This story about living the life you imagined, professionally and personally, starts where most stories do — at a bar.
In this article I’m going to share with you:
- The formula for living the life you imagined as told by Carla Moore, Vice President, Strategy and Education, HBO.
- Why it’s important for leaders to live the life they imagine to transform their team.
- The future of work and how companies like Hallmark are responding.
- Action steps for personal and career success.
I met HBO executive and author, Carla Moore, at a hotel lobby in Kansas City, Missouri. She was speaking at a talent leadership summit hosted by TeamKC, an initiative of the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC), in partnership with 250 employers in the KC region.
The summit, also dubbed the first annual TeamKC Training Camp, brought together 350 of the region’s top human resource professionals to discuss the future of work and how companies can attract talent.
Getting to Know a Leader on a Personal Level:
“Let’s grab a drink,” Moore said.
We had just come in from a tapas dinner, and I was ready to do some cardio before bed. But the night was still young in the middle of America.
I feel like so often we have business hours and short blurbs of time for people. I’ve found that letting a connection marinate and taking it to places that some would call your cut off — is actually where you connect.
It was during our second martini – which we took to go – that I began to know Moore on a personal level. We cut through the formalities and she was introducing me as an important blogger to people in the elevator.
We both have lived in Chicago (for me, currently and for her, formerly). Both are still single. And both have big dreams that we didn’t think we could achieve.
I was talking to her about “the life I imagine.”
When I met Moore, I didn’t realize that she had reached over 10,000 people through her public speaking and life coaching. And that more importantly, her mission is to inspire others to live the life they’ve imagined. She is doing that through her book, Crash! Leading Through the Wreckage, where she talks about using personal power to transform your leadership.
She was getting through to me – right there at a hotel bar and the next day, she was going to do the same thing to leaders and tech recruiters in Kansas City.
Moore’s passion is talking to people. Her purpose is helping people live the life they imagined. And, her power is in her speeches, her work, and this book. Let’s look at this a little bit closer.
The Life You Imagined vs. The Life You Have:
In front of more than 350 top recruiters and human resources professionals from companies including Hallmark, Garmin, Bank of America, Sprint, H&R Block, Dairy Farmers of America, Virgin Mobile USA, State Street, and Cerner Corporation on February 2, 2018, Moore gave a familiar empowering message — live the life you’ve imagined.
You can hear the same message thousands of times and still not listen to it. Often, we don’t believe the message. We think that’s a nice thought. We feel good after hearing it.
But we don’t know what to do with it.
We don’t know how to have our own personal transformations. We don’t know how to have our big breaks at the office. We keep waiting for big opportunities or to feel something — happy — I guess, about waking up in the morning and doing what we’re doing.
Moore had a run in with death – a convertible hitting a median at 55 mph. It’s not that she wasn’t living a great life or didn’t have great achievements before this near-fatal crash. I mean, Moore was everyone I wanted to be and more. She had a place in Chicago. She has an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management. She had a good job that she is accelerating in. But she wasn’t living the life she imagined until she had that car crash.
The Formula to Live The Life You Imagined:
Fast forward 10 years, and Moore’s living the life she imagined. Authoring an amazing book, spearheading transformative initiatives for her company and living each moment like it could be her last.
So what’s the formula for this life we’ve imagined?
Passion + Purpose = Power.
Experts advise going into a field that you’re passionate about — something you like doing. For many of us, we think that’s it’s impractical or not lucrative. And for others, we don’t even know what we like.
Moore shared that a person’s passion changes the game. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, —start figuring it out by compiling a passion list. Write down everything you like. Take note of what you’re doing when time flies. It may take time for you to discover what you’re passionate about, but the reward is worth it.
Moore encouraged the audience to “Keep writing — there is some connective tissue.”
The next part of the formula is purpose.
Moore shares in her book that 70 percent of millennials want to own their own company but in the interim they are choosing to work for smaller businesses with a sense of purpose. Larger corporations are falling by the wayside with the millennial workforce.
The keynote speaker, Cheryl Cran, Future of Work expert, shared that by 2025, the workforce will be mostly contracted and entrepreneurial workers.
Companies like Hallmark, one of the largest creative companies in the world, took notice a few years ago and rewrote their mission to begin developing a cultural committee and projects. One example is something called #my5days, where Hallmark employees have five days to step outside their normal work and exploring their craft or something entirely new.
“Passion is your compelling emotion. Purpose sustains passion. Passion can be wild and unbridled. Purpose is singular and focused,” Moore explains. “Purpose is how will you serve the world?”
So, if you’re great at writing and passionate – what is it that you do with it that serves others?
Ask yourself. Write it down.
What are you doing with your talents that is serving others? And if you aren’t doing anything with your talents, what could you do? What would it look like? How would it help others?
Moore made the point that we benefit when we use our talents and do work that we’re passionate about. In her book, she shares, “When you release the need to prove how good you are and instead help others see how good THEY are, it’s called enlightened leadership.”
How can leaders do this?
“It’s by being transformed themselves and then helping to transform others into enlightened leaders.”
The last part of Moore’s formula for leadership is power. We all want power. Money gives us power. Titles give us power. But what really gives us power is when we’re doing what we love to do with a clear purpose. And when we develop our passions into talent and use that to better the world, that is true power.
This made sense. This gave me a new drive and sense of belonging and mission. So often we look at the end goal — power and success — and we miss the ingredients that make those things meaningful and most of all – worth it.
First Think, Then Do:
I got on the plane after the KC Talent Leadership Summit and started writing my passion list — the things I like. I must have written down hundreds of items.
A few days later, I started reading You Are a Badass, by author Jen Sincero. In this book, she shares that it’s through doing, not thinking, that we discover what we like. You can’t be afraid to do things and be bad at them.
First, you have to develop your passion and then build the skills to sustain it. Create the purpose for your life, and then find the power that motivates others to do their best work and fulfill their dreams and goals.
Leaders Need to Be Inspired and Inspire Others:
I took a moment to reflect. When I stated Windy City Cosmo — I didn’t know it would lead me to this hotel bar sipping martinis with a powerful woman — telling me to live the life I imagined.
Leaders need to be inspired. Leaders also need mentors and direction. And that’s what this community in Kansas City has — it has great resources for leaders and developing talent to think differently, work on their passion projects, and live the life they imagined. In turn, it helps others live their best life as well.
I felt power and leadership in the room that day — in the Kansas City community, a unique business community where companies work together to attract the top talent. Which is probably why, as Cran pointed out, that Kansas City is the third best city for jobs in America in 2017. (Chicago is number 23).
In the words of Carla Moore I leave you with, “Go be great and love the life you imagined.”
Leadership Action Plan:
1. Write a passion list. Keep writing until you see a trend. For example, working with your hands.
2. Think about how you can use your passion to help others.
3. Think about how you can use your power to inspire others and mentor them.
Books to add to your reading this:
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.