chat
    • **Zoom Link provided to patrons at all tier support levels**
  • Vibrant Supportive Community of Black Women Leaders
  • Early access to Some Podcast Episodes
  • Exclusive Live Interactive Events
  • Weekly Co-Working Coaching Action and Progress Journal (for higher tier levels)


I am so excited to announce that I am BACK from my summer hiatus! I am hosting co-working weekly for 12 weeks starting…

WHEN? Starts Thursday 9-1-22 at 7pm EST, Weekly for 12 Weeks

(See this time in your own time zone: click here)

WHERE? Private, Secure, Moderated Live Event

(via Zoom on any device or by phone/dial-in)

Learn More About How To Join and Support Our Community at

[If you haven’t yet heard about our co-working community, check out the episode from The Plant Your Seeds of Transformation Podcast where I talked about it in more detail.]


This co-working group is in partnership with Wanda Duncan of Black Women Trvl.

Thank you again to Jessica for hosting co-working almost daily for the Vaycarians, including on Thursday’s (my usual day to host) during my summer hiatus. If you’re not yet part of that awesome Vaycarious community, join Stephanie Perry’s Patreon so you can gain access to her discord.

(See their community links below.)

Thanks again to Wanda, Jessica, and Stephanie for seeing the value of co-working and supporting me in my endeavors to partner with Jessica in creating a thriving co-working community that helps us all get more results as we focus and get important stuff done within a 2-hour time frame.

Regarding Mentorship and Coaching


This co-working group is a form of mentorship, and being part of this community is highly empowering. We learn a ton from each other every time, during our breaks in between each working Pomodoro. We also support each other and encourage each other, during our weekly sessions and beyond the session. That is mentorship.


Coaching is a higher-value service that is much more systematic and intentional. So, as an added perk for higher tier patrons, you will be able to access the co-working journal to use for writing down your intentions and tracking your progress as you take action on them during each weekly co-working session. This is a form of coaching that is done via guided journaling.


Other modes of mentorship or coaching beyond the co-working may be added in the future, as the community grows, but for now, this is plenty. This co-working is enough to provide you with an empowering mentorship community, and if you’re investing in yourself to receive coaching, you will have access to the journal and to other live coaching opportunities that go beyond the Thursday session.


  • Coach Donna Marie’s Patreon – click to join here
  • Wanda Duncan’s Patreon – click to join here
  • Stephanie Perry’s Patreon – click to join here
    • (Jessica’s co-working schedule is contained within Stephanie’s Vaycarious community on other days and at other times besides Thursday nights.)

blog featured remote work small business


Why and How I Became a Product Coach & Remote Customer Service Agent




NOTE – What to expect in 2023: I will be incorporating more content related to the topic of remote work/business in my YouTube channel and podcast. Also, I will be adding some exclusive remote work content to my Patreon community for patrons only.

I have been very busy training and working with a new client so I just was not able to really update this blog very much. Also, now I’m waiting to hear if I am going to be picked up by a second client.

So things are going well and moving forward for me. I also have referred at least three new people who have applied because of what I have been sharing.

Everybody’s process with developing their own remote customer service independent business is different. What I am sharing here and also on my Instagram videos (@LeadLikeAQueen) is to give you a little bit of insight into my journey, but you will have your own journey. If you connect with me on Instagram, I hope that you will share about your journey.


After I finished my master of arts in executive leadership in 2021, I could see so many different paths to take with my career and my business, and that plethora of options actually became overwhelming. I applied for a lot of jobs in different industries with different titles, and where all could use my skill sets as a coach and a small business owner. I will say that I wasn’t extremely excited about many of those jobs that I found, but at the very least, I tried to target the companies that I liked the most in terms of their corporate culture and corporate responsibility.

Why did I choose to become a remote customer service agent with LiveOps?

Initially I wanted a remote customer service job simply because of the flexibility and freedom of doing my own business from home and getting paid by a major corporation. During and after the actual training for the job it became more about helping people, and less about the money, even though that financial piece is still high on my list of priorities.

Because I’m already very familiar with their product, I felt very confident that I would be able to learn well during the training and use what I learned to help their customers with excellence. Also, prior to choosing to work for this client, I had an opportunity to preview their training and knew the quality of the training was on par with what I needed and expected. I did my own due diligence before choosing this path because this was not my first time choosing a remote customer service position. I was with a previous remote customer service company, and the training was not as good as this training, so I felt like I wasted my time with the other company and didn’t want that to happen again.

Please note that the training for this type of position is not paid, but it is lengthy, detailed, and rigorous, so if you’re not confident that this is the work you want to do, that training period could be very frustrating.

After actually getting on the phones with the customers, I can see how my skills as a coach are coming into play. I am very happy that this particular client is very focused on soft skills, which is an area of strength for me. It feels good to be valued for my strengths. Similar positions I’ve sought in the past were very focused on the products and the technology, and not as much towards helping people as towards selling. So, it was a pleasant surprise to see that it is different here.

“I love that I’m being rewarded for focusing on people and helping them, and not just for trying to get them to purchase more products.”

~ Donna Marie Johnson, Product Coach / Customer Service Agent

When I’ve interviewed for lots of different jobs and applied for lots of different jobs, it always felt like I was just tweaking my resume to fit into whatever container they wanted me to fit into, instead of me just highlighting what I’m already strong in that would align well with the position being offered.


I would say that I also came to respect their training process and trust that they care about me as a person enough to give me the support I need for improving over time. I feel like they have realistic expectations that I can fulfill now and can improve for going forward. So this also speaks to my own mental health journey, which I’ve shared about in my blog, podcast, and interviews. It’s important for me to stay away from toxic perfectionism, so having work that aligns well with this part of my priorities is super important to me.

The care that this corporate culture shows towards the customers is extended to the agents and I appreciate that. And this culture is very balanced with a rigorous environment that expects us to set high standards for our own performance, while at the same time, we are provided with the training and metrics reporting we need to continue improving our performance over time.

Furthermore, they are super committed to also keep improving the training process and the way that they run this program. Seeing their devotion to an iterative (or continuous improvement) process gave me confidence to know that this is the right kind of company with a good culture that cares about the people and about excellence, but not at the expense of the people.

The process of training and doing this work is very rigorous, and in the midst of it all they show they care by making sure that I and fellow agents have what we need to do our best and I appreciate that. Even so, the handholding here is limited and so anyone who is not able to stay self-motivated and to continue improving their own performance will not do well here. The other agents are often very supportive, and so we come together in groups to chat and help each other and give each other advice and encouragement, but these groups are comprised of individuals who have their own businesses that literally have to compete for some of this work. So, if you happen to find a good group with people that are good-hearted and willing to help you, you need to reciprocate and be willing to help in that group, as well. It’s not good to just get in these types of groups to get support and never offer support, it needs to be reciprocal.

Again the training is very rigorous and not everyone responds well to this type of rigor. Also this client is very popular and so agents have to compete to get the work. Not everyone is up for this type of competitive situation.

So I would never set you up to think that this is a perfect situation for everyone, however I am sure it’s a great situation for a lot of people because I am only one of many happy new agents, and that doesn’t even include those agents who have been doing this work for over 20 years. I have been so blessed to get to know some of the more senior agents.

I am a person who is well known for keeping personal and proprietary information confidential. I have worked in the mental health arena, in corporate executive headquarters, and of course in my own business for clients. Therefore I cannot talk details about my work, but I am sharing transparently on the things I can speak on without breaking confidence.

UPDATE (8/21/2022)

I am, as always, going to share the authentic truth and reality with you, without disclosing proprietary or confidential information. So, to be honest, even though the hot season for the client was lucrative for me, things quickly cooled. As a result, despite my performance and being praised by management, I was removed from serving that client due to lack of hours which is a breach of contract. CAVEAT: No work was available to me for at least two months (not my fault). Despite this, I continued to check in and check for hours, but nothing was there (absolutely nothing … and they know that and they warned us of that). I held onto the position thinking that things would be picking up in the fall, but now that seems to be out of reach due to the removal. I feel that removing me is short-sighted and unfair because the lack of hours was not within my control, but, alas, it’s all about that contract. This is a business, after all, so I get that. However, I am a human being and would love to know that other human beings have their eyes on the situation and will give me some consideration. So, I await a response to my email. I will update this if I hear back.

Just be forewarned that if you decide to work with a client, be careful about attaining the required hours as listed in the contract, even if there are little to no hours available. And if there are none available, you may want to move on to another client, instead of sticking around to wait for another peak season, as I have done.

Regarding moving on to other clients

I did try to get in with many other clients, and, unfortunately, they just did not have enough spaces for all of the applicants (the CEO told us this himself). So, then I had to move on to other things, like getting back in school to finish my MBA in Executive Coaching. I also had to make a shift in my schedule due to a shift in my family’s schedule. So, after the first several tries, I was no longer able to commit to a new client due to the rigorous unpaid training requirements conflicting with my new schedule. So, again, I was waiting to due another bout of seasonal work for the same client, but now this looks unlikely.


For the most current updates, connect with me on Instagram and check my stories/reels. Here is a live I did recently about what’s been going on:

Next Steps…

Now that my summer semester is finished and my family’s schedule seems to be more predictable, my next steps will be to start applying for new clients (and re-apply for the old one). I will be able to fit a two-week unpaid training into my schedule now, so I am optimistic about this. Also, they recently announced that they’re expecting a lot more work to become available this Fall. If you’re interested, use my referral link below… and stay tuned for my updates.

If you want to apply for a remote customer service job*, use my referral link below:

(*Note: This is a 1099 contract job.)


If you want coaching support as you move forward with your life, career and business, use the links below:

VA and Remote Worker Coaching | Lead Like A Queen | Lead Like A Queen


[UPDATE] Mentorship for Black Women Remote Workers



If you would like to become a mentor or to be mentored by a mentor, let me know by registering in the contact form below. I or someone from my team will be in touch regarding upcoming events and information about this program. Also, read the FAQ’s below, and submit any questions you have about the program when you register. We will keep growing the FAQ list with answers to your questions.

Use the updated article (see link near the top of this article) to learn how to join the community and receive mentorship.


What is a remote worker?

This could be a woman who has been working as a contractor (self-employed, 1099 worker) or who has a small business such as a virtual assistant or marketing freelancer.

What is a mentor versus a mentee? Who does what and how?

According to Ambition in Motion, horizontal mentorship is where both the mentor and the mentee give and receive wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement reciprocally. It’s more like a friendship and less like an autocratic relationship than some of the older more traditional mentorship styles based in toxic power dynamics.

What is a resource where I can learn more about what mentorship can look like for women of color?

Diversity in Best Practices has provided a recording of their webinar “Candid Advice on Mentoring Women of Color“. They give excellent advice that aligns with some of the things that I know as a professional coach. I highly recommend

How can we learn more about ourselves and understand ourselves better?

You can use assessments to help understanding yourself better. Check out the CloverLeaf app and sign up for free to try out an assessment for yourself.

blog coaching podcast VA - Virtual Assistant video

[COACHING] Visualize Your VA Business

Is your VA business (or remote working career) more like a forest or a garden? Take the poll below and share.

In my latest podcast for the “Plant Your Seeds of Transformation” show, I talked about the topic of intentionality and how that is connected to having a small business that makes a big impact in the world. I hope you will listen (or watch) and leave me feedback to let me know what “aha moments” you had while you listened.

Listen on Spotify or Your Favorite Player

The Plant Your Seeds of Transformation Podcast Show via Spotify includes Relevant Music Excerpts

During this podcast, I discussed intentionality from a spiritual perspective and from a practical perspective.

What is your understanding of what it means to be more intentional in your life and in your business?

One example I used was related to how mothers hope and dream for their children. How do you allow your parenting to inform how you handle your business as a VA or your career as a remote worker?

Group or Individualized Coaching for You

What are you doing to be more intentional about your VA business or remote worker career? How could having a coach who really understands your world impact how you keep moving forward in your business/career?

If you would like for me to coach you and support you one-on-one (or in a group) as you continue to grow your VA business (or your remote work career), you can use the contact form at the bottom of this article to request a complimentary get acquainted session where we can get to know one another better and see if we would be a good fit for each other. Even if we are not a good fit, I have a trusted network of coaches that I can refer you to.*

“Small Business Is A Misnomer” #SmallBizBigImpact (TM) – Coffee Mug Available as a Perk for Patrons

Questions, Comments, or Feedback

Use the contact form below to share any questions, comments, or feedback for Donna so that she can reply to you.

*Affiliate Referral Link: The affiliate links shared on this website are for reputable resources that I have used and that I trust. Evenso, you should do your own due diligence to ensure this resource is a good fit for your needs. If you decide to click the link, they will know that I referred you and may provide me with compensation to thank me for sending you over. Thank you in advance for supporting me by using my referrals.

Update to My Divorce Journal

Continuing to divorce perfectionism

If you haven’t already read my prior article about my journey with divorcing perfectionism, you can click here to read it now.

Currently, I am typing with a brace on my dominant arm (right). The pain is better, but I need to make sure I’m not over stressing and re-injuring it. So, I will be sharing the video version of my podcast as the meat of this blog article. Below is an excerpt of the show notes, and the full show notes live over on the podcast website at – click here to go there now.

This video discusses:

  • what toxic perfectionism can look like in your life
  • ways you can begin to effectively address it and get past it


This video is part of the podcast show called:

Plant Your Seeds of Transformation

If you found value here, consider becoming a patron to support the continuous improvement of this show at:

book ebook VA - Virtual Assistant

Free eBook via Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Small Biz Big Impact but How?

How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World

One of the most important things for an experienced VA (virtual assistant) to know is that her work is making a difference for the client she is serving, and as a result, is having an impact on the world through her client’s endeavors. An experienced VA does not do this service-based work just so that she can bring home a check. Even though the money is important to her, it has its place, but it is not her top priority. I wrote my book “Small Biz Big Impact But How?” to speak to the needs of small/micro business leaders like you who want to serve well while also building a profitable business. The book explores a specific case study of a business owner that literally started small and now has a nationally-known brand.

eBook #SmallBizBigImpact [Kindle] – Link:

There are some fundamental principles that a small business leader must understand and intentionally use in her own life and business if she wants to consciously and selflessly impact the world. If you visit the Amazon link shared above (in the book image caption), you can preview the book for free. And if you are an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can get a complimentary copy of this Kindle ebook with your subscription.

How Can I Get A Free Copy If I Don’t Use Amazon Kindle?

Alternatively, if you would like a complimentary pdf download emailed to your inbox, go to and request your copy. This is not an instant download, you will need to look out for my email and answer my questions, and in return, I will email the pdf download link to you. Gathering this information is important because it helps me with continuing my research so I can improve for the future.

Do I Have to Leave a Review? No.

No, I am not asking for reviews on Amazon, but if you choose to leave an honest review with your honest feedback, it will help me to know which parts of the book help most and which parts I need to continue improving.


About Selfless Service “Overtime, your small business can build a platform based on selfless service, but all of this starts with you, the head leader in the business, developing a heart with a selfless service focus.”

~ Donna Marie Johnson, Author of “Small Biz Big Impact But How?”
Author Donna Marie Johnson, Leadership Coach & Consultant |
blog internship VA - Virtual Assistant

VA Training and Internship

[UPDATE: Program is no longer available, but I have other good news for you… read below. ]

I am truly grateful for my experience as an administrative assistant over the past 20+ years and as a virtual assistant (VA) in the marketing arena over the past decade. It has enabled me to continue using my marketing skills and to keep learning and improving because marketing changes pretty much every day due to constant technology changes. This has helped me in my business as a coach and consultant. I have been able to train other entrepreneurs and support them with moving their projects forward [See testimonials].


And now I am using my VA experience as a coach for VA’s and a mentor to remote workers. I am no longer doing any VA training, just VA coaching, but I can refer you to an awesome ~VA certification program that can support you with actually gaining clients.

Old News

Starting Tuesday 9/21, I will be starting the first weekly VA training with my VA interns who will reimburse me for their training by working as unpaid interns. This is a great way for them to get experience as they learn, while also helping me to keep improving my business without continuing to do everything all on my own. This is the manifestation of something that’s been in my heart for years. If you cannot tell, I am very excited about this and looking forward to building my team of interns.

If you’d like to apply for an internship position, please go to my one page profile and request an appointment at this link:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is there a fee for the VA training program?
    • VA Interns, after agreeing to do unpaid work for an hour for every hour of training they participate in, will receive a 100% coupon discount for training.
    • If non-interns want to attend the training, yes there is a fee.
  • How do I apply to be a VA intern?
    • Schedule an interview appointment with Donna.
    • This internship program is no longer offered, please see the VA certification link shared in the article above.
  • What kind of work do VA’s do?
    • In general, a virtual assistant (VA) can do a variety of things from replying to emails to searching google for information and more.
    • Specifically, my VA interns have the opportunity to get training and do work that aligns with the work that I do. At this time, my focus is on the volunteer work I am doing as a support group founder for spousal caregivers.


*Note: Affiliate Links are included in my website so that I can be compensated for referring my audience to awesome services, books, and products that I have used and that I have received value from. If you choose to click and use them for yourself, thank you in advance for trusting me and for supporting my business.

2021 VA - Virtual Assistant

Why Do You Keep Insisting on Doing It All By Yourself?

Help is available when you’re ready. VA Support: I am available for about 20 hours per week to provide virtual assistant support, especially for implementing your marketing tasks or doing your market research. I also have supported clients with editing and publishing via Amazon Kindle. I no longer offer VA services, but I know who does certifications for VA’s (~click here). I also coach VA’s to support them with developing their leadership skills.

I learned a BIG lesson: get. help. ASAP

So many leaders, especially women leaders, keep learning about all of the latest and greatest marketing tips, tricks, and tools AND then trying to do most of the tasks on their own. They aren’t being taught how to start incorporating the new things with what they’re already doing in business and at home. So, they either end up stressed and overwhelmed OR totally sidetracked from the main thing they wanted to do to help their clients. I know because, in the past, that was totally me.

So my answer to the question in this article title comes from own experience:

I used to keep trying to do everything on my own because I kept going to free webinars that kept telling me that I could do it all on my own. But those people teaching me didn’t have several kids and a disabled adult at home to take care of. All of the free trials and all of the free basic accounts I kept getting access to did not fully help in my unique situation.

So then I hired a team of folks to help me support my clients, and then I couldn’t grow my business because of my limited business knowledge. So, I chose to close things down and go to business school at a Christian university.

The motivation for going it alone was sometimes due to feeling like I needed to prove myself as an entrepreneur. As a stay-at-home mom and a spousal caregiver, I just can’t try to keep proving myself. Being in school has boosted my confidence as a business leader, and has helped me to develop my spiritual life more. I truly have greater trust in the Lord to help me with my career and business aspirations.

So, the need to chase all of the free marketing tool webinars is gone… the temptation is always there because I am constantly getting invitations, but now I just say no with ease. And the temptation to try to walk in the pride of looking like I can handle everything on my own is also gone because it exhausts me to even think about trying that again.

Also, in the past, when I was neglecting to expand my team, sometimes it was just a cost savings measure. Sometimes it was a trust issue thing because I knew that I could do some things better on my own and didn’t want to have to go behind someone to fix or redo the work. But now, with learning from my coaches, I know how to pick and choose which tasks I should and shouldn’t be delegating. There are some things that I just cannot let anyone else do because they’re my strengths.

Honestly, I finally got to a place of being burnt out and stressed out and snapping at my loved ones. I got tired of going through the cycles of burnout. I learned that I didn’t have to run my business or my life in burnout mode. I finally started getting the coaching support I needed that was more relevant to my lifestyle as a mom who’s constantly facing the struggle of the juggle… managing multiple roles at home, in addition to my academic career and my business.


One of my business coaches actually gets what the struggle of the juggle is like. She was a brand new mom when she started building her new business. She’s a pro that rejects all of that free bad advice that is not relevant to the kind of lifestyles that mom entrepreneurs lead. I watched her free webinar*, and it is full of pretty much everything you need to thrive in your business even though you have so much going on at home. If you watch it, let me know how it helped you.


Use my one page profile to learn more about me at:

Donna Marie Johnson @leadlikeaqueen


If you already know me and are ready to get started getting virtual assistant support with marketing tasks, go to this link:

VA Services Page

(See the link I inserted near the top of this article for a VA certification that could help you become a sought after VA and/or can help you find a certified VA.)

~Note: Affiliate Links are included in my website so that I can be compensated for referring my audience to awesome services, books, and products that I have used and that I have received value from. If you choose to click and use them for yourself, thank you in advance for trusting me and for supporting my business in this way.

Progress of Promise – UPDATED


As of August 2021, I am starting my last two classes and will be eligible to receive my Masters of Arts degree in December 2021 (I will walk in May 2022). Can you feel my excitement! This journey, this very spiritual journey, has been extremely fruitful. I get so much further in my life when I surrender the details to God, and just focus on what I can do moment to moment and day by day. Perfectionism sucks and is unhealthy. That’s all for now.

What has your experience with perfectionism been?

I really want to know. For real.

Leave me a note in my contact form to share your story with me.

As of March 2021, I am 1/4 finished with my last two semesters of graduate school. I have been able to move forward in school with the help of the good Lord and my family, and have been able to maintain my promise to stay present in all of my relationships. It feels good. I am not super stressed out. I have to say no to some events, but it’s worth it. This has been giving me more practice with protecting my peace, my time, and my space so that I can maintain my focus on what I am doing and who I am with right now. How about you? Will you answer my questionnaire (scroll down)?

As I enter into a new season of my own personal and professional development (via my last two semesters of graduate school), I am making a critical spiritually-based promise to myself and my family that I wanted to share with you, my audience and clients, also.

Before I get into the details of this promise, let me also say that I included my family in this promise because, besides getting my own oxygen first (i.e., parents put on oxygen mask first on an airplane to prevent passing out before they can help their child), they are my first priority and deserve my best. My oxygen, spiritually speaking, is continuing to grow and transform in my own personal walk with God.

Ok, so, my promise follows.

I promise to gratefully and gracefully live with love and excellence in this moment right now and to do the same for each moment today and every day.

~ Donna Marie Johnson, @leadlikeaqueen
my promise via @leadlikeaqueen

My Complex Promise Explained

This is a simply stated and complex promise. What this complex promise means is that I will:

* Be content right here right now in this moment.

* Be grateful for the people, resources and money that I have right now in this moment.

* Focus all of my best positive energy full of love and grace to engage with and be a blessing to whoever I am with right now in this moment.

* Focus all of my excellence to complete all assignments that I need to work on right now in this moment (in whatever area needs to be addressed… chores, work, school, etc.).

* Trust God with guiding my steps so that I am where I need to be right now.

* Trust God with placing the people around me He has destined for me to be with right now.

Living From My Core

I believe that the core of my being is to live each day with focused positive love and grace-filled energy and gratefulness. My core’s source is Christ Jesus himself. At my core, I am in the center of God’s will. And I believe that in times when I am tempted to step outside of the core of who I am, it’s usually when I am living in a place of fear, anxiety, anger, and/or spacing/vegging out. The great news at these times is that Father God always uses Holy Spirit within my core to guide me gracefully and lovingly as I wake up and step back into being present to who I am at my core. From the moment of that new choice, I am whole again and can keep moving forward.

In these times of great uncertainty and constant change, my promise helps me to keep walking in faith despite it all. It helps me remember who I am and whose I am. It supports me in getting back on track when I stumble and/or fail. I always know I can make a new choice in this moment right now, no matter the outcome of past choices. Because of God’s grace and mercy via Jesus’ shed blood, each moment for me is new, as I continue to be mindful of my promise and live from my core.

Complex Calling

Ultimately, I am very aware that I cannot serve anyone God has called me to serve without keeping Him at the center of my heart, mind and life at all times because my calling is very complex. There is no humanly possible way I can do all of this without HIM. (All of This = schooling at home, supporting my disabled spouse, attending grad school, re-building my business, writing, and speaking… and all while taking care of my own ‘oxygen’ needs first)

complex calling via @leadlikeaqueen

Want to Share Your Story With Me?

I want to keep encouraging you by continuing to share my own journey. Would you like to share the story of your journey as an author and/or speaker with me?


How do you stay focused on your personal relationship with Christ Jesus even in the face of your own fear, anxiety or failures, especially during these uncertain times?

PRIVACY PROMISE: Your privacy is important to me. I will not share your story with others unless you specifically ask me to share it. So, if you do want me to share, please say so in the comment area above as you share your story there.

Donna Marie Johnson, @leadlikeaqueen
<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">UPDATE: One of the huge reasons why my promise is important is to keep me from falling back into the patterns that unhealthy perfectionism created in the past. I used to lose myself in my academics and in my work so that I didn't leave enough room for relationships because I was always worried about school/work even while I was with other people. So, it caused me to be a mile away from them even though I was physically with them. I am still working on this, but, at least I am aware and intentionally working on it.UPDATE: One of the huge reasons why my promise is important is to keep me from falling back into the patterns that unhealthy perfectionism created in the past. I used to lose myself in my academics and in my work so that I didn’t leave enough room for relationships because I was always worried about school/work even while I was with other people. So, it caused me to be a mile away from them even though I was physically with them. I am still working on this, but, at least I am aware and intentionally working on it. <p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">My goal used to be to be perfect, especially when others could see me or see what I was doing. Now my goal is to just be present and excellent in this moment, trusting that Father God is using me to be a blessing to someone right here right now. This really takes the pressure off and helps me just be me and just serve.My goal used to be to be perfect, especially when others could see me or see what I was doing. Now my goal is to just be present and excellent in this moment, trusting that Father God is using me to be a blessing to someone right here right now. This really takes the pressure off and helps me just be me and just serve.


Part 1

Also, see my most recent video updates via Instagram. (Link to IGTV, click here)

Important Update

In taking my own advice about checking on your people, especially during this pandemic era, I have had to end my graduate school journey for now so I can support a family member who needs me to be fully present for them at this time. This was a truly tough choice, but as I looked back at my promise… and at the advice I’ve shared with others, I had to remember to live what I say. I am very sad about this choice, but I trust God to help me and my family despite my feelings and to help me get past my feelings.

[UPDATE] Value of Vulnerability in Leadership

UPDATE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, this topic is now more relevant than ever, as you can see in news reports and social media posts by very lonely professionals all over the world who have been isolated for months. In addition to YouTube and Apple Podcasts, you can now find this episode on other platforms, including Spotify and Anchor. There’s also a new podcast cover to help illustrate the power of purposely cultivating your own growth and transformation.

How do you like the new podcast name and cover art for the renamed podcast “Plant Your Seeds of Transformation”?


As I write this, I realize that the topic of “vulnerability” has been hot for several years because of the popularity of a researcher and author who has been featured on the TED Talks video series and on Oprah’s OWN network (i.e., Super Soul Sunday). Her name is Brene Brown, and she has influenced me, but this is not the reason for this blog article.

In the summer of 2018, I started a series entitled “Loneliness and Leadership” on my previous blog and podcast. To see the video about this topic, visit my youtube channel for Lead Like A Queen at this link (click here) or watch it below:

Here is a summary of the main points from what I addressed in this video:

#1 Admitting loneliness is difficult due to its social stigma* and due to unwillingness to be vulnerable. (See research resource listed below.)

#2 Failing to admit you need help dealing with loneliness keeps you in bondage to it.

#3 Failing to get free from the impacts of loneliness within you affects how you act and react at home and at work. It may cause you to lead in unhealthy ways.

#4 Failing to admit your need for help prevents you from seeking help which empowers you to plant seeds for your own transformation.

“Personal and professional transformation, just like gardening, takes time, but it can’t even start until you start seeking help as your way of planting the seeds for your own change.”

~ Donna Marie Johnson @leadlikeaqueen

*Resource: Rokach, A. (2013). Loneliness updated: Recent research on loneliness and how it affects our lives. Oxon [England]: Routledge.

Note: This is an older video, so the offer included in the video is no longer available. To get updates about current offers, join the email newsletter community for Lead Like A Queen (click here).

book book trailer slideshow

[BOOK TRAILER] #SmallBizBigImpact But How?

Update: You can now buy the Small Biz Big Impact ebook here on this website.

This article gives you an overview of my Free* Amazon Kindle book called:

“Small Biz Big Impact But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World”

by Author Donna Marie Johnson

*Note: If you subscribe to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, it is available for free to you.

Watch the video to see the slideshow, and scroll down further to read informative and inspiring commentary along with each quote.

These excerpts of the book are designed to help you:

  • Discover some main ways small business leaders can make big impact.
  • Understand linkages between key leadership habits and your small business success.
  • Be inspired and empowered by a book created with small business leaders in mind.


#SmallBizBigImpact But How?

Here are excerpts from my book that discuss what it means to build up your small business with diversity, selfless service, humility, servant leadership, empowerment, faith, and hope & healing.


Just because you are a small business owner or entrepreneur does not mean that you cannot make a big impact, but you definitely cannot do your business the same way as larger organizations and stay sustainably successful.

“…with wise project management, entrepreneurs and small business owners can learn which resources and tools they can use, and which ones they can modify, to meet the same needs [as large organizations, but] more affordably for their own organizational culture development.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


If you, your teammates, or your stakeholders have differences, that only serves as an advantage. Embrace that and learn to use those differences in ways no one else can.

“Studies were done within multicultural organizations to show the benefit of having a diverse group of individuals who contribute to the organizational culture, and therefore, to the organizational knowledge.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


Being selfless is not the same as being a doormat. It must be guided by your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and your understanding the example He laid out for you in His Holy Word.

“Over time, your small business can build a platform based on selfless service, but all of this starts with you, the head leader in the business, developing a heart with a selfless service focus.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


A personal relationship with Christ Jesus gives you a desire and thirst to know Him more and more so that you can humbly allow Him to lead your leadership choices.

“Quiet time alone in prayer, in Bible study, and in quiet Holy Spirit-led reflection are daily rituals that empower leaders to develop Christ-focused vision aligned with this truth [of humble servant leadership].”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


When serving others as your way of serving the Lord remains your focus, it prevents ethical and moral leadership problems for the top leadership and everyone else who serves within your organization.

“Primarily, the focus of biblical servant leadership on serving others as a way to serve Christ Jesus is perceived by followers as authentic leadership, which boosts their trust in and emulation of their leaders.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


The most potent type of empowerment any entrepreneurial leader gives to their team is their example.

“After being purposely mentored and developed by their leaders, followers can succeed them as future leaders and mentors who serve first just as Christ served first, and just as it was emulated for them by their own leaders.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


The most authentic form of servant leadership is coupled with deeply rooted faith in the one who was the author of servant leadership, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life for all human beings. In my book, I interviewed a christian business leader who shared about how his faith shapes his business.

“authentic servant leadership can have far reaching impact within and outside of a company by creating an environment that fosters change at all levels due to the love and trust that ensues”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


One of the most common ways small business leaders cause damage to their businesses and brands is in how they manage their people resources. In my book, I interviewed a christian business leader who shared about how his faith shapes how he manages his people.

“Humble leaders provide a supportive atmosphere for followers which gives them hope and brings healing.”

Johnson, D. (2019, January 7). Small Biz Big Impact, But How?: How Conscious Selfless Servants Impact the World 


If you’d like to discuss these topics in person or have questions, join me for upcoming events or contact me. You can see announcements about events and find my contact information on this blog and my social pages, including if you follow my Amazon Author page at… and the easiest way to remember is just to use my name:

How Can A Black Woman Bounce Back Better After the Bad of Life Happening?

This is an article I wrote on my medium blog as part of my podcast community. If you choose to check it out, let me know your answers to the questions I shared over on Medium.