Lisa McCarthy | 2018 MAKERS Conference
Lisa McCarthy, Founder and CEO, Fast Forward Group, leads a vision writing session that will transform how you approach your work -- and more importantly, your life.
- Ladies and gentlemen, Lisa McCarthy.
LISA MCCARTHY: Good morning. I am pinching myself to be here. It's my second year at Makers, and if you're anything like me, on day three, you're saying to yourself, I'm so moved and inspired by women as young as 12 and as old as 96, and men-- so thrilled to have men at Makers this year. But all of the people taking a stand for equality and safety in our workplace and in our world.
And also you may be daunted and slightly intimidated. Anyone? How am I going to apply this to my life? I have the privilege of being here. I have the privilege of watching. How am I going to raise my voice? How am I going to drive change and take a stand? And for some of you, how am I going to change my circumstances and fuel my own happiness? Anyone thinking that?
So that's why I'm here, because the exercise I'm going to share with you today has changed, for over 10,000 people, how they work, live, lead, and love. And it will require vulnerability, which I know is a major theme of the conference. And it will require courage. So don't anyone leave.
Before I give you the exercise, I'm going to share my story. 12 years ago, even though I look 40, I was 38. And I was living in Long Island, where I live with my husband, Sean, who is the police chief. And we had three young children, and I had a big job at a media company. And I registered for a leadership program, because I was feeling like I needed to ignite myself. And the pre-work for the leadership program was to write your eulogy. So they told us to interview people at work, interview people at home, interview our friends.
And it was a life-changing and extremely disturbing experience. The reason for that is that I had to own up to-- I was known for being really busy. And the reason I was known for being really busy is that I walked about 100 miles an hour through the hallway at work. If I asked someone how they were, I didn't stop and kept moving. And if someone asked me, "Lisa, how are you?" I would say, in an extremely intense, high-strung way, "I'm really busy." And for some of those lucky people-- and this is embarrassing to admit-- I would actually tell them everything I was really busy with, as if it was remotely interesting to anyone except my sister. Maybe my sister.
OK. So here I am in this seminar, and I'm thinking, like, "This is not OK. I cannot have this as my tombstone." And I took time, and I wrote my eulogy. And as you know, with the eulogy, it's already happened. So I literally imagined my children at my funeral getting up and saying, my mother was present, connected. She was the glue of our family. She took care of us. She was our greatest fan and a meaningful coach.
As a wife, she was present, she was loving, she was connected. As a friend, she was amazing, always there. And in the workplace, she made a difference. She led change, and she took a stand for helping people have cultures where their whole lives are ignited, where you can produce extraordinary results at work and anything you're committed to.
And that was the easy part. The hard part was sharing it. So I went home. I shared it with my family. My husband, who loves me, said, we'll see. And my kids were very young at that time. And I shared it with my team at work. And the reason I shared it with my team at work and with my family is because I knew that this would require radical change in behavior. So I needed to come out and tell people so that they would hold me accountable and let me know when I was not being that.
Now who can relate to what I'm saying, by the way? Who's running around saying you're busy, tired, stressed? Stop doing that. So I go back into my real life. And I just practiced. All I did was practice. I was intentional and I practiced being the person that was in my eulogy. And I am still practicing. Some days go better than others. But I'm living that life, that future that I'm committed to, so that my kids actually say that at my funeral. And today, I'm proud to share that when people say, "Lisa, how are you?" I say, "I'm overly fulfilled."
Fast-forward. Fast-forward. Feel free to use that. Fast-forward.
I'm 45 years old, and I'm at a crossroads in my career. I am leaving the media company that I'm at, and I can either go to another big media company and run a team, huge opportunity, or I can pursue my dream to create a company that helps other leaders experience what I did and get conscious of how they show up and how they lead and how they coach and creating a culture where people can win and succeed in all areas of their life. And with a ton of excitement, but more fear, I chose the dream.
I reached out to my childhood friend, Wendy Leshgold, who's here with me in the audience. We met in camp. She has other qualifications. But I reached out to her, and I said, Wendy, I know if I do this myself, it will be done in 90 days, because I need energy. I need people. I need discipline.
And together, we wrote down a vision for the Fast Forward Group. And we wrote it as if it had already happened. I mean, it was vivid. It was specific. It was, this is our mission. This is the impact we're having. These are our clients. This is what they're saying. This is how it feels coming to work every day.
And we had no idea how to do it. But we wrote it down. We believed it. We could see it. And we started sharing it with people. And guess what? People got excited. Jacki Kelley from Bloomberg said, I'm going to give you my conference room, and you can beta Fast Forward with all your industry friends, and we'll give you feedback. Carolyn Everson from Facebook said, we're going to be your first client. And she subsequently scaled it to her entire organization or 3,000 people, and now is bringing it to our clients.
And then we have a ton of Makers companies. Just a big shoutout to all the Makers companies that are investing in people and culture, men and women, because we all want the same thing. We all want the same kind of life.
So now I'm going to share a piece of our work, so that you leave here in action, that you leave here with an actionable way to apply all this inspiration to your life. Everybody ready? Because this is going to be interactive. We always, like, create work.
OK. So you're fast-forwarding a year from today. And you are going to look in your own life at this question. What does extraordinary success look like for you? The first question you're going to ask-- and you're going to write this down in a moment-- is write down one important and unpredictable outcome. And write it as if you already accomplished it.
Let me say what we mean by unpredictable. You could fail. You don't know how to do it or you don't know the full plan. Or it's going to require people and factors outside of your control.
Let me share some examples. Number one-- and you need to say it, when you say it, with conviction. I took on a new leadership role at my company, increased my comp by 20%, and I am lit up by work. Two, we have an inclusive company culture. This year was a game-changer. We have improved leadership numbers by 20% for women and people of color. Three, I feel healthy for the first time in years. I am taking care of my mental and physical well-being. And four, I am in a fulfilling, loving relationship. This is for those of you that are single and those of you that have a partner but stopped paying attention.
OK. 30 seconds, you need to write down-- everybody, let's go. OK? You have to write down, or you can type it in your phone, but nobody sell out. I'm giving you 30 seconds to write down one important and unpredictable outcome, and write it as if it's already happened. Please begin.
Make it specific. If you can, make it measurable.
OK. So here comes the courageous part. You are going to turn to the person next to you. I told you, vulnerability, courageousness. Don't insert something else now, OK? You are going to share with the person next to you. It's February, 2019. Here's what happened. And then say why it's important.
And this is about 30 seconds each. It's going to get extremely loud. And then I'm going to ring a yoga chime. Everybody ready? Let's go. Please begin. Share with one other person.
OK. That time it worked. OK, who is inspired? Raise your hand by saying it out loud. Who's uncomfortable? This exercise is about bringing intention and choosing to be uncomfortable in all areas of your life. I consider that a good thing, because for any of you that have chosen comfort, what is the cost? Stagnation and it's boring. It's boring. If you want to be lit up, you've got to be uncomfortable. So I consider that a good thing.
OK, next question. Everybody ready? One year from today-- I'm giving you a whole year. Hope it will happen sooner. What are you known for? OK, here are some examples, and then you're going to write it down for yourself. One, I am a present and interested parent and partner. Two, I am an inspiring leader who drives growth and cares about people. Three, I speak my voice and I have the hard conversations. Four, I am taking a stand for what I believe in.
Now it's your turn. 30 seconds, write it down, and write it down as if it's already happened. Happening-- "I am." Pick the one that's going to require change or courage.
OK. Next step. You know what it is. You're going to share with the same person. Say it with confidence and conviction. You do not need to know how. You will figure it out. Please begin.
Is that good? You want all three.
Shh. Who's inspired? Yeah. So now your job is to go home and tell the people that surround you, so you can be supported and hold yourself accountable. Anything is possible if you set an intention and then you practice. You are all ordinary people that can make an extraordinary difference. And we can be who we want to be, if we set an intention and practice.
OK. Last thing. You now have a taste of our Fast Forward vision exercise. In order to get coaching to do the entire exercise, go to our website. When you get home, go to our website. And we're going to get everything you need. And you can email us to get vision samples. Over 10,000 people have done this exercise. It is making an extraordinary difference. And it could be that for you.
Make this your year. Raise your voice. Raise your voice. And if you have an area of your life or your company, and you're thinking to yourself, this is so not right, somebody needs to do something-- be that somebody. Be change, make the difference, set an intention, write it in your vision, share it out loud. You will figure it out. It will compel you to find a way, get support, galvanize people, and have this be your year.
Last thing. We have a workshop today, 12:00 to 1:00 in the screening room. So for any of you that are interested in getting help managing your inner critic, which is often the thing that gets in the way of bold visions, join Wendy and I in the screening room from 12:00 to 1:00. Thank you. Do this. And it was a privilege.