True Peak Journey: Gina Johnson

by Lance Ekum on · 39 comments

Note: This is part of a new series where I feature people who are on their true peak journey.  If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact me.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today our guest is Gina Johnson, from goodthingz.  Gina is a life/business coach based out of Illinois.  About a year ago, she created the goodthingz site, as a way to really focus on the good things that were uplifting and energizing for her.  This is a wonderful story of how we truly become what we think.

Below Gina shares her story, as she has continues her true peak journey.

Please read and enjoy…

Almost one year ago, I decided to start a social networking site aimed at inspiring people to live positive and productive lives. goodthingz is the name of the site, and it is the home of the goodthingz movement.

What is this goodthingz movement all about?

Well, it is really about 3 main things.

  1. Choosing to be/ stay solution focused when dealing with negative events and/or people in life.
  2. Searching for and focusing on what is right in life rather than what is wrong in life.
  3. Celebrating one’s joys and interests with others, and in turn choosing to walk away from unnecessary drama and gossip.

All three of the above sentences can be summed up in four words, “Be the bright side”, and this is the goodthingz slogan.  It is a slogan that reminds me that my attitude and outlook are always my choice.

What inspired the goodthingz movement?

I was inspired to start the goodthingz movement after I had been posting on the goodthingz twitter site for about 6 months.  I started the goodthingz Twitter account because I was at a dark and lonely place in life. My dad had recently passed away, and I was simultaneously experiencing many other big changes, both personally and professionally. To say the least, there were a lot of stressors, and not a lot of obvious positives surrounding me at that time.

Unfortunately, I allowed my thinking to follow the course of the events/situations around me, and I immersed myself in a lot of negativity. Negativity bred negativity. Negative thoughts led to negative behaviors which attracted negative people. You get the idea; I chose to deal with life’s negatives by being negative, and my reward was unhappiness. Luckily, at some point, I realized I wasn’t going to get my life back on track until I made a point to get my thinking back on track. As a licensed mental health therapist and certified life coach, I was well aware that I could not just tell myself to think differently, more positively, that is. Instead, I needed a strategy, a way to structure my thinking and to follow up with positive/productive actions.

It was then that I decided to make a game out of it. I opened a twitter account, named it goodthingz and challenged myself to find 10 “good things” to post each day. I wish I could say that it was all downhill from there. No, I quickly learned that finding 10 good things to post each day was easier said than done. However, I was determined to feel better, and I knew an adventure in positive/productive thinking and behaving was the treatment I needed. I asked myself what I enjoyed before life (and I) had taken a negative turn, and I returned to those things (i.e., music, art, design, self help articles/books, movies, bicycles, photography, nature, etc). I then made  a point to post something from  those categories every day.

While at first, it felt as if I was going through the motions, it didn’t take long for me to start experiencing joy when looking and finding my good things for the day. Perhaps, more importantly I noticed that in my downtime, away from work, I was thinking differently, in a more positive/productive way. Rather than worrying or dwelling about the negatives in life, I was dealing with them and moving on. Moving on to learning more about an author that I  found while searching for my goodthingz site, or I was off to take a photo to share, or to look up a new song title.   I was making time for the good things and it was paying off. Possibly best of all, I was learning how to better connect with other people through positive things vs. negative things. All of the above left me feeling more energized and invigorated. Instead of feeling bogged down by life’s problems, goodthingz gave me more energy to work toward solving those problems. Slowly but surely I changed for the better and so did my life.

After 6 months of posting good things on Twitter and experiencing positive changes in my life, I decided that I would like to create a venue for other people to do the same. I took my idea to Surface 51, a local web and design firm,  that is comprised of people I genuinely like and trust. They were immediately on board and after a lot of hard work, the goodthingz site was up and running. We also have several plans for future development on the goodthingz site.

How to get involved with goodthingz

First, visit goodthingz and join our community! Next, find and share your good things with us.
Here are a few examples of how people are currently using the goodthingz site and contributing to the community.

  • To develop a more positive and productive mindset. Make a goal to find and post 2-3 good things a day. (It can be anything, a pic of something cool, a story about someone thoughtful, a great song you heard on the radio, or a piece of art your friend showed you.) Don’t sit back and wait for good things to cross your path; go searching for them and bring them to us! The acts of searching for and sharing good things day after day is a proven way to better your overall mindset and mood.
  • To maintain and grow an already positive and productive mindset. We are all adversely affected by negativity bias; searching for and sharing good things each day helps prevent negativity from taking hold of us. Even more, finding and sharing good things prevents stagnation and promotes growth.
  • To inspire, encourage and motivate others. By contributing to the goodthingz site you are helping to create a databank of good things…a databank that anyone can and will visit to find strength, encouragement, wisdom and humor. You never know when someone will tell you that your post made their day.
  • To build and store collections of good things unique to you. Goodthingz gives you one place to store all of the positives you find in life. Are there certain songs that motivate you, certain places that hold special memories, pictures that make you smile, videos that inspire you? Collect them and store them on your goodthingz page. What a great place to return, to share laughs with friends or to find some relief after a stressful day.

It is my hope that goodthingz will mean many things to many people. Perhaps it will mean inspiration to some, safety to others and hope to all.  I would love to see you there!

Gina Johnson is the founder of goodthingz movement, an online community to share all the things that inspire and energize.  Keep up with Gina on Twitter and on the goodthingz site.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Burman June 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

Very pleased to meet you Gina and congratulations on being featured here at The Jungle Of Life. I wish you well with your Goodthingz website and look forward to checking it out.

Thanks for telling your story too… every little bit of positivity helps [the world as well as ourself!]

Best wishes from way over here…
Jean 🙂
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:30 am

Hi!!! Yes, I love Gina’s message and how uplifting her site is! Here’s to spreading positivity and goodness in our world (something you do so, so well!).


Keith June 5, 2011 at 8:25 am

Hello Gina,

I love your attitude! I think most of us have dealt with life from a negative place at one time or another and you couldn’t be more right! Negativity breeds more negativity and trains our mind to recognize ONLY the negative. Conversely, ( and thankfully ) the opposite is also true. We can train our mind to recognize the positive in most any situation!

Thanks Gina and Lance! I am off to goodthingz!


Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:32 am

Great to have you here!

Just think – if we could all see the positive in any moment (even the very challenging moments), what a different place our world would be. Gina is truly living this principle, and it’s awesome!!


Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition June 5, 2011 at 9:02 am

I love your attitude! We are perfectly capable of changing how we see the world – all it takes is the willingness to try. I was raised in an environment where everything was “doom and gloom” but,from an early age, I chose to reject this thinking and see the good things in life instead, and my positive attitude has served me well. I truly believe that what we focus on expands. Thank you for this very uplifting article.
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:34 am

Attitude…a little thing that makes a real difference…

And how wonderful – how you have purposely chosen to see the positive, even when those around you didn’t always project that same attitude. What a gift that is! And what a beautiful place you are today…


Jean Sampson June 5, 2011 at 9:24 am

Thank you, Gina and Lance! This is just what I need—–so I am going to join today! 🙂 I know a “good thing” when I see it!


Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:35 am

Yahoo!!! You’ll love it at Gina’s site – it’s so filled with joy!


Jody - Fit at 53 June 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

I love this thought process not only because I need it but I think many do… as I mentioned to Lance, I am reviewing a book tomorrow on stress less, weigh less & a lot of her book talks about changing her thoughts which helped change or emotional reaction to the thoughts.

Will be checking out your site – I don’t Twitter….
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:39 am

…and after reading your post…that book sounds really great! And a big part of success in life (and in healthy living) starts with our mind – so creating a positive space in our heads…it just does wonders for us!


Melody | Deliberate Receiving June 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

What an fantastic idea, Gina! I’m so checking this out today. It makes perfect sense that focusing on good things (sorry, thingz) every day put you in a completely different and better feeling place. I love projects like these!!! And thanks to Lance for highlighting this site. 🙂

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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:40 am

Isn’t this idea just awesome – focusing on the good (thingz!) in life! And when we do, it spreads! Thanks so, so much for being here…


Holly Latty-Mann June 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Gina, what an inspiration you are! I bet you found as you journeyed from a negative to a positive place that a whole new set of friends entered your life – and perhaps some folks who perhaps had contributed toward your dark years sort of disappered. You are a lovely ray of sunshine! : )


Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:44 am

“…lovely ray of sunshine…” ~ I just *love* that!! (and…you, dear friend, are this in so many ways also)

And how awesome – by our shifting something as simple as our thoughts (and what we share) can bring people into our life that are deeply meaningful to us and support us in wherever we’re at…

Wonderful to see you here today Holly!!!


Audra Krell June 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm

What I love about your latest posts Lance, it that you feature people who make the choice to be well in spite of the odds being stacked against them. It’s very, very inspiring. Thank you Gina and Lance!
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:46 am

Thanks so, so much!! It’s really a lot of fun just hearing the stories of others and how their lives have been impacted by the choices they have purposefully made.

Great to have you here, dear friend…


Delena Silverfox June 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hi Gina,

Welcome to Jungle of Life! You must be truly amazing if Lance chose to feature you here. =)

Your story is simple and inspiring, and so easy to emulate! I love how you didn’t sugar-coat the fact that it took you some time to realize the relation between negative thinking and the negative things in your life. So many life coaches I’ve heard speak make it sound like they never fell into the trap themselves and they gloss over that part of their story. Not a good way to help people relate, I think.

I love your story!

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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:49 am

What I really loved about what Gina shared – it was that part, also – of her very real and not very easy moments that led up to the creating to goodthingz. I can relate to that – and in that relating, I feel a deeper connection.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and for your very kind and gracious words about the Jungle!


David Stevens June 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Hi Gina & Lance,
there is always ‘good’ if you look hard enough, sometimes it is well hidden. It’s great to see that you have found your way back to positivity & found a mechanism to “further the good”. Well done & thankyou for sharing.
be good to yourself
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:51 am

That’s what makes Gina’s story so wonderful – how she shares her personal story of struggle, and then of doing something to come back from that place. And in that process, she’s created a way for others to also see the good and wonderful in this world!!


Justin | Mazzastick June 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Hi Gina,
Staying in a state of positive vibrations is so important for us. It’s easy to get knocked down in life and stay there because of negative thoughts and people.
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Lance June 7, 2011 at 5:52 am

Life has highs and lows…

And in all of that, seeing the positive…what a difference that can make! Gina truly shines at being this positivity in the world, and what a gift that is!


Jannie Funster June 7, 2011 at 11:32 am

Yes, there is always good, every moment of every day, and most of it within.

What a wonderful lady to meet, Lance! But then again, it’s ALL good over here in True Peak Land.

I love how Gina BECAME the joy she was looking for in her daily post quest. That’s what it’s all about!

Happy day!



Lance June 8, 2011 at 5:58 am

…and it’s ALWAYS good seeing your smiling eye here!!! (and your sweet, sweet words)

Gina really did become the joy as she purposefully looked for it in the every day…and that is so, so awesome!!



Christian Hollingsworth June 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Choosing to stay focused, despite everything that happens around me – is something I really need to continue working on.

I love that that’s a priority and movement for you, Gina and goodthingz. Often, it feels like I let the negative effect that focus. Often I’ll be so worked up with things to get done and do – that I’ll begin to struggle. If there’s too much of a work load – I let that get to me, and I lose my focus.

And I think, it comes down to your other thoughts to fix the problem. Celebrate life with those you love and focus on the RIGHT things in life. When I get those darn priorities straight – that’s when I think I’d really start to be more powerful.
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Lance June 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Putting our priorities on the positive (as opposed to the opposite) can just make such a difference in our outlook (I know!). And so, by focusing on the “good”, Gina has really connected with the good that is within her….just as we each can…

Thanks, Christian, for this very meaningful and thoughtful comment.


Lynn June 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’m all about the good things, too. Lovely that Gina focuses on the good things. 🙂
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Lance June 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

YES…you definitely are all about the good things, too!!! And – I just *love* that about what you share – it’s always so uplifting to visit your site and just know I’ll be greeted by all sorts of wonderful!! (just like you)


rob white June 8, 2011 at 10:15 am

I love this: “Be the bright side”… how clear, concise and simply powerful. Your message uplifts all of humanity for the good of all concerned. It is the simple small acts of daily appreciation that really lead to a peaceful and harmonious existence. Thanks for introducing me to Gina, Lance
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Lance June 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hmmm….and now as I read your comment – I really love those words (“be the bright side”) too!! Yes, we CAN choose to be that! And how awesome!!

…and it all starts with just simply seeing the good in each day…

Thanks Rob!


Andrew Walker June 9, 2011 at 5:05 am

Hi Gina,
Thanks for sharing your story here. I think it’s good to have positive thoughts. It will conquer the worst of all. Maybe, it could be started from our power of mind. And how we see things and moments from the good side. Thanks.
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Lance June 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Our minds is so, so powerful – so, when we focus upon the good things, it has an amazing effect on our lives!!

Thanks for visiting!


Aileen | Kaizen Vision June 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Lance, such a wonderful and brilliant series you have going on! Peoples personal stories can really help lift/move and fuel others into action powerfully.

Gina, I love the reason you started your site 🙂 to change how we see the world & to change the way our mind perceives is incredibly challenging – communities of like minded people really help to make that mind shift possible and permanent. I wish you continued success 🙂
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Lance June 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Thank you! It’s really great to share what others are doing as they move more fully into their truest self! (if you’re ever interested in sharing about you…)

And what Gina has created – it’s a wonderful example of how we view things in our life and what effect that has on us!


Giulietta Nardone June 11, 2011 at 8:40 am

Hi Lance & Gina,

I loved that Gina took action during a dark phase by opening a twitter account and then starting a blog about letting light into her life.

We need a self-originating reason to get up in the morning. When it’s externally imposed like “making a lot of money” or “becoming famous,” it doesn’t touch our hearts or souls. The lack of such a reason fuels the bulk of depression on our side of the world. Once I began using my voice to challenge the status quo, I had my reason to get up.

Thanks! G.
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Lance June 13, 2011 at 5:41 am

Such a wonderful thought – it really it doing that which touches our heat and soul! And when we do – joy is just such a more fully possible thing…

And – I love that you are using your voice to be change you wish to see in this world. Giulietta, you are a beautiful soul and such an inspiration!


Shivam Garg June 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Hi Gina,
Nice post.Your story is inspiring.I think at every step in our lives there are two types of energies i.e. positive and negative and it depends on us which we want to choose and what we want to become if we want it bad we will surely get it bad.


waterpearls June 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

Hi Gina,
Great post.I really like the three ways of good thingz movement and you shared very nice information about positive thinking here and your tutorial is very powerful and inspiring.
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Connie @ water damage grand rapids June 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Reading this post reminds me of my favorite quote, “What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” That’s by Donald Trump. Each time I read it, it motivates me to always stand up every time I fall.
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