I almost always fall asleep on planes (not fun for those who travel with me), and being awakened by a singing pilot is a nice way to come back to consciousness. But that’s not the only reason I looked forward to the Southwest flight I took to Dallas a week ago.
The company I work for, Ragan Communications, held our ‘Communicating your Company Story’ conference—an event for communicators—at Southwest’s Headquarters this week. I’m a very excitable person by nature—I dropped the word “cool!” about 20 times during a tour of Southwest—but this conference reinforced the value of a different kind of excitement: Passion.
Here’s what I took home with me—other than the single-serving hotel toiletries:
1) Mission possible. One of our speakers, NASA astronaut Col. Doug Wheelock, was inspirational. His passion for sharing stories about space exploration—on Twitter nonetheless—was palpable, and the audience was enamored. More than one person said they wanted to switch careers after watching this video. If he can live a life of passion traveling to the moon, we ground-bound folk have nothing stopping us from fulfilling our dreams.
2) Pass passion on. The best employees are those that feel inspired to do great work on a daily basis. Southwest gets this. Zappos gets this (Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, is featured in the above picture). And my company gets this. Why? Because our leadership is passionate. If you share your company’s story with employees—Southwest actually has a school where employees learn about the company (I got to see it!)—and teach them about the integral part that they play—they’ll be your best brand advocates.
A few of the inspiring speakers, including Col. Wheelock, who spent two hours signing autographs for attendees.
3) Play. A lot. You can tell Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh doesn’t take himself too seriously—he’s the author of Delivering Happiness, the book that inspired the famed Happiness Bus tours, after all. When people say they’re passionate about something, what they’re really saying is they have fun doing what they do. Enjoy what you do and the rest will come.
Our conference attendees livin’ the dream on the Southwest deck. Thank you for sharing the LUV, Southwest!